SA drafts bill on voice to parliament

A state-wide and elected first nations group will provide Indigenous South Australians with a strong and direct voice to the state's lawmakers under proposed new legislation.

The First Nations Voice Bill has been drafted and will now be provided to Indigenous communities for feedback.

It sits at the heart of the Labor government's commitment to a state-based implementation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, a call for substantial reform so first nations people have a greater say in decision-making.

The bill proposes regions with directly-elected representatives be established around South Australia.

The number of members and regions is yet to be determined but each will have equal male and female numbers.

Two members from each group will then form the State First Nations Voice which will address parliament on particular legislation of interest to Aboriginal people, provide reports to parliament and engage with ministers and department chief executives on budgets and priorities.

Those elected to regional groups and the state body would serve a four-year term, in line with state parliamentary terms.

Premier Peter Malinauskas said it was time Aboriginal people had the ability to express their hopes and aspirations for their people in the state's supreme decision-making body and that meant speaking on the floor of parliament itself.

Attorney-General Kyam Maher said the proposed legislation would ensure parliament was better informed about the issues and concerns of Aboriginal people.

"For too long, decisions have been made for Aboriginal people and not by Aboriginal people," he said.

South Australia's Commissioner for a First Nations Voice Dale Agius said Indigenous South Australians wanted to have a say in their affairs based on the principle of self-determination.

"They want to be able to influence the decisions being made about them at the highest of levels," he said.

"Overwhelmingly people have told me about the need for grassroots voices to be heard and that first nations people should choose who represents them."

Mr Agius will return to Indigenous communities in the next few weeks to seek feedback on the government's proposals.

Community comment on the draft bill will be taken until January.

The government plans to bring the legislation to parliament in 2023.