National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Consortium

1. Alliances and Relationships

NATSIHEC (AC) will establish and maintain effective relationships with other peak bodies and stakeholders within education and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs in government, non-government and corporate sectors, both domestically and internationally.

We recognise the commitments made by many organisations and are determined to ensure our engagement is based on open communication, respect and collaboration for the benefit of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples including:

  • Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council
  • Department of Education and Training
  • Universities Australia
  • Australian Research Council (ARC)
  • Reconciliation Australia
  • Australian Human Rights Commission (HRC)
  • Australian Professional Accrediting Authorities
  • World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC)
  • Worlds Indigenous Peoples Conference: Education (WIPCE)
  • United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII)
  • United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
  • National Congress of Australian First Peoples
  • Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA)
  • Other bodies and organisations as appropriate
International Engagement

NATSIHEC’s involvement in the global mobilisation of First Nations Peoples participation in higher education has increasingly provided members with an opportunity to engage in several major initiatives developed and designed to align with the principles and aspirations of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Outcome State.  This work will inform NATSIHEC’s engagement with Universities Australia (UA), in particular, with the NATSIHEC Vice President (International) Professor Boni Robertson appointment to the UA DVC International Working Party along with Professor Henrietta Marrie. In its quest to progress NATSIHEC’s trajectory as a national and international lead entity in higher education a NATSIHEC International sub-committee will be established. NATSIHEC International is also in the process of establishing a Strategic Plan with discussions having been held regarding the convening a Strategic Planning meeting of the International Working Party in Sydney in March 2019. All NATSIHEC members interested in attending the meeting should contact NATSIHEC Secretary Ms Maree Graham via: or NATSIHEC Vice President (International) Professor Boni Robertson via:

The following information is provided for the benefit of NATSIHEC members on the various elements:

The World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC)

NATSIHEC members are encouraged to participate in the annual WINHEC meetings and associated forums such as The World Indigenous Research Alliance (WIRA), International Research Journal, World Indigenous Nations University (WINU) and Board of Governors. Hosting the WINHEC Annual meeting in 2019 is the Centre for International Indigenous Affairs and the Centre for Indigenous Studies at the Dong Hwa University in Taiwan. Information regarding registrations, travel, accommodation, local protocols and program are on the 2019 WINHEC website. Members wishing to progress enquires regarding accommodation can contact Dr Hsieh via her email:  Dr Hsieh has advised that further information re the 2019 WINHEC meeting will be accessible via the website:

World Indigenous Nations University (WINU) and WINU Academic Awards

The WINU International Board of Governors has decreed that each year nominations will be sought from member countries for the WINU Meritorious Awards established to recognize academics, knowledge holders and Elders in communities who have made outstanding contributions to Indigenous education at the local and national level. The WINU Vice Chancellor will shortly send out the call for nominations for academic awards. Costs for recipients to attend the annual Conferral Ceremonies need to be met either by the recipient themselves or the national Indigenous higher education representative body which made the nomination.

The International Board of Accreditation

The International Board of Accreditation was established by WINHEC in 2003. Since then the International Board have formally accredited 33 First Nations Peoples education institutions and programs, with Wollatuka (Newcastle University and the Batchelor of Indigenous Tertiary Education (BITE) both being included.

World Indigenous Research Alliance (WIRA)​

The WINHEC eJournal is a peer-reviewed publication celebrating Indigenous Knowledges. The WINHEC Annual General Meeting determines the theme for the following Journal Edition. The Co-Chair of WIRA Dr Paul Whitanui (Victoria University, Canada) has extended an invitation to members of NATSIHEC to consider applying for membership of WIRA or the Editorial and Review Committee for the Journal. ​Further information regarding WIRA, the International Indigenous Research Journal is via Dr Whitanui direct on:

The International Peoples Organization (IPO)

NATSIHEC has been heavily involved in promoting the membership and progression of the IPO for over a decade actively engaging in advocacy of the rights of Indigenous peoples at the local, national and global level. NATSIHEC has participated in the UNPFII as a member of the IPO and in its own right for many years, having developed and delivered Statements around Indigenous education.

Further information regarding the 2019 UN PFII can be obtained via:…/18-2.html…/desa/…/unpfii-eighteenth-session-22-april-3-may-2019.html


Our priorities:
  • Developing working relationships with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander professional chapters, organisations and bodies (i.e. Australian Indigenous Doctors Association, Australian Indigenous Psychologist Association, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Principals Association, etc).
  • Developing strategic alliances with the State and Territory Indigenous Education Consultative Bodies, sharing information and identifying mutually beneficial research projects.


2. Engagement and Advocacy

As the key mechanism for engagement on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education, NATSIHEC (AC) will engage with all key stakeholders advocating for change effecting greater access to participation and success in education and employment.

We recognise we are custodians of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander higher education for this time and are determined to contribute to a better education for all Australian future generations.

Our priorities:
  • Engaging with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Department of Education and Training on greater flexibility and effective delivery of specific programs.
  • Contributing to the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Department of Education and Training reviews and policy development into Indigenous Higher Education Programs.
  • Effectively responding to national proposals and initiatives impacting on Indigenous higher education


3. Scholarship, Knowledges and Research

NATSIHEC (AC) will provide opportunities for its members to share, discuss and promote developments within scholarship and research related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges and knowledge systems. We recognise the potential for these knowledges to have positive impacts for Australian higher education whilst understanding our responsibilities for their protection and preservation.

Our priorities:
  • Providing collective responses to proposals which develop research capacity through the relationship with the Australian Research Council.
  • Contributing to the scholarship of Teaching and Learning through inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content within Australian university curriculum.
  • Advocating for scholarship and research in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges within the academy.
  • Advocating for resources, mentoring and enhanced employment opportunities within the sector for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander academics (e.g.: early career and research development).

4. Governance and Decision Making

NATSIHEC (AC) through its members and participation in consultation with governments and other higher education sector organisations will advocate for the increased participation by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in governance and decision making in institutions.

We recognise the diversity within the higher education sector whilst maintaining self-determination is enacted through participating in decision-making.

Our priorities:
  • Progressing the role of Elders as integral to the development of inclusive governance practice.
  • Identifying current Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation and models of participation in university governance.
  • Increasing the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander higher education staff in decision making within their institutions, including the appointment of PVC’s.
  • Celebrating appointments, promotions and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in higher education.