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OCTOBER 23-25, 2019


In Australia, the protocol is to recognise the Traditional Owners of the land to which we are gathering. Therefore, all presentations must begin with an acknowledgement to country and to local Traditional Elders: “We wish to acknowledge and respect the traditional custodians whose ancestral lands we are to meet upon. We acknowledge the deep feelings of attachment and relationship of Aboriginal peoples to Country. We also pay respects to the cultural authority of Aboriginal peoples visiting / attending from other areas of Australia who are present here”.

Indigenous Conference Services acknowledges and pay our respect to the Traditional people of the Country. "Welcome to Country" ceremony and "acknowledging the traditional custodians" of the land shows respect for Aboriginal people as Australia's First Peoples. Ceremonies and protocols are a fundamental part of Aboriginal cultures.


The 2019 World First Nations Early Childhood Conference: Empowering Generations is scheduled to be held at Pullman International Hotel in Cairns QLD, Australia on the 23rd -25th of October 2019 and is envisaged to be the largest gathering of First Nations Elders, early childhood educators, teachers, researchers, paediatricians, child practitioners, psychologists and community-controlled early childhood education and care providers amongst others. The conference is hosted by Indigenous Conference Services and is planned to be held every four years with great line up of First Nations guest speakers from all throughout the world.

Access to quality early childhood education is proven to have huge impacts to our First Nations families. However, this conference is not just about early childhood education but far more.  First Nations peoples’ future, history and cultures are inexplicably all tied together in such a way that one cannot grow without the other, just as our children grow in stature and age. First Nations children have the right to grow up in a nurturing environment with access to equal standard of education, health facilities, well-being and the opportunity to thrive. Hence, early investment in strengthening all of these lead to a healthy and progressive society.

This conference aims to inspire and enable early childhood educators, childcare workers and mainstream early childhood service providers in providing high quality early childcare programs for First Nations children by bringing together inter-generational expertise, sharing experience, information and network with Aboriginal early childhood practitioners and First Nations community, government and non-government organisations representatives. 



The overall theme for conference is empowering generations. Today society finds us in a position of the need to revitalise our languages, communities and our pride. In Australia and many other countries, First Nation’s people languages were forbidden to be spoken; hence, our children do not speak our tribal language no more. Similarly, the conference will also aim to:

  • Develop a global network of First Nations educators

  • Individuals to invest time in developing

  • Provide an open and frank forum for discussion

  • Network and lend support to individuals and families working in the early childhood and care settings

  • Help establish and grow a national network and resources through information sharing

  • Show that there are great efforts being made to make change

  • Exchange information regarding the successes and challenges in funding or day to day operations

  • To bring together all sectors of the community as a united voice 

  • Bring together researchers, service providers, government agencies, policy makers & organisations

  • Foster partnerships between government, NGOs, community groups and Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander families and communities 


Indigenous peoples, nationally and internationally, will come together in an environment that can lead to the sharing of information via their cultural and historical values.  This conference is designed to inspire and enable Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander educators, services and other partners to take control, step up and take action to the next level, to ensure the rights and self determination of First Nations Peoples are upheld. To honour our Indigenous men, women, youth and the whole family – their strength and resilience – by listening to their stories and strategies, learning from their experiences and committing to systemic change to protect the rights of our children, our families and our cultures. To honour also the knowledge of our men, Elders and wisdom of our cultural responses, sharing successes and struggles to chart effective, evidence-informed ways forward. The conference provides a forum to discuss solutions by Indigenous peoples and to connect and acquire knowledge from each other to heal the spirit, heal the earth, and sustain cultural practices for this generation and empower future generations to come.


First Nations peoples and educators are of the opinion that an essential component to closing the gap in outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and non-Indigenous children is a dedicated funding stream for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early childhood education and care services. A dedicated funding stream would recognises that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early childhood education and care services are not just about childcare. They are about engaging with children and families experiencing high levels of vulnerability by reducing barriers of service access that many of the mob experience in most mainstream system. 

First Nations peoples recognise that a holistic community-controlled approach be implementing early childhood education and care strategies. First Nations communities throughout the world have called for a tripartisan approach to early childhood education, health and well-being. This approach is only possible if governments, professionals educators and community controlled services work together to deliver services.  participation in childcare will not be possible for vulnerable families unless services are resourced to address the barriers to their participation and respond to families’ broader needs. We all have the responsibility on all governments and their respective departments to collaborate to ensure that the potential of early learning environments to respond to the early years support needs of First Nations families is met. First Nations peoples from New Zealand, Canada, America and Australia have each developed several approaches to the needs of First Nations early childhood sector. This conference principles to attempt to bring together First Nations people from around the world too develop a network for exchanging ideas as well as highlight the positives implementation of new strategies and initiatives. 


Guidelines in Submitting Paper:

•    Papers should not contain offensive language and take into account cultural sensitivities of Australian first nation people.
•    Papers must treat the themes in a manner that contributes to further discussion of conference aims.
•    Conference papers must be presented in the finish format not less than 60 days prior to the event.
•    First round of calling for papers is now close. Last minute applicants may submit their abstract close of business on October 11, 2019.
•    Papers MUST be submitted in Microsoft Word format.  Papers other than this format will NOT be considered.
•    Authors of papers presented at the conference will be formally notified of their acceptance in writing.
•    Registration fee of $650 will apply to all persons submitting papers payable within 7 days upon notification acceptance of papers.
•    Papers should explore ways in which the themes show up in the philosophy of the conference.
•    All papers must be presented in a positive and informative light.



(Register early to get a discount!) Please note that registrations are set out in an affordable way for organisations, which changes on a monthly basis. Hence the earlier you register, the more savings for your organisation. Registration fees include all day access to the event, available conference papers, daily lunch and refreshments for registered delegates only. Fees do not include travel costs or accommodation. Registration fees are non-refundable and must be received within 7 DAYS from being issued an invoice. Otherwise, bookings will not be considered.  To register, please click here to registration page and complete the form or you can also request for a conference brochure and the registration form to be sent to you by email at



(This agenda may change without prior notice to ensure a smooth flow of the conference proceedings on the day.)


October 23, 2019 DAY ONE  (WEDNESDAY)

8:30am    REGISTRATION         
9:00am    Combined Session Welcome to Country followed by cultural performance

9:20am    Combined Session Welcome Address Uncle Ara Harathunian, CEO Indigenous Wellbeing Centre Bundaberg QLD

9:45am    Combined Session Formal Opening Keynote  

10:30am  MORNING TEA Network with Exhibitors & Service Providers

11:00am  Combined Session Exploring Best Practices for Our First Nations Sons & Daughters Dr. Joseph B. Stone, Clinical Psychologist Indigenous Development Specialists, USA/NZ

11:45am Combined Session Koorie-inclusive Kindergartens Aunty Geraldine Atkinson, President Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Incorporated,  VIC
12:30pm  LUNCH BREAK  Network with Exhibitors & Service Providers
1:30pm   Keynote Session Bush Tucker Garden Project EACH Diana Roggenbucke, Smiles 4 Miles Coordinator EACH, Project Manager Bush Tucker Garden     Project EACH  and Raelene Tie, Oral Health Services Manager Outer East Primary Health – EACH, VIC

2:15pm   Keynote Session A Global Perspective of Indigenous Child Health Research: a systematic review of longitudinal studies Cat Lloyd-Johnsen, PhD

Candidate and Research Assistant, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, VIC 
3:00pm   AFTERNOON TEA Network with Exhibitors & Service Providers
3:30pm   Combined Session The Scandinavian Way: Targeting executive function and repetition to aid language and reading acquisition Ms Olwen Forker  

Speech Pathologist BackChat Speech Pathology QLD

4:15pm   Yarning Circle: Where to from here? Guest Speakers, Elders & Delegates 

6:30pm  CONFERENCE NETWORKING DINNER CRUISE: Aboard Spirit of Cairns.  Departure Point@ Marlin Marina Boarding Time 6:00 pm

October 24, 2019  DAY TWO  (THURSDAY)         

8:30am    SIGN-IN Network with Exhibitors & Service Providers
9:00am    Keynote Session The Importance of Cultural Responsiveness at an organisational level Aunty Cheri Harathunian, Chaplain, Director & Cultural      Officer, Indigenous Wellbeing Centre, QLD
9:45am    Keynote Session SWSLHD Aboriginal Getting in Track on Time (GOT IT!) program Jemma Milloy Team Leader, Got It! Cultural Adaption, Infant

Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service NSW

10:30am  MORNING TEA Network with Exhibitors & Service Providers                            
11:00am  Keynote Session Assistive Technology and Home Modifications Kathryn Martin Aboriginal Occupational Therapist  LifeTec Australia  QLD

11:45am  Keynote Session Yarning about Disability - Changing the perception of, and attitudes to, disability Daniel Smith and  Jean Paul,

Communications Manager  Indigenous Wellbeing Centre, QLD
12:30pm LUNCH BREAK Network with Exhibitors & Service Providers    
1:30pm    Keynote Session The  Effects of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Elizabeth (Anne) Russell, Founder & CEO Russell Family Fetal Alcohol

Disorders Association QLD

2:15pm    Keynote Session Sandtray Therapy in Early Childhood, Buidling Resilience Fiona Werle, CEO Opengate Institute

3:00pm    AFTERNOON TEANetwork with Exhibitors & Service Providers    
3:30pm   Combined Session A Parent’s Perspective - How to ensure respect for culture is maintained when working with families and children, Stirling          Eggmolesse, Leanne Connors, Corporate Coordination Manager Indigenous Wellbeing Centre, QLD

4:30 pm    Yarning Circle: Where to from here? Guest Speakers, Elders & Delegates

5:00pm    END OF CONFERENCE: Distribution of Certificates

October 25, 2019  DAY THREE  (FRIDAY)

For 2019, we offer new and exciting innovation for our conferences. Day 3 is devoted to professional development workshop or masterclass. As such, we have introduced several exciting networking and professional development innovations which is an extra cost for your chosen masterclass and comes with a course certificate. Day Three is optional so please make sure you complete your registration form with the masterclass included if you intend to attend. This year’s program features a strong selection of Leadership and Empowerment topics for workers in Indigenous Health sector and practitioners at every level of experience and expertise.


Worrying about how your team, family and community effectively assist and manage clients experiencing inter-generational trauma? Indigenous peoples around the world endured several generations of trauma and other neurological effects and compromised behavioural immunity which leads to behavioural indicators such as substance-abuse and suicide.  Our current generation is impacted by structural violence, poverty, racism, governmental neglect and ongoing hostilities, and unfortunately our mob have learned our lessons in traumatisation as well where in many situations, we have internalised the trauma imposed on ourselves and turned onto our own families, communities, and selves.   

This workshop will teach you:

  • The strong benefits of recapturing and revitalising our languages, cultures and spirituality

  • How to become an interventionist to suicide in your communities

  • Understand and utilise trauma-informed care to heal ourselves, our clients, and our communities.

  • Strategies in managing clients and families affected by inter-generational trauma and break the cycle of suicide in our communities.

In Just One Day You Can Learn Strategies how to become an interventionist to suicide and work effectively with your clients who are experiencing inter-generational trauma and their families.


Joseph B. Stone, PhD. Is an Amskapi-pikuni ceremonialist and traditionalist and member of the OKKAN (Sundance), the Last Star Thunder Medicine Pipe and Beaver Lodge.  He is a clinical psychologist and with his partner, Amber Logan, owner of Indigenous Development Specialists of Havelock North, New Zealand.  Dr. Stone works at the Napier Family Centre in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.  He has clinical experience with adult prisoners and corrections and juvenile justice in both New Zealand and USA.  He is affiliated with the National Centre on Trauma and Project Making Medicine – Indian Health Service Assessment and Treatment of Child Abuse at Oklahoma State University. He has presented to and served as consultant to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs of Native Youth Suicide.  Joseph's publications include articles on trauma, suicide, and other cultural / behavioural issues. 

Amber Logan is a traditional Kahungunu Māori wahine, a New Zealand Health Psychologist and a Doctoral Fellow in Public Health at Otago University.  She teaches health psychology course work at the University of Auckland and Otago University and is well-known in New Zealand for her work in Methamphetamine education and community activism.  Amber is a consummate grant writer, health services evaluator and health services program designer.  She has presented extensively in Australia, Canada, and the USA at Harvard University, the University of Washington, and to the US Federal Government under the Obama administration.               

This Masterclass is strictly limited to 30 people only. Cost is $330 per person.

Call or email us to register for this workshop or CLICK TO BOOK YOUR PLACE HERE.


This conference is blessed with the abundance of the highest calibre Indigenous First Nations speakers. The speaker's list will be can viewed by clicking here


As they say, all work and no play makes for a dull conference. So to overcome this, the conference secretary has organised a conference dinner to be held on the second night of the event. This dinner with give delegates the opportunity to further network whilst lets your hair down in an informal setting. The conference dinner will be at a cost of $150 per person for a three course meal. The conference dinner is additional to the conference fees and bookings must be made prior to the event. For those who wish to see more of the area, the conference secretary has also negotiated a special rate for those delegates who may be interested. Delegates can avail themselves of these offers.

Conference Networking Dinner Cruise - Waterside Dining

A Cairns Dinner Cruise is the perfect way to end a perfect day in paradise. Boarding our sailing catamaran at the Marlin Marina, you’ll enjoy an evening of calm water cruising on Trinity Inlet, taking in the sights and sounds of this tropical port city and its surrounding mangroves as they transition from day to night.

Every journey begins with bubbles, as all good dinner cruises should. With your glasses charged, stroll the interior or exterior decks and admire the view as the sky transforms from blue to red to orange and finally a silky black, filled with thousands of sparkling stars.

Your journey takes you deep into the heart of Trinity Inlet and across the waterfront precinct of Cairns, from the Cruise Liner Terminal to the Esplanade. The water is calm, the weather mild and the night is yours to enjoy, with entertainment and a delicious 3 Course Buffet Dinner featuring some of the region’s best produce, including seafood. The luxurious Spirit of Cairns sailing catamaran is fully licensed, selling a range of beverages, including tropical cocktails. This is the ultimate in waterside dining.

When Do We Go

The Spirit of Cairns dinner cruise departs from the Marlin Marina at 6.30pm and returns at 9pm. Check-in and boarding is at the boat, moored at Marlin Marina, between 6pm-6.15pm. A complimentary drink is served on arrival and the bar is open for you to relax on board prior to departure. The dinner cruise operates every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening.

What Will You See / Do

Enjoy a fantastic evening of calm water cruising with entertainment, delicious 3 course buffet meal and fabulous views, including sunset over the rainforest-clad mountains (depending on the time of year). Starting at Marlin Marina, Spirit of Cairns takes you on a journey deep into the interior of Trinity Inlet and its winding tributaries. Keep your eyes peeled, you might even see a crocodile. The cruise passes along Cairns’ waterfront and Esplanade precinct, delivering panoramic views of the twinkling night lights of this port city.



The event secretary has come up with some great ideas on how to save money for you and your organisation.​

1. ACCOMMODATION: We have negotiated a special room rate for delegates at the venue. Contact us to avail for the delegates rate

2. TRAVEL: We have engaged Helloworld (formerly Harvey World Travel) Hervey Bay to negotiate with all the relevant airlines for special or discounted airfare rates.

3. CONCESSION: A special rate for university students is being offered for a flat rate of $650.



As an employee we are asked to present valid reasons why we should attend. Listed below are valid points that can be raised with your employer to justify your attendance.


  • Staff attending conferences regularly tends to become long term employees,

  • An event such as this adds to the positive moral of staff,

  • Conferences are a great way of providing ongoing training,

  • Provides the opportunity to further enhance the organisation knowledge base,

  • The opportunity for saving organisations money because of the shortness of the event,

  • Allows delegates to showcase the organisation nationally and internationally,

  • May provide organisations with new ideas,

  • Gives organisations a showcase and voice at a national level,

  • Provide an opportunity to evaluate various programs,

  • Because this event is conducted over a short period, staff are only absent for a minor amount of time. 


Indigenous Conference Services is proud to announce that we have established a partnership with First Nations Travel Agency (FNT),  the first Aboriginal owned travel agency, offering a full range of travel and accommodation services. As we are all aware that the hidden cost of attending a conference is travel and accommodation, First Nations Travel Agency specialises in providing Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities and individuals with the lowest available airfares and accommodation to delegates attending Indigenous conferences throughout Australia.

As the old saying goes the bigger the group, the lower the cost. This principle especially applies to travel and accommodation. In many areas of Australia, choice and selection of flights are limited due to the monopoly of regional airline companies operating in remote communities. Hence, we cannot do much in bringing the airfare costs down.  Also, upon arriving at your destination you then have to organise accommodation, and this is where the costs are starting to add up. However, First Nations Travel Agency strives to make bookings seamless and hassle-free for your organisation.

First Nations Travel’s business plan is based upon the principle that at any one time there is more than one Indigenous person / organisation requiring travel and accommodation. As such, First Nations Travel have negotiated and secured special rates with all of the major players within the travel and hotel industry.

First Nations Travel have secured an unbelievable special rate with the host venue for those delegates who wish the convenience of staying onsite. Your accommodation costs can now be added to your conference registration fees, reducing the amount of administration work in your accounting and acquittals.

It needs to be noted that your accommodation must be paid within seven days of the invoice.

For flight bookings and quotes, First Nations Travel please call us on (07) 4194 5168 or email or visit the website Find your best price then call First Nations Travel will see if they can match or beat it. Indigenous Conference Services and First Nations Travel highly recommends that your airfares component should be booked as an open, changeable ticket and that you buy travel insurance to protect yourself and belongings. Travelling interstate, overseas or to another city for personal or business reasons involves planning, expense and unfortunately, some risk too. Some of these risks could include the financial losses you experience due to travel changes, cancellation or interruption, medical expenses, baggage damage or theft, and more. A travel insurance policy can provide you with cover you may need for financial losses caused by a wide range of events that can affect your trip, whether they occur before, during or even after your trip. A typical travel insurance policy will have coverage for a traveller’s main concerns, including trip cancellations, medical emergencies, travel delays, and lost luggage. Travel insurance should be a priority in all travel arrangements, whether you travel regularly, occasionally or you are setting off on a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Some holidays, such as ski trips or voyages on cruise ships, may require special policies. When you’re travelling overseas, the Australian Government advises that travel insurance is as important as a passport, regardless of your destination. Please click here for more information about travel insurance in Australia.



Cairns is truly a destination to impress every one. From the moment you fly in over lush tropical green rainforest and aqua blue reefs of the Great Barrier Reef, you know you are truly in a special part of the world.  Pullman Cairns International (formerly The Sebel Cairns) is the most prestigious 4.5 star hotel and is perfectly located in the heart of Cairns, just moments from the city’s best shopping, dining and cafes. Within a few minutes’ walk is Cairns Esplanade and swimming lagoon, Pier Shopping Plaza, Cairns Central Shopping Centre and train station and an excellent selection of shops and restaurants. Pullman Cairns International is an upscale hotel, perfectly located in tropical Cairns, Australia. Overlooking Cairns Harbour and lush mountain hinterland, this 321 room hotel is spectacularly positioned to take advantage of all the city has to offer. You can choose from a range of accommodation and suites in the Pullman Cairns International. Pullman Cairns International is proud to be the flagship hotel of the area, renowned for holding memorable indoor and outdoor events of any size.  Dine in Coco’s Restaurant or even unwind in the Day Spa. With the latest wireless technology, Pullman Cairns International Hotel Australia will keep you perfectly connected during your holiday accommodation in Cairns.


Flexible sponsorship packages are available. Sponsorship opportunities are only open to businesses and private enterprise, not individuals. Indigenous Conference Services (Australia) will be of further assistance in tailoring your sponsorship arrangement. Please phone us on +61 4557 76 668 or send us your expression of interest by e-Mail:




Indigenous Conference Services (Australia)

Postal Address: 8 Kiwi Court, Pt Vernon QLD 4655 Australia



Phone: 07 4194 2803, +61 4557 76 668

Please note this website is continually being updated.

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