Dr Roger Thomas, Commissioner for Aboriginal Engagement

Established in 2007, the Commissioner for Aboriginal Engagement is a point of contact for Aboriginal people to express their concerns about issues that matter to them.

The Commissioner provides advice to the state government, as well as promoting Aboriginal inclusion more broadly through the non-Aboriginal community.

Dr Roger Thomas, a well-respected Aboriginal leader in South Australia, was appointed as South Australia's Commissioner for Aboriginal Engagement on 18 July 2018.

The role of Commissioner provides Aboriginal leadership in South Australia, advocating on behalf of all Aboriginal people and communities across the state.

The Commissioner is the public advocate for engagement between the broader community and Aboriginal people, and investigates and advises on systemic barriers to Aboriginal people’s access and full participation in government, non-government and private services.

Commissioner actions

  • Provide advice to government, non-government and private organisations on issues and barriers raised with or identified by the Commissioner.
  • Act independently, impartially and in the public interest.
  • Consult with non-government organisations and peak Aboriginal bodies and represent their views to government as appropriate.
  • Provide written advice at each meeting of the South Australian Aboriginal Advisory Council through a standing agenda item.
  • Consult with the Chief Executive, Attorney-General's Department and the Attorney-General, as the Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, when public statements are to be made, consistent with agreed protocols.
  • Report regularly on their activities to the Attorney-General, as the Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs.

On 3 December 2020, the Commissioner provided a report on the achievements of his office for the period July 2018 to November 2020 to the Parliament of South Australia’s House of Assembly.

Report of the South Australian Commissioner for Aboriginal Engagement (PDF, 1.23MB)

About Dr Roger Thomas

Dr Thomas has extensive experience in conducting public consultations and negotiations with the Aboriginal community and has held various positions on state, national and international advisory committees working on strategic initiatives.

He has presented numerous papers at conferences and forums nationally and internationally in such countries as Germany, the United States of America, Colombia and the United Nations.

He was the inaugural Professor of Indigenous Engagement and Adjunct Professor of Education at the University of Adelaide and the Dean of the Centre for Australian Indigenous Research and Studies, Wilto Yerlo.

From February 2017 to July 2018, Dr Thomas was the South Australian Treaty Commissioner.

Celebrating Aboriginal leaders and heroes

From August to October 2022, the Commissioner invited South Australia's Aboriginal people and communities to have their say about plans to establish statues and monuments recognising Aboriginal leaders.

People were invited to provide feedback through:

Contact us

Free call: 1800 931 733

Fax: (08) 8226 8999

Email: CommissionerforAboriginalEngagement@sa.gov.au

Office of the Commissioner for Aboriginal Engagement
GPO Box 464
Adelaide SA 5001