The Perth USAsia Centre hosted United States Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland for a keynote address on Tuesday, 14 February 2023 at Optus Stadium, overlooking the Derbal Yerrigan on the traditional land of the Whadjuk Noongar people. The event also featured remarks from Caroline Kennedy, US Ambassador to Australia and was attended by key leaders from government, business, academia, and the broader community.
Secretary Haaland made history when she became the first Native American to serve as a cabinet secretary. Her trip to Perth is the most senior visit by a US official to Western Australia in over a decade since then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the establishment of the Perth USAsia Centre on the sidelines of the Australia-US Ministerial Meeting (AUSMIN) in 2012.
In her address, Secretary Haaland said that the life-threatening impacts of the climate crisis were being felt in every community – from severe drought and wildfires to devastating flooding and crop shortages. Identifying global solutions was essential for protecting public health, safeguarding national security, and ensuring a liveable planet for future generations to inherit.
Secretary Haaland emphasised that Indigenous-led conservation and co-stewardship partnerships were essential tools for addressing the climate and biodiversity crises. And there were opportunities for Australia and the US to work as partners to find global solutions to tackle the climate challenge.
By centring Indigenous Knowledge and consultation with First Nations in policy discussions, governments around the world could better adapt public lands, natural resources, and wildlife management practices to the realities of a changing climate.
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