Warren Mundine
Warren Mundine Chris McCormack

Abbott endorses Mundine as chair of indigenous council

A MAJOR overhaul of indigenous affairs could soon be on the cards after Prime Minister Tony Abbott endorsed former Labor figure Warren Mundine as chair of his Indigenous Advisory Council.

Mr Mundine, a former national secretary of the Labor Party, was officially appointed head of the council late on Wednesday.

He will lead what is expected to be a new approach to welfare and entitlements for Australia's indigenous population under the Abbott government.

Mr Abbott said too many indigenous people were not fully participating in Australian society.

He said the challenge for the new government would be turning "good sentiment into practical change for the better".

The comments come after Mr Mundine's recent criticism of Labor's management of indigenous affairs, and signals from Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion of coming change.

Senator Scullion recently told The Australian one of his first tasks would be "to alter the welfare system", which he labelled ineffective.

The new council will meet three times a year with Mr Abbott and key Cabinet figures, while the Prime Minister, Senator Scullion and Mr Mundine will also meet once a month.