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Social Justice Report 2003: Appendix two: The Council of Australian Governments’ whole-of-government community trials initiative

Social Justice Report 2003

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  • Appendix two: The Council of Australian Governments’ whole-of-government community trials initiative

    This appendix provides a summary of the
    Council of Australian Governments (COAG) whole-of-government community
    trials initiative and its implementation in each state and territory. [1]

    1. Background

    In its communique of November 2000, COAG
    agreed on a reconciliation framework through which governments would work
    in partnership to advance reconciliation. The communique recognises that
    all levels of government have a responsibility to progress reconciliation
    and to improve the economic and social wellbeing of Indigenous peoples.

    The Reconciliation Framework establishes
    three priority areas for government action:

    • Investing in community leadership initiatives;
    • Reviewing and re-engineering programmes and services
      to ensure they deliver practical measures that support families, children
      and young people. In particular, governments agreed to look at measures
      for tackling family violence, drug and alcohol dependency and other
      symptoms of community dysfunction; and
    • Forging greater links between the business sector and
      indigenous communities to help promote economic independence. [2]

    At its April 2002 meeting, COAG reaffirmed its November
    2000 commitment to advance reconciliation and agreed to trial a whole-of-government
    cooperative approach in up to ten communities or regions across Australia:

    The aim of these trials will be to improve the way
    governments interact with each other and with communities to deliver
    more effective responses to the needs of indigenous Australians. The
    lessons learnt from these cooperative approaches will be able to be
    applied more broadly. This approach will be flexible in order to reflect
    the needs of specific communities, build on existing work and improve
    the compatibility of different State, Territory and Commonwealth approaches
    to achieve better outcomes. [3]

    It was subsequently agreed that there would be eight
    trial sites. The sites, and the Australian Government department that
    is leading each trial, are listed below:

    1. Murdi Paaki Region (New South Wales): Department
    of Education, Science and Training;

    2. Wadeye (Northern Territory): Department of Family
    and Community Services;

    3. Shepparton (Victoria): Department of Employment
    and Workplace Relations;

    4. Cape York (Queensland): Department of Employment
    and Workplace Relations;

    5. Anangu Pitjantjatjara Lands (South Australia): Department of Health & Ageing;

    6. East Kimberley region (Western Australia): Department
    of Transport and Regional Services;

    7. Northern Tasmania: Department of Immigration,
    Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs; and

    8. The Australian Capital Territory: Department
    of Environment and Heritage.

    Within State and Territory jurisdictions, leadership
    of the trials rests with Premier and Cabinet (or Chief Minister's) departments
    and the portfolios with responsibility for Indigenous affairs except in
    NSW where the Department of Education and Training has head agency responsibility.

    ATSIC is strongly supportive of the trials, and states
    that:

    they provide a significant opportunity to identify
    more responsive and flexible ways in which governments can respond to
    the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples .... and [an]
    opportunity to examine the development of effective governance structures
    and processes, and to support and develop local leadership and build
    community capacity. [4]

    2. Government coordination mechanisms for the trials

    Overall coordination of the trials is done through the
    COAG Senior Officials Meeting (which consists of CEOs of Premiers and
    Chief Minister's Departments, and is chaired by the Secretary of the Department
    of Prime Minister and Cabinet). There are regular progress reports to
    this body.

    At the federal level, the Minister for Immigration and
    Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs has overall responsibility for the
    trials. Federal government progress in the trials is advanced through
    four main government processes:

    • First, meetings of Australian Government Ministers with
      program and policy responsibilities for Indigenous affairs;
    • Second, meetings of Australian Government departmental
      secretaries (the Secretaries Group);
    • Third, the Indigenous Communities Coordination Taskforce
      (ICCT) which implements the directives of the Secretaries Group; and
    • Fourth, lead agencies, where Secretaries and their agencies’
      champion individual trial sites.

    The Minister for Immigration, Multicultural and Immigration
    Affairs chairs the meeting of Australian Government Ministers. This group
    leads the whole-of-government process. The Secretaries Group meets once
    a month to oversee progress in the trial sites. The group promotes greater
    whole of government coordination across Australian government agencies
    and develops linkages with the State and Territory governments to improve
    service delivery to Indigenous communities. [5]

    The Department of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous
    Affairs chairs this group. It includes membership from the following Australian
    Government agencies:

    • Department of Education, Science and Training;
    • Department of Health and Ageing;
    • Department of Family and Community Services;
    • Department of Employment and Workplace Relations;
    • Department of Transport and Regional Services;
    • Department of Environment and Heritage;
    • Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet; and
    • ATSIC. [6]

    Reports are provided to the Prime Minister on the progress
    in the trials, in addition to reports to the Ministers. [7]

    The Indigenous Communities Coordination Taskforce (ICCT)
    has been established to support the Secretaries Group and federal government
    agencies involved in the eight trials. The ICCT is located within the
    Department of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs and is
    staffed by officers seconded from the various Commonwealth agencies involved
    in the initiative. The ICCT administers a Flexible Funding Pool (FFP)
    with a budget of $6 million over two years (from the 2003-04 Federal Budget)
    to facilitate projects within the trial sites. In supporting the Secretaries
    Group, the ICCT are involved in implementing the COAG initiative within
    Australian government agencies, working with State and Territory governments,
    monitoring performance , and providing feedback to and from Indigenous
    communities on the implementation of the initiative. [8]

    For each trial site, a lead Australian government agency
    has also been selected. The lead agency has day-to-day accountability
    for progress in each of the trial sites. ATSIS does not have lead agency
    status in any of the eight regions. Instead it is designated partner agency
    status and plays a vital role in guiding and supporting activity in all
    of the trial sites. [9] The ICCT has noted
    that:

    The ATSIC Regional Councils should be a really important
    part of these trials. In some areas they are at the centre; in others,
    they are more of a support mechanism; but everywhere they are keen to
    be involved and to get more involved. [10]

    The ICCT states that the commitment of government bureaucracies
    to the COAG initiative also differs from previous attempts to deliver
    more effective responses to Indigenous people given the governments high-level
    visibility and increased accountability to Indigenous people:

    What ... is different at the bureaucratic level this
    time is the commitment across the board in a large number of key agencies
    of people at the top. There is a continuing and really strong commitment.
    People see that, because it is very visible. Secretaries have sort of
    put themselves on the line, I suppose, with communities in terms of
    being the person identified as their champion. [11]

    ATSIC's approach has been to promote the Regional Councils
    as the pre-eminent source of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advice
    in all trial sites. This is easier in regions where Regional Councils
    are the main source of leadership but has proved difficult where other
    organisations compete for the role, or where the trial site boundary differs
    from the Regional Council boundary.

    ATSIC has stated that one the roles it has fulfilled
    is providing introductions between communities and government partners,
    and supporting these relationships. In some regions, it has set the framework
    from within which the trial has proceeded as a critical 'insider' (for
    example, Murdi Paaki and Cape York). ATSIC's role is made easier by the
    fact that in general the trials are being rolled out in an environment
    where there are already a number of agreement frameworks between ATSIC
    and state or territory governments. [12]

    Within State and Territory bureaucracies, a variety of
    mechanisms have been established to support the trials. Some are similar
    to the Australian Government arrangements, for example:

    • In Queensland, the Premier established a CEO's Steering Committee
      to progress the reform process in Cape York through the Queensland
      Government's Meeting Challenges, Making Choices initiative
      which the COAG trial has built on. The CEO's Steering Committee
      also comprised senior Indigenous leadership from Cape York and,
      once the COAG trial started, the Australian Government. CEO's of
      Queensland government departments also act as champions for individual
      communities within Cape York.

    • In Western Australia, an Indigenous Affairs Advisory Committee
      (IAAC) had been established to better coordinate Indigenous business
      across the State with membership from WA Government department CEO's
      and Chairs of ATSIC Regional Councils. After agreement on a COAG
      trial site, the Australian Government was also invited to be a member
      of the Committee. .

    • In the Northern Territory, the Chief Minister's
      Department coordinates across Territory agencies through regular meetings
      at the senior level. A tripartite steering committee of Australian
      Government and NT Government officials and representatives of the
      Thamarrurr Council from the Wadeye trial site has also been established
      to oversee progress in the trial site.

    3. Improving government coordination and the 'Shared
    Responsibility' approach

    The COAG Communique of April 2002 recognised that outcomes and management
    processes in Indigenous policy and service delivery need to be improved.
    The COAG initiative is intended to trial a different approach as current
    and past approaches have not always achieved the desired outcomes. A twofold
    method is proposed under the COAG initiative:

    • governments must work together better at all levels and
      across all departments and agencies; and
    • Indigenous communities and governments must work in partnership
      and share responsibility for achieving outcomes and building the capacity
      of people in communities to manage their own affairs. [13]

    As stated by the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural
    and Indigenous Affairs:

    Put simply, COAG instructed the bureaucrats
    to get their act together and coordinate their efforts. In return, the
    Indigenous people were given more of a say and more responsibility for
    what happens in their communities. [14]

    The trials recognise the need for a different
    type of engagement and relationship to be developed between government
    and Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders, with partnerships
    based on community-determined priorities. As stated by the ICCT the whole-of-government
    initiative supports:

    • Different engagement between government and community;
      and
    • Redefining the relationship between government and Indigenous
      communities based on what communities are saying. [15]

    The objectives of the COAG trials set out
    a number of practical areas for government to reform its current operations.
    The objectives of the COAG trial are to:

    • tailor government action to identified community
      needs and aspirations; coordinate government programmes and services
      where this will improve service delivery outcomes;
    • encourage innovative approaches traversing new territory;
    • cut through blockages and red tape to resolve issues
      quickly;
    • work with Indigenous communities to build the capacity
      of people in those communities to negotiate as genuine partners with
      government;
    • negotiate agreed outcomes, benchmarks for measuring progress
      and management of responsibilities for achieving those outcomes with
      the relevant people in Indigenous communities; and
    • build the capacity of government employees to be able
      to meet the challenges of working in this new way with Indigenous communities. [16]

    It is anticipated that the trials will encourage
    governments to modify the way they conduct their program and service delivery
    responsibilities, including by encouraging the pooling of funding, breaking
    down internal administrative barriers and improving the way government
    manage and award contracts. [17] The Minister
    for Employment and Workplace Relations has stated that:

    The whole-of-government initiative, which
    flows from an agreement at COAG last year, is designed to tackle this
    problem of the fragmentation of service delivery. In areas where the
    whole-of-government initiative is operating, one federal portfolio is
    coordinating the delivery of all federal services to Indigenous peoples
    in that area and it is working in close partnership with one state portfolio
    which is similarly coordinating the delivery of all state services to
    Indigenous people. [18]

    The ICCT have noted that there is a lot
    of work to be done to improve coordination between the federal, state
    and territory governments in order to make them flexible and effective
    to community-identified needs. [19] The COAG
    whole of government approach is still in its early stages. It should not
    be assumed that existing Australian and State/Territory government funding
    parameters and restrictions have already been addressed under the COAG
    initiative.

    The initial stage of the COAG initiative
    has been dedicated in part to developing, building or re-establishing
    effective networks and relationships between Indigenous people and government.
    The ICCT describes this stage as critical and building 'relationships
    of trust' between governments and Indigenous communities are essential
    to developing sustainable structures to support the initiatives.[20]

    COAG's policy framework that underpins the
    trials is based on shared responsibility and partnership. The ICCT has
    stated that the 'Shared Responsibility approach will involve communities
    negotiating as equal parties with government' [21] and asserts that the wellbeing of Indigenous communities is shared by
    individuals, families, communities and government. All parties must work
    together and build their capacity to support a different approach for
    the economic, social and cultural development of Indigenous peoples.

    One mechanism for formalising the partnership
    approach is through the negotiation of a Shared Responsibility Agreement (SRA) between government and Indigenous peoples. The purpose of the agreement
    is threefold. It:

    • Sets out priorities identified with communities and agreed
      outcomes and benchmarks;
    • Establishes partnership arrangements and describe each
      party's responsibilities; and
    • Supports local governance and decision-making. [22]

    A template of an SRA has been developed
    which could potentially be adapted to the circumstances of the Indigenous
    people in each trial site. The agreement outlines the parties to the agreement,
    objectives, local outcomes and priorities, agreed performance measurement
    and evaluation framework (including agreed benchmarks), access to data,
    dispute settling arrangements, processes for reviewing progress and the
    duration and variation provisions to the agreement.[23]

    Three Shared Responsibility Agreements were
    finalised in 2003, with negotiations ongoing in relation to the remaining
    five trial sites. The current status of these agreements in each trial
    site is discussed later in this appendix.

    4. Performance Monitoring Framework for the trials

    Australian Government and State and Territory
    officials have worked together to develop a broad framework for monitoring
    performance in the COAG trials. The framework, entitled 'National Performance
    Monitoring and Evaluation Framework', was finalised in November 2003.
    It is intended to capture information at the community/regional level,
    national level and within government bureaucracies. The information to
    be collected at each level includes the following.

    • Community and/or Regional Level Monitoring

    Performance data collected at the community
    and/or regional level will be negotiated between government and Indigenous
    peoples and collected against agreed priorities, outcomes and benchmarks.
    An integral element of data collection at this level involves two-way
    communication between government and Indigenous people and the development
    of specific site indicators will be dependent on the negotiation and
    implementation of the Shared Responsibility Agreement in each
    of COAG trial sites.

    • National Level Monitoring

    The local-level information will be aggregated
    to feed into the national level analysis, and if possible, will be aligned
    to the COAG Framework for Reporting on Indigenous Disadvantage. In addition
    to reporting under the headline and strategic change indicators developed
    by the Steering Committee for the Provision of Government Services,
    the monitoring framework will attempt to compare data against existing
    portfolio budget statements and other cross-government frameworks at
    the national level.

    • " Government Level Monitoring

    By monitoring the performance within the
    government bureaucracies, the initiative will identify whether the necessary
    structural changes are occurring to support greater flexibility and
    better coordination across and between the different levels of government.
    Agreed benchmarks will be established for the Commonwealth agencies
    involved in the trials to measure performance and the cost-effectiveness
    of operational and structural reform between the different levels of
    government.

    In addition, the Australian Government intends
    to evaluate its own performance in the trials at 2 and 5 years. In a number
    of trial sites, plans are developing for site evaluation involving the
    Australian, State and Territory governments and community representatives.

    Evaluation of the trials will be used to
    assess whether the COAG trials have lead to improved social and economic
    circumstances for Indigenous peoples and will inform decisions as to the
    potential of the approach being adopted more widely. [24] The ICCT is also developing a data tracking system, with a baseline data
    set and protocols. This 'Indigenous Communities Coordination Taskforce
    Database' will contain local-level performance and monitoring information
    across the eight trial sites.

    5. Progress in each COAG whole-of-government community
    trial site

    To date, the following seven trial sites have been publicly
    announced:

    • Murdi Paaki region in New South Wales;
    • Wadeye (Port Keats) in the Northern Territory;
    • Shepparton in Victoria;
    • Cape York in Queensland;
    • Anangu Pitjantjatjara (AP) Lands in South Australia;
    • East Kimberley in Western Australia; and
    • Northern Tasmania.

    There is one final trial site, to cover
    the entire Australian Capital Territory, which has yet to be publicly
    announced. The details of this site are expected to be made public in
    early 2004.

    Initial Shared Responsibility Agreements
    have been negotiated and finalized in Murdi Paaki (New South Wales) and
    Wadeye (Northern Territory) during 2003. In Victoria, an agreement, called
    a Compact has been negotiated to underpin the trial in Shepparton. The
    next stage for these sites involves developing action plans, performance
    measures and benchmarks to implement the agreement. Negotiations on Shared
    Responsibility Agreements are continuing in the remaining five COAG sites.

    There are significant variations between
    each of the COAG trial sites. They vary geographically across urban, regional
    and remote areas of Australia; and through the method of participation
    of Indigenous communities in the trials. The differences between sites
    are also reflected in different structures and processes for each trial
    site (with unique design, delivery and monitoring measures developed for
    each of the eight regions).

    A summary of the progress in each of the
    eight COAG trial sites is provided below (commencing with the three trial
    sites which have signed agreements or compacts).

    a) Murdi Paaki region (New South Wales)

    The COAG trial site in NSW is the region
    comprising the ATSIC Murdi Paaki Regional Council. This is an area of
    300 000 square km, covering one-third of NSW. It includes the communities
    of Bourke, Brewarrina, Broken Hill, Cobar, Collarenebri, Coonamble, Dareton,
    Enngonia, Goodooga, Gulargambone, Ivanhoe, Lightning Ridge, Menindee,
    Quambone, Tibooburra, Walgett, Weilmoringle and Wilcannia. [25]

    A Shared Responsibility Agreement was signed
    by the ATSIC Murdi Paaki Regional Council, the Commonwealth of Australia
    and the Government of New South Wales in August 2003.

    The Department of Education, Science and
    Training (DEST) is the lead agency for the Australian government, and
    a dedicated officer is located in Dubbo to work closely with regional
    staff and have greater access to the region. DEST reports that the early
    planning and negotiation stages of the COAG whole of government initiative
    has resulted in the capacity development of government and Indigenous
    peoples in the region. [26] The lead agency
    for the NSW government is the Department of Education and Training. Although
    structural policy and procedural changes have not occurred at this stage,
    the NSW government expects the community planning process to identify
    better ways of providing services which will be implemented under the
    COAG initiative as it develops. [27]

    Under the agreement, the ATSIC Murdi Paaki
    Regional Council and the Community Working Parties (CWPs) it has established
    are recognised as the primary contact points for Indigenous peoples in
    the region. The Community Working Parties are the primary governance structure
    in the communities, with each comprised of a broad cross section of the
    local Indigenous community. To ensure these working parties are as representative
    as possible, the Murdi Paaki Regional Council is currently facilitating
    'refresher' elections. [28]

    All parties to the Shared Responsibility
    Agreement have committed to four key regional priorities. These are:

    • Improving the health and wellbeing of children
      and young people;
    • Improving educational attainment and school retention;
    • Helping families to raise healthy children; and
    • Strengthening community and regional governance structures. [29]

    The establishment of effective local governance
    structures is seen as essential to the sustainability of any initiatives
    under the COAG trial. The Shared Responsibility Agreement details how
    the ATSIC Regional Council, Australian and New South Wales (NSW) governments
    will support the sixteen Community Working Parties (CWPs). The Agreement
    details the benchmarks, reporting arrangements and short and long term
    outcomes to provide secretariat and administrative support to the CWPs.
    This includes assistance from the Australian and state government to provide
    additional funding and training support to Community Development Employment
    Program (CDEP) workers to provide Secretariat services to each of the
    CWPs participating in the COAG trial.

    In addition to building governance structures,
    supporting children at schools has been identified as the critical priority
    in the region. Discussions are currently underway to identify one to three
    schools to be involved in a joint approach between the community, Australian
    government and NSW government to work together to focus on strengthening
    families, school retention and providing family support to children. [30]

    The Shared Responsibility Agreement is a
    regional agreement. It is anticipated that individual shared responsibility
    agreements will be negotiated with each of the 16 Community Working Parties
    and the Government. A staged approach has been adopted to negotiating
    these agreements to account for the different capacities of each of the
    working parties. Six communities (Enngonia,
    Collarenebri, Goodooga, Ivanhoe, Weilmoringle and Wilcannia) have been
    selected to develop local agreements in the first instance. [31]

    A number of structures have been established
    to facilitate the whole-of-government trial. A steering committee has
    been established with members from the ATSIC Murdi Paaki Regional Council,
    DEST, the ICCT, and NSW Government Cabinet Office, and the Department
    of Employment and Training. The Steering Committee is responsible for
    progressing regional priorities, addressing barriers and improving the
    delivery of services. [32] The Steering Committee
    is supported by a group of field officers who work across all levels of
    government and negotiate directly with the Community Working Parties.
    An Evaluation Framework Committee has also been established to facilitate
    the collection of baseline data and discus how the trial will be evaluated. [33]

    b) Wadeye (Northern Territory)

    The Wadeye whole of government trial site
    was announced in November 2002. Wadeye is the sixth largest town in the
    Northern Territory, approximately 420 kms south-west of Darwin, and is
    one of the largest Aboriginal communities in the Territory. [34] The Shared Responsibility Agreement (SRA) for the trial was signed
    on 21 March 2003 between the Commonwealth of Australia, the Northern Territory
    Government and the Thamarrurr Regional Council.

    The Thamarrurr Regional Council was endorsed
    under the Local Government Act of the Northern Territory in early 2003
    by the Northern Territory Parliament, and is the result of over six years
    of work by the land-owning groups to develop the unique governance structure
    of Thamarrurr. [35] The Thamarrurr region
    covers approximately 5000 kilometres and 20 land-owning groups are included
    within the area, including Rak Diminin (referred to as Kardu Diminin)
    who are the traditional landowners of the Wadeye township. [36]

    The Department of Family and Community Services
    is the lead agency for the Australian Government and the Office of Indigenous
    Policy (within the Department of the Chief Minister) leading the trial
    on behalf of the Northern Territory government. At this stage, the COAG
    trial has highlighted the need for stronger collaborative efforts between
    governments by encouraging funds pooling based on needs-based planning
    models and administrative reforms for alternative models of service delivery
    to reduce bureaucratic processes. [37]

    The Northern Territory government has identified
    governance as the critical starting point in the whole-of-government initiative.
    They see the major challenge facing Indigenous communities in North Australia
    as how to bring together contemporary governance arrangements with culturally
    based systems of authority and decision-making. [38]

    As stated by the Northern Territory Government:

    Previous [government] policies have resulted
    in largely imposed localized structures that have been designed for
    'governing for dependence'. Without effective governing institutions,
    leaders who have cultural legitimacy and the ability for Indigenous
    institutions to exercise real decision making powers, the aims of ...[the
    COAG trial] ...will simply not be sustainable or of any long term social
    or economic benefit. [39]

    In the trial, the Thamarrurr Regional Council
    has a government to government relationship with the Australian and Northern
    Territory governments. All three parties are given equal standing in the
    SRA, the key principles of which are based on cultural respect and the
    beliefs of the Thamarrurr. [40] Notwithstanding
    the mutual responsibilities of all governments (Australian, Northern Territory
    and Thamarrurr), Indigenous peoples have insisted that it wants the Australian
    and Northern Territory governments to 'take responsibility for its responsibilities'. [41] The Northern Territory government has
    stated that:

    Community leaders tell us that Governments
    often arbitrarily shove problems off onto community people to solve.
    They have made it clear they want Government field staff to offer options
    that involve practical solutions not just more problems. [42]

    The Shared Responsibility Agreement outlines the three key regional priorities for the region. These are women
    and families; youth; and housing and construction. As stated in the agreement,
    education, training and enterprise development are intrinsically linked
    to advancing the three regional priorities, and these needs will be central
    to any strategies developed in pursuit of the regional priorities. The
    importance of tackling issues in manageable components has been identified
    by all partners in Wadeye.

    As stated by the Northern Territory government:

    The partners recognise up front the pressure
    to spread effort too thinly. The decision to focus on a common community
    chosen theme 'Give every kid a chance', tackle issues in biteable chunks
    and avoid trying to fix everything has proven to be the correct strategy. [43]

    As advised by the ICCT, a number of local
    projects have been initiated under the three regional priorities, including
    the family program activities conducted by the Women's Centre, the employment
    and training of local people in the region [44] and the Economic
    Education Project. The 'Local Jobs for Local People Plan' strategy forms
    the blueprint for all future training and employment activity at Wadeye
    and the Economic Education Project provides information and resources
    on a range of issues to assist the Thamarrurr understand economic and
    money matters that impact on their daily lives.[45]

    The governance structure to oversight and
    manage the COAG initiative comprises a Tri-partite Steering Committee.
    This committee was involved in the negotiations of the Shared Responsibility
    Agreement
    and will develop an appropriate evaluation methodology.
    Representatives from the three tiers of government are members on the
    Tripartite Steering Committee and Priority Working Groups have been established
    under the committee to concentrate on the three regional priority issues.
    As stated by the ICCT, the Priority Working Groups are developing action
    plans for the identified priorities outlined in the Shared Responsibility
    Agreement
    and the community members are using these groups to drive
    reforms and seek innovative ways to deal with community issues. [46]

    The Priority Working Group action plans
    will specify the responsibilities of all level of governments, agreed
    performance indicators and benchmarks, and establish specific feedback
    and monitoring mechanisms. The action plans will be attached as schedules
    to the Shared Responsibility Agreement and endorsed by the
    Tripartite Steering Committee.

    The Northern Territory government's approach
    to the trial is based on their Stronger Regions - Stronger Futures
    Strategy
    which was released in 2003. [47] This outlines strategies for a focused collaborative approach between
    Indigenous peoples and government for the development of sustainable regional
    economies. A key component of the strategy is the Northern Territory government's
    commitment to the negotiation of Partnership Agreements and the establishment
    of Regional Authorities where existing community councils agree to amalgamate.
    Under this strategy, and aligning with the COAG whole-of-government initiative,
    the Northern Territory government has recognised the need to expand its
    skill base to support regional social and economic development. To achieve
    this, Northern Territory government officers will undertake training and
    development in community development skills and their future recruitment
    strategy will reflect this requirement. [48]

    The Australian Department of Family and
    Community Services shares this view and believes that capacity building
    skills are needed within government:

    The pilot has also revealed a need for
    a deliberate approach to the fostering of community development, and
    community capacity building skills across government agencies. FaCS
    is attempting to get this issue on the national agenda. [49]

    c) Shepparton (Victoria)

    The Greater Shepparton region of Victoria
    was announced as a COAG trial site in July 2003. The region covers approximately
    2,422 square kilometres of the Goulbourn Valley in mid-north Victoria.
    It is the fourth largest provincial centre in Victoria. [50]

    A Compact was signed in September 2003 between
    the Aboriginal Community Facilitation Group (on behalf of the Aboriginal
    community of greater Shepparton), the Australian and Victorian governments,
    the Greater Shepparton City Council and the ATSIC Binjirru Council. [51] The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) is the lead
    Australian government agency for Shepparton, and a dedicated on-the-ground
    DEWR position has been appointed to lead its involvement in the initiative. [52]

    The Department of Victorian Communities
    is the lead agency for the Victorian government and believes the trials
    align closely with the Victorian Government's broad agenda to strengthen
    communities and deliver better services to all Victorians. [53] The Victorian government describes the COAG whole-of-government initiative
    as an evolutionary model and structures and processes will change as understanding
    develops about what constitutes an effective working relationship between
    Indigenous peoples and governments. [54]

    The objectives and guiding principles of
    the Compact are based on developing an equal partnership between Indigenous
    peoples and government, which recognises the need for innovative changes
    and capacity development within all levels of government and community
    to support sustainable and long-term improvements in government and community
    practice. [55] This involves changes to the
    current planning, service delivery and monitoring approaches afforded
    to Indigenous peoples in the past by government agencies.

    As stated by the Victorian Premier:

    We're committed to working closely with
    the Koori community so that Government services fit around their needs
    and their priorities. This is a radical change from the community having
    to organize itself around Government programs. [56]

    Extensive community consultation occurred
    in Shepparton to identify the following community priorities and strategic
    areas for action in the Compact:

    • Strengthening families;
    • Governance;
    • Strategic planning;
    • Leadership strategy;
    • Pride, image, social connectedness and respect strategy;
    • Cultural enhancement;
    • Education and Training strategy;
    • Job strategy;
    • Economic development strategy;
    • Justice strategy;
    • Community health strategy; and
    • Housing strategy. [57]

    The first priority - strengthening families
    - is central to all strategic areas. The next stage for the whole of government
    initiative in Shepparton involves developing action plans for each of
    these eleven priority action areas. [58] The action plans will form part of the Compact and will include performance
    measures, benchmarks and an evaluation framework for each of the priority
    areas. These will be jointly developed by all partners to the Compact.
    Additional performance measures and benchmarks will be developed to measure
    and monitor community-government collaboration; improvements in community
    and government capacity to identify and respond to local issues; and improvements
    in Aboriginal community's social, economic and cultural sustainability. [59]

    A number of community and government structures
    have been established to support the COAG whole of Government initiative.
    These include the Aboriginal Community Facilitation Group and the Steering
    Group. The Aboriginal Community Facilitation Group represents the Indigenous
    people of Shepparton and is consulting with the wider community about
    the initiative and is developing a community plan and longer-term community
    structures for greater representation and involvement .[60] A community facilitator has been employed to assist in establishing the
    partnership, and works directly to the Aboriginal Community Facilitation
    Group. It is proposed that the position will be supported by a project
    team with seconded officers from the Victorian government, DEWR and the
    Aboriginal Community Facilitation Group. The Victorian government has
    financially committed to support the community's participation in the
    Whole of government Shared Responsibility Agreement (SRA) with $500 000
    over three years to support the community's participation in the project.

    The Steering Group consists of representatives
    from the Aboriginal Community Facilitation Group, the ATSIC Binjirru Chair
    and the Victorian, federal and local government (with government representation
    at Secretary/CEO level). The Steering Group will meet regularly to negotiate
    and implement policy, program and service delivery in response to the
    community-identified priorities and monitor progress.

    Three broad (and overlapping) stages have
    been identified in the Compact for the trial to be achieved over a three
    year timeframe. [61] These stages are:

    • Phase 1: Development. Focused on developing
      the community-government partnership and processes to manage the trial,
      and has included ways to ensure wide community participation and community
      engagement.
    • Phase 2: Initiation. Focused on establishing new
      approaches and reshaping existing services in the context of the community's
      strategies and priorities.
    • Phase 3: Consolidation. Focused on ensuring ongoing
      community-government collaboration for identifying and responding to
      Indigenous needs, aspirations and interests. [62]

    d) Cape York region (Queensland)

    The Cape York region was the first COAG
    trial site to be announced, in September 2002. A Shared Responsibility
    Agreement is still being negotiated for the trial. The trial area covers
    approximately 150,000 square kilometres in Far North Queensland and includes
    the communities of Aurukun, Lockhart River, Mapoon (Old Mapoon - Marpuna),
    New Mapoon, Wujal Wujal, Coen, Hope Vale, Injinoo, Kowanyama, Laura, Napranum,
    Pormpuraaw and Umagico. [63]

    The lead Commonwealth agency for the trial
    is the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) which has
    two dedicated DEWR officers have been located in Cairns to work with the
    Queensland government and Indigenous leaders, organisations and communities
    in the Cape. The DEWR positions have a brokerage role across Federal government
    agencies and will coordinate and facilitate appropriate programs and services
    to meet agreed community and regional priorities.

    The lead Queensland government agency is
    the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy (DATSIP).
    The trial is being closely aligned with the implementation of the Queensland
    Government's Meeting Challenges Making Choices (Herein Meeting
    Challenges).
    [64] Meeting Challenges was released in April 2002 and is the Queensland Government's response
    to the Cape York Justice Study. [65]Meeting
    Challenges
    has eight key priority areas: alcohol and substance abuse
    and rehabilitation; governance; crime and justice; children, youth and
    families; health; education and training; economic development; and land
    and sustainable resources.

    Under Meeting Challenges, the Queensland
    government is supporting a number of community-owned mechanisms to inform
    government policy and service delivery. The first of these was the development
    of Alcohol Management Plans and associated intervention measures by Community
    Justice Groups to reduce the instances of alcohol abuse and violence. [66] Alcohol management plans are currently
    in place in Aurukun, Bamaga, and Napranum and are being implemented in
    Lockhart River and Wujual Wujal. [67]

    The Queensland strategy is supported by
    a number of high-level government structures, with the 'government champions'
    concept a central component. Each region under Meeting Challenges has been assigned a 'government champion' (a Chief Executive Officer of
    a Queensland government department) and their role is to manage negotiations
    at the highest executive level, streamline agency initiatives and formally
    support negotiation table participants. [68]

    In addition to the government champions
    concept, the Cape York CEO Steering Committee was established in November
    2001 to coordinate public sector policy and program reform in response
    to the Cape York Justice Study. [69] DEWR,
    ATSIS and the Indigenous Communities Coordination Taskforce (ICCT) represented
    the federal government at the Cape York CEO Steering Committee. This has
    since been replaced with the Meeting Challenges, Making Choices CEO Steering
    Committee. [70]

    These State-level structures are mirrored
    at the regional level and the Queensland Government's Cape York Strategy
    Unit (CYSU) in Cairns is staffed by various Queensland Government agencies
    and its aim is to better align resources and efforts across Queensland
    government agencies and work directly with Indigenous communities in the
    Peninsula. [71] The Queensland government
    describes the CYSU structure as unique in forging partnerships with agencies,
    regional bodies, government and community leaders in a new context of
    reciprocity and cooperation. [72] A strong
    relationship has developed between the DEWR, ATSIS and the CYSU (with
    DEWR having located a senior staff member within the CYSU) [73] and a number of whole-of-government forums have been established to support
    collaborative arrangements between the federal and Queensland governments.

    Through the COAG trial, governments are
    working both with Indigenous leaders at the regional level and with individual
    communities.

    Discussions are continuing about the COAG
    whole of government regional priorities and a number of key issues have
    been identified. These include health and wellbeing (with a focus on substance
    abuse and family violence); education and economic development; home and
    community environment and; linking education, training and employment
    outcomes. [74] DEWR advises that progress
    is being made in developing a common understanding of what shared responsibility
    means in practical terms, improving governance arrangements in communities,
    identifying community priorities and implementing local-level strategies
    to address issues such as employment, education, economic development,
    health and money management. [75]

    Aside from discussions about regional priorities
    it is likely that community-level Shared Responsibility Agreements will
    be developed through the Queensland government's 'negotiation table' process. [76] The 'negotiation table' concept is a
    key policy platform of the Queensland Government's Meeting Challenges strategy, and involves a process of negotiation between Indigenous communities
    and government to identify community priorities and establish agreed strategies
    to respond to these issues. The negotiation table process commenced in
    late 2003 and the federal government participated on these community-government
    processes.

    In addition to the Meeting Challenges strategy, there are a number of significant Australian Government and
    Queensland Government initiatives in the Cape York region which are compatible
    with the identified priorities of the COAG trial. These include the Primary
    Health Care Access Program (PHCAP) being run through Apunipima Cape York
    Health Council and the Cape York Partnerships Institute for Policy and
    Leadership (an academic centre developed between Cape York Indigenous
    organisations and Griffith University, and jointly funded by the Australian
    and Queensland Governments). [77]

    e) Anangu Pitjantjatjara Lands (South Australia)

    The Anangu Pitjantjatjara Lands (the AP
    Lands) were announced as the South Australian trial site in May 2003.
    The AP Lands cover approximately 103,000 square kilometres in the far
    north-west of South Australia and are protected under the Pitjantjatjara
    Lands Rights Act 1981(SA)
    . The AP Lands are part of a larger cross-border
    region which covers some 350,000 square kilometres of South Australia,
    Western Australia and the Northern Territory, and which is the traditional
    lands of the Ngaanyatjara, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara (NPY) peoples. [78]

    The Department of Health and Ageing is the
    lead Australian Goverment agency for the initiative. The Department of
    Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation is the agency for the South Australian
    government.

    Community consultations have occurred to
    determine the priorities for a regional Shared Responsibility Agreement. [79] The identified priorities include health
    and wellbeing with focus on substance misuse and the supply of healthy
    food, education, training and employment opportunities; better access
    to services such as banking and Centrelink, essential services and housing;
    and strengthening community governance.

    To provide the overall direction to the
    AP Lands trial a joint COAG Steering Committee was established in early
    2003. Its membership comprises representatives from the community, Australian
    and State governments and ATSIS. This Committee oversees the COAG agenda,
    and works in close cooperation with the Tier One group where common priorities
    are being addressed.

    The draft SRA has been endorsed by the COAG
    Steering Committee and circulated for signing. Two projects addressing
    identified priorities have been agreed - the implementation of Mai
    Wiru
    , the regional stores policy, which seeks to address issues of
    pricing, nutrition and stores management training and the establishment
    of rural transaction centres.

    The AP Lands Inter-government Inter-agency
    Collaboration Committee (APLIICC) between the Commonwealth, South Australian
    government, ATSIS and Anangu Pitjantjatjara Council is known as the Tier
    One group and was established in 1999 to better coordinate the delivery
    of services to the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) communities. [80] The committee was supported by a second
    tier of working groups composed of senior policy and project officers
    (the Tier Two working groups) and has recently been replaced with a number
    of 'task forces'. These taskforces implement the directives of the APLIICC
    and focus on a range of issues, including community health and wellbeing;
    arts and culture; economic and resources; community cohesion and safety;
    education and training; income support and infrastructure. Tier One now
    focuses on coordinating State government activities and links in with
    the COAG Steering Committee work. An Allocation Committee has been established
    and the fifteen-member committee has membership from Community Councils,
    Homelands Groups, Nganampa Health and the APY Women's Council. The group
    assists in the disbursement of new SA government funding for AP Lands
    and its establishment ensures all stakeholders have a clear understanding
    of funding available for the AP Lands and are involved in its distribution.

    Further information about the AP Lands COAG
    trial is contained in Chapter 4 of this report on the responsive of governments
    to issues of petrol sniffing on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Lands.

    f) East Kimberley region (Western Australia)

    The Western Australian COAG trial (formerly
    known as the Tjurabalan trial site) was announced in July 2003. It is
    situated in the east Kimberley region and encompasses the communities
    of Balgo, Bililuna, Mulan, Ringers Soak and Yagga Yagga. [81] The lead Australian government agency is the Department of Transport and
    Regional Services (DoTARS). Other partners in the trial include the Tjurabalan
    Native Title Land Aboriginal Corporation, ATSIC Wunan Regional Council,
    the local government Shire of Halls Creek and the communities of Billiluna,
    Yakka Yakka, Balgo, Kundat Djaru and Mulan. The Department of Indigenous
    Affairs is the lead agency for the WA government and a partner in the
    trial. The Halls Creek Shire Council is also a key partner and the local
    government involved in the trial.

    The initial focus of the trial has been
    on establishing governance structures through which the parties can interact
    and to identify community consulting agents to help engage local communities.
    The Munjurla Reference Group was established to drive the trial, with
    support provided by an on-the-ground Secretariat. The reference group
    consists of two representatives from each community, traditional owners
    the ATSIC Wunan Regional Council and representatives from Australian,
    State and local governments at Secretary or CEO level.

    The group has agreed on its roles and responsibilities,
    the establishment of a basic administration centre in the region, and
    series of activities for the Justice Participation Project. [82]

    A working group has been established under
    the Munjurla Reference Group to progress decisions, and the first task
    has been to ensure effective communication channels are established and
    maintained between the Munjurla Reference Group and existing Community
    Councils. [83] The working group secretariat
    is comprised of a Community Initiatives Coordinator (jointly funded between
    DoTARS and the Department of Family and Community Services), an ATSIS-funded
    COAG officer and a WA state government officer.

    A scoping study has also commenced (the
    Munjurla Scoping Study) to gather baseline data to provide a 'road map'
    for negotiating an agreement with the communities. It has been commissioned
    by ATSIS. A joint fund has been established under the auspice of the Halls
    Creek Shire Council to support consultations about the scoping study.
    In addition to the scoping study, this fund supports broader community
    engagement with government and reference group meetings with contributions
    made by the federal and Western Federal governments, and provides a vehicle
    for private sector contributions. [84]

    A draft Shared Responsibility Agreement
    has been provided by the two lead agencies - the Department of Transport
    and Regional Services and the WA Department of Indigenous Affairs to all
    partners through the Munjurla Reference Group in December 2003. Further
    consultations will be held with local communities and partners to the
    trial to finalise an SRA. Some issues have already been identified for
    negotiation under the SRA, including the need for activities for children
    and young people; better education options; improved health services;
    improved policing; improved housing and transport infrastructure and amelioration
    of substance abuse. [85] Alcohol, substance
    abuse and community safety have been raised consistently as major areas
    for concern within communities. [86] Other
    issues in the region include the development of economic opportunities
    in mining, land care and tourism that have arisen from the native title
    consent determination in August 2001. [87]

    The need to change existing government processes
    and service delivery arrangements has been recognised by DoTARS:

    A new level of 'bureaucratic awareness'
    is also necessary - a way of looking beyond the boundaries of the existing
    envelope of government processes and seizing opportunities to make a
    difference for Indigenous communities in innovative ways. [88]

    DoTARS states that while it is difficult
    to describe success in terms of real changes to the social and economic
    wellbeing of communities, there are anumber of early successes from the
    COAG trial. These successes focus on the relationship between Indigenous
    people and government. As stated by the Department:

    The successes to date have been about
    engaging the communities and governments to try things differently.
    This has meant building new relationships and developing a shared understanding
    of what it means to work together. [89]

    The key lessons DoTARS have identified from
    the trial have focused on the need to build effective relationships with
    Indigenous peoples and ensure communities are supported in developing
    their capacities:

    Successful engagement with remote Indigenous
    communities requires a realistic and long-term approach, and for activities
    to occur at a pace the communities are comfortable with. Introducing
    change in severely disadvantaged communities requires that we first
    assist the communities to develop their capacity to engage. Time for
    this process needs to be factored into any planning. [90]

    g) Northern Region of Tasmania

    The Northern region of Tasmania was announced
    as the Tasmanian site for the COAG trial in August 2003. The region is
    a mix of urban and rural areas and covers Launceston, the Furneaux Islands
    group and the northern midlands covering Deloraine to the far west and
    Bicheno in the south. The Tasmanian Government's Aboriginal Family Violence
    Working Group has agreed in principle to the northern geographical region
    and the initiative is in the early stages of development. [91]

    The Department of Immigration and Multicultural
    and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) is the lead Australian government agency
    and a dedicated full-time officer was appointed to manage the initiative
    in June 2003. [92] The Department of Premier
    and Cabinet is the lead agency for the Tasmanian government, and an interim
    Commonwealth/State Steering Committee has been formed to improve coordination
    between the different levels of government and scope existing government
    funded services in the trial area to identify resources and areas of need. [93] Both levels of government are exploring
    ways agencies can coordinate their efforts to better meet the needs and
    interests of Indigenous peoples, and due to being in the early stages
    of the trial, no legislative or administrative amendments have been identified
    for implementation by the Tasmanian government. [94]

    There were a number of reasons for the selection
    of the Northern region as the whole-of-government trial site. These included:

    • Based on available data it has one of the highest incidences/reporting
      rates of domestic violence in the State (of all cultural groups);
    • Currently no government funded Aboriginal specific family
      violence services exist in the region;
    • The region has a supportive and well-connected Aboriginal
      and non-Aboriginal community organisation network; and
    • There is a good geographical mix of urban and rural areas. [95]

    Family violence and safety issues have been
    identified as themes for the trial and discussions are continuing between
    Indigenous people and the Australian and Tasmanian government about a
    shared responsibility agreement.

    Early discussions indicate the COAG whole
    of government initiative will build on the initiatives of the Tasmanian
    government report on family violence - ya pulingina kani - Good to
    See You Talk
    and the criminal justice options paper on family violence, Safe at Home. [96]

    Under the 'shared responsibility' concept
    a partnership model will be developed between government and Indigenous
    people, and the current consultation process in the Northern region in
    Tasmania will determine the model of Indigenous governance that will lead
    the community component of the trial.

    h) Australian Capital Territory

    The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has
    not yet been announced publicly as a COAG trial site. It is expected that
    it will be formally announced in early 2004.

    The Department of Environment and Heritage
    is the lead Australian government agency for the initiative. The trial
    will be implemented across the entire region of the ACT. The Chief Minister's
    Department is the lead agency for the ACT government.

    Indigenous community consultations and negotiations
    have been undertaken for the trial, which culminated in a two day workshop
    held in September 2003. Forty Indigenous leaders and representatives from
    Indigenous community organisations attended.

    The September 2003 meeting obtained Indigenous
    community endorsement for the trial and the themes to be progressed under
    the shared responsibility approach. [97] The initial proposed focus of the trial on youth issues and education
    have evolved through the consultation process to an holistic approach
    being pursued under the concept of 'The Living Web - Keeping the Web Alive'.
    This framework is multifaceted and encompasses justice, employment, youth,
    culture, education, housing, health and aged care. Three overarching themes
    have emerged from these discussions: social and emotional well being;
    culture and learning; and capacity building for all. [98]

    It was agreed at the September 2003 workshop
    that a federation of Indigenous community organisations would constitute
    the community governance model in the ACT. An Indigenous working group
    has been established as an executive group to the community federation
    model and will represent the community interests in negotiating the Shared
    Responsibility Agreement. [99]

    A shared responsibility agreement is expected
    to be finalised during 2004 and will outline the agreed responsibilities
    between the Indigenous Working Group, Australian and ACT government and
    ATSIC. The Minister for Environment and Heritage states that close working
    relationships have been developed between the two tiers of government
    and both Governments have established closer relationships with the Indigenous
    communities in the ACT. [100]

    A monitoring and evaluation framework for
    the trial is currently being drafted, and will align with the national
    reporting measures set by the Ministerial Council for Aboriginal and Torres
    Strait Islander Affairs (MCATSIA) and the Productivity Commission. [101]


    1. For further details, see
    the Indigenous Communities Coordination Taskforce website: www.icc.gov.au.

    2. Council of Australian Governments, Communique, 3 November 2000,

    ,
    (4 December 2003).

    3. Council of Australian Governments, Comminque,5 April 2002,

    , (12
    December 2003).

    4. Quartermaine, L, Correspondence
    from ATSIC with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner
    ,
    January 2004, p1.

    5. Indigenous Communities Coordination
    Taskforce, Who We Are, Online at

    (10
    December 2003).

    6. ICCT, Shared Responsibility,
    Shared future
    , DIMIA, Canberra 2003, Attachment 1.

    7. ibid., p5.

    8. ibid., p2.

    9. Richardson, G, Hansard,
    House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islander Affairs, 13 October 2003, p1304.

    10. Hawgood, D, Hansard,
    House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islander Affairs, 13 October 2003, p1305.

    11. ibid,p1300.

    12. Quartermaine, L, op.cit.,
    p2.

    13. ICCT, Shared Responsibility,
    Shared future
    , op.cit, p2.

    14. Vanstone, A, (Minister
    for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs), Very Encouraging
    Signs From Indigenous Pilots
    , Media Release, 8 October 2003.

    15. Indigenous Communities
    Coordination Taskforce, Imagine What Could Happen If We Worked Together:
    Shared Responsibility and a Whole of Governments Approach,
    Conference
    paper - The Native Title Conference, Alice Springs, 3 June 2003,

    ,
    (24 December 2003).

    16. Indigenous Communities
    Coordination Taskforce, Trial Objectives, online at: www.icc.gov.au/communities/objectives/,
    (29 October 2003).

    17. Indigenous Communities
    Coordination Taskforce, Imagine What Could Happen if we Worked Together:
    Shared Responsibility and a Whole of Governments Approach,
    op.cit.

    18. Abbott, T, Hansard,
    House of Representatives, 8 September 2003, p18892.

    19. Hawgood, D, Hansard, Legal
    and Constitutional Legislation Committee, 4 November 2003, p10.

    20. Hawgood, D, Hansard, House
    of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islander Affairs, 13 October 2003, p1294.

    21. ibid.

    22. Indigenous Communities Coordination
    Taskforce, Imagine What Could Happen if we Worked Together: Shared
    Responsibility and a Whole of Governments Approach,
    op.cit.

    23. Indigenous Communities Coordination
    Taskforce, Shared Responsibility Agreements, online at:

    ,
    (4 December 2003).

    24. ICCT, Shared Responsibility,
    Shared future
    , op.cit, p3.

    25. Indigenous Communities Coordination
    Taskforce, Murdi Paaki trial site (NSW), online at

    ,
    10 December 2003.

    26. Minister for Education, Science
    and Training (Cth), Correspondence with Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islander Social Justice Commissioner
    , November 2003.

    27. Director General, New South Wales
    Department of Education and Training, Correspondence with Aboriginal
    and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner
    , 28 October
    2003.

    28. Minister for Education, Science
    and Training (Cth), op.cit.

    29. Shared Responsibility Agreement
    Between the Murdi Paaki Regional Council, the Commonwealth of Australia
    (through the Department of Education, Science and Training) and the State
    of New South Wales (through the Department of Education and Training),
    August
    2003, p2, available online at www.icc.gov.au/communities/locations/murdi_paaki,
    accessed 10 December 2003.

    30. Hawgood, D, Hansard, House
    of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islander Affairs, 13 October 2003, p1298.

    31. Minister for Education, Science
    and Training (Cth), op.cit.; Director General, New South Wales
    Department of Education and Training, op.cit.

    32. Minister for Education, Science
    and Training (Cth), op.cit.

    33. ibid.

    34. Indigenous Communities Coordination
    Taskforce, Wadeye Trial site (NT),online at:

    ,
    (10 December 2003).

    35. Minister for Family and Community
    Services (Cth), Correspondence with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    Social Justice Commissioner
    , December 2003. Since approximately 1996
    the Northern Territory government and Wadeye community leaders have working
    towards the establishment of Thamarrurr as the regional governance authority
    for the Wadeye region.

    36. ibid.

    37. Office of Indigenous Policy, Department
    of the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, Correspondence with
    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner,
    14 November 2003, (Herein: Office of Indigenous Policy (NT), Correspondence)
    .

    38. ibid.

    39. ibid.

    40. Shared Responsibility Agreement
    between the Commonwealth of Australia through the Department of Family
    and Community Services, the Northern Territory Government through the
    Department of Chief Minister Indigenous Policy Unit and the Thamarrurr
    Regional Council,
    21 March 2003, p2.

    41. Office of Indigenous Policy (NT), Correspondence, op.cit.

    42. ibid..

    43. Westbury, N, The Indigenous
    Community Coordination Pilot Trial: The Leadership Challenge for Governments
    in supporting Indigenous Governance
    , Conference paper: Building Effective
    Indigenous Governance Conference, Jabiru, November 2003, p6, online at

    , (5 December
    2003).

    44. Indigenous Communities Coordination
    Taskforce, Council of Australian Governments - Indigenous Whole of
    Governments Initiative, Report - September 2003
    , op.cit, p2.

    45. Hunter, S, The COAG Trial:
    The Leadership Challenge for Governments in Supporting Indigenous Governance
    ,
    Conference paper: Building Effective Indigenous Governance Conference,
    Jabiru, November 2003, p6, online at

    ,
    (4 December 2003).

    46. Indigenous Communities Coordination
    Taskforce, Council of Australian Governments - Indigenous Whole of
    Governments Initiative, Report - September 2003
    , op.cit, p2.

    47. Department of Community Development,
    Sport and Cultural Affairs, Building Stronger Regions Stronger Futures, Northern Territory Government, Darwin 2003.

    48. Office of Indigenous Policy (NT), Correspondence, op.cit.

    49. Hunter, S, The COAG Trial:
    The Leadership Challenge for Governments in Supporting Indigenous Governance
    , op.cit, p4.

    50. Indigenous Communities Coordination
    Taskforce, Shepparton trial site (VIC), online at

    ,
    10 December 2003.

    51. Compact Outlining a New Collaboration
    Between the Aboriginal Community Facilitation Group on behalf of the Aboriginal
    Community of Greater Shepparton, The Federal government through the Department
    of Employment and Workplace Relations, The Victorian Government, The Greater
    Shepparton City Council and the ATSIC Binjirru Council
    , 4 September
    2003, online at www.icc.gov.au/_data/page/13/Shepparton_Compact_-_final.pdf (Herein, Shepparton Compact).

    52. Minister for Employment and Workplace
    Relations and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service
    (Cth), Correspondence with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social
    Justice Commissioner
    , November 2003.

    53. Secretary, Department for Victorian
    Communities, Correspondence with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    Social Justice Commissioner
    , November 2003.

    54. ibid.

    55. Shepparton Compact, op.cit, p1.

    56. Minister for Employment and Workplace
    Relations (Cth), Premier of Victoria, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs
    (Vic) and Shepparton Indigenous Community Facilitation Group, Shepparton's
    Indigenous Community Joins COAG Trial,
    Joint Media Release, July 2003.

    57. Shepparton Compact, op.cit,
    p7.

    58. Minister for Employment and Workplace
    Relations and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service, Correspondence with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice
    Commissioner
    , November 2003.

    59. Shepparton Compact, op.cit,
    p5.

    60. Secretary, Department for Victorian
    Communities, op.cit.

    61. Shepparton Compact, op.cit,
    p8.

    62. Secretary, Department for Victorian
    Communities, op.cit.

    63. Indigenous Communities
    Coordination Taskforce, Cape York trial site (Qld), online at

    ,
    accessed 10 December 2003

    64. Minister for Employment and Workplace
    Relations and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service, Correspondence with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice
    Commissioner
    , November 2003 (Herein Minister for Employment and Workplace
    Relations, Correspondence).

    65. The Cape York Justice Study was
    commissioned by the Queensland Government and released in November 2001.
    The CYJS recommends a number of strategies to address factors contributing
    to breaches of the law in Cape York communities, with a particular focus
    on strategies that target alcohol and substance abuse.

    66. In the 2003-2004 Queensland Government
    budget $2.9 million was allocated for 34 community justice groups (CJGs)
    to established across Queensland. These CJGs will be located in Deed of
    Grant in Trust (DOGIT) communities and other non-DOGIT regions.

    67. Director-General, Department of
    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy (Qld), Correspondence
    with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner,
    November 2003.

    68. ibid.

    69. The Steering Committee is chaired
    by The Hon Steve Bredhauer , Queensland Minister for Transport and Minister
    for Main Roads and is attended by the Chief Executive Officers of Queensland
    Government agencies. The Steering Committee provides a forum for collaboration
    between agencies and information exchange on the progress of Meeting
    Challenges
    initiatives.

    70. Discussions with Department of
    Employment and Workplace Relations, 20 January 2004.

    71. Director-General, Department of
    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy, op.cit.

    72. ibid.

    73. Discussions with Department of
    Employment and Workplace Relations, 20 January 2004.

    74. Indigenous Communities Coordination
    Taskforce, Council of Australian Governments - Indigenous Whole of
    Governments Initiative, Report - September 2003
    .

    75. Minister for Employment and Workplace
    Relations, Correspondence, op.cit.

    76. ibid.

    77. ibid.

    78. Indigenous Communities Coordination
    Taskforce, Anangu Pitjantjatjara (AP) Lands (SA), online at

    ,
    accessed 12 December 2003.

    79. Indigenous Communities Coordination
    Taskforce, Council of Australian Governments - Indigenous Whole of
    Governments Initiative, Report - September 2003
    .

    80. Minister for Aboriginal Affairs
    and Reconciliation, Minister for Correctional Services and Minister Assisting
    the Minister for Environment and Conservation (SA), Correspondence
    with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner,
    November 2003.

    81. Indigenous Communities Coordination
    Taskforce, WA COAG trial site, online at

    ,
    accessed 11 December 2003.

    82. Secretary, Department of Transport
    and Regional Services, Correspondence with Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islander Social Justice Commissioner
    , 25 November 2003.

    83. ibid.

    84. ibid.

    85. Indigenous Communities Coordination
    Taskforce, Council of Australian Governments - Indigenous Whole of
    Governments Initiative, Report - September 2003
    .

    86. Secretary, Department of Transport
    and Regional Services, op.cit.

    87. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister
    for Transport and Regional Services (Cth), President Halls Creek Shire
    Council, Minister for Indigenous Affairs (WA), Chair of the Tjurabalan
    Native Title Land Aboriginal Corporation and Chair ATSIC Wunan Regional
    Council, Tjurabalan and Region Indigenous Communities Join COAG Trial,
    Joint Media release, July 2003.

    88. Secretary, Department of Transport
    and Regional Services, op.cit.

    89. ibid.

    90. ibid.

    91. Secretary, Department of Premier
    and Cabinet (Tas), Correspondence with Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islander Social Justice Commissioner
    , November 2003.

    92. Office of Aboriginal and Torres
    Strait Islander Affairs. Department of Immigration and Multicultural and
    Indigenous Affairs (Cth), Correspondence with Aboriginal and Torres
    Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner,
    November 2003.

    93. Secretary, Department of Premier
    and Cabinet (Tas), op.cit.

    94. ibid.

    95. ibid.

    96. Minister for Immigration and Multicultural
    and Indigenous Affairs (Cth) and Premier of Tasmania, Aboriginal People
    in Northern Region of Tasmania to join COAG Trials
    , Joint Media Release,
    28 August 2003.

    97. Chief Executive, Chief Ministers
    Department (ACT), Correspondence with Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islander Social Justice Commissioner,
    October 2003.

    98. ibid.

    99. Minister for the Environment and
    Heritage (Cth), Correspondence with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    Social Justice Commissioner,
    November 2003.

    100. Minister for the Environment
    and Heritage (Cth), op.cit.

    101. ibid.