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Social Justice Report 2006

Social Justice Report 2006

Appendix 1: Chronology of events relating to the
administration of Indigenous affairs, 1 July 2005 – 30 June
2006

This appendix provides an overview of the main events with regard to the
administration of Indigenous affairs to 30 June 2006. It commences with a
summary table and is followed by a detailed description of each event.

Date Event/summary of issue

1 July 2005

NSW Government officials move into Australian Government Indigenous
Coordination Centres.

Officials from the New South Wales Government will be placed in Indigenous
Co-ordination Centres (ICC’s) which are run by the Australian Government
from today.[1]

3 July 2005

NAIDOC week 2005 commences.

NAIDOC Week celebrations commence with the theme of “Our future
begins with solidarity”. The Australian Government provides funding for
the annual National NAIDOC Awards Ceremony and
Ball.[2]

11 July 2005

Indigenous Disadvantage Report reinforces the need for change.

The Steering Committee for the Review of Government Services Provision
(SCRGSP) releases the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Report. The Report
highlights the unacceptable levels of disadvantage faced by Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander
Australians.[3]
20 July 2005

Indigenous Youth Leaders 2005 Announced.

The Australian Government appoints 17 Indigenous youth leaders to the
National Indigenous Youth Leadership Group (NIYLG) 2005-06. The appointments
were preceded by a call for nomination earlier in the year. The focus of the
group will be the promotion of issues of relevance to young Indigenous
Australians.[4]

27 July 2005

Tri-State Disability Strategic Framework agreed to by three
governments.

The Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia Governments
sign off on an agreement to assist in the delivery of disability services to the
Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY)
Lands.[5]

Through the establishment of this framework the three Governments aim to
recognise and acknowledge the links between the Indigenous people of the NPY
Lands and to further recognise that state and territory borders should not serve
as an impediment to accessing disability services.

12 August 2005

First Australian Regional Partnership Agreement signed off.

The Ngaanyatjarra Council signs off on the first Regional Partnership
Agreement (RPA) in Australia today. The RPA commits all parties that are
signatories to work together to improve essential services. The agreement
applies to twelve communities in the Ngaanyatjarra
Lands.[6]

12 August 2005

New Indigenous Employment Strategy for the Australian Public Service
announced.

The Australian Government announces a new Indigenous Employment Strategy
for the Australian Public Service. The strategy will provide additional funding
of $2.15 million a year for three years to improve employment opportunities for
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Public Service
(APS).[7]

7 September 2005

Reforms to native title announced.

The Attorney-General announces reforms to the native title system which are
designed to promote the resolution of native title issues through negotiation
and agreement making rather than through litigation.

There are six inter-connected aspects to the reforms:

  1. Native Title Representative Bodies (NTRB’s) – measures to
    improve the effectiveness of NTRBs .
  2. Native title respondents – amending the guidelines for the financial
    assistance program to encourage agreement making rather than litigation.
  3. Technical amendments to the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) - preparation
    of draft legislation for consultation.
  4. Claims resolution process – an independent review.
  5. Prescribed Bodies Corporate (PBCs) - an examination of the current
    structures and processes.
  6. Increased dialogue and consultation with State and Territory governments to
    promote and encourage more transparent practices in the resolution
    process.[8]

The State and Territory Native Title Ministers Group will meet in
Canberra later this month with the Attorney-General to discuss the proposed
changes.[9]

12 September 2005

$9.5 million to tackle petrol sniffing announced by Australian
Government.

The Australian Government announces a $9.5 million boost in funding to
tackle petrol sniffing in Central Desert Indigenous communities. Senior
policing, justice, health and community services officials from the governments
of the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia support an
eight point plan proposed by the Australian
Government.[10]

19 September 2005

Inaugural meeting of the National Indigenous Youth Leadership
Group.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Children and Youth hosts the inaugural
meeting of the National Indigenous Youth Leadership Group (NIYLG), which was
formed in July 2005.[11]

The NIYLG brings together 17 Indigenous young people, aged 18 to 24 years,
from diverse backgrounds, employment, location and interests, to meet with the
Australian Government to discuss their unique experiences and their expectations
of the group.

4 October 2005

Australian and Northern Territory Governments fund family violence
projects.

The Australian and Northern Territory Governments jointly provide $3.2
million for three new projects to tackle family violence and abuse in Indigenous
communities.

The projects include:

  • Interventions for Children, a program to develop and deliver
    therapeutic interventions for children exposed to family violence;
  • Jiban Gubalewei (Peace at Home), which will establish a new
    integrated Police and Community Services centre addressing family violence and
    child abuse in the Katherine and Borroloola region; and
  • Empowering Indigenous Communities, which will pilot a method to
    monitor and respond to changing levels of local violence in six remote
    communities.[12]

5 October 2005

Initiatives to support home ownership on Indigenous land announced.

The Australian Government announces initiatives to support home ownership
on Indigenous land throughout Australia.

The initiatives include:

  • An initial allocation of a $7.3 million addition to the Home Ownership
    Programme run by Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) for a new programme
    targeted to Indigenous Australians living on communal land. Under this program
    people can borrow money from the IBA at concessional interest rates.
  • An initial allocation of up to $5 million from the Community Housing and
    Infrastructure Programme to reward good renters with the opportunity to buy the
    community house they have been living in at a reduced price.
  • Use of the Community Development Employment Project (CDEP) to start building
    houses, support home maintenance, and to maximise employment and training
    opportunities.

These Australia wide measures add to the changes to tenure
arrangements on Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory which were also
announced today.[13]

5 October 2005

Changes to Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976
announced.

The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs
announces changes to the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act
1976
. The stated aim of the changes is to help Indigenous peoples get
greater economic benefits from their land.

The changes will introduce tenure arrangements over entire township areas
which are on Aboriginal owned land. The scheme will be a voluntary
one.[14]

9 November 2005

Indigenous Economic Development Strategy launched.

The Australian Government launches the Indigenous Economic Development
Strategy, a scheme to assist Indigenous Australians achieve economic
independence.

The strategy focuses on two key areas: work, and asset and wealth
management.

Under the work component of the strategy, the Government will promote a Local Jobs for Local People initiative. Indigenous communities, employers
and service providers will work together to identify local employment and
business opportunities and the training needed for jobseekers.

Other initiatives in this area include:

  • developing targeted industry strategies to address regional employment
    needs;
  • continuation of the Community Development Employment Project (CDEP) reforms
    which began earlier this year;
  • improving linkages between Indigenous communities and vocational education
    and training bodies; and
  • training and support for local Indigenous business entrepreneurs.

Asset and wealth management initiatives include:

  • increasing Indigenous home ownership;
  • increasing personal and commercial financial skills; and
  • exploring ways to increase economic development on Indigenous
    land.[15]

18 November 2005

Reforms to the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act
1976.

The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs
announces amendments to the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act
1976
.

The key elements of the reform are:

  • facilitating economic development;
  • improving the mining provisions of the Act including devolving some powers
    from the Australian Government to the Northern Territory Government;
  • allowing for local Indigenous people to have more say over their
    affairs;
  • moving to performance based funding for Land Councils;
  • ensuring royalty payments are made in a transparent and accountable way; and
  • disposing of land claims which cannot legally proceed or would be
    inappropriate to
    grant.[16]

20 November 2005

Secretaries Group on Indigenous Affairs releases its Annual Report on
Indigenous Affairs 2004-05.

The Secretaries Group on Indigenous Affairs releases its Annual Report on
Indigenous Affairs for 2004-05. The focus of activities for the Group in the
last year have been:

  • setting parameters for local engagement with Indigenous communities based on
    shared responsibility;
  • providing high-level guidance and oversight of Indigenous Co-ordination
    Centres;
  • developing an integrated Single Indigenous Budget Submission for
    consideration by the Ministerial Taskforce for Indigenous Affairs (MTF); and
  • establishing a performance monitoring and evaluation
    framework.[17]

22 November 2005

Indigenous Legal Aid Services announced for the Northern
Territory.

The Attorney-General announces two successful tenderers for the provision
of legal aid services for Indigenous Australians in the Northern
Territory.

The North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency Ltd is the successful
tenderer for the North Zone and the Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid
Service Incorporated is the successful tenderer for the South Zone. Tenders were
called for in August of this
year.[18]

23 November 2005

Delivering Better Outcomes in Native Title – Update on
Government’s Plan for Practical Reform.

The Attorney-General and Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and
Indigenous Affairs issue a joint statement to outline more details about the
changes to the administration of the native title system.

The changes relate specifically to Native Title Representative Bodies
(NTRB’s). The changes for NTRB’s are designed to:

  • enhance the quality of services by broadening the range of organisations
    that can undertake activities on behalf of claimants;
  • streamline the process for withdrawing recognition from poorly performing
    NTRBs and appointing a replacement;
  • put a time limit on the recognised status of NTRBs to ensure a focus on
    outcomes; and
  • provide NTRBs with multi-year funding to assist their strategic planning.

Consultations are to be undertaken with NTRBs and stakeholders
before the changes are formally introduced into Parliament next
year.[19]

5 December 2005

Bilateral Agreement on Service Delivery to Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islanders in Queensland signed.

The Prime Minister and the Premier of Queensland announce a five-year
bilateral agreement committing both governments to improving service delivery to
Indigenous Queenslanders.

The agreement commits the Australian and Queensland Governments to work
together with Indigenous communities on service planning and delivery,
investment and performance evaluation, and to reduce the bureaucratic load on
communities.

Under the agreement, the governments will work towards shared priorities,
including those identified in the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Report.
These include:

  • early childhood development and growth;
  • early school engagement and performance;
  • positive childhood and transition to adulthood;
  • substance use and misuse;
  • functional and resilient families and communities;
  • effective environmental health systems; and
  • economic participation and
    development.[20]

15 December 2005

National Indigenous Council releases its inaugural Report Card.

The National Indigenous Council (NIC) releases its Inaugural Report to the
Australian Government. The report is a requirement of the terms of reference
that established the NIC.

The report summarises the work undertaken by the NIC from December 2004 to
December 2005.

The report has five main discussion areas:

  • a brief analysis of the new arrangements, the Ministerial Taskforce on
    Indigenous Affairs (MTF) and the Secretaries Group on Indigenous Affairs;
  • the role and meetings of the NIC throughout the previous year;
  • strategic advice given and partnerships entered into during the last twelve
    months by the NIC;
  • individual NIC members’ reports; and
  • concluding remarks which provide a summary of the year’s
    work.[21]

15 December 2005

$23 million boost for training for Indigenous youth from remote
communities.

The Australian Government launches the Indigenous Youth Mobility Programme.
$23.1 million has been allocated to provide 600 young Indigenous Australians
with the opportunity to relocate to a major regional centre and train for a
career by undertaking pre-vocational training, a new apprenticeship or tertiary
level education.[22]

The objectives of the Indigenous Youth Mobility Programme are to:

  • improve access to training and employment opportunities in major centres for
    young Indigenous Australians from remote communities;
  • increase the number of young Indigenous Australians participating in
    accredited training;
  • increase the number of Indigenous people employed in occupations in
    particular areas of community need such as trades, nursing, accountancy,
    business management and teaching, and;
  • support economic development in remote communities by building the capacity
    of local Indigenous youth to take up skilled jobs in their
    communities.[23]

22 December 2005

Over $250 million in new Agreement on Indigenous housing and
infrastructure.

The Australian and Northern Territory (NT) Governments announce their Agreement for the Provision of Housing and Infrastructure to Indigenous
People in the Northern Territory 2005-2008.
The agreement provides that from
1 July 2006, the Northern Territory will manage the funding for Indigenous
housing and housing infrastructure.

The agreement forms the basis of a three year program worth $254 million
that will for the first time combine the Australian and NT Governments'
Indigenous housing resources to help provide better housing alternatives for
Indigenous families across the
NT.[24]

23 January 2006

Indigenous Legal Aid Services announced for South Australia.

The Attorney-General announces the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement
Incorporated is the successful tenderer for the provision of legal aid services
to Indigenous Australians in South Australia.

The Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement Incorporated has provided Indigenous
legal aid services in the State since its incorporation in
1973.[25]

24 January 2006

Indigenous Affairs moves to a new Federal Department (FaCSIA).

The Prime Minister announces changes to the Ministry and the Administrative
Arrangements Order. As part of the change the Office of Indigenous Policy
Coordination is moved to the Family and Community Services Portfolio and a new
Ministerial portfolio will be created to encompass Indigenous
affairs.[26]

The new Minister will head the newly formed Department of Families,
Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaCSIA). This department was formerly
known as the Department of Family and Community Services.

February 2006

he passage of the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander)
Act 2006 (Cth) delayed until October 2006.

The passage of the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander)
Act
2006 (Cth) through Parliament is delayed until October
2006.

The Bill will commence on 1 July 2007 to coincide with the start of the
2007-08 financial year.[27]

15 February 2006

Social Justice and Native Title Reports 2005 tabled in Parliament.

The Attorney-General tables the Social Justice Report 2005 and the Native Title Report 2005 in Parliament.

The reports were prepared by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Social Justice
Commissioner.[28]

8 March 2006

Boost in Indigenous school retention rates.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics releases the Schools Report 2005 which shows that school retention rates among Indigenous students have climbed
significantly over the past five
years.[29]

28 March 2006

Public Service boosts its intake of Indigenous graduates.

The Australian Public Service has markedly increased its intake of
Indigenous graduates following the success of the first year of the Australian
Public Service Commission’s Indigenous graduate recruitment
initiative.[30]

12 April 2006

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey indicates
that Indigenous unemployment has fallen.

The 2004-05 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey
(NATSIHS) is released. It indicates that national unemployment for Indigenous
persons aged 15 years and over has fallen to 15.4 per cent for 2004-2005. This
result represents a fall of 7.5 percentage points, compared to the 2002 survey
when Indigenous unemployment was measured at 22.9 per
cent.[31]

he survey was conducted in remote and non-remote areas of Australia, and
was designed to collect a range of information from Indigenous Australians about
health related issues, including health status, risk factors and socio-economic
circumstances.[32]

17 April 2006

Bilateral Agreement on Service Delivery to Indigenous communities in
South Australia signed.

The Prime Minister and the Premier of South Australia sign a five-year
bilateral agreement committing both governments to improving service delivery to
Indigenous communities in South Australia.

This is a formal agreement by the Commonwealth and South Australian
Governments to work together with Indigenous communities on service planning,
delivery, investment and performance evaluation, and to reduce the bureaucratic
load on communities.

Under the agreement, the governments will work towards shared priorities,
including those identified in the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Report, as
well as other identified priority areas including:

  • safer communities;
  • housing and infrastructure;
  • health and education;
  • homelessness;
  • economic development;
  • land, environment and culture; and
  • service
    delivery.[33]

17 April 2006

Bilateral Agreement on Service Delivery to Indigenous peoples in New
South Wales signed.

The Australian and New South Wales Governments sign a five-year bilateral
agreement committing both governments to improving service delivery to
Indigenous communities in NSW.

his is a formal agreement which commits the Australian and NSW Governments
to work together with Indigenous communities on service planning and delivery,
investment and performance evaluation, and to reduce the bureaucratic load on
communities.

Under the agreement, the governments will work towards shared priorities,
including those identified in the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Report, as
well as other identified priority areas including:

  • building Indigenous wealth and employment;
  • promoting an entrepreneurial culture in Indigenous communities;
  • improving living conditions, health and social outcomes across a range of
    areas including early childhood health and intervention, improving literacy and
    numeracy, increasing school retention rates, reducing incarceration and the
    level of family violence; and creating safer communities.

This is
the fourth bilateral agreement to be signed under the Council of Australian
Governments (COAG) Indigenous Service Delivery
Framework.[34]

28 April 2006

ew provider for NSW Indigenous legal aid services.

The Attorney-General announces the Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) Ltd.
as the successful tenderer to provide Indigenous legal aid services in NSW and
the Australian Capital Territory.

The new Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) Ltd merges the six existing
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services in New South
Wales.[35]

9 May 2006

Federal Budget 2006-07.

Funding to Indigenous affairs in the 2006-07 Federal Budget, will total
$3.3 billion. This is the result of allocating close to $500 million over five
years in this Budget, with twenty four new initiatives across six
portfolios.[36]

The key budget measures within the Indigenous portfolio address four
themes:

  1. Measures Investing in People: these programs will include using sport to
    improve Indigenous young people’s education and life prospects; the reform
    of the delivery capacity of Indigenous corporations; Indigenous community
    leadership; a family and community networks initiative; an Indigenous tutorial
    assistance scheme; an Indigenous boarding college and the establishment of a
    National Indigenous Scouting Programme.
  2. Measures Addressing Economic Independence: initiatives will include
    improving the sustainability of community stores; the Home Ownership Program;
    enhanced opportunities for employment and participation in remote communities;
    extending the Family Income Management Programme; improving Indigenous health
    worker employment; continuing and expanding funding to the Remote Area
    Servicing, through ten established centres and two new centres; Cape York
    Institute welfare reform project; and Cape York Digital Network.
  3. Measures Tackling Pressing Problems: funding will be allocated to reducing
    substance abuse; Indigenous Family Violence Prevention Legal Services; improving
    Indigenous access to health care services; additional Indigenous aged care
    places; Northern Territory Indigenous Interpreter Services; and improving the
    capacity of health workers in Indigenous communities; and
  4. Other Measures: funding will be allocated to Reconciliation Australia;
    developing the 1967 referendum anniversary activities; and flexible funds for
    shared responsibility and agreement
    making.[37]

18 May 2006

National plan for action against Indigenous violence and child
abuse.

The Australian Government invites State and Territory Governments to a
summit to develop a national action plan to address community safety in
Indigenous communities.[38]

23 May 2006

OIPC releases a coordination evaluation plan for 2006-2009.

The Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination (OIPC) releases a coordination
evaluation plan for the whole of government activities in Indigenous affairs for
2006-2009.

The paper provides an overview of the planned evaluation activities to be
conducted during 2006-2009 by
OIPC.[39]

31 May 2006

Reforms to Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 introduced into Parliament.

The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs
introduces amendments to the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act
1976
into Parliament. The amendments were announced in October 2005.

The changes to the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act
1976
will allow long term leases to be held over entire township areas;
change the current processes for land development; and impact on the performance
and accountability of Land Councils and royalty
bodies.[40]

The 2006-07 Budget allocated $107.5 million to the expansion of the
Indigenous Home Ownership on Indigenous Land Program and a Home Purchase
Incentive Scheme on Community Title
Land.[41] The new tenure
arrangements contained in the Bill will enable Aboriginal people in the Northern
Territory to access these new
programs.[42]

19 June 2006

Forum on ending violence in Indigenous communities.

Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR) and the Human
Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) host a forum on ending violence
in Indigenous communities at Parliament House in Canberra.

The event is supported by the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association
(AIDA), Australian Medical Association (AMA), Oxfam Australia and the Australian
Principals’ Associations Professional Development Council
(APAPDC).[43]

21 June 2006

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare releases
‘Australia’s Health 2006’.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare releases Australia’s Health 2006, a comprehensive report on the health
status of the Australian population and the factors that influence it, including
health services and expenditures.

The report states that Australia’s Indigenous population continues to
have a poorer standard of health than other Australians and there is still too
little evidence that the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
is improving. Death rates of Indigenous infants remain approximately three times
those of other Australian infants, and about 70% of Indigenous Australians die
before reaching 65, compared with a little over 20% for other
Australians.[44]

26 June 2006

Intergovernmental Summit on Violence and Child Abuse in Indigenous
Communities.

An Intergovernmental Summit on Violence and Child Abuse in Indigenous
Communities is held involving Ministers from the Australian Government and all
States and Territories. The Ministers agree that the levels of violence and
child abuse in Indigenous communities warrant a comprehensive national
response.

The Communiqué released following the Intergovernmental Summit
reconfirms the principles agreed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG)
in June 2004 under COAG’s National Framework on Indigenous Family
Violence and Child Protection
, particularly that:

  • everyone has a right to be safe from family violence and abuse;
  • preventing family violence and child abuse in Indigenous families is best
    achieved by families, communities, community organisations and different levels
    of government working together as partners;
  • successful strategies to prevent family violence and child abuse in
    Indigenous families enable Indigenous people to take control of their lives,
    regain responsibility for their families and communities and to enhance
    individual and family wellbeing; and
  • the need to address underlying causes and to build strong and resilient
    families.[45]

27 June 2006

Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse in Aboriginal communities in the Northern
Territory.

The Northern Territory Chief Minister announces an inquiry into child
sexual abuse in NT Aboriginal
communities.[46]

The Inquiry will:

  • examine the size, nature and fundamental causes of the sexual abuse of
    Aboriginal children;
  • identify barriers and issues associated with the provision of effective
    responses;
  • consider methods, policies, procedures and resources of NT government
    agencies; and
  • consider how the NT Government can help support communities effectively to
    tackle child sexual abuse.

The Inquiry will report to the Chief Minister by the end of April
2007.[47]

28 June 2006

Indigenous Legal Aid Service Provider for Tasmania announced.

The Attorney-General announces that the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre
Incorporated has been awarded the contract to provide legal aid services for
Indigenous Australians in Tasmania.

The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre Incorporated has provided Indigenous legal
aid services in Tasmania for more than 32
years.[48]

29 June 2006

United Nations Human Rights Council adopts the Declaration on the Rights
of Indigenous Peoples.

The United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council adopts the Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples after more than twenty years of work by indigenous
peoples and the UN system.[49]

On 28 November, the Third Committee of the General Assembly adopted a
resolution that defers the Assembly’s consideration of the Declaration
until the end of its current session, which will conclude in September
2007.[50]

Further information on events relating to the administration of Indigenous
affairs - 1 July 2005 – 30 June 2006

This section includes specific text references from the Social Justice
Commissioner and HREOC but primarily all of the narrative has been extracted
from the original sources referred too and reproduced in abbreviated form. As
Social Justice Commissioner I am not endorsing or qualitatively assessing any
government policy or practice in this section other than what can be
specifically credited to me or my office.

Qualitative analysis of the policies and practices will be recorded in other
sections and chapters of the Social Justice Report 2006.

1 July 2005

NSW Government officials move into Australian Government Indigenous
Coordination Centres.

Officials from the New South Wales Government will be placed in Indigenous
Co-ordination Centres (ICC’s) which are run by the Australian Government
from today.[51]

The Australian Government established 30 Indigenous Co-ordination Centres
across Australia during 2004, the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and
Indigenous Affairs stated that having State Government officials working from
the same premises as Australian Government officials in New South Wales will
assist with co-ordination and service delivery under the new mainstream
arrangements.[52]

3 July 2005

NAIDOC week 2005 commences.

NAIDOC Week celebrations commence with the theme of “Our future
begins with solidarity”. The Australian Government provides funding for
the annual National NAIDOC Awards Ceremony and
Ball.[53]

NAIDOC celebrations are held throughout Australia in the first full week of
July each year to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Indigenous
peoples. The theme for 2005 is “Our future begins with
solidarity”.[54]

The winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award was Arthur Murray. Arthur Murray
is best known for his campaign to stop Aboriginal deaths in custody. He became a
national figure in the fight for justice to stop Aboriginal deaths in custody
after losing his son Eddie in the 1980’s.

This year’s female Elder of the Year goes to Mary Jane Ware from South
Australia (SA). Mary is affectionately known throughout SA as Nanna Mary, she has been involved in Croc Fests and local NAIDOC Week celebrations. Mary
Ware recently gained her Masters of Education in Aboriginal Education.

This year’s male Elder of the Year is Albert Holt, a Queensland man who
was instrumental in establishing the first Murri Court in Queensland and who
continues to fight to reduce the number of Indigenous peoples who come into
contact with the criminal justice system, including
prison.[55] Details of other winners
can be found at http://www.naidoc.org.au/award_winners/default.aspx

11 July 2005

Indigenous Disadvantage Report reinforces the need for change.

The Steering Committee for the Review of Government Services Provision
(SCRGSP) releases the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Report. The report
highlights the unacceptable levels of disadvantage faced by Indigenous
Australians.[56]

The Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Report is the second report by the
Steering Committee commissioned by the Council of Australian Governments and
funded by the Australian Government. The report aims to provide indicators of
Indigenous disadvantage ‘that are of relevance to all governments and
Indigenous stakeholders, and that can demonstrate the impact of programme and
policy interventions’.

This report reveals mixed results. In some areas there have been
improvements, but in others there has been little or no progress, or a backward
trend is emerging.

Some economic indicators that show improvement include labour force
participation, unemployment, and home ownership during the period 1994 to 2002.
Social indicators that shows marked improvement during the same period are post
secondary education participation and attainment.

In contrast, the report shows a concerning increase in relation to the
following indicators: the proportion of Indigenous people who reported being
victims of crime during the period 1994 to 2002, substantiated child protection
notifications from 1999-2000 to 2003-2004, and imprisonment rates for Indigenous
men and women during the period 2000–2004.

Overall, a significant gap remains between Indigenous peoples and the rest of
the population in all of the headline indicators, including those where
improvement has been made.[57] The
headline indicators are: life expectancy at birth; rates of disability and/or
core activity restriction; years 10 and 12 retention and attainment; labour
force participation and unemployment; household and individual income; home
ownership; suicide and self harm; substantiated child protection notifications;
deaths from homicide; hospitalisations for assault; victims rates for crime and
imprisonment; and juvenile detention rates. [58]

A summary of key findings from the report include:

  • The life expectancy of Indigenous people is estimated to be around 17 years
    lower than that for the total Australian population. Life expectancy at birth is
    59 years for an Indigenous male compared with 77 years for males in the total
    population, and 65 years for Indigenous females compared with 82 years for
    females in the total
    population.[59]
  • The proportion of the Indigenous population aged 15 years and over,
    reporting a disability or a long-term health condition was 37%. These
    proportions remained steady through both remote and non-remote areas. This
    figure does not include people with a psychological disability. The proportion
    of the Indigenous population aged 18 years and over in non-remote areas
    reporting a disability, including a psychological disability, was 49%, one third
    of whom had a core activity limitation. The core activity limitation can range
    from profound (always needing help or supervision) to mild (uses aids to assist
    in performing core activities). After adjusting for age differences, Indigenous
    people aged 18 years and over in non-remote areas were 1.7 times more likely
    than non-Indigenous people to report a disability which impacted on their core
    activities.[60]
  • There was an increase in the proportion of year 3 students who achieved the
    writing benchmark: 77% in 2002 compared with 67% in 1999 and 65% in 2000. The
    proportion of year 5 Indigenous students who achieved the reading benchmark
    increased from 59% in 1999 to 68% in 2002. Of the students who commenced year 11
    in 2001, 55% went on to complete year 12 in 2002 compared to 49% who commenced
    year 11 in 2000 and completed in 2001. From 2000 to 2004, Indigenous retention
    rates to year 12 increased from 36 to 40%. Nationally in 2004, Indigenous
    students were half as likely to continue to year 12 as non-Indigenous
    students.[61]
  • The proportion of Indigenous people over 15 years of age participating in
    post secondary education increased from 6% in 1994 to 12% in 2002. From 1994 to
    2002, the proportion of Indigenous people with a certificate level 3 or above
    doubled from 8% in 1994 to 16% in
    2002.[62]
  • Nationally, the labour force participation rate for all Indigenous people
    aged 18 to 64 years has increased from 57% to 64% in 2002. From 1994 to 2002
    there was a significant decline in the Indigenous unemployment rate. Between
    1994 and 2002 overall employment rates rose from 68% to 80% of the Indigenous
    labour force. This improvement essentially results from increases in part-time
    employment (largely CDEP) rather than full-time work; there were over 36,000
    CDEP participants at 30 June 2004. The age standardised unemployment rate in
    2002 was 3.2 times higher for Indigenous than for non-Indigenous
    people.[63]
  • There has been a slight increase in equivalised Indigenous real gross weekly
    household incomes since 1994; in 1994 gross weekly equivalised household income
    was $374 and in 2002 it was $394. In 2002, both household and individual incomes
    were lower on average for Indigenous than for other
    Australians.[64]
  • Between 1994 and 2002, the proportion of Indigenous people aged 18 or over
    who were living in a household owned, or being purchased, by someone in that
    household rose from 22 to 27%. However, this compares poorly with a rate of 74%
    amongst non-Indigenous
    Australians.[65]
  • Between 2001-02 and 2002-03, the rate of admissions for Indigenous suicide
    attempts increased from 2.8 to 3.2 per 100 but stayed at 1.4 per 1000 for non-
    indigenous peoples. Suicide death rates are much higher for Indigenous people,
    between 12 and 36 per 100,000 people, when compared with other people, between
    11 and 16 per 100,000 people, in
    1999-2003.[66]
  • In 2003-04, the national rate of indigenous children who were the subject of
    protection because of abuse was three times the rate for other
    children.[67] Between 1999-2000 and
    2003-2004 substantiated child protection notifications increased in most
    jurisdictions. It is not clear whether increased notifications result from
    increases in child abuse and/or more people reporting abuse.
  • From 1999 to 2003 – in WA, South Australia, Northern Territory and
    Queensland (that is the five jurisdictions for which figures are available)
    – homicide rates for Indigenous people increased from six to 23 per
    100,000, which was at least six times higher than for other Australians.
    Nationally, in 2002-2003, Indigenous people were 12 times more likely to be
    hospitalised for assault injuries as non-Indigenous
    people.[68]
  • The proportion of Indigenous people who reported being a victim of violence
    increased from 13 to 23% between 1994 and 2002. It is not clear whether
    increased rates of reporting reflect increases in crime and/or willingness to
    report. After adjusting for age differences between populations, both Indigenous
    men and women experienced more than double the victimisation rates of other men
    and women during 2002.[69]
  • The rate of imprisonment for Indigenous women and men increased by 25% and
    11% respectively over the period 2000 to 2004. As at 30 June 2004, the most
    serious offence of around one quarter of all Indigenous sentenced prisoners was
    ‘acts intended to cause
    injury’.[70] Indigenous people
    were 11 times more likely than other Australians to be gaoled in June 2004 and
    Indigenous juveniles were 20 times more likely to be detained than other
    juveniles in June 2003.[71]

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice
Commissioner, Reconciliation Australia and the Productivity Commission hosted a
seminar, on 16 September 2005, on the Steering Committee for the Review of
Government Service Provisions’ report. All papers presented at the
seminar along with pod casts of the proceedings are available online at:
http://www.hreoc.gov.au/social_justice/conferences.html [72]

20 July 2005

Indigenous Youth Leaders 2005 Announced.

The Australian Government appoints 17 Indigenous youth leaders to the
National Indigenous Youth Leadership Group (NIYLG) 2005-06. The appointments
were preceded by a call for nomination earlier in the year. The focus of the
group will be the promotion of issues of relevance to young Indigenous
Australians.[73]

A new National Indigenous Youth Leadership Group (NIYLG) was announced by the
Parliamentary Secretary for Children and Youth Affairs today. As the only
Indigenous youth leadership group at the national level, members are consulted
directly by the Australian Government about their experiences and perspectives
on issues important to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people. The
appointments followed a call for nominations in May 2005.

Young people are encouraged to develop their leadership skills and are
provided with opportunities to develop mentoring relationships with high-profile
Indigenous leaders. Through their participation in NIYLG, the members also
promote positive images of Indigenous young people. Members of the group are
drawn from across Australia including urban, regional and remote locations.

NIYLG members will work on projects based on their nominated areas of
interest including youth leadership, cultural identity, education, employment
and family violence. They will continue work with NIYLG in 2006 before
presenting results and recommendations to the Australian Government at a later
date.[74]

27 July 2005

Tri-State Disability Strategic Framework agreed to by three
governments.

The Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia Governments
sign off on an agreement to assist in the delivery of disability services to the
Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY)
Lands.[75]

Through the establishment of this framework the three Governments aim to
recognise and acknowledge the links between the Indigenous people of the NPY
Lands and to further recognise that state and territory borders should not serve
as an impediment to accessing disability services.

The Tri-State Disability Strategic Framework is a co-operative arrangement
between the three Governments responsible for the provision of disability
services to the people from the Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjajara and Yankunytjajara
(NPY) lands. The Framework will guide the operations of the three jurisdictions
in delivering disability services to people of the region for the next four
years.

The NPY lands are home to 6,000 people in more than 20 communities and
homelands. This Strategic Framework comes out of the formation of the Tri-State
Disability Services Group (TSDG) in 2004. A Memorandum of Understanding was
developed which articulated the shared objectives of the group, this agreement
was signed off in November
2004.[76]

The principles which underpin the agreement are: to work together in
partnership; the streamlining of services; improving access; getting better
results and building on what already exists. The framework has four
objectives:

  • to strengthen mechanisms for enabling collaboration and cooperation between
    Western Australian, South Australian and Northern Territory governments;
  • to develop integrated systems to facilitate joint planning, development and
    funding of services;
  • to establish and apply consistent definitions and criteria for eligibility
    and access to services; and
  • to improve systems of accountability and performance
    management.[77]

12 August 2005

First Australian Regional Partnership Agreement signed off.

The Ngaanyatjarra Council signs off on the first Regional Partnership
Agreement (RPA) in Australia today. The RPA commits all parties that are
signatories to work together to improve essential services. The agreement
applies to twelve communities in the Ngaanyatjarra
Lands.[78]

The first Regional Partnership Agreement (RPA) in Australia has been
negotiated between the Australian Government, the Western Australian Government
and the Ngaanyatjarra Council. The RPA commits all parties to working together
to improve essential services; develop a 20-30 year vision for the future;
establish meaningful representative arrangements and reduce red tape. The RPA
represents a commitment to twelve communities on the Ngaanyatjarra
Lands.[79]

The agreement is designed to provide a mechanism for establishing a uniform
Australian Government investment strategy across a region with respect to
Indigenous affairs. The agreement is intended to provide a coordinated response
to priorities identified for the region, thus eliminating duplication or gaps.

Regional Partnership Agreements (RPAs) form part of the Commonwealth
Government's new arrangements for Indigenous affairs and service delivery. The
terms of RPAs will comply with the 'Framework Principles for Government Service
Delivery' agreed by the Council of Australian Government in June 2004.

12 August 2005

New Indigenous Employment Strategy for the Australian Public Service
announced.

The Australian Government announces a new Indigenous Employment Strategy
for the Australian Public Service. The strategy provides additional funding of
$2.15 million a year for three years to improve employment opportunities for
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Public Service
(APS).[80]

A new Indigenous Employment Strategy will receive additional funding of $2.15
million over the next three years to assist in improving employment
opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the
Australian Public Service (APS).

This new program is one part of the reforms to achieve the mainstreaming of
Indigenous affairs that commenced in 2004. It is now vital that Indigenous
Australians are amongst the public servants who are responsible for implementing
the vastly changed arrangements which are administered through mainstream public
service agencies.[81]

The strategy has five elements:

  • supporting the whole of government approach to Indigenous affairs, by
    building public sector capability to do Indigenous business;
  • providing pathways to employment by removing barriers to the effective
    employment of Indigenous Australians;
  • supporting employees by maximising their contribution to the workplace;
  • supporting employees by helping them to align their Indigenous Employment
    strategies with their workforce planning and capacity building; and
  • developing and strengthening cross-agency partnerships to support working
    together to promote Indigenous
    employment.[82]

7 September 2005

Reforms to native title announced.

The Attorney-General announces reforms to the native title system which are
designed to promote the resolution of native title issues through negotiation
and agreement making rather than through litigation.

There are six inter-connected aspects to the reforms:

  1. Native Title Representative Bodies (NTRBs) – measures to improve the
    effectiveness of NTRBs.
  2. Native title respondents – amending the guidelines for the financial
    assistance program to encourage agreement making rather than litigation.
  3. Technical amendments to the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) -
    preparation of draft legislation for consultation.
  4. Claims resolution process – an independent review.
  5. Prescribed Bodies Corporate (PBCs) - an examination of the current
    structures and processes.
  6. Increased dialogue and consultation with State and Territory governments to
    promote and encourage more transparent practices in the resolution
    process.[83]

The State and Territory Native Title Ministers Group will meet in
Canberra later this month, with the Attorney-General to discuss the proposed
changes.[84]

This package of coordinated measures is aimed at improving the performance of
the native title system under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth). The
package has the goal of identifying and implementing improvements to processes
for the recognition of native title and the resolution of disputes over land
that may be subject to native title.

The reforms include:

  1. Measures to improve the effectiveness of the Native Title Representative
    Bodies (NTRBs).

    Eligibility for recognition as an NTRB will be extended to
    organisations incorporated under the Corporations Act 2001 (i.e. ordinary
    companies, rather than the current requirement that the organisation be
    incorporated under the Aboriginal Corporations and Associations Act).

    Currently, NTRBs, once recognised by the Government, are recognised
    indefinitely. In future, NTRB recognition will be for a fixed term from one to
    six years. There will also be a simplified process to allow the Minister to
    withdraw recognition of an NTRB that is not performing its statutory functions
    satisfactorily, or has serious financial irregularities.

    Funding will be made available on a multi year basis, rather than for a
    single year. This will assist NTRBs with their strategic
    planning.[85]

    In July 2007 all existing NTRBs will be automatically re recognised for fixed
    terms of up to six years. The terms will vary between NTRBs to allow future
    recognition processes to be staggered. This is to avoid system wide
    disruption.[86]

  2. Amending the guidelines of the native title respondents financial assistance
    program to encourage agreement-making rather than litigation.

    It is
    proposed that reforms to the native title respondent funding program will
    strengthen its focus on resolution of native title issues through agreement
    making, in preference to litigation.

    A wide range of non-claimant parties
    (eg pastoralists, miners, local government and industry peak bodies) participate
    extensively in native title claims. However, given that the fundamentals of
    native title are settled, it is not necessary for non-claimant parties to
    litigate all stages of a legal matter where the law is not in dispute or their
    interests are already protected under the Native Title Act (Cth).

    As with the other elements, any reforms to the existing
    arrangements for assistance to respondents will be directed towards securing
    improved performance from all elements of the system, and promoting agreement
    making wherever possible.[87]

  3. Preparation of exposure draft legislation for consultation on possible
    technical amendments to the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) to improve
    existing processes for native title litigation and negotiation.

    A discussion paper setting out the proposed technical amendments to
    the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) was released for public comment on 22
    November 2005. Stakeholder comments on those proposals and further suggestions
    for the amendments were requested by 31 January 2006. The Government is
    currently considering the responses received, and expects to release an exposure
    draft of the technical amendments early in the 2006-07 financial
    year.[88]

  4. An independent review of native title claims resolution processes.

    The Claims Resolution Review was established by the
    Attorney-General to consider the process by which native title applications are
    resolved. The Review examined the roles of the National Native Title Tribunal
    (NNTT) and the Federal Court and considered measures for the more efficient
    management of native title claims within the existing framework of the Native
    Title Act 1993
    (Cth).

    The Attorney-General appointed two independent
    consultants, Mr Graham Hiley QC and Dr Ken Levy RFD, to undertake the Claims
    Resolution Review. Mr Hiley is a Queen's Counsel with extensive experience in
    native title and Aboriginal land rights law. Dr Levy is currently a part-time
    member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and was previously the
    Director-General of the Queensland Department of Justice.

    The
    consultants were overseen by a Steering Committee comprising a member of the
    NNTT, the Registrar of the Federal Court, an officer of the Australian
    Government Attorney-General's Department and an officer of the Office of
    Indigenous Policy Coordination in the Department of Families, Community Services
    and Indigenous Affairs.

    The Claims Resolution Review commenced in October
    2005. The consultants provided their report to the Attorney-General on 31 March
    2006. The Government released the Report of the Claims Resolution Review and the
    Government response to the Claims Resolution Review on 21 August 2006.

    The consultants undertook extensive consultation with
    a broad range of native title stakeholders including Native Title Representative
    Bodies, State and Territory governments and respondent bodies including industry
    and pastoral representatives.

    Written submissions to the Review were
    also invited. The closing date for submissions was 1 December
    2005.[89]

  5. An examination of current structures and processes of Prescribed Bodies
    Corporate (PBC’s).

    An examination of the current structures and process of PBCs will
    take place between November 2005 and February 2006. The consultations will
    target the functions and governance model of PBCs with a range of stakeholders
    including existing PBCs, NTRBs, State and Territory governments and industry
    bodies taking part. This consultation process will seek to identify the needs
    and functions of PBCs and to assess the appropriateness of the current
    governance model for PBCs. The examination will also take into account the
    effect of the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Bill
    2005
    .

    Interested stakeholders are invited to contact the Native Title Unit in the
    Attorney-General's Department for more information on these consultations. The
    consultations will be facilitated by a steering committee, which comprises staff
    from the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination, the Office of the Registrar
    of Aboriginal Corporations, and the Attorney-General’s
    Department.[90]

  6. Increased dialogue and consultation with State and Territory governments to
    promote and encourage more transparent practices in the resolution process.

    Government parties are major players in the native title system and
    have a major impact on how the system operates. States and Territories have
    day-to-day responsibility for land management and are the first respondents to
    the majority of native title claims. The Australian Government has overarching
    responsibility for the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth). There is scope to
    improve the manner in which governments interact with each other and with other
    stakeholders in the native title system. The Australian Government believes that
    improved communication and transparency will have flow-on benefits for the
    system as a whole and will lead to faster and more affordable native title
    outcomes.

    On 16 September the Attorney-General will convene a meeting of all State and
    Territory ministers with native title responsibilities. The Native Title
    Ministers’ Meeting will provide an opportunity for the Australian
    Government to promote the benefits of positive and transparent behaviours by
    other jurisdictions.[91]

12 September 2005

$9.5 million to tackle petrol sniffing announced by Australian
Government.

The Australian Government announces a $9.5 million boost in funding to
tackle petrol sniffing in Central Desert Indigenous communities. Senior
policing, justice, health and community services officials from the governments
of the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia support an
eight point plan proposed by the Australian
Government.[92]

Federal, State and Territory agencies are working together to better
co-ordinate and utilise services across the region. A key aspect involves
listening to Indigenous communities to hear their ideas about how to stop petrol
sniffing.

The new strategic approach agreed between the Australian Government and the
South Australian, Western Australian and Northern Territory Governments involves
an 8 point plan which covers:

  • Consistent legislation – the Northern Territory, South Australia and
    West Australia will make it an offence to sell or supply volatile substances for
    sniffing.
  • Appropriate levels of policing – including zero tolerance for
    traffickers.
  • Further roll-out of non-sniffable petrol – such as Opal fuel,
    which does not give sniffers a ‘high’.
  • Alternative activities for young people.
  • Treatment and respite facilities.
  • Communication and education strategies.
  • Strengthening and supporting communities.
  • Evaluation – capturing and reviewing what works so that it can be
    applied elsewhere.

There are an estimated 600 Indigenous people in Central Australia
believed to be petrol sniffers. Services will be targeted towards the needs of
individual communities to address the range of ways petrol sniffing can impact
on a community. Opal fuel is currently in 52 Indigenous
communities.[93]

19 September 2005

Inaugural meeting of the National Indigenous Youth Leadership
Group.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Children and Youth hosts the inaugural
meeting of the National Indigenous Youth Leadership Group (NIYLG) that was
formed in July 2005.[94]

The NIYLG brings together 17 Indigenous young people aged 18 to 24 years,
from diverse backgrounds, employment, location and interests, to meet with the
Australian Government to discuss their unique experiences and their expectations
of the group.

The inaugural meeting of the National Indigenous Youth Leadership Group
(NIYLG) was an orientation meeting which provided members with a background on
government processes and the skills required for progressing important
Indigenous youth issues with the Australian Government.

Members met with a former Parliamentary Secretary for Children and Youth
Affairs and were also consulted by the Minister for Local Government,
Territories and Roads about the Australian Government’s position on the
Tent Embassy. Guest speakers included two National Indigenous Council Members;
government representatives from the Indigenous Coordination Centres and the
Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination.

Members formed topic groups and nominated areas of interest, which they will
progress during their term. The areas of interest including youth leadership,
cultural identity, education, employment and family
violence.[95]

4 October 2005

Australian and Northern Territory Governments fund family violence
projects.

The Australian and Northern Territory Governments jointly provide $3.2
million for three new projects to tackle family violence and abuse in Indigenous
communities.

The projects include:

  • Interventions for Children, a program to develop and deliver
    therapeutic interventions for children exposed to family violence;
  • Jiban Gubalewei (Peace at Home), which will establish a new
    integrated Police and Community Services centre addressing family violence and
    child abuse in the Katherine and Borroloola region; and
  • Empowering Indigenous Communities, which will pilot a method to
    monitor and respond to changing levels of local violence in six remote
    communities.[96]

The projects are explained in more detail below:

  • Interventions for Children will develop and deliver therapeutic
    interventions for children exposed to family violence and train workers in
    women's shelters, teachers and other service providers assisting children. The
    Australian Government is providing $200,000 during the next three years and the
    NT Government will provide $100,000.
  • Jiban Gudbalawei (Peace At Home) will establish a new integrated
    Police and Community Services centre addressing family violence and child abuse
    in the Katherine and Borroloola region. The NT Government will provide $1.7
    million in kind over three years to this project and the Australian Government
    will contribute $1 million.
  • Empowering Indigenous Communities will pilot a method to monitor and
    respond to changing levels of local violence in six remote communities. The
    Australian Government has committed $60,000 over three years to the project and
    the NT Government will provide
    $100,000.[97]

5 October 2005

Initiatives to support home ownership on Indigenous land announced.

The Australian Government announces initiatives to support home ownership
on Indigenous land throughout Australia.
The initiatives include:

  • An initial allocation of a $7.3 million addition to the Home Ownership
    Programme run by Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) for a new programme
    targeted to Indigenous Australians living on communal land. Under this program
    people can borrow money from the IBA at concessional interest rates.
  • An initial allocation of up to $5 million from the Community Housing and
    Infrastructure Programme to reward good renters with the opportunity to buy the
    community house they have been living in at a reduced price.
  • Use of the Community Development Employment Project (CDEP) to start building
    houses, support home maintenance, and to maximise employment and training
    opportunities.

These Australia wide measures add to the changes to tenure
arrangements on Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory which were also
announced today.[98]

These programs will be available to all States that follow the Australian and
Northern Territory Government’s lead to enable long term individual leases
on Aboriginal land under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act
1976
. The programs are expected to commence in 2005-06 with full
implementation from 2006-07.[99]

5 October 2005

Changes to Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976
announced.

The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs
announces changes to the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act
1976
. The stated aim of the changes is to help Aboriginal peoples to get
greater economic benefit from their land.

The changes will introduce tenure arrangements over entire township areas
which are on Aboriginal owned land. The scheme will be a voluntary
one.[100]

The changes to the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 involve the introduction of a model similar to that which was proposed by
the Northern Territory Government and supported by the National Indigenous
Council. The changes include:

  • The Northern Territory Government will establish an entity to talk with the
    Traditional Owners and the Land Council of a particular town area to obtain
    99-year head-leases over township areas.
  • The entity can issue long term sub-leases to town users without the need to
    negotiate on a case by case basis with Traditional Owners and Land Councils.
  • The terms of the head-lease will be negotiated with the Traditional Owners
    and Land Councils, except for a statutory ceiling (five per cent of the
    land’s value) on the annual rent payable to the Traditional
    Owners.[101]

9 November 2005

Indigenous Economic Development Strategy launched.

The Australian Government launches the Indigenous Economic Development
Strategy, a scheme to assist Indigenous Australians achieve economic
independence.

The strategy focuses on two key areas: work, and asset and wealth
management.

Under the work component of the strategy, the Government will promote a Local Jobs for Local People initiative. Indigenous communities, employers
and service providers will work together to identify local employment and
business opportunities and the training needed for jobseekers.

Other initiatives in this area include:

  • developing targeted industry strategies to address regional employment
    needs;
  • continuation of the Community Development Employment Project (CDEP) reforms
    which began earlier this year;
  • improving linkages between Indigenous communities and vocational education
    and training bodies; and
  • training and support for local Indigenous business entrepreneurs.

Asset and wealth management initiatives include:

  • increasing Indigenous home ownership;
  • increasing personal and commercial financial skills; and
  • exploring ways to increase economic development on Indigenous
    land.[102]

A key finding of the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Key Indicators
2003 Report
is that economic development is central to the well-being of
Indigenous Australians.[103]

A stated goal of the Australian Government’s Indigenous policy is to
increase Indigenous economic independence through reducing dependency on passive
welfare and through stimulating employment and economic opportunities for
Indigenous Australians.

The Indigenous Economic Development Strategy is a whole-of-government
approach to removing barriers to Indigenous peoples achieving economic
independence. The strategy aims to increase the level of Indigenous employment,
self-employment and business development and to assist Indigenous Australians to
participate in the broader economy.

The strategy will focus on two primary areas:

  • Work - the strategy will aim to expand job opportunities for Indigenous
    Australians; and
  • Asset and wealth management – through the provision of access to
    economic development opportunities, the expansion of home ownership programs and
    opportunities, changed land utilisation arrangements, and training in effective
    wealth management skills.

There are twelve initiatives under this strategy:

  1. Local jobs for local people will aim to ensure that Indigenous
    Australians, particularly those in remote or rural communities, will have an
    equal chance to compete for and win local employment. Local jobs for local
    people
    will bring together all stakeholders in a local area to increase
    employment opportunities for local people.
  2. Targeted industry strategies will aim to link Indigenous communities with
    high unemployment with industries which are operating within their region.
  3. CDEP reform as outlined earlier this year in Building on Success: CDEP
    Future Directions.
  4. The employment service performance initiative will aim to improve the
    ability of employment service providers to achieve better employment outcomes
    for Indigenous Australians, through the various job networks and through the
    establishment of Indigenous Employment Centres.
  5. The Vocational Education and Training (VET) linkages initiative aims to make
    better use of the providers of education and training in structuring training
    and education that is matched to employer needs and requirements.
  6. Developing enterprise opportunities, focused on areas of importance in
    communities, such as community stores, the initiative will encourage business
    development by Indigenous Australians.
  7. The business leader initiatives will help Indigenous Australians by
    providing financial literacy training and by showcasing and promoting successful
    Indigenous businesses and business people.
  8. General business support will be offered through the provision of a range of
    ‘business tools’ which will help Indigenous people to act on
    business opportunities and start up businesses.
  9. Private sector involvement in home ownership and business development. This
    is one part of the strategy to increase home ownership on Indigenous land
    through increasing the involvement of the private sector in facilitating home
    ownership and small business formation.
  10. Coordinated economic development on land. This a strategy aims to improve
    government coordination and to provide better access to economic development for
    Indigenous Australians.
  11. Investment rules to improve returns from trusts and encourage investment of
    income from land. This initiative aims to help Indigenous Australians to obtain
    equity in larger local commercial opportunities and will hopefully lead to more
    effective use of land rights and native title. This links with the reforms to
    native title that were announced earlier in the year.
  12. Skills to realise economic outcomes. In line with the reforms to native
    title, this initiative aims to improve economic development outcomes by
    improving the skills base of NTRB’s, Land Councils and
    PBC’s.[104]

18 November 2005

Reforms to the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976.

The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs
announces changes to the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act
1976
.[105]

The key elements of the reform are:

  • facilitating economic development;
  • improving the mining provisions of the Act including devolving some powers
    from the Australian Government to the Northern Territory Government;
  • allowing for local Indigenous people to have more say over their
    affairs;
  • moving to performance based funding for Land Councils;
  • ensuring royalty payments are made in a transparent and accountable way; and
  • disposing of land claims which cannot legally proceed or would be
    inappropriate to
    grant.[106]

Following consultation with stakeholders, reforms are to be introduced into
the Northern Territory Aboriginal Land Rights Act which will enable
greater economic development on Aboriginal land. The stated goal is to attain
better economic outcomes for Traditional Owners, other Aboriginal people, the
mining industry and Territorians in general.

The key elements of the reform are:

  • Facilitating economic development.
  • Improving the mining provisions of the Act including devolving some powers
    from the Australian Government to the Northern Territory Government.
  • Allowing for local Indigenous people to have more say over their
    affairs.
  • Moving to performance based funding for Land Councils.
  • Ensuring royalty payments are made in a transparent and accountable way; and
  • Disposing of land claims which cannot legally proceed or would be
    inappropriate to grant.[107]

20 November 2005

Secretaries Group on Indigenous Affairs releases its Annual Report on
Indigenous Affairs 2004-05.

The Secretaries Group on Indigenous Affairs releases its Annual Report on
Indigenous Affairs for 2004-05. The focus of activities for the Group in the
last year have been:

  • setting parameters for local engagement with Indigenous communities based on
    shared responsibility;
  • providing high-level guidance and oversight of Indigenous Co-ordination
    Centres;
  • developing an integrated Single Indigenous Budget Submission for
    consideration by the Ministerial Taskforce for Indigenous Affairs (MTF); and
  • establishing a performance monitoring and evaluation
    framework.[108]

The Annual Report contains commentary on the new arrangements in Indigenous
affairs which are being led by the Ministerial Taskforce on Indigenous Affairs
(MTF). The MTF is chaired by the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and
Indigenous Affairs and comprises 10 ministers with lead responsibility in
Indigenous affairs.

The MTF has set three key priorities for its work, in consultation with the
National Indigenous Council (NIC). These priorities are:

  • Early childhood intervention: a key focus will be improved mental and
    physical health, and in particular primary health and early educational
    outcomes.
  • Safer communities: this includes issues of authority, law and order, but
    also focuses on dealing with issues of governance to ensure that communities are
    functional and effective.
  • Building Indigenous wealth, employment and entrepreneurial culture: this is
    integral to boosting economic development and reducing poverty and passive
    welfare.

In their first year the Secretaries Group have focussed on key
strategies, including:

  • setting parameters for local engagement with Indigenous communities based on
    shared responsibility;
  • providing high level guidance and oversight of Indigenous Coordination
    Centres;
  • developing an integrated Single Indigenous Budget Submission for
    consideration by the MTF; and
  • establishing a performance monitoring and evaluation framework.

As a practical means of harnessing both mainstream and
Indigenous-specific programs, agencies are identifying portfolio experts to
support whole-of-government work in ICC’s.

The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations has appointed Solution
Brokers at every ICC location. They are responsible for promoting and
implementing innovative employment, participation, and training and enterprise
opportunities for Indigenous Australians in their ICC region. These Solution
Brokers work in a whole-of-government environment to contribute to the
development of Shared Responsibility Agreements.

Over the next year the Secretaries Group will continue to reform processes
across policy development, project management and service
delivery.[109]

22 November 2005

Indigenous Legal Aid Services announced for the Northern
Territory.

The Attorney-General announces two successful tenderers for the provision
of legal aid services for Indigenous Australians in the Northern
Territory.

The North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency Ltd is the successful
tenderer for the North Zone and the Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid
Service Incorporated is the successful tenderer for the South Zone. Tenders were
called for in August of this year. [110]

The North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency Ltd is the successful tenderer
for the North Zone – covering the Darwin, Nhulunbuy, Jabiru and Katherine
regions. The organisation is an amalgamation of the three Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Legal Services in the northern regions of the Northern Territory
– the North Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service (Darwin), Miwatj
Aboriginal Legal Service Aboriginal Corporation (Nhulunbuy) and the Katherine
Regional Aboriginal Legal Aid.

The Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service Incorporated is the
successful tenderer for the South Zone – covering the Alice Springs,
Tennant Creek and Apatula regions.

Both organisations have provided high quality and culturally sensitive
services to Indigenous Australians within their regions for many years.

Organisations forming the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency have a
combined total of 61 years experience and the Central Australian Aboriginal
Legal Aid Service has been operating for 32 years.

The Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service offers a flexible model
of service delivery to outreach communities such as Elliott, Ali-Curung and Ti
Tree. This includes an after hours service, visiting clients in ‘town
camps’, a ‘drop-in’ office environment and an 1800 free call
number. The North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency will similarly use
outreach arrangements to service 15 ‘bush courts’ in locations such
as Maningrida, Borroloola and Groote Eylandt.

These organisations are best placed to provide culturally sensitive legal aid
services to their respective zones and to respond to the complex challenges and
changes affecting Indigenous Australians.

23 November 2005

Delivering Better Outcomes in Native Title – Update on
Government’s Plan for Practical Reform.

The Attorney-General and Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and
Indigenous Affairs issue a joint statement to outline more details about the
changes to the administration of the native title system.

The changes relate specifically to Native Title Representative Bodies
(NTRB). The changes for NTRBs are designed to:

  • enhance the quality of service by broadening the range of organisations that
    can undertake activities on behalf of claimants;
  • streamline the process for withdrawing recognition from poorly performing
    NTRBs and appointing a replacement;
  • put a time limit on the recognised status of NTRBs to ensure a focus on
    outcomes; and
  • provide NTRBs with multi-year funding to assist their strategic planning.

Consultations are to be undertaken with NTRBs and stakeholders
before the changes are formally introduced into Parliament next
year.[111]

The Australian Government also released a consultation draft of proposed
guidelines for the Native Title Respondents’ Financial Assistance Scheme
to strengthen the focus of the scheme on agreement making over litigation.
Submissions are encouraged from native title stakeholders, state and territory
governments and respondent bodies before 10 February
2006.[112]

5 December 2005

Bilateral Agreement on Service Delivery to Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islanders in Queensland
signed.[113]

The Prime Minister and the Premier of Queensland announce a five-year
bilateral agreement committing both governments to improving service delivery to
Indigenous Queenslanders.

The agreement commits the Australian and Queensland Governments to work
together with Indigenous communities on service planning and delivery,
investment and performance evaluation, and to reduce the bureaucratic load on
communities.

Under the agreement, the governments will work towards shared priorities,
including those identified in the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Report.
These include:

  • early childhood development and growth;
  • early school engagement and performance;
  • positive childhood and transition to adulthood;
  • substance use and misuse;
  • functional and resilient families and communities;
  • effective environmental health systems; and
  • economic participation and
    development.[114]

This is the second bilateral agreement signed under the Council of Australian
Governments (COAG) Indigenous Service Delivery Framework. It builds on existing
arrangements and bilateral agreements. The agreement establishes arrangements to
engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Queensland and
strengthens the partnership between the Queensland and Australian Governments.

Under the agreement, the governments will work towards shared priorities,
including those identified in the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage
Report
, such as:

  • early childhood development and growth;
  • early school engagement and performance;
  • positive childhood and transition to adulthood;
  • substance use and misuse;
  • functional and resilient families and communities;
  • effective environmental health systems; and
  • economic participation and development.

In addition, Australian
and Queensland Government officials will be expected to coordinate their efforts
at the state, regional and local level. This agreement will make it easier for
communities to work with the Commonwealth and Queensland governments by
establishing joint forums for engagement. Negotiation tables will continue to be
the primary engagement mechanism for Indigenous communities in Queensland, as
they allow direct communication between community members and governments about
the major issues communities face.

Increased engagement between the governments and communities provides an
opportunity for communities and governments to develop Shared Responsibility
Agreements (SRAs) and thereby clarify agreed priorities and commitments.

The governments will streamline processes, increase funding flexibility and
better target services to the Lockhart River community. Other locations that
need concerted, coordinated action will be progressively
identified.[115]

15 December 2005

National Indigenous Council releases its inaugural Report Card.

The National Indigenous Council (NIC) releases its Inaugural Report to the
Australian Government. The report is a requirement of the terms of reference
that established the NIC.

The report summarises the work undertaken by the NIC from December 2004 to
December 2005.

The report has five main discussion areas:

  • a brief analysis of the new arrangements, the Ministerial Taskforce on
    Indigenous Affairs (MTF) and the Secretaries Group on Indigenous Affairs;
  • the role and meetings of the NIC throughout the previous year;
  • strategic advice given and partnerships entered into during the last twelve
    months by the NIC;
  • individual NIC members’ reports; and
  • concluding remarks which provide a summary of the year’s
    work.[116]

The report outlines the work undertaken by the NIC during its first year of
operation. The report reiterates that the NIC was established as an intrinsic
element of the new arrangements in Indigenous affairs, and that its main
function is to provide advice to the Government through the Ministerial
Taskforce on Indigenous Affairs. The NIC has assisted the Ministerial Taskforce
on Indigenous Affairs in reviewing its priorities.

15 December 2005

$23 million boost for training for Indigenous youth from remote
communities.

The Australian Government launches the Indigenous Youth Mobility Programme.
$23.1 million has been allocated to provide 600 young Indigenous Australians
with the opportunity to relocate to a major regional centre and train for a
career by undertaking pre-vocational training, a new apprenticeship or tertiary
level education.[117]

The objectives of the Indigenous Youth Mobility Programme are to:

  • improve access to training and employment opportunities in major centres for
    young Indigenous Australians from remote communities;
  • increase the number of young Indigenous Australians participating in
    accredited training;
  • increase the number of Indigenous people employed in occupations in
    particular areas of community need such as trades, nursing, accountancy,
    business management and teaching, and;
  • support economic development in remote communities by building the capacity
    of local Indigenous youth to take up skilled jobs in their
    communities.[118]

The new Indigenous Youth Mobility Programme is one part of the
Government’s Indigenous Australians Opportunity and Responsibility Commitment. It will assist Indigenous youth from remote Australia to receive
training and employment opportunities to help them achieve their full potential.

The training opportunities could lead to occupations in high demand
throughout remote Australian communities, such as trades, nursing, accountancy,
business management and teaching. Participants may choose to return to their own
communities to take up skilled jobs that are often filled by non-Indigenous
workers, or pursue their careers elsewhere.

The new programme will try to ensure participants are provided with a
comprehensive support network including safe accommodation (to be delivered by
Aboriginal Hostels Limited), mentors, training and assistance in maintaining
contact with their own communities.

The new providers will be based in Cairns, Townsville, Toowoomba, Newcastle,
Dubbo, Canberra, Shepparton, Perth and Darwin.

The Foundation for Young Australians has been appointed as the programme
administrator for the new Indigenous Youth Leadership Programme to support the
education of 250 talented Indigenous young people. The Government has committed
$12.9 million to the programme, which will incorporate the new National
Indigenous Elders Advisory Group (NIEAG) to support the cultural integrity of
the programme, and help design a mentoring strategy involving other Indigenous
Australians.

Funding committed to these programmes is part of the Federal
Government’s $2.1 billion package for Indigenous education for 2005-08.
The funding package is a 22.3% increase over the previous four year funding
period.[119]

22 December 2005

Over $250 million in new Agreement on Indigenous housing and
infrastructure.

The Australian and Northern Territory Governments announce their Agreement for the Provision of Housing and Infrastructure to Indigenous
People in the Northern Territory 2005-2008.
The agreement provides that from
1 July 2006, the Northern Territory will manage the funding for Indigenous
housing and housing infrastructure.

The agreement forms the basis of a three year program worth $254 million
that will for the first time combine the Australian and Northern Territory (NT)
Governments' Indigenous housing resources to help provide better housing
alternatives for Indigenous families across the
NT.[120]

The agreement provides that the Australian Government will invest $200
million in Indigenous housing, while the Northern Territory Government will be
responsible for building new homes and upgrading existing homes in those
communities where the demand is greatest. New homes will be designed to be safe,
functional, sustainable and suitable for local conditions.

The agreement also places an emphasis on substantial upgrades, repairs and
maintenance to ensure families have a safe and healthy environment in which to
raise their children. The Governments believe that the pooling of their housing
resources will streamline program delivery and enable the Territory Government
to be more strategic and effective in the delivery of Indigenous housing
services.[121]

23 January 2006

Indigenous Legal Aid Services announced for South Australia.

The Attorney-General announces that the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement
Incorporated is the successful tenderer for the provision of legal aid services
to Indigenous Australians in South Australia.

The Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement Incorporated has provided Indigenous
legal aid services in the State since it’s incorporation in
1973.[122]

The Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement Incorporated services a large
geographical area that includes major towns and outlying communities in South
Australia, such as Adelaide, Murray Bridge, Port Lincoln and Port Augusta. It
also visits circuit and bush courts in locations such as Maitland, Berri and
Yalata. The ALRM Incorporated is to commence providing legal aid services under
the new contract from 1 February 2006.

24 January 2006

Indigenous Affairs moves to a new Federal Department (FaCSIA).

The Prime Minister announces changes to the Ministry and the Administrative
Arrangements Order. As part of the change the Office of Indigenous Policy
Coordination is moved to the Family and Community Services Portfolio and a new
Ministerial portfolio will be created to encompass Indigenous
affairs.[123]

The new Minister will head the newly formed Department of Families,
Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FCaSIA). This department was formerly
known as the Department of Family and Community Services.

The Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination will move to the Family and
Community Services (FaCS) portfolio because of the concurrence with other FaCS
programmes. The portfolio will be renamed Families, Community Services and
Indigenous Affairs (FaCSIA) and the current portfolio of Immigration,
Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs will be renamed Department of Immigration
and Multicultural Affairs.

The Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs will
also become Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs. The
swearing in ceremony will be held on 27 January
2006.[124]

The primary changes in the last twelve months involved the abolition of ATSIC
and the transfer of $1.1 billion of ATSIC programmes to mainstream departments;
the appointment of the National Indigenous Council (NIC); the preparation of a
single budget submission by the Ministerial Taskforce on Indigenous Affairs
(MTF); the establishment of 30 Indigenous Co-ordination Centres (ICC’s);
the completion of 120 Shared Responsibility Agreements (SRA’s); the
introduction of legislation to modernise the Aboriginal Councils and
Associations Act
1976 to improve governance and accountability; and
significant changes to the Aboriginal Land Rights(Northern Territory) Act 1976.[125]

February 2006

The passage of the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander)
Act 2006 (Cth) delayed until October 2006.

The passage of the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander)
Act
2006 (Cth) through Parliament is delayed until October
2006.
The Bill will commence on 1 July 2007 to coincide with the start of the
2007-08 financial year.[126]

An independent review of the Aboriginal Councils and Associations Act
1976
(Cth) (the ACA Act) was commissioned by the Registrar in 2001. The
review began in February 2001, and led to the Corporations (Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander) Bill
2006 being developed.

There were several rounds of consultations and two workshops in Alice
Springs. In addition, questionnaires were sent to all associations incorporated
under the ACA Act and to 345 Indigenous organisations incorporated under other
national, state and territory legislation. There was extensive advertising in
local and rural media, information sheets and consultation papers.

The Bill will replace the Aboriginal Councils and Associations Act 1976 (Cth). Corporations will have up to two years to make the necessary changes
to comply with the new law. This period will be known as the ‘transitional
period’.

The Bill allows for flexibility so that corporations can tailor their
corporate governance practices to better suit their members and communities.
Most corporations are likely to use the internal governance framework built into
the bill, others will choose to modify it. Support and training will be
available through the Office of the Registrar of Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Corporations, to help them through the process where it is needed.

The Bill will give corporations the option to accept a minority of
non-Indigenous members, and also to appoint or elect a minority of
non-Indigenous people to the board. This will be a choice for members to make
when they develop their constitutions.

The Bill includes increased rights for members, consistent with the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), and provides greater opportunities for
members to act to protect their own interests. In addition, the Registrar will
be able to act on behalf of members in circumstances where they are unable to do
so, for example, in the case of an oppressed minority.

To protect the members of corporations, funding bodies and ultimately the
Australian taxpayer, a range of offences are covered in the Bill. The offences
largely reflect those set out in the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and have
been developed on the principle that similar obligations should attract similar
consequences.[127]

15 February 2006

Social Justice and Native Title Reports 2005 tabled in Parliament.

The Attorney-General tables the Social Justice Report 2005 and the Native Title Report 2005 in Parliament.

The reports were prepared by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Social Justice
Commissioner.[128]

The Social Justice Report 2005 provides an overview of the work of the
Social Justice Commissioner and the major issues that have impacted on
Indigenous peoples over the preceding 12 months. One focus of the report is on
progress over the last year in the government’s implementation of its new
arrangements for the administration of Indigenous affairs. To assist in the
implementation of the new arrangements, the report outlines what constitutes a
human rights based approach to engagement with Indigenous communities. This is
designed to ensure the effective participation of Indigenous peoples in all
levels of decision making and service delivery that affect their lives.

Another focus of the report is Indigenous health. One of the report’s
chapters provides a human rights based approach to addressing Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander health equality. The report also proposes a campaign for
achieving health equity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within
a generation.

In accordance with the functions set out in section 46C(1) (a) of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986 (Cth), the report
includes 5 recommendations: – 3 in relation to achieving health equality
for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and 2 in relation to the new
arrangements in Indigenous affairs. The report also contains 5 follow up actions
that the Social Justice Commissioner will undertake over the next twelve months
in relation to the new arrangements. These and the recommendations are
reproduced here:

Achieving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality within a
generation – A human rights based approach

Recommendation 1

That the governments of Australia commit to achieving equality of health
status and life expectation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and
non-Indigenous people within 25 years.

Recommendation 2

a) That the governments of Australia commit to achieving equality of
access to primary health care and health infrastructure within 10 years for
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

b) That benchmarks and targets for achieving equality of health status
and life expectation be negotiated, with the full participation of Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and committed to by all Australian
governments. Such benchmarks and targets should be based on the indicators set
out in the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Framework and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework. They
should be made at the national, state/ territory and regional levels and account
for regional variations in health status. Data collection processes should also
be improved to enable adequate reporting on a disaggregated basis, in accordance
with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance
Framework.

c) That resources available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
health, through mainstream and Indigenous specific services, be increased to
levels that match need in communities and to the level necessary to achieve the
benchmarks, targets and goals set out above. Arrangements to pool funding should
be made, with states and territories matching additional funding contributions
from the federal government.

d) The goal and aims of the National Strategic Framework for
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
be incorporated into the
operation of Indigenous Coordination Centres and the new arrangements for
Indigenous affairs. This includes through reliance on the outcomes of regional
planning processes under the Aboriginal Health Forums.

Recommendation 3

That the Australian Health Minister’s Conference agree to a National
Commitment

to Achieve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Equality and
that bi-partisan support for this commitment be sought in federal Parliament and
in all State and Territory parliaments.

This commitment should:

  • acknowledge the existing inequality of health status enjoyed by Aboriginal
    and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
  • acknowledge that this constitutes a threat to the survival of Aboriginal and
    Torres Strait Islander peoples, their languages and cultures, and does not
    provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with the ability to live
    safe, healthy lives in full human dignity;
  • confirm the commitment of all governments to the National Strategic
    Framework
    and the National Aboriginal Health Strategy as providing
    over-arching guidance for addressing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    health inequality;
  • commit all governments to a program of action to redress this inequality,
    which aims to ensure equality of opportunity in the provision of primary health
    care services and health infrastructure within ten years;
  • note that such a commitment requires partnerships and shared responsibility
    between all levels of government, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
    and communities, non-government organisations and the private sector;
  • acknowledge that additional, special measures will be necessary into the
    medium term to achieve this commitment;
  • acknowledge that significant advances have been made, particularly in levels
    of resourcing, since 1995 to address this situation;
  • commit to celebrate and support the success of Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islander peoples in addressing health inequality;
  • accept the holistic definition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    health and the importance of Aboriginal community controlled health services in
    achieving lasting improvements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health
    status;
  • commit to continue to work to achieve improved access to mainstream
    services, alongside continued support for Aboriginal community controlled health
    services in urban as well as rural and remote areas; and
  • acknowledge that achieving such equality will contribute to the
    reconciliation process.

Progress in implementing the new arrangements for the
administration of Indigenous affairs – Ensuring the effective
participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in
decision-making processes

Recommendation 4

That the federal government, in partnership with state and territory
governments, prioritise the negotiation with Indigenous peoples of regional
representative arrangements. Representative bodies should be finalised and
operational by 30 June 2006 in all Indigenous Coordination Centre regions.

Recommendation 5

That the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination, in consultation with the
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, agree to Guidelines to ensure that Shared Responsibility Agreements comply with human
rights standards
relating to the process of negotiating SRAs and the content
of such agreements.[129]

8 March 2006

Boost in Indigenous school retention rates.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics releases the Schools Report 2005 which shows that school retention rates among Indigenous students have climbed
significantly over the past five
years.[130]

In 2005 there were 135,097 Indigenous full time students, representing a 3.5%
increase since 2004. Almost 58% of these students attended schools in New South
Wales or Queensland in 2005. There were 3,427 Indigenous full time students in
Year 12 across all States and Territories in 2005, compared to 2,620 five years
earlier.

Apparent retention rates for Indigenous full-time school students from Year
7/8 to both Year 10 and Year 12 have continued to rise over the last five years.
The rate to Year 10 increased from 83% in 2000 to 88.3% in 2005, and the rate to
Year 12 increased from 36.4% to 39.5% in the same period. These Indigenous
retention rates are lower than the comparable rates for non-Indigenous students.
In 2005, the rate to Year 10 for non-Indigenous students was 98.6%, while the
rate to Year 12 was
76.6%.[131]

28 March 2006

Public Service boosts its intake of Indigenous graduates.

The Australian Public Service has markedly increased its intake of
Indigenous graduates following the success of the first year of the Australian
Public Service Commission’s Indigenous graduate recruitment
initiative.[132]

Twenty-nine Indigenous graduates have recently commenced on mainstream public
service graduate programmes as a direct result of the Australian Public Service
Commission’s inaugural Indigenous graduate recruitment initiative, where
graduates will complete a year of work placements and training. The program will
run again in 2007.

The Government’s strategy was announced by the Prime Minister on 12
August 2005 and included additional funding of $6.45m over three years to
support the Australian Public Service Commission’s Employment and
Capability Strategy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employees. The
funding is to be used for Indigenous employment initiatives that will:

  • support a whole-of-government approach by building public sector capability
    to do Indigenous business;
  • provide pathways to employment by removing barriers to the effective
    employment of Indigenous Australians;
  • support employees by maximising their contribution to the workplace;
  • support employers by helping them to align their Indigenous Employment
    Strategies with their workforce planning and capacity building; and
  • develop and strengthen cross-agency partnerships to support working together
    to promote Indigenous
    employment.[133]

12 April 2006

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey indicates
that Indigenous unemployment has fallen.

The 2004-05 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey
(NATSIHS), indicates that national unemployment for Indigenous persons aged 15
years and over has fallen to 15.4 per cent for 2004-2005. This result
represents a fall of 7.5 percentage points, compared to the 2002 survey when
Indigenous unemployment was measured at 22.9 per
cent.[134]

The survey was conducted in remote and non-remote areas of Australia, and
was designed to collect a range of information from Indigenous Australians about
health related issues, including health status, risk factors and socio-economic
circumstances.[135]

The 2004-2005 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
Survey (NATSIHS) recorded a fall of 7.5 percentage points in the national
unemployment rate for Indigenous persons aged 15 years and over from high of
22.9 per cent in 2002. Over the same period, employment for Indigenous
Australians grew by 10.3 per cent.

The national employment to population ratio for Indigenous persons aged 15
and over improved from 46.2 per cent in 2002 to 49.0 per cent in 2004-05. The
comparable 2004-05 employment to population rate for all Australians was 60.8
per cent.

The key findings contained in the report indicate that:

  • the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population at 30 June 2001 was
    estimated to be 458,500, or 2.4% of the total Australian population;
  • around one in four Indigenous people (26%) were living in remote areas
    compared with only one in fifty non-Indigenous people (2%);
  • the Indigenous population is quite young, with a median age of 21 years
    compared with 36 years for the non-Indigenous population;
  • Indigenous people overall were twice as likely as non-Indigenous people to
    report their health as fair or poor;
  • a higher proportion of the Indigenous population reported feeling restless
    (12%) and/or that everything was an effort all or most of the time (17%)
    (Questions were asked for the first time in this survey about the social and
    emotional well being of the Indigenous population and further analytical work is
    being undertaken by the ABS to assess their suitability for understanding the
    well being of Indigenous people).
  • a higher proportion of Indigenous Australians than non-Indigenous
    Australians reported more than one long term health condition in the age groups
    between 25-54 years. However, after adjusting for the age difference between the
    two populations, Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians were equally likely
    to report a long term health condition;
  • consistent with results from 2001, asthma was reported by around one in
    seven Indigenous Australians (15%) in 2004-05, this is a finding of 1.6 times
    more prevalence in the Indigenous population than in the non-Indigenous
    population;
  • the Indigenous population were 1.3 times more likely than non-Indigenous
    people to report heart disease and/or circulatory problems;
  • rates of hearing loss were higher amongst Indigenous people than
    non-Indigenous people in all ages groups up to 55 years of age;
  • Indigenous people were more than three times as likely as non-Indigenous
    people to report some form of diabetes;
  • rates of kidney disease were much higher in the Indigenous population;
  • Indigenous people were 1.3 times more likely than non-Indigenous people to
    have been hospitalised in the 12 months prior to interview;
  • Indigenous people were equally as likely as non-Indigenous people to have
    visited a doctor, one and a half times more likely to have consulted an
    ‘other’ health professional, and more than twice as likely to have
    visited the casualty or out patients department of a hospital in the two weeks
    before the survey;
  • in the 2004-05 NATSIHS, the ABS collected information for the first time
    about the oral health of Indigenous people. Of Indigenous people aged 15 and
    over, 11% had never visited a dentist or other health professional about their
    teeth;
  • for both men and women, smoking was more prevalent among Indigenous than
    non-Indigenous adults in every age group;
  • after adjusting for age differences, the proportion of Indigenous adults who
    reported drinking at risky/high levels (15%) was similar to that of
    non-Indigenous adults (14%);
  • the patterns of risky/high alcohol consumption were different for men and
    women;
  • many of the principal causes of ill-health among Aboriginal and Torres
    Strait Islander people are nutrition related diseases, such as heart disease,
    Type II diabetes and renal disease. In 2004-05 the majority of Indigenous people
    aged 12 years and over reported eating vegetables (95%) and/or fruit (86%)
    daily;
  • in non remote areas, the intake of vegetables was broadly similar between
    Indigenous and non-Indigenous people;
  • the proportion of Indigenous people in non-remote areas who were sedentary
    or engaged in low level exercise in the two weeks prior to interview was higher
    in 2004-05 (75%) than in 2001 (68%);
  • the proportion of Indigenous people in non-remote areas who were overweight
    or obese in 1995 was 48% increasing to 56% in 2004-05. Indigenous Australians
    were 1.2 times more likely to be overweight/obese than non-Indigenous
    Australians. In each group the disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous
    people was greater for females than for males;
  • in 2004-05, the majority of Indigenous women aged 18-64 who had had
    children, reported having breastfed them (84%);
  • in 2004-05, around nine in ten Indigenous children under seven years of age
    in non-remote areas were reported as being fully immunised against diphtheria,
    tetanus, whooping cough, polio, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella and
    haemophilus influenza type B (HIB);
  • older Indigenous people in remote areas were more likely (80%) than those in
    non-remote areas (52%) to have been recently vaccinated for influenza, and were
    more than twice as likely to have received a vaccination against pneumonia (56%
    compared with 26%); and
  • just over half of Indigenous women aged 18 years and over reported having
    regular pap smear tests and the reported use of common contraceptives by
    Indigenous women ages 18-49 years has changed very little since
    2001.[136]
17 April 2006
Bilateral Agreement on Service Delivery to Indigenous communities in
South Australia signed.

The Prime Minister and the Premier of South Australia sign a five-year
bilateral agreement committing both governments to improving service delivery to
Indigenous communities in South Australia.

This is a formal agreement which commits the Commonwealth and South
Australian Governments to work together with Indigenous communities on service
planning, delivery, investment and performance evaluation, and to reduce the
bureaucratic load on communities.

Under the agreement, the governments will work towards shared priorities,
including those identified in the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Report, as
well as other identified priority areas including:

  • safer communities;
  • housing and infrastructure;
  • health and education;
  • homelessness;
  • economic development;
  • land, environment and culture; and
  • service
    delivery.[137]

The Overarching Agreement on Indigenous Affairs between the Australian and
the South Australian Governments, also known as the Bilateral Agreement on
Service Delivery to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in South
Australia
, is a five year agreement which aims to enhance the health and
welfare of Indigenous South Australians. The agreement will be in place from 17
April 2006 until 2011.

This is the third agreement to result from the Council of Australian
Governments’ (COAG) National Framework of Principles for Delivering
Services to Indigenous Australians
which was endorsed in June 2004. The
agreement is a response to issues identified in the Overcoming Indigenous
Disadvantage Report
.

The aim of the agreement is to enhance cooperation between the two
governments in regard to service delivery through the streamlining of
bureaucratic processes and the reduction of red tape. Another aim of the
agreement is to reduce the duplication of service delivery in Indigenous
communities.[138]

17 April 2006

Bilateral Agreement on Service Delivery to Indigenous peoples in New
South Wales signed.

The Australian and New South Wales Governments sign a five-year bilateral
agreement committing both governments to improving service delivery to
Indigenous communities in NSW.

This is a formal agreement commits the Australian and NSW Governments to
work together with Indigenous communities on service planning and delivery,
investment and performance evaluation, and to reduce the bureaucratic load on
communities.

Under the agreement, the governments will work towards shared priorities,
including those identified in the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Report, as
well as other identified priority areas including:

  • building Indigenous wealth and employment;
  • promoting an entrepreneurial culture in Indigenous communities;
  • improving living conditions, health and social outcomes across a range of
    areas including early childhood health and intervention, improving literacy and
    numeracy, increasing school retention rates, reducing incarceration and the
    level of family violence; and creating safer communities.

This is
the fourth bilateral agreement to be signed under the Council of Australian
Governments (COAG) Indigenous Service Delivery
Framework.[139]

The Overarching Agreement on Aboriginal Affairs between the Australian and
New South Wales Governments, also referred to as the Bilateral Agreement on
Service Delivery to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in New South
Wales
, is a five year agreement which aims to enhance the health and welfare
of Indigenous people in New South Wales. The agreement is one element of the
implementation of Two Ways Together: the NSW Aboriginal Affairs Plan
2003-2012
.

This is the fourth bilateral agreement to result from the Council of
Australian Governments’ (COAG) National Framework of Principles for
Delivering Services to Indigenous Australians
which was endorsed in June
2004. The agreement is a response to issues identified in the Overcoming
Indigenous Disadvantage Report
. The agreement is effective from
2005-2010.

A stated aim of the agreement is to better integrate government services to
Indigenous communities and the implementation of the agreement will be
supervised by the Intergovernmental Aboriginal Affairs Group, which has been
established specifically for this purpose. The agreement includes planned
action in the areas of ‘safer communities; housing and infrastructure;
health and education; homelessness; economic development; land, environment and
culture; and service delivery’.

The major aim of the agreement is to enhance cooperation between the two
governments in regard to service delivery through the streamlining of
bureaucratic processes and the reduction of red tape. A second related aim of
the agreement is to reduce bureaucratic overlap and the duplication of service
delivery in Indigenous
communities.[140]

28 April 2006

New provider for NSW Indigenous legal aid services.

The Attorney-General announces the Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) Ltd.
as the successful tenderer to provide Indigenous legal aid services in NSW and
the Australian Capital Territory.

The new Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) Ltd merges the six existing
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services in New South
Wales.[141]

The newly formed Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) Ltd. merges the six
pre-existing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services in New South
Wales. Those services are the Sydney Regional Aboriginal Corporation Legal
Service; Many Rivers Aboriginal Legal Service; Kamilaroi Aboriginal Legal
Service Incorporated; Central Southern Aboriginal Corp for Wiradjuri Aboriginal
Legal Service; Wagga Wagga South Eastern Aboriginal Legal Service Incorporated;
and Western Aboriginal Legal Service Ltd.

The merger of the six organisations brings together over 100 years of
experience in delivering culturally appropriate legal services to Indigenous
Australians in the New South Wales region. The original tender to supply legal
services to Indigenous Australians in NSW and ACT was submitted by the Coalition
of Aboriginal Legal Services NSW, who formed the new organisation Aboriginal
Legal Service (NSW/ACT) Ltd when the tender was granted to
them.[142]

Indigenous legal aid services are provided in accordance with priorities laid
down in the Policy Directions for the Delivery of Legal Aid Services to
Indigenous Australians (Policy
Directions).[143]

The new process for access to legal aid services for Indigenous Australians
includes a means test which aims to ensure that limited funds available are
allocated to those who need them most. The Indigenous Justice and Legal
Assistance Division of the Attorney General’s Department may also provide
funding for a range of test cases. Applicants must address the Indigenous
Test Case Guidelines
which set out the criteria for obtaining funding, the
application procedure, and the conditions upon which funding is
granted.[144]

9 May 2006

Federal Budget 2006-07.

Funding to Indigenous affairs, in the 2006-07 Federal Budget, will total
$3.3 billion. This is the result of allocating close to $500 million over five
years in this Budget, with twenty four new initiatives across six
portfolios.[145]

The key budget measures within the Indigenous portfolio address four
themes:

  1. Measures Investing in People: these programs will include using sport to
    improve Indigenous young people’s education and life prospects; the reform
    of the delivery capacity of Indigenous corporations; Indigenous community
    leadership; a family and community networks initiative; an Indigenous tutorial
    assistance scheme; an Indigenous boarding college and the establishment of a
    National Indigenous Scouting Programme.
  2. Measures Addressing Economic Independence: measures will include improving
    the sustainability of community stores; the Home Ownership Program; enhanced
    opportunities for employment and participation in remote communities; extending
    the Family Income Management Programme; improving Indigenous health worker
    employment; continuing and expanding funding to the Remote Area Servicing,
    through ten established centres and two new centres; Cape York Institute welfare
    reform project; and Cape York Digital Network.
  3. Measures Tackling Pressing Problems: funding will be allocated to reducing
    substance abuse; Indigenous Family Violence Prevention Legal Services; improving
    Indigenous access to health care services; additional Indigenous aged care
    places; Northern Territory Indigenous Interpreter Services; and improving the
    capacity of health workers in Indigenous communities; and
  4. Other Measures: funding will be allocated to Reconciliation Australia;
    developing the 1967 referendum anniversary activities; and flexible funds for
    shared responsibility and agreement
    making.[146]

The key Budget measures and resources within the Indigenous affairs portfolio
are:

Measures Investing in People

  • $19.6 million to extend the successful school-based Clontarf Football
    Academy model to 20 other locations across Australia.
  • $28.1 million to assist Indigenous corporations improve their governance
    capacity and their ability to deliver more effective services on the
    ground.
  • $23.0 million to support communities through the development of emerging
    leaders and the provision of outside assistance to build their capacity to
    negotiate with governments.
  • $10.7 million to maintain the Family Community Networks Initiative.
  • $21.8 million to support Indigenous vocational education and training
    students by providing an estimated 20,000 places for tutorial assistance for up
    to 2 hours per week.
  • $15.6 million to provide up to four hours of tuition per week for up to 32
    weeks a year for Indigenous Year 9 students.
  • $10.0 million under a Shared Responsibility Agreement to fund the
    construction of a community-managed secondary college in the Tiwi Islands.
  • $2.0 million for Scouts Australia to develop a culturally specific
    leadership and community development programme for young Indigenous
    people.

Measures Addressing Economic
Independence

  • $48.0 million to Indigenous Business Australia to establish a subsidiary
    company, ‘Outback Stores’, which will provide a framework for group
    discount purchasing and better managerial, supply chain, food handling,
    nutrition and financial arrangements.
  • $21.6 million to expand the Home Ownership Programme, providing access to
    finance for up to 140 Indigenous people who may otherwise not be able to obtain
    finance from private-sector financial institutions.
  • $107.5 million to support and develop Indigenous home ownership on
    Indigenous land. Up to 460 Indigenous families living in remote Indigenous
    community towns will be able to access affordable home loans. 45 new houses
    earmarked for home ownership will be constructed and measures introduced to
    encourage saving for a home loan deposit.
  • $17.9 million to reduce passive welfare through employment-focused
    programmes which will allow remote area exemptions from the activity test to be
    lifted for people receiving income-support payments.
  • $16.6 million to extend the existing Family Income Management programme,
    which provides education and assistance to Indigenous families in remote
    communities to better manage their incomes.
  • $20.5 million to convert 130 full-time equivalent community-based Indigenous
    health care and substance abuse worker positions currently supported through the
    Community Development Employment Projects Scheme into real jobs.
  • $6.9 million to improve Indigenous access to Centrelink services through
    continued funding for 10 established Remote Area Service Centres and for two new
    centres.
  • $3.0 million will be made available to the Cape York Institute to undertake
    research into the ways that Indigenous communities interact with the welfare
    system and to design incentives to encourage employment and education.
  • $0.75 million to ensure the continued operation of the Cape York Digital
    Network, which provides telecommunications services for many remote Indigenous
    communities in Cape York.

Measures Tackling Pressing Problems

  • $55.2 million to tackle substance abuse and petrol
    sniffing. This measure builds on the Government’s regional approach in
    central Australia, increases availability of Opal (non-sniffable petrol) and
    education and alternative activities for youth.
  • $23.6 million to create five new Family Violence Prevention Legal Services
    and to extend the services available in the 26 existing services to include
    preventative work.
  • $39.5 million to improve access to mainstream health services in urban and
    regional areas and to provide funding for 40 more medical professionals to work
    in remote area health services.
  • $0.8 million for the creation of 150 new aged care places for older
    Indigenous Australians in rural and remote areas.
  • $5.1 million to maintain interpreter services in the Northern Territory to
    improve access to government services.
  • $20.8 million over 5 years to train Indigenous health workers to identify
    and address mental illness in Indigenous communities, as part of the Australian
    Government contribution to the separate Council of Australian Government’s
    Mental Health Package.

Other Measures

  • $0.5 million to mark the 40th anniversary of the 1967
    referendum by providing funding to Reconciliation Australia to promote a greater
    understanding of reconciliation.
  • The Government is furthering its commitment to the development of Shared
    Responsibility Agreements. Key portfolios will be required to contribute at
    least $75.0 million over four years to the development of Shared Responsibility
    Agreements, with Ministers to report on achievements each
    year.[147]

18 May 2006

National plan for action against Indigenous violence and child
abuse.

The Australian Government will invite State and Territory Governments to a
summit to develop a national action plan to address community safety in
Indigenous communities.[148]

The Australian Government will invite all State and Territory Governments to
a summit to develop a national action plan to address community safety in
Indigenous communities following the recent media reports on violence within
Aboriginal communities.[149]

23 May 2006

IPC releases a coordination evaluation plan for 2006-2009.

The Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination (OIPC) releases a coordination
evaluation plan for the whole of government activities in Indigenous affairs for
2006-2009.

The paper provides an overview of the planned evaluation activities to be
conducted during 2006-2009 by
OIPC.[150]

The foundations of the evaluation plan evolved from the launch of the
Government’s new arrangements in Indigenous affairs. Accountability is one
of the primary foundation principles. Evaluation is an integral part of
accountability and this plan sets out a framework under which evaluation of the
whole of government approach will occur.

The evaluation plan is organised over three broad themes, which tend to
overlap:

  • policy outcomes – covering whole of government outcomes, coordination
    and gaps;
  • place – dealing with local arrangements and partnerships; and
  • process – the actual implementation of the new arrangements.

Activities which will take place in 2005-06 will include:

  • red tape evaluation;
  • a formative evaluation of the eight COAG trial sites; and
  • a review of individual Shared Responsibility
    Agreements.[151]

31 May 2006

Reforms to Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 introduced into Parliament.

The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs
introduces amendments to the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act
1976
into Parliament. The amendments were announced in October 2005.

The changes to the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act
1976
will allow long term leases to be held over entire township areas;
change the current processes for land development; and impact on the performance
and accountability of Land Councils and royalty
bodies.[152]

The 2006-07 Budget allocated $107.5 million to the expansion of the
Indigenous Home Ownership on Indigenous Land Program and a Home Purchase
Incentive Scheme on Community Title
Land.[153] The new tenure
arrangements contained in the Bill will enable Aboriginal people in the Northern
Territory to access these new
programs.[154]

The new model proposed under these changes is similar to a proposal put
forward by the NT Government and supported by the National Indigenous
Council:

  • The NT Government will establish an entity to talk with the Traditional
    owners and the Land Council of a particular town area to obtain 99 year head
    leases over township areas.
  • The entity can issue long term sub leases to town users without the need to
    negotiate case by case with Traditional Owners and Land Councils.
  • The terms of the head lease will be negotiated with the Traditional Owners
    and Land Councils, except for a statutory ceiling (five per cent of the
    land’s value) on the annual rent payable to the Traditional
    Owners.[155]

The Home Ownership on Indigenous Land Programme will allow eligible
Indigenous people to borrow money at affordable rates to help them to get their
own home on Indigenous land. Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) will be
responsible for the Home Ownership on Indigenous Land Programme.

The Home Purchase Incentive Scheme on Community Title Land will provide a
discount on the purchase price of community owned housing for Indigenous peoples
have a good rental history. The Australian Government Department of Family and
Community Services (FaCS) will be responsible for this
Scheme.[156]

19 June 2006

Forum on ending violence in Indigenous communities.

Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR) and the Human
Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) host a forum on ending violence
in Indigenous communities at Parliament House in Canberra.

The event is supported by the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association
(AIDA), Australian Medical Association (AMA), Oxfam Australia and the Australian
Principals’ Associations Professional Development Council
(APAPDC).[157]

The forum on ending violence in Indigenous Communities was not open to the
public or media, however a press conference was held following the event.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner and a
representative from Flinders University of South Australia provided the
contextual background to both the nature of the problem and potential solutions.
The Social Justice Commissioner opened the proceedings with a speech that
stated:

“... first, let me state upfront and unequivocally that family
violence in Indigenous communities is abhorrent and has no place in Aboriginal
society.

Family violence is a scourge that is causing untold
damage and trauma among Indigenous communities. It is damaging Indigenous
cultures and it is causing untold damage to our women and
children.

Indigenous men, women and children are entitled to live their
lives in safety and full human dignity. This means without fear of family
violence or abuse. This is their cultural and their human right.

Violence and abuse is also in breach of criminal laws across the
country. I am on record several times stating that if an Indigenous person
commits these types of offences they should be dealt with by the criminal
justice system just as any other person would be. There should also be swift
intervention from care and protection systems to ensure that the best interests
of the child are the primary consideration.

Government officials and
community members should be fearless and bold in reporting suspected incidents
of violence and abuse. This means addressing the code of silence that exists in
many Indigenous communities about these issues. And it means government officers
meeting their statutory obligations, meeting their duty of care and taking moral
responsibility in the performance of their duties as public officials. Many do
already. Regrettably, some do not.

Let me also state upfront that
Aboriginal customary law does not condone family violence.

Family violence and abuse of women and children has no place in
Aboriginal culture. Customary law cannot be relied upon to excuse such
behaviour.

That is not the customary law that I know. Perpetrators of
violence and abuse do not respect customary law and are not behaving in
accordance with
it.”[158]

A facilitated panel discussion then discussed specific programs that are
already in existence and working well with regard to tackling violence in
Indigenous communities.[159]

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner
prepared a paper on the key issues entitled “Ending family violence and
abuse in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
. The paper provides an overview of research and findings by the Human Rights and
Equal Opportunity Commission from 2001-2006 and is released on 21 June
2006.[160]

21 June 2006

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare releases
‘Australia’s Health 2006’.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare releases Australia’s Health 2006, a comprehensive report on the health
status of the Australian population and the factors that influence it, including
health services and expenditures.

The report states that Australia’s Indigenous population continues to
have a poorer standard of health than other Australians and there is still too
little evidence that the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
is improving. Death rates of Indigenous infants remain approximately three times
those of other Australian infants, and about 70% of Indigenous Australians die
before reaching 65, compared with a little over 20% for other
Australians.[161]

The report states that Indigenous peoples continue to suffer greater ill
health than all other Australians. The average age of death remains younger than
other Australians and they are more likely to suffer from a disability and a
reduced quality of life due to general ill health.

Collected data indicates that the Indigenous population is disadvantaged
across a range of socioeconomic factors and that this impacts on the health of
the population. During 2002, Indigenous peoples reported lower incomes, higher
rates of unemployment, lower educational attainment and a much lower rate of
home ownership than other Australians. There are other factors which contribute
to their poorer health statistics such as smoking and the misuse of alcohol and
other substances, along with poor housing and much greater exposure to violence.

Overall there is a sense of reduced control and autonomy that is experienced
by Indigenous peoples over their own lives, and this helps to explain their
generally poorer state of
health.[162]

The report also examines a number of measures of health status including:
self assessed health status; social and emotional well-being; prevalence of
conditions; consultations with general practitioners; hospitalisations;
disability; mortality and trends in mortality; health risk factors such as
smoking and illicit drug use, obesity and poor nutrition; housing and living
conditions.

26 June 2006

Intergovernmental Summit on Violence and Child Abuse in Indigenous
Communities.

An Intergovernmental Summit on Violence and Child Abuse in Indigenous
Communities is held involving Ministers from the Australian Government and all
States and Territories. The Ministers agree that the levels of violence and
child abuse in Indigenous communities warrant a comprehensive national
response.

The Communiqué released following the Intergovernmental Summit
reconfirms the principles agreed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG)
in June 2004, under COAG’s National Framework on Indigenous Family
Violence and Child Protection
, particularly that:

  • everyone has a right to be safe from family violence and abuse;
  • preventing family violence and child abuse in Indigenous families is best
    achieved by families, communities, community organisations and different levels
    of government working together as partners;
  • successful strategies to prevent family violence and child abuse in
    Indigenous families enable Indigenous people to take control of their lives,
    regain responsibility for their families and communities and to enhance
    individual and family wellbeing; and
  • the need to address underlying causes and to build strong and resilient
    families.[163]

The Intergovernmental Summit reconfirmed the principles agreed by the Council
of Australian Governments (COAG) in June 2004, under COAG’s National
Framework on Indigenous Family Violence and Child Protection
. These
principles include that:

  • everyone has a right to be safe from family violence and abuse;
  • preventing family violence and child abuse in Indigenous families is best
    achieved by families, communities, community organisations and different levels
    of government working together as partners;
  • successful strategies to prevent family violence and child abuse in
    Indigenous families enable Indigenous people to take control of their lives,
    regain responsibility for their families and communities and to enhance
    individual and family wellbeing; and
  • the need to address underlying causes and to build strong and resilient
    families.

All jurisdictions agreed to put the action strategy to COAG for
consideration and decision on 14 July
2006.[164]

27 June 2006

Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse in
Aboriginal communities in the
Northern Territory.

The Northern Territory Chief Minister orders an inquiry into child sexual
abuse in NT Aboriginal
communities.[165]

The Inquiry will:

  • examine the size, nature and fundamental causes of the sexual abuse of
    Aboriginal children;
  • identify barriers and issues associated with the provision of effective
    responses;
  • consider methods, policies, procedures and resources of NT government
    agencies; and
  • consider how the NT Government can help support communities effectively to
    tackle child sexual abuse.

The Inquiry will report to the Chief Minister by the end of April
2007.[166]

The Terms of Reference for the NT Inquiry into the Protection of
Aboriginal Children from Sexual Abuse
provide that:

The purpose of the Inquiry is to find better ways to protect Aboriginal
children from sexual abuse. The Inquiry is aiming to report to the Chief
Minister by April 2007. An expert reference group will be appointed to assist
the Inquiry including providing advice and facilitate communication with
community members, stakeholders and others as required.

The Inquiry’s task will be to:

  • Examine the extent, nature and contributing factors to sexual abuse of
    Aboriginal children, with a particular focus on unreported incidences of such
    abuse.
  • Identify barriers and issues associated with the provision of effective
    responses to and protection against sexual abuse for Aboriginal children.
  • Consider practices, procedures and resources of NT Government agencies with
    direct responsibilities in this area (Family & Children’s Services and
    Police).
  • Consider how all tiers of government and non-government agencies might
    contribute to a more effective protection and response network.
  • Consider how the NT Government can help support communities to effectively
    prevent and tackle child sexual abuse.

The Inquiry will make recommendations to Government on these
issues. The Inquiry will research and examine information relevant to both
successful and unsuccessful strategies and responses relative to the protection
of children from sexual abuse. As a part of this process will seek information
from:

  • Members of the community;
  • Territory Government employees;
  • Non-government organisations; and
  • Independent experts.

While the Inquiry is established under the Inquiries Act,
1991 and has the authority and protection afforded by it, the examination of
these issues will be conducted in a co-operative and informal manner.

It is anticipated that the majority of discussions will be voluntary as the
purpose of the Inquiry is to provide a blue print for future action.

Individuals who wish to speak to the Inquiry confidentially on a one to one
basis will be able to do so.

Information provided to the Inquiry relating to specific cases of alleged
child abuse will be passed onto the relevant
authorities.[167]

28 June 2006

Indigenous Legal Aid Service Provider for Tasmania announced.

The Attorney-General announces that the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre
Incorporated has been awarded the contract to provide legal aid services for
Indigenous Australians in Tasmania.

The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre Incorporated has provided Indigenous legal
aid services in Tasmania for more than 32
years.[168]

This announcement marked the finalisation of the Australian Government's move
to Contracts for Service for the provision of legal aid services for
Indigenous Australians nationally.

The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre Incorporated joins eight other Indigenous
legal aid service providers already appointed in other States and the Northern
Territory. The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre Incorporated will commence services
on 1 July 2006.[169]

Eligibility service provision for Indigenous peoples is governed by clear
criteria, and will be fairly applied to all applicants. Guidelines have been
drawn up to ensure that all Indigenous Australians in Tasmania are able to
access these services. These guidelines rely on self-identification and
acknowledgement of that person within the Indigenous communities of
Tasmania.

29 June 2006

United Nations Human Rights Council adopts the Declaration on the Rights
of Indigenous Peoples.

The United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council adopts the Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples after more than twenty years of work by Indigenous
peoples and the UN
system.[170]

On 28 November 2006, the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly adopted
a resolution that defers the Assembly’s consideration of the Declaration
until the end of its current session, which will conclude in September
2007.[171]

The UN Human Rights Council adopted the Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples on 29 June 2006. The preamble to the Declaration, which sets
out the rationale for its elaboration, is provided
below.[172]

Affirming that indigenous peoples are equal to all other peoples,
while recognizing the right of all peoples to be different, to consider
themselves different, and to be respected as such,

Affirming also that all peoples contribute to the diversity and
richness of civilizations and cultures, which constitute the common heritage of
humankind,

Affirming further that all doctrines, policies and practices based on
or advocating superiority of peoples or individuals on the basis of national
origin, racial, religious, ethnic or cultural differences are racist,
scientifically false, legally invalid, morally condemnable and socially
unjust,

Reaffirming also that indigenous peoples, in the exercise of their
rights, should be free from discrimination of any kind,

Concerned that indigenous peoples have suffered from historic
injustices as a result of, inter alia, their colonization and dispossession of
their lands, territories and resources, thus preventing them from exercising, in
particular, their right to development in accordance with their own needs and
interests,

Recognizing the urgent need to respect and promote the inherent rights
of indigenous peoples which derive from their political, economic and social
structures and from their cultures, spiritual traditions, histories and
philosophies, especially their rights to their lands, territories and
resources,

Further recognizing the urgent need to respect and promote the rights
of indigenous peoples affirmed in treaties, agreements and other constructive
arrangements with States,

Welcoming the fact that indigenous peoples are organizing themselves
for political, economic, social and cultural enhancement and in order to bring
an end to all forms of discrimination and oppression wherever they occur,

Convinced that control by indigenous peoples over developments
affecting them and their lands, territories and resources will enable them to
maintain and strengthen their institutions, cultures and traditions, and to
promote their development in accordance with their aspirations and needs,

Recognizing also that respect for indigenous knowledge, cultures and
traditional practices contributes to sustainable and equitable development and
proper management of the environment,

Emphasizing the contribution of the demilitarization of the lands and
territories of indigenous peoples to peace, economic and social progress and
development, understanding and friendly relations among nations and peoples of
the world,

Recognizing in particular the right of indigenous families and
communities to retain shared responsibility for the upbringing, training,
education and well-being of their children, consistent with the rights of the
child,

Recognizing also that indigenous peoples have the right freely to
determine their relationships with States in a spirit of coexistence, mutual
benefit and full respect,

Considering that the rights affirmed in treaties, agreements and
constructive arrangements between States and indigenous peoples are, in some
situations, matters of international concern, interest, responsibility and
character,

Also considering that treaties, agreements and other constructive
arrangements, and the relationship they represent, are the basis for a
strengthened partnership between indigenous peoples and States,

Acknowledging that the Charter of the United Nations, the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights affirm the fundamental
importance of the right of self-determination of all peoples, by virtue of which
they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic,
social and cultural development,

Bearing in mind that nothing in this Declaration may be used to deny
any peoples their right of self-determination, exercised in conformity with
international law,

Convinced that the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples in
this Declaration will enhance harmonious and cooperative relations between the
State and indigenous peoples, based on principles of justice, democracy, respect
for human rights, non-discrimination and good faith,

Encouraging States to comply with and effectively implement all their
obligations as they apply to indigenous peoples under international instruments,
in particular those related to human rights, in consultation and cooperation
with the peoples concerned,

Emphasizing that the United Nations has an important and continuing
role to play in promoting and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples,

Believing that this Declaration is a further important step forward
for the recognition, promotion and protection of the rights and freedoms of
indigenous peoples and in the development of relevant activities of the United
Nations system in this field,

Recognizing and reaffirming that indigenous individuals are entitled
without discrimination to all human rights recognized in international law, and
that indigenous peoples possess collective rights which are indispensable for
their existence, well-being and integral development as peoples,

Solemnly proclaims the following United Nations Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a standard of achievement to be pursued in a
spirit of partnership and mutual respect.

During the sixty first session of the UN General Assembly (GA), the
GA’s Third Committee adopted a resolution on 28 November 2006 that defers
consideration of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples until the
end of the GA’s current session, which will conclude in September 2007.
The deferment provides additional time for consultations about the text of the
Declaration. The resolution reads:

The General Assembly

  1. Decides to defer consideration and action on the United Nations
    Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to allow time for further
    consultations thereon;
  2. Also decides to conclude its consideration of the Declaration before
    the end of its sixty-first
    session.[173]

Endnotes

[1] Minister for Immigration and
Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs. Minister welcomes important step in
cooperation with States.
Media Release ID: vIPS 24/05. 1 July
2005.
[2] Minister for Immigration
and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Minister welcomes start of NAIDOC
Week 2005,
Media Release ID: vIPS 23/05, 3 July
2005.
[3] Minister for Immigration
and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Indigenous Disadvantage Report
reinforces the need for change,
Media Release ID: vIPS 27/05, 11 July 2005.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are herein referred to as
Indigenous peoples.
[4] Parliamentary Secretary for Children and Youth Affairs, Indigenous Youth
Leaders 2005 Announced,
Media Release, 20 July
2005.
[5] Northern Territory,
Minister for Family and Community Services, Northern Territory signs up to
historic tri-State agreement,
Media Release, 27 July
2005.
[6] Minister for Immigration
and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Minister Vanstone congratulates
Ngaanyatjarra People on first Regional Partnership Agreement,
Media Release
ID: vIPS 32/05, 12 August 2005.
[7] Prime Minister of Australia, New Indigenous Employment Strategy for the
Australian Public Service,
Media Release, 12 August
2005.
[8] Attorney General’s
Department, Practical reforms to deliver better outcomes in Native Title, Media Release 163/2005, 7 September
2005.
[9] Attorney General’s
Department, Native Title Ministers’ Meeting, Communiqué, 16 September 2005, Canberra, available online at http://www.ag.gov.au/www/agd/agd.nsf/Page/Indigenouslawandnativetitle_Nativetitle_Nativetitleministersmeeting-communique-16September2005 accessed 16 January 2007.
[10] Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Government
Announces an Extra $9.5 Million to Combat Petrol Sniffing,
Media Release ID:
vIPS 33/05, 12 September
2005.
[11] Parliamentary
Secretary for Children and Youth, Fresh new look at young Indigenous issues, Media Release, 19 September
2005.
[12] Minister for Community
and Family Services, Australian and NT Governments step up the battle against
Indigenous family violence,
Media Release, 4 October
2005.
[13] Minister for
Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Initiatives support
home ownership on Indigenous land,
Media Release ID: vIPS 34/05, 5 October
2005.
[14] Minister for
Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Reforming the NT
Aboriginal Lands Act,
Media Release vIPS 40/05, 5 October 2005.
[15] Minister for Immigration
and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Indigenous Economic Development
Strategy Launched,
Media Release ID: vIPS 38/05, 9 November
2005.
[16] Minister for
Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Reforming the NT
Aboriginal Land Rights Act,
Media Release vIPS 40/05, 18 November
2005.
[17] Secretaries’
Group on Indigenous Affairs, Annual Report on Indigenous Affairs 2004-05,
20 November 2005, available online at: http://www.oipc.gov.au/performance_reporting/sec_group/ar2005/OIPC_Sec_Report05.pdf accessed 21 December 2005.
[18] Attorney General, Indigenous Legal Services Announced for NT, Media
Release 210/2005, 22 November
2005.
[19] Minister for
Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Delivering Better
Outcomes in Native Title – Update on Government’s Plan for Practical
Reform,
Media Release ID: vIPS 42/05, 9 November
2006.
[20] Prime Minister of
Australia, Bilateral Agreement on Service Delivery to Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islanders in Queensland,
Media Release, 5 December
2005.
[21] National Indigenous
Council, Report to Government December 2004 to December 2005, available
online at http://www.atsia.gov.au/NIC/communique/PDFs/ReportCard2005.pdf accessed 16 January 2007.
[22] Minister for Education, Science and Training, $23 Million Boost for Training
Indigenous Youth from Remote Communities,
Media Release: MIN 2053/05, 15
December 2005.
[23] Department of
Education, Science and Training, Indigenous Youth Mobility Programme,
available on line at: http://www.dest.gov.au/sectors/indigenous_education/programmes_funding/programme_categories/iymp/# accessed 20 December 2006.
[24] Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister for Housing, Over
$250 million in new Agreement on Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure,
Joint Media Release, 22 December
2005.
[25] Attorney-General, Indigenous Legal Services announced for South Australia, Media Release
005/2006, 23 January 2006.
[26] Prime Minister of Australia, Ministerial Changes, Media Release, 24
January 2006.
[27] Australian
Government, Registrar of Aboriginal Corporations, The Corporations
(Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006
, available on line at: http://www.orac.gov.au/about_orac/legislation/reform_act.aspx accessed 21 December 2006.
[28] Attorney-General’s Department, Tabling of the Social Justice and Native
Title Reports
, Media Release 013/2006, 15 February 2006.
[29] Minister for Families,
Community Service and Indigenous Affairs. Boost in Indigenous school
retention rates.
Media Release ID 09/06. 8 March
2006.
[30] Minister for
Employment and Workplace Relations, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for
the Public Service, Public Service Boosts Its Intake of Indigenous
Graduates
, Media Release 409/06, 28 March
2006.
[31] Minister for
Employment and Workplace Relations, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for
the Public Service. Indigenous Unemployment Falling. Media Release
086/06. 12 April 2006.
[32] Australian Bureau of Statistics, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Health Survey 2004-05
, 11 April 2005, available online at http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/subscriber.nsf/0/B1BCF4E6DD320A0BCA25714C001822BC/$File/47150_2004-05.pdf accessed 20 December 2006.
[33] Prime Minister of
Australia, Bilateral Agreement on Service Delivery to Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islanders in South Australia,
Media Release, 17 April
2006.
[34] Prime Minister of
Australia, Bilateral Agreement on Service Delivery to Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islanders in New South Wales,
Media Release, 17 April
2006.
[35] Attorney-General’s Department, New provider for NSW Indigenous legal
services,
Media Release 069/2006, 28 April
2006.
[36] Minister for Families,
Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Budget delivers new opportunities
for Indigenous Australians,
Media Release ID: 33/6, 9 May
2006.
[37] Minister for Families,
Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Summary of Indigenous Measures, Media Release ID: 33/6 Attachment, 9 May
2006.
[38] Minister for Families,
Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, National plan for action against
Indigenous violence and child abuse says Brough,
Media Release ID: 33/6, 9
May 2006.
[39] Office of
Indigenous Policy Coordination, Evaluation Plan for Whole-of-Government
Activities in Indigenous Affairs
, 23 May 2006, available on line at: http://www.oipc.gov.au/documents/OIPC_EvaluationPlan_23May.pdf accessed 21 December 2006.
[40] Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Long term
leases the way forward for NT Aboriginal townships,
Media Release ID: vIPS
35/05, 5 October 2005.
[41] Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination, ALR Reforms: Questions and Answers
on complementary measures to assist Indigenous home ownership,
available
online at http://www.oipc.gov.au/ALRA_Reforms/QA_ComplimentaryMeasures.asp
accessed 20 December 2006
.
[42] Minister for Families,
Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Historic reforms to NT land
rights,
Media Release, 31 May
2006.
[43] ABC Message Stick, National: Forum on Ending Violence in Indigenous Communities, Media
Release, 19 June 2006, available online at http://www.abc.net.au/message/news/stories/s1666291.htm accessed 21 December 2006.
[44] Australian Government, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australia
improves its health ranking,
Media Release, 21 June
2006.
[45] Minister for Families,
Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister
for Indigenous Affairs, Intergovernmental Summit on Violence and Child Abuse
in Indigenous Communities Communiqué Safer Kids, Safer Communities,
Media Release, 26 June 2006.
[46] Northern Territory Chief
Minister, Chief Minister orders inquiry into child sex abuse, Media
Release, 27 June 2006.
[47] Northern Territory Chief Minister, Inquiry into the Protection of Aboriginal
Children from Sexual Abuse,
available at http://www.nt.gov.au/dcm/inquirysaac/ accessed 11 January 2007.
[48] Attorney-General’s Department, Indigenous Legal Aid service provider
announced for Tasmania
, News Release 122/2006, 28 June 2006.
[49] Human Rights and Equal
Opportunity Commission, Social Justice Commissioner praises United Nations
Human Rights Council for adopting the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
Peoples,
Media Release, 30 June 2006 available online at http://www.hreoc.gov.au/media_releases/2006/47_06.htm accessed 22 January 2007.
[50] United Nations Permanent Forum available online at http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/en/declaration.html accessed 22 January
2007.
See also United Nations Department of Public Information, Press
Conference on Declaration of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights,
Media
Release, 12 December 2006, available online at http://www.un.org/News/briefings/docs/2006/061212_Indigenous.doc.htm accessed 10 January 2007.
[51] Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs. Minister
welcomes important step in cooperation with States.
Media Release ID: vIPS
24/05. 1 July 2005.
[52]ibid.
[53] Minister for
Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Minister welcomes start
of NAIDOC Week 2005,
Media Release ID: vIPS 23/05, 3 July
2005.
[54]ibid.
[55] National NAIDOC
week website, available on line at: http://www.naidoc.org.au/gallery/2005/ accessed 21 December, 2006.
[56] Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs. Indigenous
Disadvantage Report reinforces the need for change.
Media Release ID: vIPS
27/05. 11 July 2005.
[57] Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision, Overcoming
Indigenous Disadvantage Key Indicators 2005 Overview,
Productivity
Commission, Canberra, 2005, Page 1.
[58] Steering Committee for the
Review of Government Service Provision, Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage
Key Indicators 2005 Overview,
Productivity Commission, Canberra, 2005, Page
4.
[59]ibid., Page
5.
[60]ibid., Page
6.
[61]ibid., Page
7.
[62]ibid., Page
8.
[63]ibid., Page
9.
[64] Minister for Immigration
and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs. Indigenous Disadvantage Report
reinforces the need for change.
Media Release ID: vIPS 27/05. 11 July
2005.
[65]ibid.
[66] Titelius, R.,
‘Programs do little for Aboriginal life’, The West
Australian
, Metro Section, 13 July
2005.
[67]ibid.
[68]ibid.
[69] Minister for
Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs. Indigenous Disadvantage
Report reinforces the need for change.
Media Release ID: vIPS 27/05. 11 July
2005.
[70]ibid.
[71] Titelius, R.,
‘Programs do little for Aboriginal life’, The West
Australian
, Metro Section, 13 July
2005.
[72] ABC Message Stick,
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Online, National: Overcoming Indigenous
Disadvantage, Key Indicators 2005
, 31 August 2005, available online at http://www.abc.net.au/message/news/stories/s1450310.htm accessed 21 December 2005.
[73] Parliamentary Secretary for Children and Youth Affairs, Indigenous Youth
Leaders 2005 Announced,
Media Release, 20 July
2005.
[74] Parliamentary
Secretary, Indigenous Youth Leaders 2005 Announced, Media Release, 20
July 2005.
[75] Northern
Territory, Minister for Family and Community Services, Northern Territory
signs up to historic tri-State agreement,
Media Release, 27 July
2005.
[76] Northern Territory,
Minister for Family and Community Services, Northern Territory signs up to
historic tri-State agreement,
Media Release, 27 July
2005.
[77] Tjulngula (we are
together) Tri-State Disability Strategic Framework 2005-2008, available on line
at http://www.nt.gov.au/health/comm_svs/aged_dis_ccs/disable_svs/tda.rtf , accessed 9 January 2007.
[78] Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Minister
Vanstone congratulates Ngaanyatjarra People on first Regional Partnership
Agreement,
Media Release ID: vIPS 32/05, 12 August
2005.
[79]ibid.
[80] Prime Minister
of Australia, New Indigenous Employment Strategy for the Australian Public
Service,
Media Release, 12 August
2005.
[81]ibid.
[82] Australian
Public Service Commission, Employment and Capability Strategies for
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employees,
August 2005, online http://www.apsc.gov.au/indigenousemployment/strategy0805.pdf accessed 16 January 2007.
[83] Attorney General’s Department, Practical reforms to deliver better
outcomes in Native Title,
Media Release 163/2005, 7 September
2005.
[84] Attorney
General’s Department, Native Title Ministers’ Meeting,
Communiqué, 16 September 2005, Canberra, available online at http://www.ag.gov.au/www/agd/agd.nsf/Page/Indigenouslawandnativetitle_Nativetitle_Nativetitleministersmeeting-communique-16September2005 accessed 16 January 2007.
[85] Office of Indigenous
Policy Coordination, Native Title Reforms, available online at http://www.oipc.gov.au/NTRB_Reforms/QA_NTRBarrange.asp,
accessed 9 January 2007.
[86] Attorney-General’s Department, Native Title Reform, available
online at http://www.ag.gov.au/nativetitlesystemreform,
accessed 22 November 2005.
[87] Attorney-General’s Department, Assistance to respondents in native
title claims,
available on line at http://www.ag.gov.au/www/agd/agd.nsf/Page/Indigenouslawandnativetitle_Nativetitle_Assistancetorespondentsinnativetitleclaims,
accessed 9 January 2007.
[88] Attorney-General’s Department, Native Title Reform: Practical reforms
to deliver better outcomes in native title
, Media Release, 7 September 2005,
available online at http://www.ag.gov.au/agd/WWW/MinisterRuddockHome.nsf/AllDocs/75298785CC03B8B8CA257075001E522A?OpenDocument , accessed 9 January 2007.
[89] Attorney-General’s Department, Native Title Reform: Practical reforms
to deliver better outcomes in native title,
Media Release, 7 September 2005,
available online at http://www.ag.gov.au/agd/WWW/MinisterRuddockHome.nsf/AllDocs/75298785CC03B8B8CA257075001E522A?OpenDocument , accessed 9 January 2007.
[90] Attorney-General’s Department, Prescribed Bodies Corporate (PCBs),
available online at http://www.ag.gov.au/www/agd/agd.nsf/Page/Indigenouslawandnativetitle_Nativetitle_Prescribedbodiescorporate(PBCs),
accessed 10 October 2006.
[91] Attorney-General’s Department, Consultation with State and Territory
Governments,
available online at http://www.ag.gov.au/www/agd/agd.nsf/Page/Indigenouslawandnativetitle_Nativetitle_Consultationwithstateandterritorygovernments,
accessed 9 January 2007.
[92] Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Government
Announces an Extra $9.5 Million to Combat Petrol Sniffing,
Media Release ID:
vIPS 33/05, 12 September
2005.
[93] Minister for
Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Government Announces an
Extra $9.5 Million to Combat Petrol Sniffing,
Media Release ID: vIPS 33/05,
12 September 2005.
[94] Parliamentary Secretary for Children and Youth, Fresh new look at young
Indigenous issue,
Media Release, 19 September
2006.
[95] National Indigenous
Youth Leadership Website, available online at
http://www.thesource.gov.au/involve/NIYLG/whats_new.asp accessed 12 December
2006.
[96] Minister for Community
and Family Services, Australian and NT Governments step up the battle against
Indigenous family violence,
Media Release, 4 October
2005.
[97]ibid.
[98] Minister for
Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Initiatives support
home ownership on Indigenous land,
Media Release ID: vIPS 34/05, 5 October
2005.
[99]ibid.
[100] Minister for
Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Long term leases the
way forward for NT Aboriginal townships,
Media Release vIPS 35/05, 5 October
2005.
[101]ibid.
[102] Minister for
Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Indigenous Economic
Development Strategy Launched,
Media Release ID: vIPS 38/05, 9 November
2005.
[103] Steering Committee
for the Review of Government Service Provision, Overcoming Indigenous
Disadvantage Key Indicators 2003,
Council of Australian Governments (COAG),
November 2005. Data from the report related to 2001 Census data, available
online at http://www.pc.gov.au/gsp/reports/indigenous/keyindicators2003/keyindicators2003.pdf
accessed 20
accessed 9 February 2006.
[104]Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service
Provision,
Achieving Indigenous Economic Independence, Indigenous
Economic Development Strategy,
An Australian Government Initiative,
available online at
http://www.workplace.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/B7206570-9BFD-4403-B4A3-664906…,
accessed 9 January 2007.
[105] Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Reforming
the NT Aboriginal Land Rights Act,
Media Release vIPS 40/05, 18 November
2005.
[106]ibid.
[107]ibid.
[108] Secretaries’ Group on Indigenous Affairs, Annual Report on Indigenous
Affairs 2004-05
, 20 November 2005, available online at: http://www.oipc.gov.au/performance_reporting/sec_group/ar2005/OIPC_Sec_Report05.pdf accessed 21 December
2006.
[109] Secretaries’
Group on Indigenous Affairs, Annual Report on Indigenous Affairs 2004-05,
20 November 2005, available online at: http://www.oipc.gov.au/performance_reporting/sec_group/ar2005/OIPC_Sec_Report05.pdf accessed 8 January 2007.
[110] Attorney-General, Indigenous Legal Services Announced for NT, Media
Release 210/2005, 22 November
2005.
[111] Minister for
Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Delivering Better
Outcomes in Native Title – Update on Government’s Plan for Practical
Reform,
Media Release ID: vIPS 42/05, 9 November
2005.
[112]ibid.
[113] Australian
Government and Queensland Government, Agreement on Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Service Delivery Between The Commonwealth of Australia and The
Government of Queensland 2005-2010
, available online at https://www.oipc.gov.au/publications/PDF/IndigenousAffairsAgreementQLD.pdf,
accessed 16 January 2007.
[114] Prime Minister of Australia, Bilateral Agreement on Service Delivery to
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Queensland,
Media Release, 5
December 2005.
[115]ibid.
[116] National
Indigenous Council, Report to Government December 2004 to December 2005,
available online at http://www.atsia.gov.au/NIC/communique/PDFs/ReportCard2005.pdf,
accessed 16 January 2007.
[117] Minister for Education, Science and Training, $23 Million Boost for Training
Indigenous Youth from Remote Communities,
Media Release: MIN 2053/05, 15
December 2005.
[118] Indigenous
Youth Mobility Programme, Australian Government, Department of Education,
Science and Training, available on line at: http://www.dest.gov.au/sectors/indigenous_education/programmes_funding/programme_categories/iymp/# accessed 20 December
2006.
[119] Minister for
Education, Science and Training, $23 Million Boost for Training Indigenous
Youth from Remote Communities,
Media Release, 15 December 2005, MIN
2053/05.
[120] Minister for
Family and Community Services and Northern Territory Minister for Housing, Over $250 Million in new Agreement on Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure, Joint Media Release, 22 December 2005. Available at http://www.facs.gov.au/internet/minister1.nsf/content/22dec_housing_agreement.htm,
accessed 12 January 2007.
[121]ibid.
[122] Attorney-General, Indigenous Legal Services announced for South
Australia,
Media Release 005/2006, 23 January
2006.
[123] Prime Minister of
Australia, Ministerial Changes, Media Release, 24 January
2006.
[124]ibid.
[125] Minister for
Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, The Indigenous Affairs
landscape has changed irrevocably and for the better,
Media Release, 24
January 2005.
[126] Australian
Government, Registrar of Aboriginal Corporations, The Corporations
(Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006
, available on line at: http://www.orac.gov.au/about_orac/legislation/reform_act.aspx accessed 21 December
2006.
[127] Senator for
Queensland, Santo Santoro – Minister for Ageing, Corporations
(Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Bill 2005
, Monday, 16 October 2006,
available online at http://www.santosantoro.com/news/article.aspx?ID=615,
accessed 16 January 2006.
[128] Attorney-General’s Department, Media Release 013/2006, Tabling of the
Social Justice and Native Title Reports
, 15 February
2006.
[129] Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social Justice Report
2005
, Report No. 3/2005 Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
Sydney, 2006.
[130] Minister
for Families, Community Service and Indigenous Affairs, Boost in Indigenous
school retention rates,
Media Release ID 09/06, 8 March
2006.
[131] Australian Bureau
of Statistics, Schools 2005 4221.0, available online at http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/subscriber.nsf/0/2D8FFEDFC0C6F32ACA25711D000DFEB8/$File/42210_2005.pdf,
accessed 16 January 2006.
[132] Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Minister Assisting the Prime
Minister for the Public Service, Public Service Boosts Its Intake of
Indigenous Graduates
, Media Release 409/06, 28 March
2006.
[133]ibid.
[134] Minister for
Employment and Workplace Relations, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for
the Public Service, Indigenous Unemployment Falling, Media Release
086/06, 12 April 2006.
[135] Australian Bureau of Statistics, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Health Survey 2004-05
, 11 April 2005, available online at http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/subscriber.nsf/0/B1BCF4E6DD320A0BCA25714C001822BC/$File/47150_2004-05.pdf accessed 20 December 2006.
[136] Australian Bureau of
Statistics, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey
2004-05
, 11 April 2005, available online at http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/subscriber.nsf/0/B1BCF4E6DD320A0BCA25714C001822BC/$File/47150_2004-05.pdf accessed 20 December 2006.
[137] Prime Minister of
Australia, Bilateral Agreement on Service Delivery to Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islanders in South Australia,
Media Release, 17 April
2006.
[138] The full text of
the Bilateral Agreement on Service Delivery to Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islanders in South Australia
can be found at http://www.oipc.gov.au/publications/PDF/NSW_IndigAgreement.pdf accessed 11 January 2007.
[139] Prime Minister of Australia, Bilateral Agreement on Service Delivery to
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in New South Wales,
Media Release, 17
April 2006.
[140] The full text of the Bilateral Agreement on Service Delivery to Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islanders in New South Wales
can be found at http://www.oipc.gov.au/publications/PDF/NSW_IndigAgreement.pdf accessed 11 January 2007.
[141] Attorney-General’s Department, New provider for NSW Indigenous legal
services,
News Release 069/2006, 28 April
2006.
[142] The web site is www.alsnswact.org.au accessed 11 January
2007.
[143] This document is
available on line at http://www.ag.gov.au/www/agd/rwpattach.nsf/VAP/(03995EABC73F94816C2AF4AA2645824B)~Policy+Directions-+May+2006[1].pdf/$file/Policy+Directions-+May+2006[1].pdf accessed 11 January 2007.
[144] The Indigenous Test Case Guidelines can be found on line at http://www.ag.gov.au/www/agd/rwpattach.nsf/VAP/(1E76C1D5D1A37992F0B0C1C4DB87942E)~Indigenous+Test+Case+Guidelines+November+2006.DOC.pdf/$file/Indigenous+Test+Case+Guidelines+November+2006.DOC.pdf accessed 11 January 2007.
[145] Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Budget
delivers new opportunities for Indigenous Australians,
Media Release ID:
33/6, 9 May 2006.
[146] Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Summary of
Indigenous Measures,
Media Release ID: 33/6 Attachment, 9 May
2006.
[147] Minister for
Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Summary of Indigenous
Measures,
Media Release ID: 33/6 Attachment, 9 May
2006.
[148] Minister for
Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, National plan for action
against Indigenous violence and child abuse says Brough,
Media Release ID:
33/6, 9 May 2006.
[149]ibid.
[150] Office of
Indigenous Policy Coordination, Evaluation Plan for Whole-of-Government
Activities in Indigenous Affairs
, 23 May 2006, available on line at: http://www.oipc.gov.au/documents/OIPC_EvaluationPlan_23May.pdf accessed 21 December
2006.
[151]ibid.
[152] Minister for
Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Long term leases the
way forward for NT Aboriginal townships,
Media Release ID: vIPS 35/05, 5
October 2005.
[153] Office of
Indigenous Policy Coordination, ALR Reforms, Questions and Answers on
complementary measures to assist Indigenous home ownership,
available online
at http://www.oipc.gov.au/ALRA_Reforms/QA_ComplimentaryMeasures.asp accessed 20 December
2006.
[154] Minister for
Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Historic reforms to NT
land rights,
Media Release, 31 May
2006.
[155] Minister for
Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Long term leases the
way forward for NT Aboriginal townships,
Media Release ID: vIPS 35/05, 5
October 2005.
[156] Office of
Indigenous Policy Coordination, ALR Reforms. Questions and Answers on
complementary measures to assist Indigenous home ownership, available online
at
http://www.oipc.gov.au/ALRA_Reforms/QA_ComplimentaryMeasures.asp
accessed 15
February
2005.
[157] ABC Message Stick, National: Forum on Ending Violence in Indigenous Communities, Media
Release, 19 June 2006, available online at http://www.abc.net.au/message/news/stories/s1666291.htm accessed 21 December
2006.
[158] Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner and Acting Race
Discrimination Commissioner, Addressing family violence in Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander Communities – Key issues
, Address to Ending
Violence in Indigenous Communities Forum, Monday 19 June 2006, Parliament
House, Canberra, available online at http://www.hreoc.gov.au/speeches/social_justice/violence20060619.html accessed 21 December
2006.
[159] ABC Message Stick, National: Forum on Ending Violence in Indigenous Communities, Media
release, 19 June 2006, available online at http://www.abc.net.au/message/news/stories/s1666291.htm accessed 21 December
2006.
[160] Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Ending family violence
and abuse in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities – Key
issues
, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sydney, June 2006,
available at http://www.humanrights.gov.au/social_justice/familyviolence/family_violence2006.html accessed 11 January 2007.
[161] Australian Government, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australia
improves its health ranking,
Media Release, 21 June
2006.
[162] Australian
Institute of Health and Welfare, Australia’s Health 2006: The tenth
biennial health report of the Australian Institute of Health
, Canberra,
p221, available online at http://www.aihw.gov.au/publications/aus/ah06/ah06.pdf accessed 11 January 2007.
[163] Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs; Minister
Assisting the Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Intergovernmental Summit
on Violence and Child Abuse in Indigenous Communities Communiqué Safer
Kids, Safer Communities,
Media Release, 26 June 2006.
[164] Minister for Families,
Community Services and Indigenous Affairs; Minister Assisting the Prime Minister
for Indigenous Affairs, Intergovernmental Summit on Violence and Child Abuse
in Indigenous Communities Communiqué Safer Kids, Safer Communities,
Media Release, 26 June 2006.
[165] Northern Territory Chief
Minister, Chief Minister orders inquiry into child sex abuse, Media
Release 27 June 2006.
[166] Northern Territory Chief Minister, Inquiry into the Protection of Aboriginal
Children from Sexual Abuse,
available online at http://www.nt.gov.au/dcm/inquirysaac/ accessed 11 January 2007.
[167] Northern Territory Chief Minister, Inquiry into Protection against sexual
abuse of Indigenous children, Terms of Reference
, Media Release, 27 June
2005.
[168] Attorney-General’s Department, Indigenous Legal Aid service provider
announced for Tasmania
, Media Release 122/2006, 28 June 2006.
[169] Attorney-General’s
Department, Indigenous Legal Aid service provider announced for Tasmania,
Media Release 122/2006, 28 June
2006.
[170] Human Rights and
Equal Opportunity Commission, Social Justice Commissioner praises United
Nations Human Rights Council for adopting the Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples,
Media Release, 30 June 2006. See also the website of the
United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues available online at http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/en/declaration.html
[171]ibid.
[172] Human Rights Council, Report to the General Assembly on the First Session of the Human Rights
Council,
United Nations, Geneva, 30 June 2006, A/HRC/1/L.10, p56-73.
[173] Sixty-First Session
General Assembly, Third Committee Resolution A/C.3/61/l.57/Rev.1, 21 November 2006, available online at http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/LTD/N06/625/20/PDF/N0662520.pdf?OpenElement,
accessed 12 January 2007.