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Social Justice Report 2006: Chapter 2: The new arrangements for Indigenous affairs – facilitating Indigenous access to government services

Social Justice Report 2006

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    Chapter 2: The new arrangements for
    Indigenous affairs – facilitating Indigenous access to government
    services

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    It has now been over two years since the federal government introduced new
    arrangements for the administration of Indigenous affairs. One of the catchcries
    of the new arrangements is that they are aimed at ‘harnessing the
    mainstream.’ This is to be achieved by removing or reducing the barriers
    that prevent Indigenous peoples from accessing existing mainstream services on
    an equitable basis. There are two ways of achieving this: first, mainstream
    departments can improve their service delivery so that existing mainstream
    services are better able to meet the needs of Indigenous peoples; and second,
    the whole of government machinery of the new arrangements for Indigenous affairs
    can be utilised to create better synergies between mainstream programs and
    Indigenous specific services. The focus of this chapter is primarily on this
    second aspect of ‘harnessing the mainstream’.

    This is the third successive year that the Social Justice Report has
    considered the impact of the new arrangements. The two previous reports have
    expressed concerns at the lack of progress in ‘harnessing the
    mainstream’ and the existence of structural problems within the new
    arrangements that work against this objective (such as the absence of processes
    for systemic engagement with Indigenous peoples locally, regionally and
    nationally; the absence of appropriate monitoring and evaluation mechanisms; and
    the under-performance of Shared Responsibility Agreements and the new whole of
    government machinery in ‘unlocking’ mainstream accessibility).

    Sufficient time has now passed to identify whether the new arrangements have
    indeed begun to positively impact on the accessibility of mainstream services
    for Indigenous peoples, and consequently to demonstrate their potential to
    impact on the social and economic disadvantage experienced by Indigenous
    peoples. This chapter focuses on the performance of the new arrangements, with a
    particular emphasis on this objective of improving access for Indigenous
    Australians to mainstream services.

    Part 1 of the chapter provides a broad overview of the challenges of
    improving accessibility of mainstream services f or Indigenous peoples, as well
    as the commitments made to achieve this through the new arrangements. Part 2
    then considers the existing potential and current progress in ‘harnessing
    the mainstream’ through the new arrangements for the administration of
    Indigenous affairs.

    As this chapter demonstrates, a degree of instability appears to characterise
    the new arrangements in Indigenous affairs with a seemingly endless raft of
    complex changes to the government’s administrative processes, policies and
    programs. The rhetoric of the arrangements is strong, but the outcomes remain
    elusive. The chapter analyses the processes of the new arrangements in some
    depth and offers suggestions about how existing commitments and processes could
    be turned into action.

    Part 1: The challenge of ensuring equal access to
    mainstream services for Indigenous peoples

    Background – the new arrangements for the
    administration of Indigenous affairs

    New arrangements for the administration of Indigenous affairs were introduced
    as of 1 July 2004. The arrangements abolished the Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islander Commission (ATSIC)[1] and
    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services (ATSIS), and transferred
    responsibility for ATSIC/ATSIS programs to mainstream agencies. The federal
    government held high hopes for the new arrangements. ATSIC was seen as the cause
    of the failure to improve Indigenous disadvantage and therefore abolishing ATSIC
    would clear the way for effective coordinated programs. The then Minister for
    Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Senator Vanstone, observed that:

    No longer will governments persist with the ATSIC experiment that has
    achieved so little for Indigenous
    people.[2]

    Under the new arrangements, the administration of Indigenous-specific
    programs became the responsibility of mainstream government departments. A brief
    description and rationale of the new arrangements was provided by Senator
    Vanstone on 30 June 2004, which stated, inter alia:

    More than $1 billion of former ATSIC-ATSIS programmes have been transferred
    to mainstream Australian Government agencies and some 1,300 staff commence work
    in the new Departments as of tomorrow.

    We want more of the money to hit the ground. We are stripping away layers of
    bureaucracy to make sure that local families and communities have a real say
    in how money is spent.

    Mainstream departments will be required to accept responsibility for
    Indigenous services and will be held accountable for outcomes. In future they
    will work in a coordinated way so that the old programme silos of the past are
    broken down.

    Guiding whole-of-government service delivery with Indigenous representatives
    will be Partnership Agreements developed at the regional level and shared
    responsibility agreements at the local and community level. The new approach
    will require communities to offer commitments such as improved school attendance
    in return for Government funding
    initiatives.[3]

    The new arrangements aimed to remove, or at least reduce, barriers that
    prevent Indigenous peoples from accessing existing mainstream services on an
    equitable basis.[4] This objective has
    been called ‘harnessing the mainstream’.

    ‘Harnessing the mainstream’ is an evocative phrase suggesting
    that there is considerable potential for Indigenous advancement by improving
    access to mainstream programs for Indigenous peoples. This can involve removing
    barriers and constraints to accessing services, using mainstream programs
    creatively to work in tandem with Indigenous-specific programs, and delivering
    mainstream programs in a more flexible and less bureaucratic manner.

    The Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Dr Shergold,
    explained the objective of improving performance of mainstream services through
    the new arrangements as follows:

    complex problems, particularly in public policy, are rarely resolved by
    structures. Public servants are remarkably good at structures. Put public
    servants together for half an hour and they can rearrange the boxes very
    easily... The solution that is required here on Indigenous affairs is
    necessarily a whole-of-government solution. One of our key failings, I think, in
    terms of public policy is the failure to have a whole-of-government approach to
    issues... The key is to change the culture of how public servants deliver public
    policy. That is my first point.

    My second point is that I think mainstreaming has been an enormous failure.
    If I thought we were returning to mainstreaming in the old sense I would not
    support it at all. But define mainstreaming. All the literature that I have seen
    says there are a number of qualities to mainstreaming. The first is that you do
    not have Indigenous specific programs. The second is that each department and
    agency makes its own decisions in a non-coordinated way. The third is that you
    do not have an Indigenous specific agency. The fourth is that you have national
    programs that are delivered in the same way no matter where they are delivered.
    Those are the four key ingredients of mainstreaming.

    The government’s new approach is completely at odds with each of those
    four criteria. It is committed to maintaining the funding for Indigenous
    specific programs. It has established an Office of Indigenous Policy
    Coordination and Indigenous coordination centres across the country. It has made
    it clear that the mainstream departments have to work together, and it has said
    that there needs to be flexibility in programs so they can respond to local
    need. What we have here is a quite new approach. It will not work quickly; this
    is in for the long term. It is not mainstreaming in the sense of the articles
    that have been written criticising it. It is a new whole of- government
    approach, and that is what I am committed
    to.[5]

    I have discussed the new arrangements (constituting a ‘quiet
    revolution’ according to Senator
    Vanstone[6]) in detail in the past two Social Justice Reports.[7] The
    government’s new approach to Indigenous affairs reflects its strong
    commitment to what it terms ‘practical reconciliation’. As my
    predecessor, Dr William Jonas AM, observed in the Social Justice Report
    2003
    :

    The government has emphasised time and again that the key focus of
    reconciliation should be on practical and effective measures that address the
    legacy of profound economic and social
    disadvantage.[8]

    A number of commentators have noted that in some respects these new
    arrangements are not all that new.[9] ‘Mainstreaming’ as such has been a mainstay of Indigenous policy
    discourse for many years.[10] What
    was particularly new was the abolition of ATSIC and thereby the loss of an
    Indigenous representative voice in the processes of government at national and
    regional levels.

    So how have the new arrangements matched with the rhetoric and begun to
    demonstrate their potential to impact on the social and economic disadvantage
    experienced by Indigenous Australians? This chapter examines the efficacy of the
    new arrangements, including in respect of the objective of improving access for
    Indigenous Australians to mainstream services.

    Indigenous disadvantage and human
    rights

    There is no dispute that there is a significant problem in respect of
    Indigenous disadvantage in Australia. As Gary Banks, Chairman of the
    Productivity Commission has noted in the Foreword to the Report Overcoming
    Indigenous Disadvantage – Key Indicators 2003
    :

    Notwithstanding many years of policy attention, this Report confirms that
    Indigenous Australians continue to experience marked and widespread
    disadvantage. This is shown most fundamentally by the 20 year gap in average
    life expectancy between Indigenous and other Australians. [11]

    More recently Dr Ken Henry, Secretary of Treasury, commenting on the extent
    and persistence of Indigenous disadvantage in Australia, observed that
    ‘Indigenous disadvantage diminishes all of Australia’ and stated
    that ‘it has to be admitted that decades of policy action have
    failed’.[12]

    The situation in respect of Indigenous disadvantage has been noted at the
    international level. In 2000 the United Nations Committee on Economic Social and
    Cultural Rights (CESCR) expressed its:

    ... concern that, despite the efforts and achievements of the State party
    [Australia], the indigenous populations of Australia continued to be at a
    comparative disadvantage in the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural
    rights, particularly in the field of employment, housing, health and
    education.[13]

    In important respects things are not improving for Indigenous Australians.
    Gary Banks, on the release of the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key
    Indicators 2005
    ,[14] commented
    on the mixed results in the report and identified ‘areas of
    regression’. These included: increases in Indigenous peoples as victims of
    violence, as subject to child protection notifications, and in regard to
    imprisonment rates, especially for
    women.[15]

    Recent reports suggest that increases in diabetes amongst Indigenous peoples
    will have a devastating impact over time. For example, up to 30% of Torres
    Strait Islanders are affected by type 2
    diabetes.[16] Statistics on the
    large Aboriginal community of Wadeye in the Northern Territory reflect a parlous
    situation, with a death rate four times higher than the rate for the Northern
    Territory, an average life expectancy of 46 years, a range of serious and
    endemic health problems, and a high percentage of children in the 0-5 age group
    who are stunted (20%), wasted (10%) and/ or underweight
    (21%).[17]

    Whilst there is
    widespread agreement and concern about the state of Indigenous disadvantage
    measured against a range of economic and social indicators, there is less
    recognition that this situation reflects a profound failure to afford Indigenous
    Australians their full range of human rights. Australia’s ongoing
    inability to secure decent living standards for its Indigenous citizens is not
    only a failure of domestic policy, it is also a failure to meet basic legal
    obligations arising from Australia’s role as a responsible member of the
    international community.

    There is a clear obligation on Australia, in terms of the requirements under
    international law and in particular under the International Covenant on
    Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
    (ICESCR – ratified by Australia),
    to:

    ... take steps ... to the maximum of its available resources, with a view to
    achieving progressively the full realisation of the rights recognised in the
    present Covenant by all appropriate
    means.[18]

    These rights are precisely the sorts of rights in which Indigenous
    Australians fare so poorly. They include the right to an adequate standard of
    living (which includes adequate housing) and the right to the highest attainable
    standards of physical and mental health. Further, the steps required to be taken
    under the Covenant must be deliberate, concrete and targeted towards
    ensuring the full realisation of rights and governments must demonstrate that
    they are progressively realising the enjoyment of
    rights.[19] This requires that
    service delivery occur within an overall strategy that includes specific,
    time-bound and verifiable benchmarks and
    indicators
    [20] to ensure that
    the enjoyment of rights improves over
    time.[21]

    In Australia, this requires an integrated and purposeful approach to
    improving Indigenous living standards which will necessarily include improved
    access to mainstream services and a range of Indigenous specific programs to
    respond to particular circumstances. It also requires flexibility and
    sensibility to the cultural and social norms and aspirations of Indigenous
    peoples. This principle is well established in international
    law,[22] and it should be the very
    bedrock on which Australia’s reconciliation process is built.

    When considering Indigenous peoples’ ability to exercise and enjoy
    their economic, social and cultural rights, the United Nations Committee on
    Economic Social and Cultural Rights has also provided guidance to governments
    about how to fulfil their legal obligations. The Committee has encouraged
    governments to:

    • Prepare aggregate national statistics or estimates so that they have an
      accurate diagnosis and knowledge of the existing situation;
    • Give special attention to ‘any worse-off regions or areas and to any
      specific groups or subgroups which appear to be particularly vulnerable or
      disadvantaged’;
    • Engage in the elaboration of clearly stated and carefully targeted policies
      and develop and adopt a detailed plan of action for the progressive
      implementation of each of the rights contained in the Covenant;
    • Facilitate public scrutiny of government policies with respect to economic,
      social and cultural rights, and encourage the involvement of the relevant
      sectors of civil society in the formulation, implementation and review of these
      policies;
    • Identify specific benchmarks or goals against which their performance in a
      given area can be assessed; and
    • Report in detail on the factors and difficulties that inhibit progressive
      realisation of the full range of economic, social and cultural rights so that
      more appropriate policies can be put in
      place.[23]

    There have also been a number of developments at the international
    level in recent years which have seen a clearer understanding emerge of the
    relationship between human rights and development and poverty eradication. Past
    Social Justice and Native Title Reports have highlighted these
    developments.[24]

    One of the most significant outcomes of this focus on integrating human
    rights and development and poverty eradication activities has been the agreement
    among the agencies of the United Nations of the Common Understanding of a
    Human-Rights Based Approach to Development
    Cooperation.
    [25]

    This document outlines the human rights principles that are common to the
    policy and practice of the UN bodies. The Common Understanding states
    that these principles are intended to guide programming across a range of
    service delivery areas.[26] They are
    of importance in addressing the accessibility of mainstream services.

    The Common Understanding has three principles. Namely, that:

    • All programmes, policies and technical assistance should further the
      realisation of human rights;
    • Human rights standards guide all development cooperation and all phases of
      programming; and
    • Development cooperation contributes to the development of the capacity of
      ‘duty-bearers’ to meet their obligations and of
      ‘rights-holders’ to claim their
      rights.[27]

    The Common Understanding also identifies the following
    elements that are ‘necessary, specific, and unique to a human rights-based
    approach’ to
    development.[28]

    Text Box 1 – Elements of a human rights based approach to
    development

    • Assessment and analysis identify the human rights claims of rights-holders
      and the corresponding human rights obligations of duty-bearers as well as the
      immediate, underlying, and structural causes of the non-realisation of
      rights.
    • Programs assess the capacity of rights-holders to claim their rights and of
      duty-bearers to fulfill their obligations. They then develop strategies to
      build these capacities.
    • Programs monitor and evaluate both outcomes and processes guided by human
      rights standards and principles.
    • Programming is informed by the recommendations of international human rights
      bodies and mechanisms.

    Other elements of good programming
    practices that are also essential under a human rights based approach include
    that:

    • (i) People are recognised as key actors in their own development, rather
      than passive recipients of commodities and services.
    • (ii) Participation is both a means and a goal.
    • (iii) Strategies are empowering, not disempowering.
    • (iv) Both outcomes and processes are monitored and evaluated.
    • (v) Analysis includes all stakeholders.
    • (vi) Programs focus on marginalised, disadvantaged, and excluded
      groups.
    • (vii) The development process is locally owned.
    • (viii) Programs aim to reduce disparity.
    • (ix) Both top-down and bottom-up approaches are used in synergy.
    • (x) Situation analysis is used to identity immediate, underlying, and basic
      causes of development problems.
    • (xi) Measurable goals and targets are important in programming.
    • (xii) Strategic partnerships are developed and sustained.
    • (xiii) Programs support accountability to all stakeholders.

    These principles provide useful guidance for incorporating participatory
    development principles into domestic policies and programs relating to
    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy, including, to improve
    accessibility of mainstream services.

    The challenge of improving Indigenous
    access to mainstream services

    Most expenditure by Australian governments on the provision of services to
    Indigenous peoples is made through mainstream services generally available to
    all citizens. However, the Commonwealth Grants Commission’s Report on
    Indigenous Funding 2001
    found that Indigenous peoples do not access these
    mainstream services on an equitable basis:

    It is clear from all available evidence that mainstream services do not meet
    the needs of Indigenous people to the same extent as they meet the needs of
    non-Indigenous people. In general, Indigenous people experience greater
    disadvantage and have greater needs than non-Indigenous people and, for
    geographic, economic and cultural reasons, mainstream services are less
    accessible to them.[29]

    The report noted that despite the physical accessibility of services in urban
    areas, there was a range of factors constraining access (see below). Although
    Indigenous peoples in rural and remote areas face similar barriers to urban
    Indigenous peoples, they also face major physical access difficulties because
    mainstream services are often either not provided, or physical access to them is
    restricted by distance.[30] There
    can also be problems in attracting and retaining experienced and trained staff
    to work in rural and remote areas or specifically with Indigenous peoples,
    regardless of location.

    In response to this situation, the report identified as a principle that
    should underlie service delivery:

    Recognition of the critical importance of effective access to
    mainstream programs and services, and clear actions to identify and address
    barriers
    to access.[31] [emphasis added]

    The ramifications of problems of accessibility to services were examined in
    the Social Justice Report
    2002.
    [32] By way of example,
    that report noted that Indigenous peoples’ access to health services needs
    to be viewed widely to include not only an evaluation of the specific health
    service in question, but the broader health context and underlying determinants
    of people’s overall wellbeing. The work of the United Nations Committee on
    Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) is particularly relevant here as
    this body broadly interprets the right to health as contained in the Covenant
    as:

    an inclusive right extending not only to timely and appropriate health care
    but also to the underlying determinants of health, such as access
    to safe and potable water and adequate sanitation, an adequate supply of safe
    food, nutrition and housing, healthy occupational and environmental conditions,
    and access to health-related education and information, including on sexual and
    reproductive health. A further important aspect is the participation of the
    population in all health-related decision-making at the community, national and
    international levels.[33] [emphasis
    added]

    The right to health has been elaborated in international law to give it real
    potency to improve health. This broad perspective and considered and elaborated
    approach to improving access to mainstream programs needs to be brought to bear
    in respect of the objective of ‘harnessing the mainstream’ under the
    new arrangements for Indigenous affairs in Australia.

    There is a further dimension to consider when the health service in question
    is to be accessed by Indigenous peoples. The Social Justice Report 2002 also observed that:

    Of particular note is the inclusion of a paragraph [in CESCR General Comment
    14] specifically relating this right to Indigenous
    peoples.[34] The paragraph
    emphasises the need for health services to be culturally
    appropriate
    and for full and effective participation by Indigenous
    peoples. The Committee notes that in Indigenous communities the health of the
    individual is often linked to the health of the society as a whole and has a
    collective dimension
    . As with other rights protected by the Covenant
    (including the right to education), there is an emphasis on the need to develop
    health strategies that should identify appropriate right to health indicators
    and benchmarks. ...... Having identified appropriate right to health indicators,
    states should set appropriate benchmarks to each indicator, for use in
    monitoring and reporting.[35] [emphasis added]

    The relevance of accessing mainstream services has been highlighted under the
    new arrangements for service delivery at the federal government level. The new
    arrangements emphasise whole of government service delivery and improved
    coordination and integration. Whole of government (or ‘joined up’ or
    ‘connected’ government) is a policy imperative that increasingly
    underpins the provision of government services across the board, including
    Indigenous services. Dr Shergold, Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister
    and Cabinet, has made clear that a whole of government approach is a high
    priority for the Australian Public
    Service.[36] ‘Harnessing the
    mainstream’ is a central plank in the ‘whole of government’
    approach to service delivery.

    The Australian government has also worked with state and territory
    governments to achieve better whole of government coordination between levels of
    government. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has made significant
    commitments to overcoming Indigenous disadvantage, including through the National Framework of Principles for Delivering Services to Indigenous
    Australians
    as agreed in June 2004. These principles include:

    address sharing responsibility, harnessing the mainstream, streamlining
    service delivery, establishing transparency and accountability, developing a
    learning framework and focussing on priority
    areas.[37]

    COAG has identified the parameters of the objective of ‘harnessing the
    mainstream’ as follows.

    Text Box 2 –COAG Principles for ‘
    Harnessing the Mainstream’

    Ensuring that Indigenous-specific and mainstream programs and services are
    complementary.

    Lifting the performance of programs and services
    by:

    • reducing bureaucratic red tape;
    • increasing flexibility of funding (mainstream and Indigenous-specific)
      wherever practicable;
    • demonstrating improved access for Indigenous people;
    • maintaining a focus on regional areas and local communities and outcomes;
      and
    • identifying and working together on priority
      issues.

    Supporting Indigenous communities to harness the
    engagement of corporate, non-government and
    philanthropic sectors.[38]

    Increased access to mainstream programs is closely linked with improved
    integration and coordination of service delivery to Indigenous peoples and
    communities. In fact, these objectives are complementary, as one of the reasons
    for poor access is often perceived to be uncoordinated and complex service
    delivery arrangements. As I noted in my Social Justice Report 2004, the
    new arrangements for Indigenous affairs mean that, to a significant extent, at
    the federal level the administration of mainstream programs now sits alongside
    Indigenous-specific programs in the Indigenous Coordination Centres established
    to deliver Indigenous programs on a whole of government basis. As I
    emphasised:

    This is a significant opportunity to improve the accessibility of mainstream
    programs for Indigenous people and communities so as to better meet their
    needs.[39]

    The new relationship between Indigenous-specific and general programs within portfolios rather than with external agencies, such as
    ATSIC, can lead to greater sensitivity in respect of actual mainstream program delivery. For example, delivery of mainstream services by an agency
    should now benefit from association with the Indigenous-specific services also
    being delivered. In this setting mainstream administrators will have a greater
    opportunity to learn about appropriate and effective Indigenous service delivery
    and be sensitised to particular difficulties confronting Indigenous peoples in
    their relations with government service providers.

    As well, mainstreaming of ATSIC services under the new arrangements has given
    these issues greater cogency given that virtually all Indigenous funding now
    comes through mainstream agencies, whether as Indigenous-specific or as
    mainstream programs.

    This can, however, be problematic. As Gray and Sanders have noted, ‘The
    relationship between Indigenous-specific programs and general programs within a
    portfolio area is
    complex’.[40] The problem is
    that the tendency to substitute rather than to complement and
    supplement
    programs can arise, even within portfolios – so that
    the burden may yet again be left to the Indigenous-specific programs, and the
    mainstream programs step back from the task. This substitution effect is
    explained in Text Box 3 below.

    Text Box 3 – The substitution
    effect

    Besides the obvious disadvantage to Indigenous peoples resulting from
    barriers to access to mainstream services, a further problematic effect has been
    a tendency for Indigenous-specific programs to substitute for mainstream
    programs rather than to supplement them.

    That is, mainstream
    service delivery for Indigenous peoples is simply replaced by
    Indigenous-specific programs, with no net increase in funds or resources being
    made available to address Indigenous disadvantage. This substitution effect also
    means that some agencies can put off coming to grips with their responsibilities
    to all Australians, including Indigenous Australians, and the need to develop
    the necessary expertise, sensitivity and flexibility for effective delivery of
    mainstream services to Indigenous peoples.

    This was a particular problem
    for ATSIC, which was often left to fill the gap where mainstream agencies did
    not adequately meet their normal responsibilities to Indigenous peoples.

    I appreciate that various high-level arrangements have been put in place to
    try to avoid such back-sliding.[41] Nevertheless, over time, there is a risk. As Gray and Sanders comment:

    Here then is the conundrum of Indigenous-specific mechanisms within
    government administration. They run the danger of letting general mechanisms
    avoid responsibility for Indigenous people, while simultaneously holding out the
    hope of sensitising those general mechanisms to Indigenous
    difference.[42]

    The Secretaries’ Group on Indigenous Affairs has delineated some of the
    challenges:

    The many challenges in this area include ensuring that Indigenous-specific
    and mainstream programs are complementary, reducing the red tape associated with
    these services, and making mainstream services attractive to Indigenous
    people.[43]

    These are important and difficult challenges for successful implementation of
    the new arrangements. The difficulties in the past in achieving objectives such
    as improving access to mainstream service provision provide a salutary lesson.
    Such difficulties were neither the making of ATSIC nor its predecessors, but
    instead reflect entrenched problems in responding to Indigenous disadvantage.
    One lesson is that, whilst ever Indigenous Australians retain distinctive
    cultural and societal values and practices, governments need to understand,
    respect and respond to such difference. They also need to value Indigenous
    participation in designing and implementing service delivery. Otherwise the
    difficulties between the ‘mainstream’ service providers and their
    Indigenous clients will worsen and inevitably, Indigenous people will bear the
    brunt of the failure.

    I commented in my previous Social Justice Report that removing the
    barriers to accessing services is particularly challenging, and progress has
    been slow.[44] I believe this
    remains the case, and if anything this objective of the new arrangements has
    tended to slip from view. I also noted the absence of mainstream data, the lack
    of linkages between the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage reporting
    framework and mainstream programs, the absence of appropriate monitoring and
    evaluation processes, and the lack of mechanisms for Indigenous engagement and
    participation in designing and delivering
    services.[45] There remains a need
    for effective and credible evaluation of progress towards achieving the
    objective of ‘harnessing the mainstream’.

    The situation of urban Indigenous
    peoples– a particular concern

    The federal government has made remote communities its priority for
    Indigenous-specific funding under the new arrangements. This is on the basis
    that need is greatest in remote communities, and on the understanding that
    mainstream services are generally available to urban-based Indigenous peoples.

    This emphasis on remote communities is reflected in discussions at the
    November 2006 Senate Estimates hearings of the Senate Standing Committee on
    Community Affairs in the context of the ‘strategic interventions’
    approach now being implemented in Indigenous affairs (see further below). In
    response to a question, the Associate Secretary of the Department of Families,
    Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaCSIA) advised that the great
    majority of these interventions are focused on remote locations that have been
    neglected, or where the needs are greatest. This reflects the Government’s
    general approach:

    Mr Gibbons—There is an Indigenous specific cluster [within
    FaCSIA] and the resources of that program cluster are focused more on remote
    Australia than anywhere else—not exclusively, but the burden of our
    investment is going to be on the backlog in housing and infrastructure in remote
    Australia. That is a clear priority of the
    government
    .[46] [emphasis
    added]

    The implicit assumption is that to a considerable extent the needs of urban
    Indigenous peoples (including people living in regional centres) can be met by
    mainstream programs because:

    • services are already in place to serve the wider community, unlike more
      remote areas where services may have to be provided specifically to meet the
      needs of Indigenous communities; and
    • many Indigenous peoples in urban areas follow a lifestyle quite similar to
      the wider society, and so it may appear that these people are better placed to
      utilise mainstream services.

    But the diversity of situations of Indigenous peoples in urban and
    regional areas makes it unrealistic to over-generalise. The needs of Indigenous
    peoples living on Special Purpose Leases on the outskirts of Alice Springs,
    Darwin or Katherine in the Northern Territory will be quite different to those
    of people living in the suburbs of Sydney or Melbourne or housing estates in
    regional centres such as Dubbo or Geraldton.

    The Commonwealth Grants Commission has pointed out that:

    Despite the physical accessibility of services in urban areas, a range of
    factors clearly constrains access of Indigenous people to them. The result is
    that mainstream services are not meeting the needs of Indigenous people
    equitably.[47]

    There are a number of reasons for this relative under-utilisation of
    mainstream services, which can be generally considered under the term of
    ‘barriers to access’. This under-utilisation of services undoubtedly
    is a contributing factor to the relative disadvantage of the Indigenous
    population, including the disadvantage experienced by Indigenous peoples living
    in urban areas. The Commonwealth Grants Commission listed the following barriers
    to access in urban areas.

    Text Box 4 – Barriers to access to services for
    Indigenous peoples in urban areas

    (i) Some mainstream services are planned and delivered so
    as to meet the requirements of the most common users, and do not allow
    sufficiently for the extreme disadvantage and special needs of Indigenous
    people;

    (ii) Some requirements for accessing services do not take
    sufficient account of the lifestyle of Indigenous people;

    (iii) In
    general, Indigenous people have very low incomes and little accumulated wealth.
    Consequently, financial barriers constrain access to some services;

    (iv)
    People living in the outer suburban fringes of large urban centres, where public
    transport infrastructure is more limited, can experience difficulties in gaining
    physical access to services;

    (v) Workforce issues experienced by service
    providers can restrict Indigenous people’s access to services. Staff are
    not always trained to work in a cross-cultural context or where they experience
    the complex multiple problems Indigenous people often face. The relatively low
    number of Indigenous staff in some services, especially in large urban areas,
    adds to Indigenous insecurities in using mainstream services;

    (vi)
    Legacies of history and unpleasant previous experiences with mainstream services
    can reduce Indigenous use of facilities;

    (vii) Some mainstream services
    are delivered in ways that make Indigenous people feel uncomfortable, that is,
    services are not culturally appropriate or culturally secure; and

    (viii)
    There may be poor links between complementary services, for example between
    training institutions and employment facilities, or between primary health
    providers and hospitals or ancillary health
    services.[48]

    Cultural practices and social arrangements are also important determinants of
    the lower uptake, relative to the wider population, of mainstream services by
    Indigenous peoples in urban areas.

    The persistence of Indigenous difference, and evolving Indigenous norms and
    customs, including in urban areas, results in mainstream services often being
    unsuitable or unworkable. For example, in urban and regional areas the
    mainstream criminal justice system, with relatively high rates of Indigenous
    offending and incarceration, is often less effective than it might be in
    deterring criminal behaviour and in providing effective rehabilitation.
    Consequently a number of initiatives, including elder participation in judicial
    processes and circle sentencing have been developed. This has been a positive
    development in aligning mainstream services with Indigenous needs and values. As
    my predecessor, Dr Jonas, pointed out:

    The fact that Indigenous involvement in sentencing processes is taking place
    in urban areas in the most settled eastern sea-board states, such as through the
    Koori, Ngunga and Murri Courts and circle sentencing, demonstrates the vitality
    and evolving nature of [Indigenous] customary
    law.[49]

    As well, past bad experiences with mainstream service providers, and the
    confidence-sapping effects of a lifetime led in the shadow of racism, can all be
    real barriers to accessing
    services.[50]

    Thus, as I pointed out in the Social Justice Report 2004, the emphasis
    in the new arrangements on remote discrete Indigenous communities poses
    difficulties for Indigenous peoples in urban
    areas.[51] Urban Indigenous peoples
    may in effect be abandoned to mainstream services, without adequately addressing
    issues of access, flexibility and relevance.

    The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres
    Strait Islander Affairs (HORSCATSIA) considered some of these problems in an
    inquiry into the needs of urban dwelling Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    peoples in 2001. In respect of accessing mainstream services, it noted that:

    The evidence suggests that Indigenous people in urban areas tend not to use
    mainstream services and choose instead to use Indigenous community organisations
    as either intermediaries with mainstream agencies or as replacement service
    providers, or not to use any services at all [emphasis added].[52]

    Or, as Shelley Reys, an Indigenous consultant and a Board member of
    Reconciliation Australia, has observed:

    ... Indigenous people in Sydney are expected to access mainstream services
    that often don’t meet their needs.[53]

    Indeed, HORSCATSIA’s Report set out the challenges and parameters of
    service delivery to urban-based Indigenous peoples as follows:

    In urban areas at least, the urgent priority should be on meeting the needs
    of Indigenous people through better access to existing mainstream services. This
    means that mainstream services need to be appropriately designed and delivered
    in culturally sensitive ways that reflect regional differences and cultural
    diversity. It also means that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples need
    to be involved in program design and service delivery. It may be necessary to
    invest in parallel Indigenous specific structures or services where mainstream
    services are inadequate or non existent.

    The Committee acknowledges that there are many mainstream government services
    that Indigenous people find currently neither easy to use nor appropriate to
    their circumstances. However, this is not a reason for doing nothing.
    Appropriate plans need to be developed to overcome these obstacles. They should
    not be perpetuated.[54]

    This is the nub of the situation. These comments by the HORSCATSIA provide a
    template for the provision of services to Indigenous peoples in urban areas and
    regional centres. The question that needs to be considered is whether the new
    arrangements for Indigenous affairs are responsive to the needs of Indigenous
    peoples in urban areas. Does the current emphasis on SRAs and strategic
    interventions in discrete and remote communities mean that for urban Indigenous
    peoples the unsatisfactory state of affairs regarding access to mainstream
    services will be perpetuated?

    The Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination has identified improving
    mainstream access as a critical component of the new arrangements if the
    government is to improve service delivery to Indigenous peoples in urban
    locations:

    the Government recognises that Indigenous disadvantage will not be addressed
    through Indigenous-specific programs and services alone. It is important,
    particularly in an urban context where the majority of mainstream infrastructure
    is already present, to 'harness the mainstream'... In urban and regional
    environments, where the majority of the Indigenous population lives, physical
    access to mainstream services is less likely to be the key issue. However,
    mainstream services have not performed as well as they should in meeting the
    needs of Indigenous people in urban areas. Therefore, the Australian Government
    is also working to harness mainstream services, to improve access to, take-up of
    and outcomes from these services for Indigenous Australians. This is also an
    issue being raised in various bilateral negotiations with the
    States.[55]

    In correspondence provided for this year’s report, as well as
    discussions with senior officials in OIPC, the government has indicated that it
    continues to struggle with the challenge of ‘harnessing the
    mainstream’ among Indigenous peoples in urban communities:

    Our analysis shows that harnessing the mainstream is closely connected to the
    effective provision of services to urban Indigenous people. Feedback from those
    working on the ground as well as nationally... reveals that there are many
    success factors and challenges common to both urban and mainstreaming issues.
    These include:

    • Improved mechanisms/incentives are needed in mainstream services to break
      down barriers to access and to ensure that use by Indigenous people is in line
      with need and that outcomes achieved are comparable to other Australians in like
      circumstances;
    • Further information is needed on Indigenous mobility and service usage in
      urban areas;
    • The Indigenous population in urban areas can be diffuse and is not always
      readily identified as cohesive or ‘community’ groupings for the
      purpose of targeting services and collaboration;
    • Cooperative action by governments can be hampered by inflexibility resulting
      from the funding, structure and operation of agencies and programs; and
    • The necessary changes and improvements need a long term approach.

    These success factors and challenges will be further examined
    during ongoing policy developments on improving urban and mainstream
    services.[56]

    A case study: withdrawal of CDEP from
    urban and certain regional centres and abolition of Indigenous Employment
    Centres

    There are two aspects to improving accessibility of mainstream services for
    Indigenous peoples. The first is improving such access through whole of
    government coordination and the machinery of the new arrangements (as discussed
    throughout this chapter). The second is the efforts of individual mainstream
    departments to build better connections between the mainstream and Indigenous
    specific services they deliver on a day-to-day basis.

    The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) is one such
    mainstream agency that has taken on a significant role in Indigenous affairs as
    a result of the new arrangements. This owes much to the fact that tackling
    Indigenous unemployment and underemployment are at the core of the federal
    government’s Indigenous Economic Development Strategy (IEDS), which
    was launched in November 2005.[57]

    The goal of the IEDS is to support Indigenous Australians achieve economic
    independence by reducing their dependence on passive welfare. The strategy takes
    a whole-of-government approach to removing barriers to Indigenous economic
    independence, drawing together the range of mainstream and Indigenous-specific
    programs and services, and linking them into support offered through the
    corporate, community and philanthropic sectors.

    Under this strategy, the ‘key ingredients for economic
    independence’ are Indigenous employment, home ownership and business
    development.[58] The twelve
    initiatives in the IEDS focus on two main areas: work and asset/ wealth
    management. The work initiatives include CDEP reform; local jobs for local
    people; improved employment service performance; and targeted industry
    strategies. The asset/ wealth management initiatives include increased
    Indigenous home ownership and economic development on Indigenous
    land.[59]

    DEWR’s prominence in Indigenous affairs is also related to the fact it
    is responsible for the largest Indigenous specific program, the Community
    Development Employment Project (CDEP)
    . The CDEP scheme was transferred from
    ATSIC to DEWR in July 2004, and underwent significant changes to align
    Indigenous specific services with mainstream services which I commented on in
    the Social Justice Report
    2005.
    [60] Now one year on, we
    are faced with even more sweeping changes.

    The CDEP scheme plays a central role in the economic and community life of
    many discrete Indigenous communities and rural towns with a significant
    Indigenous population.[61] As I
    reported in the Social Justice Report 2005:

    At 30 June 2004, there were over 36,000 CDEP participants and 220 CDEP
    organisations. In 2002 the CDEP scheme accounted for over one-quarter of the
    total employment of Indigenous Australians, with 13 percent of the working-age
    population being employed in the CDEP scheme. ... The majority of CDEP
    participants (62%) were in very remote areas, 11 percent were in remote areas,
    11 percent in outer regional areas, 9 percent in major cities and 7 percent in
    the inner regional areas.[62]

    CDEP has been a contentious program since its inception in the late 1970s.
    Interestingly, it was an attempt to address the perceived negative effects that
    could flow from providing remote communities with social service benefits. There
    was a concern even then, that this ‘passive welfare’ would have
    harmful personal and social consequences.

    Over its lifespan, the CDEP scheme has been criticised by Indigenous peoples
    and governments for a range of reasons, including that it:

    • Is an alternative form of employment for Indigenous peoples, even where
      there are other jobs available in the local labour market;
    • Is a destination or dead-end, rather than a pathway to ‘real’
      and sustainable employment;
    • It lets governments at all levels get away with not providing essential
      services to Indigenous communities;
    • It devalues the work done by CDEP participants because a ‘real
      job’ would earn a ‘real wage;’ and
    • CDEP participants do not have access to superannuation, long-service leave
      and union membership.

    For all its criticisms, it is important to acknowledge that the
    CDEP scheme has enabled many Indigenous communities to develop valuable
    community services which address key community needs. Many of these services are
    now regarded as ‘essential services’ in Indigenous communities and
    it is questionable that commercial enterprises could either afford to provide
    them, or deliver them in a culturally appropriate manner. Examples include:
    night patrol services; childcare centres; cultural and natural heritage
    programs; and garbage services.

    The CDEP scheme has also contributed to the development of Indigenous
    businesses, entrepreneurship and leadership in some communities. CDEPs have been
    able to increase the employment prospects of many participants through the
    delivery of accredited vocational training courses, paid work experience,
    personal support and literacy/numeracy
    skills.[63]

    Initially CDEP was based on community development with projects typically
    ranging from housing and road maintenance, to artefact production and
    horticultural enterprises. There was a strong emphasis on projects that
    positively contributed to community coherence and cultural integrity. There was
    also an emphasis on boosting the number of CDEP participants and completed
    projects.

    However, reforms in recent years have shifted the focus towards long-term
    employment outside the CDEP scheme. Increasingly CDEP organisations are required
    to make links with a range of government programs aimed at getting Indigenous
    peoples into mainstream employment or developing Indigenous business
    opportunities.

    The government’s introduction of Indigenous Employment Centres
    (IECs) in recent years is indicative of the re-orientation of the CDEP
    scheme towards mainstream employment outcomes. From 2002, the government
    encouraged the establishment of IECs by CDEPs located in areas with good
    employment opportunities. The purpose of these centres was to assist more CDEP
    participants to move off CDEP into long-term employment outside the CDEP scheme.
    IECs would tailor help for individual CDEP participants to get them job ready,
    support them while they are in their chosen job, and provide a pathway to
    employment that has strong connections with the local community. IECs continued
    to be established in a total of 43 locations across Australia until
    2006.[64]

    On 6 November 2006 the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
    released an Indigenous employment discussion paper: Indigenous Potential
    meets Economic
    Opportunity.
    [65] It
    proposes ‘a new model of employment services’ for Indigenous
    Australians in urban and major regional centres.

    The discussion paper notes major achievements of the CDEP reform process,
    which it credits to the introduction of the IECS, including:

    • 3,704 Indigenous people moved out of CDEP and into employment in the 2005-06
      financial year, an increase of 135 per cent on the 2004-05 financial year;
    • In the three months to end September 2006, 1,482 CDEP participants were
      placed into jobs outside of CDEP – more than double the number in the same
      period last year;
    • Over 20 businesses were progressed through CDEP during 2005-06. An
      additional 52 were identified and are progressing;
    • The CDEP “No work No pay” rule is being more strictly enforced
      with participants now required to sign an acknowledgement form to ensure they
      are aware of the rule; and
    • A more competitive funding process ensuring better value for money from
      CDEP.[66]

    At the same time, the discussion paper acknowledges that only 5
    percent
    of the people moving through CDEP in 2005-06 were recorded as
    ‘achieving employment off
    CDEP’.[67] In contrast, Job
    Network (‘Australia’s largest and most effective program in finding
    jobs for Indigenous
    people’[68]) placed over
    45,200 Indigenous job seekers into jobs in a similar twelve month
    timeframe.[69] It is this apparent
    success of a mainstream service provider in placing Indigenous job seekers in
    employment that appears to be driving the government’s latest round of
    CDEP changes.

    Another reason for the changes is that ‘outcomes from CDEP appear to be
    growing faster in remote areas than in urban areas’, and ‘a new
    approach is required to improve performance, particularly in urban and major
    regional centres with strong labour
    markets’.[70] This ‘new
    approach’ will include the abolition of CDEPs and IECs in urban and major
    regional centres, as well as a greater focus on placement directly into jobs
    through ‘employer-focused job brokerage’. As the government’s
    discussion paper elaborates:

    To make the most of strong labour markets in urban and major regional
    centres, the Australian Government proposes to further increase the focus on
    employer demand
    and placement directly into jobs. This would mean that in
    these locations, CDEP and IEC activities would cease and funding would be
    redirected to an enhanced STEP brokerage service from 1 July 2007. [emphasis
    added]

    The IEC model, which was designed to bridge the gap between CDEP and Job
    Network, is no longer necessary given the improved performance of CDEP service
    providers and Job Network members. Funding for IECs across Australia would cease
    on 30 June 2007. CDEP would continue to operate for eligible people in remote
    locations and regional location with weaker labour markets.[71] ... This would affect about 40 of
    the 210 current CDEP service providers and about 7,000 CDEP places out of
    around 35,000. All IECs across Australia would cease on 30 June
    2007.[72] [emphasis added]

    The new ‘brokerage services’ would be provided by enhanced Structured Training and Employment Projects (STEP) brokers (see text box
    below). They would work with local employers to identify employment
    opportunities and place people directly into jobs or organise training,
    mentoring and other activities that would prepare job seekers for identified
    jobs. CDEPs and IECs would be able to compete for new business as STEP
    brokers.[73]

    Text Box 5 - Enhanced STEP employment
    brokers

    Regular STEP Program

    There has been an increased
    emphasis on STEP since 1999 when the government introduced a range of
    initiatives to improve Indigenous economic
    independence.[74] The STEP program
    has the following characteristics:

    • Provides funding and tailored help to private sector businesses that employ
      Indigenous Australians;
    • Jobs must be ongoing after STEP funding ceases;.
    • The level of funding depends on the type of organisation and assistance
      needed; and
    • Funding is available for training (including apprenticeships and
      traineeships, on the job training, school based apprenticeships and
      cross-cultural awareness training); development of an Indigenous employment
      strategy; mentoring; and help with employment
      costs.[75]

    One
    feature that differentiates the STEP program from other Indigenous employment
    assistance programs is its employer-driven orientation. For example, STEP
    assistance ‘is tailored to business
    needs’
    .[76] [emphasis
    added] This view is shared by Job Futures, which has described STEP as being:

    imed at getting employers to increase the number of Aboriginal employees
    on their books, not aimed at enabling Very Long Term Unemployed or disadvantaged
    job seekers to gain and sustain employment. ... STEP’s effectiveness in
    creating new opportunities for long-term unemployed Aboriginal people, and for
    supporting local jobs for local people has not been
    demonstrated.[77]

    Enhanced
    STEP brokerage

    The government’s description of ‘enhanced
    STEP brokerage’ indicates that like its predecessor, it too will focus on
    meeting employer demand:

    The enhanced STEP brokerage model would provide employers with employees to
    fill their available jobs. DEWR and STEP brokers would develop local strategies based on employer needs particularly in growth industries. Services for
    employers under these new arrangements would include:

    • Pre-employment support services that may include training and recruitment
      strategies;
    • Employment placement services to assist them place and retain Indigenous
      Australians in their workplaces; and
    • Mentoring services to help them retain their Indigenous
      employees.[78]

    I
    am not confident that this demand-driven model is appropriate to address the
    problem of long-term Indigenous unemployment in Australia. Not only does it seem
    inappropriate to shift the focus to what employers need, rather than what
    will work best for Indigenous job seekers, it is also highly debatable that a
    demand approach will work in the regional centres where employment growth tends
    to be less strong. As Job Futures explains:

    While some employers complain that they would employ Aboriginal people if
    they could, these same employers complain about the quality of applicants they
    receive from Job Network. There is little evidence that employers have
    recognised either the need to reconsider their own hiring practices or the fact
    that the pool of high skilled, job-ready job seekers is diminishing – and
    those that remain require a substantial investment of time and resources to
    assist them into, and support them in, employment.

    ... It is important to recognise too, that demand led strategies have been
    most successful where they have been geared to the needs of a single large
    employer or a critical mass of medium size employers in a common location or
    industry. ... Demand led strategies may be viable in large urban centres with
    strong employment growth – like Perth or Melbourne. But it is less clear
    that they will work in Wagga, Broome or Port Lincoln.

    It is worth noting that small business is the largest employer of
    Australians. ... Small businesses want employees who have real experience of
    paid work in a real workplace. The plant nurseries, maintenance crews, retail
    outlets, childcare centres, aged and disability care services that are currently
    provided by CDEP offer this opportunity.

    It is important to note that these proposed changes
    are intended to commence implementation in mid 2007. The lifespan of these
    proposed new arrangements is only identified as being the next 2 years, i.e.
    2007-08 and 2008-09. It seems the way is being left open for the full
    mainstreaming of Indigenous employment services in urban and regional centres
    following that.

    The latest round of proposed changes to the CDEP scheme comes not long after
    a significant round of reforms last year. There has not been sufficient time to
    assess whether those changes were having a positive effective before Indigenous
    communities and organisations are now expected to absorb another, arguably more
    complex round of changes. This apparent ‘restlessness’ in
    arrangements, with constant changing of organisations, policy-settings, and even
    names, creates its own stresses and
    problems.[79]

    It is important that there is clear direction and informed policy development
    in the critical area of Indigenous employment. This is not to suggest that all
    new policies should be free of modification and adjustment, but there needs to
    be recognition that communities and organisations can only absorb so much change
    before it becomes destabilising and detrimental.

    It remains to be seen whether the government’s proposal to increase
    Indigenous employment through job placement and job-relevant training in areas
    with an apparent strong labour market will result in increased sustainable job
    placements. However, there are a number of factors that bring into question
    whether this will be the case.

    Principal among these is the assumption that a market with strong local
    demand will take up an Indigenous job seeker as readily as it would a
    non-Indigenous job seeker. As Job Futures pointed out in its response to the
    government’s discussion paper:

    Aboriginal job seekers, on the whole, are further from the world of work,
    more likely to live in jobless households, have lower basic skills (including
    literacy/numeracy) and are less likely to be prepared for sustainable
    work.[80]

    Similarly, a downturn in current buoyant labour conditions may also weaken
    the position of Indigenous job seekers in the employment market.

    Although the government is confident that the CDEPs that have been targeted
    for replacement by enhanced STEP brokers all have strong labour markets, the
    socio-economic status of Indigenous peoples in those locations does not compare
    well to the non-Indigenous population. As Job Futures explains, in each
    location:

    • The unemployment rate of Indigenous peoples is higher and the labour force
      participation rate lower than for non-Indigenous people – even when the
      CDEP labour force is included in the employment figures;
    • The level of long-term unemployment is higher amongst Indigenous people than
      non-Indigenous people; and
    • The level of schooling of Indigenous people is substantially lower than
      non-Indigenous people.[81]

    Given the profile of Indigenous job seekers in the locations where
    the CDEP reforms will occur, Job Futures has recommended the government maintain
    the CDEP scheme as an ‘intermediate labour market program’ –
    which was the broad intention of the 2005-06 changes to CDEP guidelines. Job
    Futures recommends that in urban areas, rather than abolishing them, CDEPs
    be:

    ... repositioned as an Intermediate Labour Market program which provides an
    experience of real work, for wages, which reconnects people to the world of work
    and facilitates the transition to mainstream employment. ... While many
    employers are willing to provide vocational skills, employers are not geared to
    assisting employees to gain basic skills. Employers want employees who will turn
    up each day appropriately dressed, able to work effectively with co-workers and
    with a basic understanding of work safety rules. Intermediate labour market
    programs give people the chance to develop these
    skills’.[82]

    I am not alone in my concerns about the haste with which the changes to the
    CDEP scheme will be introduced, and the extent to which Indigenous communities
    and organisations will be prepared for their
    introduction.[83] The
    government’s discussion paper acknowledges that on 1 July 2007
    approximately 7,000 people will lose their CDEP wage. What it does not
    contemplate are the possible adverse social and economic consequences for the
    Indigenous individuals, families and communities that will be affected. As Job
    Futures warns:

    CDEP is currently the largest employer of Aboriginal people in the country
    and is considered a real job by participants, community members and recipients
    of CDEP services. ... Unless these individuals have a job to go to, they will be
    made redundant and are likely to experience the range of personal, social and
    financial problems that go with this. Shame, withdrawal from social activity,
    ill health and poor financial status are some of the consequences. ...

    We highlight these issues not because we believe that the status quo should
    remain, but because we believe that change should be measured and should be
    calculated to improve the situation of Aboriginal people
    – not drive
    communities and individuals to
    despair.[84] [emphasis added]

    Although the government’s discussion paper provides assurances that
    DEWR will develop comprehensive transition arrangements for all CDEP
    participants and service providers affected by the new model, there is
    surprisingly little detail about what such arrangements might entail. Beyond
    assurances that DEWR will ‘ensure affected participants understand how the
    changes affect them and what their options are’, and will ‘work with
    CDEP service providers, Centrelink, and other service providers’ to assist
    participants – there is no further
    information.[85]

    The government’s proposal to abolish all IECs without first evaluating
    their effectiveness is also a matter of concern. The discussion paper makes no
    comment about whether they achieved any of their objectives, or how the enhanced
    STEP brokerage system will improve on them. Rather it appears that the IEC model
    is being mainstreamed and re-badged as something new and improved, namely enhanced STEP. However there is surprisingly little detail about how the
    ‘enhanced STEP’ will be different from the old ‘STEP’.
    For example, there is no information about:

    • The number of people that will be able to access the service over time;
    • The nature or level of the community activities stream;
    • How activities under STEP will be differentiated from Job Network services;
      and
    • The key performance indicators or the guidelines that DEWR will use to
      distribute business amongst the employment brokers.

    I am not confident that the month-long public consultation process
    shed any further light on these matters or enhanced general understanding in the
    Indigenous community about how the reforms will operate. Such understanding is
    critical to the smooth implementation at the community level. As Job Futures
    observes:

    After one consultation session at which DEWR presented, a number of
    organisational representatives discussed their impression of the extent to which
    community engagement activities would continue to be part of the enhanced STEP
    model. The organisations had impressions ranging from that these activities
    would be unchanged under the new arrangements, to that they would be practically
    eliminated. This difference highlights the fact that the discussion paper simply
    does not have the level of information required by communities, recipients of
    CDEP services (eg childcare centres, Day Patrol) and CDEP participants to enable
    them to consult about the impact of the
    changes.[86]

    I expressed significant concerns about the consultation process held for the
    previous round of CDEP reforms.[87] Similar concerns exist about the latest round of consultations on the discussion
    paper. A total of 30 face-to-face consultations were held in urban and regional
    centres over a two week period in November 2006, and each consultation ran for
    three hours. Interested parties had at most, one month to submit written
    comments.[88] Although the
    government has provided assurances that the feedback from these consultations
    will ‘be used to shape the future direction of
    CDEP,’[89] I question the
    extent to which the government will take on board any Indigenous or employment
    industry feedback. The government has already identified which CDEPs it will
    abolish, it has set a deadline of 1 July 2007 for the commencement of the STEP
    brokerages, and there simply is not the time to rethink the model in any
    substantive way.

    Concerns have also been expressed regarding the capacity of some CDEPs and
    IECs to compete for STEP brokerage contracts against organisations that have
    years of experience bidding for contracts with
    DEWR.[90] Although DEWR intends to
    ‘work closely with CDEP organisations to maximise the opportunities for
    emerging businesses to
    continue’,[91] there is
    considerable risk that some of these organisations will not make the transition.
    The loss of organisations that deliver valuable if not essential services in
    Indigenous communities will have broader social and economic consequences that
    will need to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

    Finally, I question the extent to which enhanced STEP will really provide a
    new service to Indigenous job seekers. The government acknowledges that some
    Indigenous job seekers will not be ready for training or job placement; hence
    community work activities will have to continue to be provided through the
    enhanced STEP. It appears that, to this extent at least, STEP will continue to
    operate like a CDEP in relation to these Indigenous clients. Similarly, the
    services described as falling within enhanced STEP are already currently
    available through the Job Network or Wage
    Assistance.[92]

    My Office will continue to monitor developments in relation to the operation
    of the CDEP scheme and the enhanced STEP model. The effects of the changed
    arrangements will need to be carefully monitored before further changes are
    introduced. This will especially be the case if the proposed changes prove to be
    a trojan horse for further mainstreaming of Indigenous employment services in
    urban areas. It would be highly undesirable if a class of Indigenous peoples
    become permanently isolated from the labour market in urban and regional areas,
    without the support of CDEP or some similar arrangement that meets the
    particular needs of Indigenous unemployed people and allows them activity,
    training and purpose. It is difficult at this stage to see this being
    satisfactorily provided by the mainstream employment services.

    The Council of Australian Governments
    (COAG) Trials

    The genesis of the new arrangements are to be found in the agreement in April
    2002 of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to trial a new whole of
    government approach to the delivery of services to Indigenous communities at
    eight selected trial sites:

    The aim of these trials will be to improve the way governments interact with
    each other and with communities to deliver more effective responses to the needs
    of indigenous Australians. The lessons learnt from these cooperative approaches
    will be able to be applied more
    broadly.[93]

    The key objectives in the COAG trial sites were to:

    • tailor government action to identified community needs and aspirations;
    • coordinate government programs and services where this will improve service
      delivery outcomes;
    • encourage innovative approaches;
    • cut through blockages and red tape to resolve issues quickly;
    • negotiate agreed project outcomes, benchmarks and responsibilities with the
      relevant people in Indigenous communities;
    • work with Indigenous communities to build the capacity of people in those
      communities to negotiate as genuine partners with government; and
    • build the capacity of government employees to work in new ways with
      Indigenous communities.[94]

    As it turns out, on the information available to date, it would
    appear that none of these objectives have been achieved to any significant
    degree (see below).[95]

    The trials got underway in some sites in 2002 and in others in 2003. A
    federal government department was identified for each trial site to lead the
    government’s involvement in the trial. The Secretary of the Department was
    to act as a ‘champion’ for the relevant community, in the sense of
    promoting the coordinated delivery of services by the federal departments
    involved. The sites were to be individually monitored and evaluated, as well as
    evaluating the overall whole of government approach embodied in the trials:

    The whole-of-government initiative will be evaluated by an independent expert
    within two years of commencement and again after five years. Data collected and
    analysed through the performance monitoring process and feedback received from
    trial regions will be included in the
    evaluation.[96]

    Unfortunately, these early commitments concerning evaluation of the COAG
    trials were slow in coming to realisation. An evaluation framework for the
    trials was released in October 2003, but this set out evaluation priorities
    rather than an evaluation process. In April 2004 it was stated that
    ‘evaluation of the trials would be premature at this
    stage’.[97] Even though the
    trials had neither been completed nor evaluated at the time, in July 2004 the
    Government chose to replicate this whole of government service delivery model on
    a nation-wide basis through implementing the new arrangements for the
    administration of Indigenous affairs.

    Thus, as I noted in 2004:

    The structures of the new arrangements and the philosophy that underpins them
    can be seen to have been directly derived from the COAG
    trials.[98]

    Indeed, despite the absence of any formal evaluation, the federal government
    continually stated that the new arrangements were based on ‘the early
    learnings’ from the COAG trials, as well as findings of the ATSIC
    Review.[99]This places the COAG
    trials at the centre of the new arrangements
    . Concerns about the trials have
    to be viewed in this context.

    The key problem that presents itself is whether there was premature adoption
    of the COAG trials in terms of implementing the new arrangements. This danger
    was noted by the Senate Select Committee on the Administration of Indigenous
    Affairs in its 2005 report After ATSIC – Life in the
    Mainstream?
    [100] While
    the Senate Committee was supportive of the COAG trials, it had concerns,
    especially if the model was to be applied widely too early. As the Committee
    noted:

    The Committee is concerned that the COAG trials are being used as a model for
    wider service delivery arrangements before there is any clear idea of whether
    these trial sites have succeeded or not. In point of fact, the COAG trials are
    yet to be assessed in any authoritative manner; until such time as that occurs,
    the likelihood of success of the new arrangements is difficult to gauge, and as
    such, represents a risk in terms of public policy.[101] [emphasis
    added]

    In what now appears to be a prophetic observation, the Committee noted that
    the extent of dedicated support that the COAG trials were then receiving to
    ensure their success was
    unsustainable.[102]

    My Office became increasingly concerned about arrangements for evaluation of
    these trials and public accountability for their outcomes. The Social Justice
    Report
    2003 noted that:

    ... it is not clear at this stage that the performance monitoring framework
    of the trials will be sufficiently
    rigorous.[103] ... The lack of a
    clear evaluation strategy is of great
    concern.[104]

    Consequently I recommended that an independent monitoring and evaluation
    process for the whole of government community trials initiative be
    initiated.[105] However, by the
    time of the Social Justice Report 2005, my concerns about the evaluation
    had not diminished, and I reported that:

    To date, progress has been slow in ensuring that the new arrangements are
    subject to rigorous and transparent monitoring processes. The absence of
    sufficient processes amounts to a failure of government
    accountability.[106]

    HORSCATSIA, in its 2004 report on its inquiry into capacity building and
    service delivery in Indigenous communities, whilst being generally supportive of
    the trials, also noted its’ ‘serious concerns regarding the
    Trials.’[107] They
    stated:

    The Committee notes that there has been limited, if any coordinated reporting
    on their implementation and, to date, no tangible evidence has emerged on their
    progress. The Committee has concerns regarding accountability matters, and
    believes that an effective audit process needs to be put in place and a regular
    report made on their progress in achieving
    outcomes.[108]

    The Committee went on to recommend that:

    The Commonwealth Government report to Parliament on an annual basis on the
    progress of the COAG Trial of the whole of government approach to service
    delivery in Indigenous communities and regions, and that procedures be
    implemented to ensure that the report presented in the House of Representatives
    stands referred to this Committee for its considerations and
    report.[109]

    In its response to the Committee’s Report (August 2006), the government
    rejected this recommendation, arguing that it:

    ... is committed to ensuring that reporting on the progress of the COAG
    trials is carried out and made widely available, and therefore [the government]
    does not consider that a report to the Parliament is
    necessary.[110]

    Information about the progress of COAG trials has clearly not been made
    ‘widely available’ to date. The past three Social Justice
    Reports
    have expressed concerns about the lack of transparency and the
    absence of monitoring and evaluative processes, and the consequent lack of
    government accountability, for the COAG trials in some
    depth.[111]

    This year the advice from the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination (OIPC)
    concerning the status of the evaluation of the COAG sites has been as
    follows:

    In late 2003 the Australian and State and Territory Governments agreed on a
    monitoring and evaluation framework for the eight COAG Indigenous coordination
    trials ... OIPC is coordinating evaluations of the eight COAG trial sites on
    behalf of the Australian Government, in consultation with the relevant
    Commonwealth and State/Territory lead agencies in each site.

    Formative evaluations of each site commenced in 2005-06. The evaluations are
    looking at what’s working well and what can be improved. They are being
    undertaken by independent evaluators using a common evaluation framework. They
    are focusing on how governments can improve their engagement with each other and
    with Indigenous people and communities. The evaluation reports will cover the
    history of the trial, the coordination processes used in the trial, interim
    outcomes and options for further consideration by the trial partners. The
    evaluations should be largely completed by July 2006.

    An overarching report (or meta-evaluation) in the second half of 2006 will
    draw together the common themes and lessons from the individual COAG Trial site
    evaluations.

    The need for and nature of further evaluation of the COAG Trials will be
    considered after the meta-evaluation and will be flagged in future evaluation
    plans as appropriate.[112]

    This timetable has run behind schedule. Further, the federal government has
    not made the findings of the reviews of the COAG trial sites publicly available
    as they have been completed, preferring instead to release all of the individual
    trial reports and the synopsis report when they are all complete and the
    government has had the opportunity to consider
    them.[113]

    In the absence of information from the federal government on the evaluation
    of the trials, I sought to gauge the effectiveness of the trials using what
    information was available from various state and territory governments and other
    sources.[114] I presented and
    analysed this information in the Social Justice Report 2005, noting the
    shortcomings and problems evident in at least some of the trials at that stage.
    For example, independent evaluations of the Shepparton COAG trial, commissioned
    by the community partners, concluded that the trial was
    failing.[115]

    Such apparent failures put a question mark over the entire COAG trial
    process. As the authors of the Shepparton evaluation rightly asked:

    If the COAG pilot is unable to function successfully in an innovative and
    tested Aboriginal community such as Shepparton, the question must be asked:
    Where can it succeed?[116]

    We now have part of the answer to that question: not, apparently, at Wadeye
    in the Northern Territory.

    The evaluation of the Wadeye COAG trial (also referred to as the ‘Gray
    Report’) entered the public arena in late 2006 before the government
    intended and was widely reported in the
    press.[117] It was also discussed
    at the November 2006 Senate Estimates hearings. The Gray Report described
    significant problems with the Wadeye trial (see box below).

    Wadeye was selected as the Northern Territory site for a COAG trial. The
    Secretary of the then Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS) was
    responsible for the implementation of the trial. Its high profile nature
    prompted the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister of the NT, and other senior
    Ministers to visit Wadeye during the period of the trial, which in turn
    heightened expectations of the trial’s success. The Secretaries' Group on
    Indigenous Affairs Annual Report 2004-05 commented:

    The trial site at Wadeye is showing how governments can work together with
    Indigenous communities to improve outcomes for Indigenous
    people.[118]

    In a similar vein, the then Minister, Senator Vanstone, had commented:

    In the COAG trial we dealt directly with the 'Thamarrurr' [traditional
    governance arrangement] so each of the clans has been able to have its say. As a
    result of us listening to the Thamarrurr and responding, life is now improving
    for the people of Wadeye.

    The Thamarrurr, Territory and Australian governments agreed education was a
    priority and just last week there was a massive increase in the number of
    children attending school. So much so that more desks had to be put on the barge
    from Darwin.

    What works in Wadeye of course will not work everywhere
    else.[119]

    Unfortunately the optimism shown about the trial proved to be misplaced. The
    evaluation report by Bill Gray AM, a highly regarded former senior government
    official, indicates an almost total failure of the Wadeye trial to achieve its
    objectives.

    Text Box 6 – The ‘Gray Report’
    The Wadeye COAG Trial Evaluation – a failed
    experiment?

    The Wadeye community is the largest Aboriginal community in the Northern
    Territory and indeed one of the larger Northern Territory towns. Despite
    extremely low life expectancy, the population has a very high rate of natural
    increase.[120] Wadeye has
    appalling health statistics, serious overcrowding, and significant crime and
    violence which at times render the community virtually dysfunctional.

    Wadeye seemed a good choice for a COAG trial – a large community with a
    number of pressing needs. Initially, there were strong expectations that the
    COAG trial, based on a whole of government approach and direct engagement with
    the community (through the Thamarrur Regional Council), would lead to more
    effective service delivery and consequently improvements in social and economic
    circumstances.

    As part of the trial, a Shared Responsibility Agreement (SRA) was signed
    between the Australian Government, Northern Territory Government, and Thamarrur
    Council in March 2003. The SRA identified three priority areas for action: Women
    and families; Youth and Housing; and construction.

    The Gray Report shows that in key aspects the trial has been a significant
    failure. There was no identified leadership of the trial. Contrary to the
    trial’s objective of a reduction in red tape, the burden of administering
    funds increased markedly. Flexible funding and streamlining did not eventuate.
    Experience of communications within and between governments was mixed with a
    reduction in effective communication as the trial progressed.

    The government’s objective of improving engagement with Indigenous
    families and communities was not achieved. There was a significant breakdown in
    relations with Thamarrur. Other key structures or processes agreed under the
    SRA, such as Priority Working Groups, either never became operational or
    faltered.

    The community’s expectations of improvements in infrastructure and
    services were not realised. In particular, nothing was done about the priority
    area of ‘Youth’. The community had expected that youth issues, gang
    violence and safety would be addressed and resolved at an early stage of the
    trial. Instead this agreed priority area was allowed to ‘fall between the
    cracks.’ If anything, things became worse causing considerable
    disappointment and anger within the community.

    Provision of more housing at outstations was seen (and remains so) by the
    community as the only sustainable solution to overcrowding at Wadeye. At the end
    of the trial the pressing needs of Wadeye remain. The community needs a major
    commitment of resources including an urgent investment in housing, especially at
    outstations. It also needs support for activities and resources to deal with
    youth and gang-related difficulties.

    As discussed further below, the federal government has now commenced what it
    terms a ‘strategic intervention’ approach for selected communities.
    Wadeye is one such community. The arrangements advanced through the COAG trial
    are likely to be sequenced into this new strategic intervention approach,
    possibly linked through the development of a Regional Partnership Agreement.
    Announcements on this approach are likely to be announced in the 2007-08 Budget
    in May 2007. How this approach will respond to the significant concerns
    identified in the Gray report is unknown at this stage.

    The Wadeye COAG trial showed that the whole of government approach to service
    delivery is difficult to implement, requires a major investment of time and
    resources, and has yet to demonstrate that it provides a reliable and realistic
    platform for the administration of Indigenous affairs. Whilst coordination of
    service delivery is important and should be pursued, it is not a substitute for
    developing and implementing strong policies and effective programs to respond to
    the difficult circumstances facing communities like Wadeye.

    A sense of urgency, commitment and partnership is required. However, as of
    November 2006 at Wadeye the government is instead locked in a wrangle over
    leasing arrangements for the township which seem more to do with ideology and
    less to do with service
    delivery.[121] Australian National
    University researcher John Taylor has observed:

    ... the Thamarrurr region is rapidly expanding in population size. Unless a
    major upgrading occurs, this trajectory means that Wadeye (along with many
    predominantly Aboriginal towns across the Top End) will be increasingly
    anomalous in the Australian settlement hierarchy for being a vibrant and growing
    medium-sized country town yet with almost none of the basic infrastructure and
    services normally associated with such
    places.[122]

    The Wadeye trial indicated unresolved tensions or contradictions in policy
    settings. For example, genuine engagement at family level, a key objective of
    the new arrangements, will almost certainly take government down the path of
    support for smaller family and clan-based satellite and outstation communities.
    However, present federal government policy towards outstations is uncertain at
    best, and has included a moratorium on housing for outstation and similar
    communities, as described in Text Box 7 below.

    Text Box 7 – Moratorium on housing and
    infrastructure expenditure on

    homelands and
    outstations

    Over the previous year the withdrawal of funding support for outstations,
    homelands and pastoral property communities has been threatened by the federal
    government on a number of occasions.

    The funding guidelines for the Community Housing and Infrastructure Program
    (CHIP) for 2006-07 (see below) introduce a moratorium on housing and
    infrastructure assistance in these areas. I find this decision difficult to
    understand given the acute level of need for housing stock in these areas.
    Outstations and homelands are often the very communities that have attempted,
    with a commendable degree of success, to establish economic self sufficiency and
    social stability. Despite some examples where homeland communities have not
    proved viable, it is widely acknowledged that it is highly desirable for
    Indigenous peoples to be able to live in extended family or clan arrangements,
    either on or in proximity to their traditional country.

    Sensible investment in these communities will provide real improvements in
    addressing Indigenous disadvantage. Small scale enterprises, tourism ventures,
    traditional arts and crafts, coastal surveillance and engagement in
    environmental and land management activities are all areas where small
    communities are well placed to succeed and merit support and encouragement.
    Problems of isolation and remoteness can be overcome with innovative approaches
    to service delivery and drawing on the range of technological options now
    available in fields such as energy, communications and distance education.

    Whilst the moratorium is in place, the quality of life of those currently
    living on homelands and outstations is likely to deteriorate. Among the likely
    adverse consequences for these communities are: exacerbation of already
    overcrowded Indigenous communities (including in the larger settlements),
    deterioration in health status, and relocation of some people to the fringes of
    rural and regional towns where social and economic opportunities are more
    limited.

    CHIP - E-Sub Program Guidelines 2006-07

    2.5 Homelands and
    Outstations[123]

    Considerable whole of government discussion is occurring on the funding to
    homelands and outstations. While this work is being undertaken the moratorium
    on the funding of new homelands and outstations remains in place
    .

    Submissions for funding of homelands and outstations in 2006-07 will only be
    considered if the homeland has previously received funding under the programme
    and essential services are in place. Funding will only be provided to maintain
    and repair existing housing, infrastructure and essential services.

    In addition the homeland or outstation must satisfy the existing funding
    criteria that serve to minimise risks to the health and safety of homeland
    residents and to the assets and infrastructure.

    The greatest danger arising from the disappointing outcomes of the COAG
    Wadeye trial, and from similar problems with other COAG trials, is that the
    wrong lessons will be learned.

    When asked about the government’s response to the Gray Report at Senate
    Estimates hearings in early 2007, the Associate Secretary of FaCSIA explained
    that ‘ ... our [the government’s] response to the evaluation
    predated our receipt of the
    report’.[124] The Associate
    Secretary went on to explain that shortly after taking office, the Minister for
    Indigenous Affairs travelled to Wadeye and undertook immediate action to try to
    alleviate the situation and quell local riots. Not only is this an indication of
    the extent to which the trial had failed to achieve a coordinated, whole of
    government outcome, it is also a very clear indication of the fact that we may
    not be given the opportunity to learn the lessons from the Wadeye trial. The
    message from Wadeye may well be as much about policy failure as about failure of
    processes and procedures. We have to look this possibility squarely in the face
    – simply moving on to another ‘model’ of intervention will not
    do.

    Whilst the trial evaluations remain important in their own right, the COAG
    trial evaluations are something of a proxy for evaluation of the new
    arrangements in their entirety. Significant problems in respect of the trial
    sites would suggest that the system as a whole may be in difficulty. This
    consideration adds a dimension of urgency and significance to the evaluations of
    the COAG trials.

    It is becoming evident that serious discussion needs to takes place with
    Indigenous peoples and other stakeholders at national, regional and local levels
    about the new arrangements in Indigenous affairs. As we move into post-COAG
    trial arrangements for Indigenous affairs, there is a pressing need for
    transparent and rigorous evaluation processes if egregious errors of policy and
    judgement are to be avoided.

    Such regular reviews of progress on the new arrangements should involve
    Parliamentary scrutiny. The appropriate body for ongoing review would be either
    the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islander Affairs; the Senate Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islander Affairs (which was established as a one off committee for inquiry into
    the bill to abolish ATSIC); or a newly established standing Joint Parliamentary
    Committee.

    The ‘democratic spotlight’ that this would provide is especially
    important in an area as complex and sensitive as Indigenous affairs, and it is
    unrealistic to think that all wisdom can rest in the necessarily somewhat
    circumscribed world of Ministers and senior bureaucrats who have limited
    knowledge or experience in Indigenous affairs. The imposition of unresearched
    and unproven policies on Indigenous Australians will continue to enable
    governments to blame the victims for the failures of such policies.

    At present, the Senate Estimates process is the only avenue for information
    about the new arrangements and their implementation. These hearings are,
    however, limited in scope (relating to matters of appropriation and not policy
    development). They do not provide an adequate process for Parliamentary scrutiny
    of Indigenous affairs, particularly given that there is no avenue for the direct
    input and participation of Indigenous communities and people into the process.

    Post
    COAG trials – another ‘new’ approach

    Regardless of whether individual COAG trials have been more or less
    successful, it is now clear that the federal government is moving to abandon
    them. There is an evident lack of enthusiasm for continuing with the COAG model
    for service delivery to communities. As has been pointed out by senior
    officials: ‘[t]he trials were trials; it was never intended that they
    would go on forever’.[125]

    It appears likely that once all the COAG site evaluations are completed
    (anticipated for late 2006) and the results of the ‘meta-evaluation’
    of all the evaluations considered, governments will move on from the COAG trial
    approach. Comments made at the November Senate Estimates hearings indicate when
    and how the trials could be brought to an end:

    Mr Gibbons - It [ending the trials] is under consideration with a
    number of jurisdictions now. If I take the Wadeye one which we have been talking
    about, I believe both governments are comfortable with the idea of transitioning from a trial into a regional partnership agreement. The
    negotiations we are having at the invitation of the Chief Minister will probably
    lead to a longer term commitment to replace the COAG trial. [emphasis added]

    ... As a result of the evaluations that are about to be considered by
    government, I think consideration will be given to bringing the trials to an end
    and moving on, but that will have to be resolved in partnership with the
    appropriate state or territory jurisdiction.[126]

    The new approach now being implemented is two-pronged. On the one hand it devolves the authority for agreement-making for service delivery down, by
    giving ICC managers authority to commit in a single SRA up to $100,000, and
    state managers up to
    $500,000.[127] On the other hand,
    agreements relating to regions or communities deemed to be ‘in
    crisis’ are being elevated to the status of high-level agreements
    between the federal and state/territory governments. These agreements are being
    referred to as ‘strategic’ or ‘intensive interventions’
    in respect of designated priority communities.

    Turning first to the increased authority for the ICC and state managers, this
    appears to be an attempt to find a way around the red tape that has tied up the
    new arrangements and hindered the delivery of substantive outcomes in
    communities. The types of projects that the government intends to fund under
    this initiative include early childhood centres, sports facilities and new
    housing. To enable managers to respond to the immediate needs of Indigenous
    communities, they will ask them to ‘sign on-the-spot shared responsibility
    agreements in exchange for the
    cash’.[128] As the Minister
    has explained:

    The managers of the 29 Indigenous Co-ordination Centres that have been
    created across the country will no longer have to wait for official sign-off to
    take action. We are giving ICC managers the capacity to actually see what needs
    to be done on the ground to make those decisions and fund them on the ground,
    bang.[129]

    This ‘bottom up’ model contrasts with the more ‘top
    down’ approach that is implicit in ‘strategic interventions’.
    The Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs is credited
    with having developed the framework for strategic interventions in an attempt to
    address the failures of the COAG trials and the continuing serious problems in a
    number of Indigenous communities:

    Since Minister Brough has come in he has very quickly decided that you have
    got to define an area, put someone in to do an assessment and really coordinate
    between the Commonwealth and the state an intensive response which is
    coordinated and planned, et cetera. That is basically the route we are going in
    Wadeye [post COAG trial], as well as a range of other locations across the north
    of Australia.[130][emphasis
    added]

    This is spelt out a little more in the following description:

    A significant change since Minister Brough has been in the portfolio,
    recognising some of the experience that has come out of the trials and
    elsewhere, has been the reconstruction of our approach to Commonwealth-State
    cooperation in this area to lock the bulk of our investment into joint
    agreements around strategic issues.

    In the case of Alice Springs, for example, we were invited to assist the
    Northern Territory deal with the growing issue of demographic movement into
    Alice Springs and the shortage of accommodation, both long and short term, et
    cetera. We are making a significant investment there in partnership with the
    Northern Territory. We have been asked to do the same in Wadeye. So, instead of
    committing first and then working out what we are doing, we are negotiating up
    front what the objective is, what each jurisdiction is going to do and what
    conditions are going to prevail et
    cetera.[131]

    The Secretary of FaCSIA, put the same point another way:

    ... we are in the process of changing our approach entirely and it is
    an approach based on a very clear bilateral arrangement with the state or
    territory government - in this case, the Northern Territory. While we are still
    talking with them, we have not got a document that spells it out but it is very
    much a focus on ensuring that the state or territory government live up to their
    responsibilities around schooling and policing and those sorts of things. In
    return for that, we live up to our responsibilities in the provision of our
    services. That is basically what it is
    about.[132][emphasis added]

    I have quoted from the Senate Estimates hearings at some length because there
    has been little public consideration of the newly proposed changes to the
    administration of Indigenous affairs. It is important to understand what is
    involved, and to appreciate that these changes have been triggered by the
    problems associated with the COAG trials.

    In September 2006, the Australian Government confirmed this new intensive
    intervention approach as applying more broadly to urban communities when the Australian Government Blueprint for Action in Indigenous Affairs was
    endorsed by the Ministerial Taskforce on Indigenous Affairs. As noted by OIPC,
    this Framework:

    introduces a more structured, geographically based approach that recognises
    that locational factors have a significant bearing on Indigenous peoples’
    wellbeing and on how governments can best work to overcome Indigenous
    disadvantage.[133]

    The government notes that the Blueprint is based on three geographic
    categories from the ARIA classification system: urban (where over 30% of the
    Indigenous population live), regional (with approximately 43% of the Indigenous
    population) and remote (where about 27% of Indigenous Australians live). OIPC
    have noted that this definition of ‘urban’ differs from the
    definition used by OIPC to date, which was less
    specific.[134]

    The Blueprint repeats the government’s intention to focus on harnessing
    the mainstream in urban areas:

    In addressing Indigenous disadvantage the Australian Government aims to leverage existing infrastructure. In urban areas the majority of
    existing infrastructure revolves around mainstream programs and services, and
    consequently the work to address disadvantage in urban areas focuses on
    harnessing the mainstream.[135]

    The government goes on to state that ‘leveraging existing
    infrastructure’ in order to ‘harness the mainstream’ entails
    the following:

    The Blueprint outlines the role of Australian Government agencies in urban
    areas as ‘improving the functioning of mainstream services for Indigenous
    people’, including through intensive place-based intervention if
    necessary. The Australian Government applies the principles of flexibility,
    shared responsibility and local solutions across all its work on urban and
    mainstreaming issues. Strategies for the Australian Government to achieve this
    are identified in the Blueprint, including:

    • develop and implement an Indigenous urban strategy that identifies and
      removes barriers to access and modifies mainstream services to improve
      participation by and outcomes for Indigenous people;
    • share responsibility, make agreements, and be flexible and consultative in
      order to improve outcomes and build better relationships;
    • respond to the needs identified locally and use intensive intervention when
      needed (coordinated centrally by FaCSIA and ICCs where relevant);
    • improve the quality, design, and delivery of Indigenous-specific and
      mainstream services; and
    • improve its own and support its partners’ cultural understanding,
      governance, operations, policies, accountability and evaluation.

    Cooperation and coordination across all governments is needed to
    improve the integration of, and outcomes from, services. The role of States and
    Territories is critical, given their significant responsibility for service
    delivery and relevant regulation. FACSIA’s role is to facilitate policy
    development where there are issues in common across the Australian Government or
    with States and Territories through overarching bilateral agreements.

    FACSIA has initiated cross-departmental work on policy issues relating to
    improving mainstream service provision and cultural inclusiveness, provided
    opportunities for Australian Government departments to learn from each other,
    and has sought the advice of the National Indigenous Council (NIC) on those
    issues. The NIC has underlined the need to adapt mainstream services and improve
    their cultural inclusiveness to ensure that Indigenous people get better access
    to and outcomes from those services.

    Program and service delivery is the responsibility of the specific Australian
    Government department or agency managing the program or service. The OID
    reporting framework is being used to guide the construction of performance
    indicators in Shared Responsibility Agreements and the development of Baseline
    Community Profiles.[136]

    There are two features of concern in this Blueprint. The first is the clear
    lack of progress in improving mainstream access that has occurred in the first
    two years of the new arrangements. The Blueprint provides a further bureaucratic
    re-organisation of what the government intends to do rather than reporting on
    what the government is actually doing or has already done. It also proposes the
    development of an urban strategy – surely there are useful lessons from
    the past two years of the new arrangements and the operation of ICCs in urban
    localities, in particular, to advance this?

    The second is that the federal government is moving towards a bilateral
    interventionist model
    . The government appears to require some certainty from
    its state and territory counterparts on the level and detail of their commitment before an intervention can commence, rather than developing this as the
    program unrolls in the chosen community. It is clear that the interventionist
    model puts the strategic decision-making clearly in the hands of government
    – with the Indigenous community only becomes involved after the
    basic decision to intervene has been made and respective levels of commitment
    agreed.

    Elcho Island (Galiwin’ku) in the Northern Territory has been given as
    an example of a strategic intervention that is
    underway.[137] In this instance
    the Australian and Northern Territory Governments selected the community, but
    the federal government is now ‘engaged with the traditional owners on
    Elcho Island and the historical people of Galiwinku’ in an attempt to
    ‘secure the agreement of all the parties’ before the detailed
    planning of the implementation stage of the intervention is
    finalised.[138]

    This example suggests that ‘strategic intervention’ in fact means
    ‘restricted Indigenous participation’ at a governmental and
    priority-setting level. Priorities are determined by outsiders (governments),
    then the insiders (the community) are invited to participate in the detailed
    planning and implementation.

    This does not appear to provide a sound basis for ‘ownership’ by
    Indigenous communities of initiatives undertaken as part of such strategic
    interventions. It is inconsistent with the various commitments made by
    government through COAG relating to Indigenous
    participation.[139]

    Nor would it be consistent with the Guidelines for engagement with
    Indigenous peoples
    that were contained in the Social Justice Report
    2005.
    Of particular importance in the context of
    ‘strategic interventions’ are the following principles, contained in
    the Guidelines:

    • Indigenous peoples have the right to full and effective participation in
      decisions which directly or indirectly affect their lives;
    • Such participation shall be based on the principle of free, prior and
      informed consent, which includes governments and the private sector providing
      information that is accurate, accessible, and in a language the indigenous
      peoples can understand;
    • Governments and the private sector should establish transparent and
      accountable frameworks for engagement, consultation and negotiation with
      indigenous peoples and communities;
    • Indigenous peoples and communities have the right to choose their
      representatives and the right to specify the decision making structures through
      which they engage with other sectors of society;
    • Frameworks for engagement should allow for the full and effective
      participation of indigenous peoples in the design, negotiation, implementation,
      monitoring, evaluation and assessment of outcomes;
    • Indigenous peoples and communities should be invited to participate in
      identifying and prioritizing objectives, as well as in establishing targets and
      benchmarks;
    • There is a need for governments, the private sector, civil society and
      international organizations and aid agencies to support efforts to build the
      capacity of indigenous communities, including in the area of human rights so
      that they may participate equally and meaningfully in the planning, design,
      negotiation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies, programs and
      projects that affect them.[140]

    To ensure a sound basis to government programs, full Indigenous
    participation must be guaranteed from the start in determining the
    priorities and basic parameters of government support. Perhaps the term
    ‘intervention’ itself is a bit awkward, and a term without a
    connotation of unilateralism might be preferable.

    Concurrent with the strategic intervention approach, a new division has been
    established in FaCSIA to administer the interventions, known as the Strategic
    Interventions Task Force
    . The Task Force is to initially focus on
    communities on Mornington Island, in Queensland; Galiwinku, Alice Springs and
    Wadeye in the Northern Territory; and Kalumburu in Western
    Australia.[141]

    Another associated change has been referred to by the Minister as
    ‘cutting the fat from the
    bureaucracy’.[142] It will
    result in just one State Manager being responsible for Families, Community
    Services and Indigenous Affairs in each state and territory, rather than having
    a separate Indigenous Affairs Manager (within OIPC) and State Manager (within
    FaCSIA).

    The federal government will move staff from southern Australia to remote
    areas in northern Australia to give isolated communities more intensive support.
    This will be done through a phased approach. Such a move is consistent with the
    government’s view that urban and regional based Indigenous peoples can be
    served by mainstream agencies and services. This reinforces concerns that the
    government continues to focus insufficient attention on the specific
    difficulties of urban and regional Aboriginal communities in accessing
    mainstream services.

    A further component of the changed arrangements now being introduced concerns
    community profiles or baseline data. The Office of Indigenous Policy
    Coordination (OIPC) has advised that as a result of the COAG trials, better
    baseline data is required. Thus:

    OIPC is developing an approach for evaluating intensive whole-of-government
    initiatives in Indigenous communities and regions. This evaluation approach
    would be used for priority region interventions.
    Elements of this
    approach would be applied as appropriate to
    comprehensive SRAs, other SRAs with a substantial investment, and a sample of
    communities being assisted under the Petrol Sniffing 8 Point
    Plan.[143] [emphasis added]

    OIPC has developed a prospective timetable for community profiles as part of
    the Performance Management Framework for Intensive Whole-of-Government
    Interventions, as follows:

    Text Box 8 - OIPC Evaluation Timetable
    2006-09[144]

    Year 0

    • Establish a community profile to report on the current status of the
      community using both quantitative and qualitative measures. Intangible elements
      such as governance and family violence would be included through the use of
      qualitative data. This profile would establish the current state of play, and
      capture the community’s view on the perceived trajectory – are
      things getting better or worse?
    • Conduct a diagnostic assessment to identify community strengths and
      opportunities, determine priority areas for action and inform a community action
      plan.
    • Negotiate a plan of action (for example, through an SRA or RPA) with the
      community on the basis of the profile and diagnostic assessment. This would
      include a small set of performance indicators relevant to the planned
      interventions that would be monitored on a regular basis.
    • Begin implementing the agreed action plan with regular reporting against the
      small set of performance indicators relevant to the agreed interventions.

    Year 2-3

    • Rerun the community profile to assess progress against the baseline.
    • Undertake a formative evaluation to inform fine tuning of the action plan,
      with a focus on what’s not working, what’s working well and what
      could be improved.

    Year 6-8

    • Rerun the community profile to further build a picture of progress against
      the baseline.
    • Undertake a summative evaluation to measure and assess the effectiveness of
      the strategy.

    A key element of the evaluation strategy proposed is using the data
    to help frame and reframe the necessary interventions. As the community is
    consulted in the compilation of this data, they are directly involved both in
    agenda setting and the evaluation process. This approach also allows the
    interventions to evolve over time in response to community needs.

    Ensuring a well designed quantitative and qualitative profile that will
    remain relevant over the life of the planned intervention will be essential to
    the success of this approach. The OIPC Evaluation Plan for Whole of
    Government Activities in Indigenous Affairs
    2006-2009 indicates that
    OIPC will be working in partnership with state and territory governments and
    local communities to establish a number of quantitative and qualitative baseline
    data points.

    As anyone with experience in Indigenous affairs can attest, community
    profiling exercises have something of a cyclical nature. Over the years there
    have been a number of such exercises, of varying detail and quality. As well,
    there is already a considerable amount of data available from a range of sources
    including state and territory profiles of
    communities,[145] the Australian
    Bureau of Statistics, the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research
    (CAEPR), the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare (AIHW), a range of
    government agencies that collect data to inform their own programs, and academic
    institutions.

    As profiled in last year’s Social Justice Report, there has also
    been the regional identification of priorities by Indigenous peoples through
    ATSIC Regional Council Plans, extensive data collection through the Western
    Australian Aboriginal Child Health Survey, and information collated
    nationally through regional health planning forums under the National Aboriginal
    and Torres Strait Islander Health Strategy. Each of these is a significant
    source from which community profiling exercises could draw.

    Such community profiling should only be undertaken with the full
    participation and cooperation of Indigenous communities. A profiling exercise
    conducted with such participation can provide a valuable tool for empowering
    communities to identify the priority issues and actions necessary to improve
    their circumstances.

    I do, however, have some concerns about this approach. The investment of the
    high level of resources and time to develop such community profiles should not
    be an end in itself. The identification of high levels of needs in communities,
    for example, necessitates action to address the findings of this research. This
    was a fundamental failing of the extensive community profiling done as part of
    the COAG trial in Wadeye, where government expenditure and program activity has
    clearly not responded to the urgent and high levels of need identified in the
    community profiling work undertaken by John
    Taylor.[146]

    The findings of such community profiling should also be treated with
    flexibility. The population dynamics of remote area communities mean that
    today’s demographic profile might be quite inaccurate in a year or two.
    The difficulties of making valid comparisons over time in Indigenous
    communities, because of population instability and other reasons, on almost any
    social indicator, have been extensively
    documented.[147]

    Taylor, Bern and Senior have affirmed the importance of establishing baseline
    data, but with the qualification that careful attention must be paid to the
    impact that future population dynamics may have on community needs and
    priorities:

    In Indigenous affairs generally, social indicator analysis is increasingly
    used to quantify the degree of relative disadvantage and to monitor the effects
    of government policy and economic development in general. In a fundamental
    sense, planning for social and economic change is determined by the size,
    growth, and socioeconomic composition of populations. Accordingly, an
    understanding of these factors is essential for a proper assessment of the need
    for, access to, and distribution of resources. There is also a growing awareness
    of a need to better understand the dynamics of change in the size and
    composition of the Indigenous population, so as to formulate policies that are
    based not solely on current or historic assessment of government obligations,
    but also on some estimation of anticipated
    requirements.[148]

    Another important caution that needs to be applied when compiling and
    analysing baseline data for Indigenous communities is the variance that can
    emerge between what the data indicates and what Indigenous communities
    themselves perceive or aspire to. As Taylor, Bern and Senior explain:

    ... while social indicators report on observable population characteristics,
    they reveal nothing about more behavioural population attributes such as
    individual and community priorities and aspirations for enhancing quality of
    life— indeed the whole question of what this might mean and how it might
    be measured in an Aboriginal domain is only just beginning to be
    addressed.[149]

    Reliable data is essential. However, the gathering of facts and statistics,
    important as they are, must not be a substitute for action. Nor should this
    become a substitute for meaningful Indigenous participation and consultation.
    Although the task of establishing community baseline data will assist in
    evaluating interventions, it should not be relied upon as the primary the
    basis for the development and modification of Indigenous policy.

    The frequency with which some Indigenous communities are
    ‘measured’ is also of concern. This can be very frustrating and
    exhausting for the communities involved, as well as the wider community, all of
    whom want to see significant on-the-ground progress as quickly as is reasonably
    possible. This sort of frustration became evident at the November 2006 Senate
    Estimates hearings.[150] I
    certainly hope that the community profiles are not an excuse for lack of action,
    nor that they draw resources away from initiatives that might directly address
    Indigenous disadvantage.

    It is unfortunate that many of the senior bureaucrats involved in Indigenous
    affairs at this juncture do not have the corporate or historic knowledge to
    inform policy development. It is also unfortunate that the huge cost of this
    exercise and other ‘new innovations’ will be attributed to
    Indigenous affairs spending reinforcing the government’s claims of
    significant input with minimal outcomes.

    I am also concerned by the thinking behind the selection of communities for
    special attention, and whether there is a tendency for the focus to move from
    one community to another before the first community has seen real improvements.
    Indeed, the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, while welcoming the
    federal government’s proposals in respect of Galiwin’ku, has
    expressed such a concern:

    We have received a proposal from the Australian Government for what is called
    an ‘intensive intervention’ in Galiwinku. I have given a commitment
    to the federal government we will work with them on that, that is fine. However,
    while I endorse that initiative, I believe that the priority for such intensive
    intervention is the community of Wadeye. It is our largest Aboriginal community
    and, for the last three years, it has been the subject of the COAG trial.

    While we welcome Galiwinku – that is terrific - we do not want the
    federal government’s attention taken away from Wadeye. It has been a COAG
    trial. We cannot say, because the outcomes we wanted in three years had not been
    achieved: ‘Okay, Wadeye, let us look somewhere else’. What I am
    saying to the Indigenous Affairs Minister is: welcome, Galiwinku, welcome the
    work we are doing together on Alice Springs, particularly on the town camps, but
    important to this Territory and our future is
    Wadeye.[151]

    The federal government’s tendency to deliver important policy decisions
    in Indigenous affairs as a fait accompli – even to territory and
    state governments – raises serious concerns about the ability of
    Indigenous communities to negotiate as equal partners in the many agreement
    making processes that have been introduced with the new arrangements.

    Constructive engagement with Indigenous communities and good faith
    negotiations are critical to the successful operation of the principle of mutual
    obligation.

    However, there are perceptions that in some instances, the government’s
    application of the principle of mutual obligation has slipped into a coercive
    mode with Indigenous communities and territory administrations alike.[152]

    For example, in Galiwin’ku, the reward offered to the community for
    agreeing to lease land in the Indigenous township on a 99 year basis will be a
    significant investment in housing. The Minister, Mr Brough, explained the
    proposed deal in the following terms:

    Around fifty houses will be built and real jobs provided, if the community is
    safe and signs up to full school attendance, a no-drugs no-violence policy and agree to a 99 year lease to support home ownership and business
    development opportunities.[153] [emphasis added]

    Similar concerns about coercion have been expressed in respect of the Tiwi
    Islands where there is a concern that the federal government will not deliver on
    a $10 million funding commitment for a new boarding school if the community
    rejects a proposed 99 year
    lease.[154]

    If such deals are being proposed they may well put Australia in breach of its
    international obligations in respect of human rights. Given the parlous housing
    conditions at townships such as Galiwin’ku, this arguably could be seen as
    a form of inducement and contrary to the principle of free and informed consent.
    To sign away valuable rights in land for 99 years is a matter which should
    require careful consideration and independent expert legal
    advice.[155]

    Although the underlying title stays with the traditional owners, in the
    circumstances such arrangements potentially can be the de facto equivalent of a transfer of freehold title. I am concerned that if agreements
    are made as a result of inducements, and where there is a clear power imbalance,
    we may be getting towards a situation that could be characterised as
    expropriation of Indigenous
    land.[156]

    Summary: The challenges of achieving equitable access to
    mainstream services for Indigenous peoples

    This first section of the chapter has provided an overview of the challenges
    facing the government in achieving equitable access to mainstream services for
    Indigenous peoples. There are two key elements to the government’s
    approach to achieving this.

    Firstly, individual mainstream departments are endeavouring to adapt existing
    services so they better meet the needs of Indigenous peoples. A good example
    here is the government’s proposal to abolish IECs and CDEPs in urban and
    major regional centres and to steer Indigenous job seekers into mainstream jobs
    using employment brokers. This raises the fundamental question of whether
    mainstream services can be sufficiently adapted to both address the needs
    of Indigenous Australians, and respect and accommodate their cultural
    differences. It also raises the question of why this has not happened in the
    past and what strategies are going to be put in place to ensure that it will
    happen into the future.

    The second and larger element of the government’s approach to improving
    Indigenous peoples’ access to mainstream services is achieving a more
    coordinated and effective ‘whole of government’ response. This
    involves a major reorganisation of the way the federal bureaucracy deals with
    Indigenous affairs so that there are better linkages between mainstream programs
    and Indigenous specific services. It also involves reaching agreement with the
    states/territories on respective roles and responsibilities in addressing
    Indigenous disadvantage and service delivery. This has been the
    Government’s policy focus since the new arrangements were introduced in
    2004, and hence is the major focus of this chapter.

    Absent from the Government’s approach to harnessing the mainstream is
    the participation of Indigenous peoples. I continue to have serious concerns
    that Indigenous Australians have largely been left out of the government’s
    equation. Where they are consulted on legal and policy developments, it is
    rushed, ad hoc and often tokenistic. But all too frequently major policy
    decisions, such as the abandonment of the COAG trials, are made and implemented
    without Indigenous input, knowledge or consent.

    Two years on from the introduction of the new arrangements, we are yet to see
    significant improvements in Indigenous levels of disadvantage – whether it
    be in relation better access to mainstream services, or economic independence. I
    am the first to acknowledge that improvement on these fronts will take time and
    we need more and better data to make these evaluations with any confidence.

    However, what does concern me is that the government has not bedded down its
    policy direction for Indigenous affairs. This is not only destabilising and
    confusing for Indigenous peoples, it is diverting valuable resources from
    producing changes on the ground that will improve the daily lives of Indigenous
    Australians. Indigenous peoples, governments and other key stakeholders have to
    get the policy foundations right before new directions are taken.

    Part 2: ‘Harnessing the mainstream’ through the
    new arrangements for Indigenous affairs

    The new arrangements for Indigenous affairs have a number of key elements
    that can contribute to harnessing the mainstream. In this part of the report I
    will examine the role of each of these building blocks in terms of how they
    currently operate and how they could potentially contribute (or contribute more
    effectively) to this objective.

    These key elements are as follows:

    • Regionally focussed service delivery through Indigenous Coordination
      Centres, solution brokers, agreement making processes and ‘intensive
      interventions’;
    • Engagement processes with Indigenous peoples;
    • The role of the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination; and
    • Monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.

    Regionally focussed service delivery:
    Indigenous Coordination Centres, solution brokers, agreement making processes
    and ‘intensive interventions’

    A central component of the new arrangements is the development of a whole of
    government machinery for service delivery that is regionally based and which
    prioritises agreement making processes with Indigenous communities. Information
    about these processes indicates that the government clearly intends them to play
    a critical role in ‘harnessing the mainstream’.

    • Indigenous Coordination Centres and solution brokers

    Indigenous Coordination Centres (ICCs) are designed to be the focal
    point of the new relationship being forged with Indigenous communities. They
    replace ATSIC Regional Offices. According to the Minister, Mr Brough:

    Our Indigenous Coordination Centres (ICCs) are the frontline of the
    Government’s efforts. All Australian Government agencies with major
    responsibilities for Indigenous programs are required to work together. This is the new single face of
    government.[157]

    OIPC has defined the specifics of the ICC role as
    follows:

    Each of these ICCs coordinates Australian Government program funding and
    services to local Indigenous people. ICCs will coordinate Indigenous-specific
    programs in their regions. They will work with local Indigenous communities and
    negotiate regional and local agreements for effective partnerships based on
    shared responsibility.[158]

    The role of ICCs in
    respect of Indigenous-specific programs is clear enough, although there
    are significant issues with the workability of this model of service delivery
    and coordination.Gray and Sanders note, for example, the view held
    by heads of government departments that ICCs present ‘some very
    significant governance and skill
    challenges’.[159]

    However,
    the role of ICCs in respect of the objective of removing barriers to mainstream
    services is less clear. Do ICCs have a mandate to involve themselves in issues
    of mainstream service delivery, especially where those services are provided by
    state and territory authorities?

    ICCs are the federal
    government’s primary point of contact with Indigenous communities for the
    development of local and regional agreements. These include: Shared
    Responsibility Agreements (SRAs), Regional Partnership Agreements (RPAs) and
    Regional Indigenous Engagement Arrangements. ICCs are also responsible for
    regional coordination with state and territory government
    activities.

    Accordingly,
    the ICC structure is well placed to develop complementarity between
    Indigenous-specific and mainstream programs. For example, ICCs could negotiate
    with communities to mix and match mainstream and specific programs to better
    meet their needs. If a particular agency is attempting to develop
    complementarity in its programming between its mainstream programs and its
    Indigenous-specific programs, the culture and resources of an ICC are
    potentially helpful.

    The Social Justice Report 2005 discussed the potential for the ICC structure
    to be utilised to improve regionally focused service delivery for Indigenous
    health. It noted the potential for the whole of government structure at the
    regional level to provide an improved focus on the social determinants of
    health, which could complement health specific
    interventions.[160]

    Last
    year’s report noted that in the first twelve months of the new
    arrangements, the Department of Health and Ageing had not played a significant
    role in the roll out of the new arrangements, did not have a significant
    presence in ICCs and had ‘limited capacity to influence the strategic
    directions underpinning engagement at the regional level and through agreement
    making processes such as
    SRAs.’[161]

    I
    noted the failure of the new arrangements to build on significant progress and
    experience in the health sector, or to develop effective relationships with the
    extensive local Aboriginal Community Controlled health
    sector.[162] In particular, I
    expressed concern at the failure
    to:

    • Apply the
    methodologies and lessons learned from the health
    sector;
    • Build upon the significant community
    resources and capacity that exists through the Aboriginal Community Controlled
    health sector; and
    • Build upon the findings
    and recommendations of the regional planning processes conducted under the
    state-wide Aboriginal Health
    Forums.[163]

    And
    as a consequence, I noted that there is a ‘disconnect between existing
    programs relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and the whole
    of government approach adopted through the new arrangements.’ This was
    despite the ‘clear inter-connections between the issues’ and the
    recognition by governments of the need to adopt a holistic response to achieve
    lasting improvements in Indigenous
    health.[164]

    In
    meetings with senior executives of the OIPC, the potential to utilise the
    existing processes within the health sector to improve the performance of the
    new whole of government machinery was discussed. A senior executive stated that
    they would be ‘mugs’ if they did not pay attention to this and begin
    to utilise the existing resources, such as regional health planning forums.
    There is, however, no evidence that any such links have been developed in the
    year that has passed since this discussion and since the findings of last
    year’s Social Justice Report. This remains a major failing of the
    ICC process, and accordingly an ongoing failure to meet the objectives of the
    new arrangements.

    Taking a
    whole of government approach to service delivery through ICCs is a major
    challenge. It can cut across well established systems of budget and program
    control, delivery and accountability arrangements and, simply, differing
    departmental cultures. There is, predictably, a degree of inertia in the system.
    At least some experience from the COAG trials suggests that it is very difficult
    to change established organisational patterns of service delivery planning and
    activity.[165] Experience in the
    Wadeye COAG trial indicates that communities and departments can quickly lapse
    back into direct negotiations and funding arrangements.[166] In other words, the old
    silo-mentality can quickly re-assert itself.

    OIPC has indicated that each regional ICC has now
    commenced developing regional priority plans which will ‘identify
    the key issues (with measures and timeframes) that the ICC will focus on in a 12
    month period.’[167] These
    plans:

    cover work done through a variety of mechanisms, including RPAs and SRAs
    (both single issue and more comprehensive), strategic intervention arrangements
    and community in crisis interventations (sic.).

    The regional priority documents are endorsed by Australian Government agency
    state manager groups that meet regularly with ICC managers in each state and
    territory. These in turn link back to national priorities. This ensures the
    commitment of all necessary Australian Government agencies to a particular
    regional priority. The ICC Managers then report regularly to the state manager
    group on progress with the priority initiatives.

    The priority plans are a guide only and do not attempt to cover all the
    activities in which an ICC may be involved within the year, rather they
    highlight the most significant community and government work in which the ICC is
    likely to be involved.[168]

    The regional priority plans process is a new development. There is no
    public information about this process. Given the prominence attached to
    harnessing the mainstream, it can be expected that the regional priority plans
    for many regions will provide greater detail about how the government intends to
    progress the objective of improving mainstream accessibility. This would
    particularly be expected for those regional priority plans for ICCs that are
    based in urban centres.

    The regional priority plans are internally focused on how the ICC organises
    its business. It is not intended to establish the priorities for Indigenous
    communities, but instead form the basis for how different government departments
    will collaborate through the ICC structure. Clearly, the priorities for
    government coordination cannot be divorced from the priorities of Indigenous
    communities. It is artificial and unrealistic to suggest otherwise.

    I am concerned that there is a disconnect between the creation of such
    regional priority plans and Indigenous engagement and participation in
    determining what the priorities for a region are. The experiences and views of
    Indigenous peoples and communities appear to have been given little
    consideration to date, which is a critical oversight. This absence has the
    potential to impact on the effectiveness of program delivery (such as through an
    ICC) and on the effectiveness of whole of government coordination.

    One of the government’s responses to the
    challenge of making a whole-of-government approach work has been the appointment
    of solution brokers. Solution brokers are staff from different government
    departments, usually located in ICCs or state offices/departments, which
    progress the whole of government and whole of agency approach of the new
    arrangements. The OIPC has described their role as follows:

    Solution brokers should have a detailed understanding of the full range of programmes and services in their agency, particularly those
    impacting on Indigenous Australians, and understand how to link these various
    programmes – or to suggest how they might need to be adapted so they
    respond to community circumstances and deliver better
    outcomes.[169]

    Solution brokers should have the skills to link programs of their own and
    other agencies to generate innovative, flexible solutions to issues identified
    by communities. They are meant to support ICC managers in implementing a whole
    of government response to communities’ needs including assisting to
    negotiate SRAs. As I have noted elsewhere, this:

    ... new brand of bureaucrat, a ‘solution broker’, navigates
    through all the levels and sectors of government to negotiate, as their name
    suggests, a solution. .... it is intended that as many of these solutions as
    possible are to be delivered according to the principle of mutual
    obligation.[170]

    Solution brokers have, for example, been appointed by the Department of
    Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) to every
    ICC.[171] The role of DEWR
    solution brokers is to:

    • Represent DEWR in the implementation of the Australian Government’s
      collaborative approach to Indigenous program management and service
      delivery;
    • Contribute to the development and implementation of Regional Partnership
      Agreements (RPAs) and Shared Responsibility Agreements (SRAs) through ICCs;
    • Identify gaps/duplication in service delivery, areas for improvement and
      opportunities for innovation, coordination and collaboration;
    • Negotiate and liaise within DEWR and with other government agencies,
      external organisations and local Indigenous communities to promote employment
      and enterprise development opportunities for Indigenous Australians; and
    • Prepare briefings, submissions, reports, reviews, contractual documentation,
      risk management plans, business plans and general correspondence as
      required.[172]

    Clearly it is the intention that the solution broker looks for
    complementarity between Indigenous specific and mainstream programs, and that
    they then prioritise those programs that are best suited to meeting the
    particular needs of each community.

    Other departments and agencies have also placed solution brokers in ICCs,
    although as last year’s Social Justice Report noted, they have not
    been placed in every ICC. This is for a combination of reasons, including
    difficulties experienced by some departments in identifying and placing
    sufficiently senior and experienced staff as ICC solution brokers. Instead, they
    have been placed in other offices such as a primary regional office or a state
    office on a ‘hub and spoke’
    model.[173]

    To what extent this reflects a retreat from the model of a solution broker in
    every ICC remains to be seen. Indeed, ICC staffing seems to have been a problem
    wider than the placement of solution brokers, and there may have been a
    reduction in staffing levels in ICCs, particularly at the more junior levels, by
    some agencies.[174]

    The role of solution broker is potentially valuable. However, it takes a
    special kind of person, with both the motivation and the skill set to carry out
    this role successfully. Not only does the solution broker need to know what is
    available from the government side, he or she needs to be able to interact with
    the Indigenous community on a constructive basis and also be able to deal with
    the non-government sector as appropriate. In this regard, I have consistently
    expressed concerns at the recruitment practices adopted through the new
    arrangements to date because they do not sufficiently recognise that the ability
    to communicate effectively with Indigenous communities is an important and
    essential skill and an integral component of all merit based selection
    processes.[175]

    The potential role of solution brokers is discussed further below in relation
    to the Shared Responsibility Agreement making process.

    • Reducing ‘red tape’ through funding processes

    Another of the government’s responses to the challenge of
    making a whole-of-government approach work better has been to explore ways of
    reducing the ‘red tape’ that acts as a barrier to Indigenous
    peoples’ access to mainstream services. A particular focus has been on
    reducing the red tape associated with accessing funding for Indigenous programs.
    Complex, multiple forms; difficult bureaucratic processes; inflexible service
    arrangements; lengthy submissions and reports and persistant changes to policy
    and program guidelines have all contributed to Indigenous peoples being unsure
    of what services are available, and how they can be accessed.

    The Secretary of the Treasury recently acknowledged the bureaucratic burden
    associated with the new arrangements in Indigenous affairs:

    I was struck, during a visit to one of the Cape York communities last year,
    that the principal concern of its leaders was the red tape burden of reporting
    and compliance arrangements arising from a multiplicity of government
    intervention programmes and delivery agencies. Compliance with red tape was
    absorbing all of the administrative capacity of the community. Reducing the red
    tape burden on indigenous communities must be a national reform
    priority.[176]

    Devising strategies to reduce red tape has been a particular focus of ICCs.
    This has led to the introduction of the electronic Submission (eSub) process for
    organisations applying for Indigenous program funding. ICCs also provide
    information on available programs and funding priorities to applicants.

    eSub enables Indigenous community organisations to download one funding
    application even when requesting funding for multiple projects or from more than
    one agency. The completed form or an eSub disk is mailed or electronically
    submitted to the closest ICC for
    assessment.[177]

    Whilst this has undoubtedly streamlined and simplified the process for
    Indigenous organisations to access funding, the government is aware that the
    problems created by red tape are more extensive. Addressing these problems
    requires more than providing web-based solutions – as the government found
    out in May 2006 when Morgan Disney & Associates presented OIPC with their
    report entitled A Red Tape Evaluation of Selected Indigenous Communities (hereafter the Morgan Disney
    report).[178]

    The overall conclusion of the Morgan Disney report was that:

    ... actual red tape is less than perceived red tape, and that
    many of the issues raised as examples of red tape, are in fact about
    relationships, program management practices, and capacity of government
    agencies, ICCs and funded organisations. [However,] the expressed frustration,
    of both Indigenous organisations and ICC staff ... around having to take time
    away from urgent, daily service delivery, or operational matters, to comply with
    conditions of grants in reporting was considerable.

    ... [Indigenous organisations dispute] whether much of what is currently
    required [in terms of reporting] actually assists governments or their governing
    bodies to manage risk, to assess what outcomes are being achieved, and therefore
    to account well for the use of
    funds.[179]

    Funding procedures and conditions that the report identified as contributing
    to levels of frustration and perceptions red tape included:

    • The reporting burden of small grants is virtually equal to that of much
      larger grants. Even though there is a smaller risk, small grants still have the
      same reporting frequency and the same number of performance indicators for which
      data has to be collected.
    • 66% of grants from programs that continue year after year have to be
      re-applied for annually, even though there is little variation in risk or
      circumstances.
    • Funding departments appear to make little use of the information in the
      reports they receive from grant recipients, including information about the
      financial well-being of recipient organisations.
    • Performance indicators are frequently not related to the activity being
      funded.[180]

    The report also identified adverse ‘organisational
    cultures’ as another source of frustration and perceived red tape. For
    example, some departments suffer from a ‘rigid compliance’ culture.
    Rather than striving to help communities achieve their goals and build up their
    organisational capacity, these departments insist on compliance with ‘less
    than sensible reporting requirements’ or ‘standard performance
    indicators which do not match the
    project’.[181]

    To address both the actual and perceived burden of red tape on Indigenous
    communities, the Morgan Disney report recommends a ‘paradigm shift’
    at the federal level to bring about organisational and cultural
    change.[182] The alternative
    paradigm proposed is based on the concept of mutual responsibility, a concept
    that already underpins the government’s approach to Indigenous affairs.
    The major objective of this paradigm shift would be move the focus of funding
    Indigenous programs from one of achieving compliance, to one that is measured by
    beneficial outcomes in Indigenous communities.

    The Morgan Disney report characterises the concept of mutual responsibility
    in a manner that emphasises mutual trust, respect and accountability between
    funding agencies and funded organisations. In order to ensure that the funding
    of Indigenous organisations results in beneficial outcomes for communities, the
    report suggests that there needs to be a general acceptance of the following
    premises by both parties:

    • Organisations, on the whole, want and do what they believe is best for their
      communities, and similarly governments want to assist communities to achieve
      their potential;
    • Risks are best managed when these are assessed together by the funding
      agency and the funded organisation, and jointly managed;
    • Working together is more likely to achieve agreed and better outcomes for
      communities;
    • Accountability for outcomes requires a mutual accountability between funding
      agencies and funded organisations based on respect and capacity building of
      Indigenous organisations; and
    • Governments have a responsibility to monitor the use of public` funds and
      this can be done well, in partnership with Indigenous organisations and
      communities.[183]

    According to the Morgan Disney report, this paradigm shift would be
    a relatively low cost option and would not require ‘massive change’.
    Rather there would be a need for ‘change management, organisational and
    cultural change and
    training.’[184] In fact,
    many of the government’s current overarching policy strategies would be
    consistent with, and quite critical to the success of this paradigm shift. For
    example, it would be critical to maintain:

    • An ongoing commitment to finding whole of government solutions to funding
      and supporting Indigenous organisations and communities, and to ways of working
      in partnership;
    • A commitment to negotiating and focussing on accountability at the outset to
      ensure outcomes are achieved;
    • A commitment to capacity building in Indigenous communities and
      organisations; and
    • The development of the role of ICCs and OIPC at the regional and national
      levels, to improve and coordinate whole of government and cross government
      efforts to support and fund organisations, and reduce the administrative burden
      on Indigenous organisations. [185]

    The Morgan Disney report is clear in the need for this paradigm
    shift to be led by senior elements of the Indigenous affairs bureaucracy. For
    example, it recommends that:

      • The Secretaries Group on Indigenous Affairs establish a service charter and
        issue a leadership statement;
      • OIPC examine practices within the ICCs and work with other departments to
        improve funding mechanisms and processes; and
      • State/territory Managers of Australian Government departments provide
        ‘a solid foundation’ for the paradigm shift to take
        root.[186]
    • Shared Responsibility Agreements

    Shared Responsibility Agreements (SRAs) have been a prominent
    feature of the work of ICCs and solution brokers at the regional level over the
    first two years of the new arrangements. SRAs are defined as:

    ... agreements between the government and Indigenous communities or groups,
    to provide a discretionary benefit in return for community obligations. These
    discretionary benefits may take the form of extra services, capital or
    infrastructure over and above essential services or basic entitlements.
    They can involve all or some of the people in a residential
    community.[187]

    The Annual Report 2004-05 of the Secretaries’ Group on
    Indigenous Affairs observed that:

    A central element of the Australian Government’s new approach is the
    voluntary development with Indigenous families and communities of Shared
    Responsibility Agreements
    (SRAs).[188]

    Through SRAs, the government seeks to establish a mutual obligation basis for
    assistance to Indigenous communities. SRAs are intended to respond to the
    identified priorities of particular communities or family groups. In return for
    discretionary benefits from government, communities make specific commitments in
    order to achieve their identified goals. The obligation on the community or
    family is often in the form of behavioural change (for example ensuring children
    attend school).[189] SRAs also
    meet the objective of the new arrangements of direct engagement with Indigenous
    peoples.

    As reported in last year’s Social Justice Report, OIPC had
    identified a key role for SRAs in achieving improved access to government
    services, including in urban locations:

    There are a number of mechanisms under the new arrangements that will
    facilitate improved service delivery to Indigenous people living in non-remote
    communities, including SRAs...

    As part of the new arrangements ICCs have been working with Indigenous people
    and communities in both rural and urban areas to identify their needs and
    priorities as well as develop Shared Responsibility Agreements (SRAs). SRAs can
    be used in both rural and urban contexts, either as a mechanism through which
    disadvantage can be tackled directly, or to complement and inform the delivery
    of an existing service. They are also a useful mechanism through which
    Government can respond to community identified needs by linking programs and
    closing gaps in current service delivery. There are already a number of examples
    or SRAs in urban areas.[190]

    The ‘directness’ of the SRA process is seen as worthwhile in
    itself as a form of engagement and because it potentially lessens the influence
    of ‘gatekeepers’, including Indigenous organisations.
    Although
    accounting for a relatively small share of total Indigenous program funding,
    SRAs have been given considerable prominence by the government. In the national
    media, they have come to embody the government’s commitment to
    partnership, local agreements and flexible ‘joined-up’ government
    service delivery. There are now over 190 of these agreements in
    place.[191] The responses of
    Indigenous communities that have entered into SRAs are considered in detail in
    the next chapter of this report.

    However, the question remains: are SRAs an effective tool to ‘harness
    the mainstream’? Do they achieve synergies between Indigenous-specific and
    mainstream programs that improve the outcomes for communities. Or, are SRAs
    really just a tool for tailoring Indigenous-specific programs to the needs of
    the community concerned?

    In last year’s Social Justice Report I wrote that the SRA
    process had not, on the evidence to date, been a significant tool in harnessing
    the mainstream.[192] With a truly
    flexible approach one might expect mainstream funds to be deployed through
    SRAs
    to meet the expressed needs of the community. I commented that
    ultimately, if funding for SRAs remains basically Indigenous specific
    expenditure ‘then SRAs will remain a supplementary funding source and will
    play a similar role to that of ATSIC program
    funding.’[193]

    There are some examples of SRAs which seek to use Indigenous-specific funding
    to reduce barriers to mainstream services. For example:

    • The Areyonga community in Central Australia developed the Areyonga Bus and Oval SRA to reduce barriers to mainstream services that
      were caused by the community’s remote
      location.[194] The Areyonga
      community identified their priority need as being ‘improved access to
      educational, specialist medical, cultural, sporting and recreational
      opportunities in Alice Springs and the
      region.’[195] Among other
      things, the SRA provided the community with a bus.
    • The Bagot community in Darwin entered into the Bagot SRA to reduce barriers to mainstream services that were caused by the community’s
      lack of knowledge of how to access services. The Bagot community, although right
      in Darwin and having access to a strong labour market, operates like a discrete
      Indigenous community. It identified its priorities including the development of
      a community plan. It did not have the skills or expertise to develop a community
      plan so wanted a Community Development Officer position with two locals trained
      to do the work. Among other things, the SRA provided the community with a
      Community Development Officer and a package of training opportunities.
    • The Sarina Aboriginal and Torres Strait Community in Queensland through the
      Mudth-Niyleta Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation developed the Sarina Economic Participation Strategy SRA to reduce barriers to
      mainstream employment opportunities that were caused by the community’s
      reliance upon CDEP. The Sarina community identified their priority need as being
      ‘wanting to stay in the community and be a part of the mainstream labour
      market.’ Among other things, the SRA provided the community with an
      Indigenous Community Volunteer (ICV) who helped to prepare the Economic
      Participation Strategy. This is seen to be the first of a number of SRA's that
      will be entered into by the community.
    • The Palmerston Indigenous Village developed the Palmerston Community Plan
      SRA
      to reduce anti-social behaviour in the community and create
      greater engagement with mainstream activities. Among other things, the SRA
      provided the community with a Community Development Officer who will work with
      the local council to develop and implement a community plan.

    These SRAs provide the potential to achieve improved access
    to mainstream services over time.

    A year further into the new arrangements, though, and it appears that the
    majority of SRA funding continues to come from Indigenous specific expenditure
    and not mainstream programs. The potential remains, however, for SRAs to build
    the necessary linkages between Indigenous specific services and mainstream
    services.

    Solution brokers are ideally placed to create these linkages.

    Chapter 3 of this report contains the results of a survey of Indigenous
    communities and organisations which have entered into SRAs. The survey results
    show that solution brokers are indeed critical to Indigenous community
    satisfaction with SRAs. The survey found that:

    • The biggest single reason that an SRA was initiated was at the suggestion of
      the government, usually through an ICC or solution broker;
    • In 57% of cases, the ICC or solution broker were integrally involved in the
      development of the SRA (although survey respondents generally identified this
      participation as by ‘ICC staff’ rather than by ‘solution
      brokers’); and
    • Communities that stated they had received no assistance from the ICC in
      developing the SRA had much lower rates of satisfaction with the SRA
      process.[196]

    However, the survey also confirmed the potential for SRAs to be a
    tool to further the holistic, longer term priorities of communities. The survey
    found that a majority of respondents defined their SRA as being about multiple
    issues, and not being restricted to a single issue. This suggests a willingness
    to look to more comprehensive arrangements that tackle the priorities identified
    by communities.

    The survey also identified disappointment from communities that SRAs did not
    provide this broader, more comprehensive focus. Concern was expressed that the
    one off nature of the funding was not capable of producing sustainable
    improvements in communities, and could lead to disillusionment from communities
    about engaging with government – the very opposite of the intended
    impact.

    • Comprehensive SRAs, Regional Partnership Agreements and
      ‘intensive interventions’

    Regional agreement making processes were intended from the start to
    be an integral component of the new arrangements. The principal tool that has
    been identified for this purpose is the Regional Partnership Agreement (RPA).
    OIPC has described the nature and purpose of RPAs as follows:

    Regional Partnership Agreements provide a mechanism for setting out a
    coherent government investment strategy across a region, eliminating overlaps or
    gaps, and promoting coordination to meet identified priorities for the region.
    Where States and Territories have agreed, RPAs may also incorporate State and
    Territory investment. RPAs will accord with the Framework Principles for
    Government Service Delivery agreed by the Council of Australian Governments in
    June 2004.[197]

    SRAs were originally intended to be ‘more detailed documents operating
    at a family or community
    level’[198] and accordingly
    were not intended to provide a mechanism for developing regional plans and
    strategies.

    However, there has been an evolution in thinking about SRAs towards their
    expanding in focus and duration. The Secretaries’ Group on Indigenous
    Affairs has commented that this evolution towards a ‘comprehensive
    SRA’ approach:

    ... describes the more intensive work that we will do with Indigenous
    communities that goes beyond addressing single issues. It will require strong
    partnerships between communities and government at all levels, with business and
    our provider networks.[199]

    According to the Secretaries’ Group, this approach will be
    implemented:

    ... in locations where communities are ready and willing to build on what
    they have already achieved – to work with us towards their longer term
    goals, covering more community priorities overtime (we are calling this a more
    comprehensive approach to SRAs, but it can also be done through RPAs). [200]

    This evolutionary approach appears to deal with the potential for SRAs to be ad hoc, limited in focus, of short duration and uncoordinated with the
    needs of the wider community or region. The rationale of moving towards a more
    comprehensive approach has been set out as follows:

    While it is important not to underestimate the impact of single-issue SRAs -
    particularly in smaller and remote communities as the first step –
    progress will always be limited in any single area unless factors in related
    areas are addressed. For example, only limited success can be expected in the
    area of employment (even if real job opportunities exist), if education and
    health issues are not also
    addressed.[201]

    A distinction continues to be made between comprehensive SRAs (as relating to
    one community) and RPAs. Thus, for communities which are able to take advantage
    of a wider approach to agreement-making:

    This might mean they want to take a whole of community or even a cross
    community approach – here they might start with a comprehensive (multi
    issue) SRA if it’s just for one community, or with an RPA if they want to
    work across several communities in a region.

    RPAs tend to set out higher level community goals and the outcomes to be
    delivered. However, as they progress, they should include SRAs with clear shared
    responsibilities for local communities or groups which support the objectives of
    the RPA.[202]

    It is clear that there may be some overlap. Gray and Sanders suggest
    ‘perhaps the distinction between SRAs and RPAs are becoming rather blurred
    anyway’.[203]

    There is also the question of where the comprehensive SRAs or RPAs will fit
    in the new ‘intensive intervention’ model (as discussed in Part 1 of
    this chapter). The intervention model is based on identifying priority
    communities (which seems to mean in general, communities that are in crisis).
    Presumably, such communities, if in crisis, are not in the position to negotiate
    and enter into comprehensive SRAs. A term which has been used to describe the
    sort of agreements that might be developed in such situations is a
    ‘holistic’ SRA, which:

    ... would relate more to those locations where we are planning or have
    already commenced a joint intervention with a state or a territory where we are
    attempting at a particular place to deal with a broad range of issues
    concurrently.[204]

    Accordingly, it appears there are now three agreement mechanisms being used
    which are similar in approach and purpose, and which may overlap. These are
    RPAs, ‘comprehensive SRAs’, and ‘holistic SRAs’. This
    proliferation of approaches is not necessarily a problem, but these terms and
    concepts do need to be thought through carefully to avoid confusion.
    Nevertheless, the priority in agreement-making lies with avoiding an excess of ad hoc and isolated agreements that do not take into account local and
    regional needs, resources, options for efficient and effective service delivery
    and meaningful participation of Indigenous partners.

    The move towards ‘comprehensive’ or ‘holistic’ SRAs
    seems sensible and timely. Such devices, along with RPAs, could be used to
    contribute to a regional needs analysis approach in order to map mainstream and
    Indigenous-specific services together.

    The challenge, and it is not easy, is to balance the directness and immediacy
    of a bottom-up family or community-based approach, through small one or
    two-issue SRAs, with the efficiencies and effectiveness of coordinated planning
    and service delivery on a wider community or regional basis.

    The potential for ‘comprehensive’ SRAs has been discussed by the
    government for some time. It was anticipated that there would be several such
    SRAs in place during the past financial year, however, these agreements have yet
    to eventuate.

    Accompanying this slow progress in finalising comprehensive SRAs has been the
    slow pace of finalising RPAs. This is discussed in further detail in Chapter 3
    and remains a matter of significant concern. When writing the Social Justice
    Report 2005
    there was only one concluded RPA to report, the Ngaanyatjarra
    Regional Partnership
    Agreement,[205] and OIPC had
    advised that a number of RPAs were under
    discussion.[206]

    There are now apparently several RPAs that have been negotiated to agreement
    stage and are awaiting signature by ministers at both the federal and
    state/territory levels. As well, there appears to be a continuing commitment to
    RPAs in the context of arrangements to follow on from the COAG trials. As the
    Associate Secretary of FaCSIA has explained:

    If you look at the bilateral agreements we have with several states, you will
    see a clear intention to move on to replace the trial arrangements with regional
    partnership agreements that lock in both the Commonwealth and the state or
    territory jurisdiction to an ongoing
    commitment.[207]

    For example, the intention at Wadeye seems to be to ‘transition’
    the COAG trial into an RPA.[208] These agreements appear to be focussed on the bilateral
    level.[209] As noted elsewhere in
    this report, it is not clear what role is anticipated for Indigenous
    representative organisations in the new regional partnerships to succeed the
    COAG trials. The Ngaanyatjarra RPA provides a model for appropriate Indigenous
    participation.

    Two further RPAs have recently been signed in November 2006. These are the
    East Kimberley RPA and the Port Hedland RPA. The Port Hedland RPA has an
    employment focus to take advantage of opportunities in the minerals sector in
    the region. The RPA has been developed under a Memorandum of Understanding
    between the Australian Government and the Minerals Council of Australia. The
    Minister, Mr Brough, has indicated that:

    Over the next five years the partners to the Agreement will aim to prepare
    Indigenous people for the workforce and support the development of Indigenous
    businesses.[210]

    Indigenous partners to the RPA include Bloodwood Tree, Pilbara Meta Maya,
    Pilbara Logistics and Indigenous Mining Services, and it is to be signed by 14
    key players including industry partners such as BHP Billiton Iron Ore,
    Fortescue Metals, Newcrest Mining as well as Ngarda Civil and Mining. This RPA
    is profiled as a case study in chapter four of the Native Title Report
    2006
    .

    Although there has been a considerable delay, it is pleasing to see these
    RPAs finalised and agreed. It is to be hoped that further RPAs will be agreed to
    progressively around the country. My Office will monitor developments with new
    RPAs and similar agreements, including their:

    • Arrangements for Indigenous participation in decision-making at all
      levels;
    • Their performance in addressing Indigenous disadvantage; and
    • Their progress in realising the goals of the Indigenous peoples of the
      regions concerned.

    Issues concerning engagement with
    Indigenous communities

    • The absence of regional representative structures – a flaw in
      the new arrangements

    As already noted on several occasions in this chapter, the need for
    Indigenous regional representative structures to partner governments in
    region-based planning and in determining appropriate service delivery
    arrangements is paramount. Their absence constitutes a significant flaw in the
    administration of the new arrangements to date.

    A somewhat passive approach appears to have emerged on the part of the
    federal government in facilitating and supporting the emergence of regional
    representative structures to enable Indigenous peoples to participate in
    decision-making. This is discussed in detail in chapter 3 of this report.

    In announcing the abolition of ATSIC, the government stated its intention to
    support the creation of a network of regional representative Indigenous bodies
    to interact with governments.[211] In June 2005, the then Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous
    Affairs had confirmed that the government remained committed to establishing
    representative bodies at the regional level:

    We have always stated that, following the dissolution of ATSIC Regional
    Councils from July 1 this year, there will be room for genuine Indigenous
    representative bodies to emerge in their
    place.[212]

    In the Social Justice Report 2005, I reported on the considerable
    progress that had been made in negotiating regional representative arrangements
    and structures.[213] I was also
    able to report that consultations had been conducted across many regions to
    identify replacement representative structures during the past year, and OIPC
    had provided funds through the ICCs for Indigenous peoples to convene local and
    regional meetings to discuss options for new regional representative
    arrangements.[214]

    An overview of progress on a state-by-state basis showed that there were
    promising developments in determining culturally appropriate regional
    representative models,[215] although there were gaps and problems with some of the models. I noted that the
    federal government had not yet outlined in concrete terms how it proposed to
    support such bodies. I emphasised the need to finalise and operationalise
    representative organisations where negotiations were largely complete, and to
    make greater progress in other areas where models had not yet been finalised.

    Given the advanced state of discussions a year ago in a number of regions, it
    is quite remarkable that progress towards recognising regional representative
    structures has stalled. It appears that the government now sees the principal
    route to regional engagement structures as being developed around participation
    in RPAs, rather than separately established representative organisations.

    There is an important change in approach from an emphasis on regional structures, to regional processes and agreements, particularly
    RPAs. The federal government’s preferred new approach is to work in
    partnership with Indigenous groups, as well as state and territory governments,
    to establish Regional Indigenous Engagement Arrangements (RIEAs). The
    government has stated that:

    The new engagement arrangements are important mechanisms for Governments to
    engage with Indigenous communities about agreed priority areas for joint effort
    and promote the principles of partnership, shared responsibility, and
    self-reliance. [216]

    OIPC has set out the parameters for RIEAs as follows:

    Clearer parameters have recently been agreed by Minister Brough. These are
    allowing us to progress RIEA proposals that are consistent with the Australian
    Government’s principles of partnership, shared responsibility and
    self-reliance, and to provide feedback to communities on proposals that are not
    consistent with the Australian Government’s objectives. Parameters for
    Australian Government funding and support include:

    • Initial Australian Government funding be capped and limited to one year
      after which further support be negotiated through RPAs;
    • Funds support meeting costs such as travel, but not sitting fees or
      remuneration;
    • State and Territory Governments participate through RPAs or bilateral
      agreements;
    • The Government retains the right to engage directly with communities or
      other bodies;
    • The Government be assured of the legitimacy of RIEAs among their
      constituents; and
    • RIEAs not be ‘gatekeepers’ or have decision-making
      responsibilities concerning Indigenous program
      funding.[217]

    However these parameters do not necessarily have to be met in
    total. They are intended as a guide, and other proposals that merit
    consideration but do not meet these criteria will be considered.

    The parameters are themselves of some concern, as they indicate that the
    shift away from regional representative bodies is definite. RIEAs will only get
    funding support for a year, after which time any further support must be
    negotiated through an RPA. Whilst this does not necessarily preclude
    organisations with a degree of permanency, it shows that engagement arrangements
    are to be contingent on RPAs.

    While it is desirable not to foist a standard model on different regions, and
    this is one of the reasons given for the slowness in getting regional engagement
    arrangements in place or supported, I remain concerned that the vacuum in
    Indigenous regional participation is creating problems. It is difficult for
    Indigenous communities to deal with the volume of changes, agencies and
    requirements under the new arrangements and the increasing entanglements of red
    tape.[218] There is a need to
    support authentic and credible structures and processes for Indigenous
    communities that allow them to: engage with governments; be consulted; and where
    appropriate, provide informed consent.

    Chapter 3 considers this issue I some depth. It notes that:

    In my view the government has adopted a cynical and disingenuous approach in
    which the apparatus of the new arrangements play no active role in engaging with
    Indigenous peoples on a systemic basis to ensure that mechanisms for Indigenous
    participation can become a reality.

    The Government has clearly stated that one of the priority areas for their
    Expert Panels and ‘Multiuse list of community
    facilitators/coordinators’ is to assist in the development of regional
    engagement arrangements. This demonstrates that they are fully aware that such
    arrangements will only become a reality if intensive support is provided to
    Indigenous communities to develop models that are suitable to their local
    needs.

    It is fanciful to expect that RIEAs will emerge solely through the efforts of
    Indigenous communities that are under-resourced and that in most instances do
    not have the necessary infrastructure to conduct the wide-ranging consultation
    and negotiation required to bring a regional engagement structure into
    existence.

    It is also convenient for Government to leave this issue solely up to
    Indigenous peoples to progress. I would suggest that this is done in full
    knowledge that the outcome of this approach will be an absence of regional
    engagement arrangements.

    There is a clear need for special assistance to ensure that Indigenous
    peoples are able to, in the words of the object of the Aboriginal and Torres
    Strait Islander Act 2005
    , ensure the ‘maximum participation of
    Aboriginal persons and Torres Strait Islanders in the formulation and
    implementation of government policies that affect
    them’.[219]

    I hope that RIEAS will develop in a manner that can represent Indigenous
    interests in their area, but whether they will have sufficient autonomy to
    freely represent their members’ interests remains to be seen.

    • The importance of direct engagement with
      Indigenous communities

    It is also important to consider the modalities of
    engagement with Indigenous communities. A major thrust of the new arrangements
    has been direct engagement with communities and families. This approach
    has been taken, despite the government’s oft repeated conviction that
    there were serious failings in the modalities of engagement with Indigenous
    communities in the era of ‘self-determination’ or
    ‘self-management’ (essentially from the 1970’s through to the
    new arrangements in July 2004).

    Indigenous organisations and various other intermediaries had, according to
    the government, become ‘gatekeepers’ - in effect preventing
    Indigenous peoples from dealing directly with governments, expressing their real
    priorities, or operating on a basis of mutual responsibility. The then Minister,
    Senator Vanstone, expressed these concerns with the old ways of doing things and
    the government’s intention to let Indigenous families and communities
    speak for themselves:

    When no one listens to your view, when no one sees that you could contribute
    anything of value, it's the equivalent of being told that you are of no value,
    either within or outside that community. That debilitating and degrading
    message has been reinforced day-after-day, year-after-year, decade-after-decade,
    in hundreds, if not thousands, of communities around Australia. We're changing
    that. We are listening directly to communities. We are asking them not only what
    they want, but also, what they can
    contribute.[220]

    This remains a key plank of the new arrangements, as shown by the following
    comment of the current Minister, Mr Brough:

    We aim to make it simpler for Indigenous people to deal with government. We
    want to show respect by encouraging them to be active participants in solving
    their own
    problems.[221]

    This is an entirely worthy objective. There can be no doubt that
    intermediaries - including Indigenous organisations – can unintentionally
    disempower Indigenous peoples. This has clearly occurred at times in Australia,
    particularly where key interests, such as rights in lands and waters, have been
    concerned. However, this paradox of Indigenous representation reflects an
    inherent problem in the interface of two quite distinct systems – the
    European system of laws, governance and
    administration[222] and
    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander systems of laws and customs. These two
    systems are based on quite different premises and values, but the two have to
    find a way to interact as they coexist over the same land and in the case of
    land and native title rights, Indigenous laws have legal effect in the European
    system.

    No matter what rhetoric is current, Indigenous peoples undoubtedly retain
    some rights of self-government, and in practical terms have to be, and will be,
    consulted and negotiated with over programs and services. In any society with
    Indigenous minorities, whether Australia, New Zealand, Canada or others, the
    forms or modalities of engagement present significant challenges and require
    considerable thought and, indeed, sensitivity.

    Programs to address Indigenous disadvantage have to be provided in genuine
    partnership with Indigenous peoples, and in terms that give those peoples room
    for input and initiative. These programs and services need to be provided in
    ways that Indigenous peoples can identify with
    and ‘own’.

    Indigenous peoples must be able to incorporate programs into their
    ideological and value systems. If such programs remain outside their systems,
    they will be seen simply as ‘foreign’, or as just the latest concern
    of government officials. If this is the perception in Indigenous communities,
    those programs will continue to be ineffective in dealing with Indigenous
    disadvantage.

    Leading Indigenous spokespeoples have made this point repeatedly. Noel
    Pearson, writing in the context of alcohol and drug problems, affirms that while
    law enforcement is important, coercive measures alone will not succeed. Rather,
    Pearson believes a combination of both the enforcement powers of the police, and
    ‘the moral resolve of elders’ is
    required.[223] Similarly Pat
    Dodson has observed:

    All the assistance in the world will be of no consequence if our governments
    are not prepared to enter into genuine conversations with our people at every
    level to come to agreement about how Aboriginal people can take their place in
    the Australian society, while still being able to be Aboriginal people with
    unique roles and responsibilities in their own
    land.[224]

    It is my concern that the basic problem remains when it comes to government
    engagement with Indigenous peoples in Australia: there is still an unwillingness
    or inability to fully comprehend and respect the distinctive nature of
    Indigenous societies and cultures. Until this situation changes, even with the
    best will in the world, policies of ‘direct engagement’ with
    Indigenous peoples are unlikely to succeed.

    • Defining Indigenous ‘communities’

    The engagement process under the new arrangements is based largely
    on the concept of a ‘community’. While it is possible to strike
    agreements with ‘families’, the focus of most SRAs are at the
    ‘community’ level. This focus on ‘community’ is despite
    the extensive literature about the artificiality and problematic nature of major
    Indigenous settlements in Australia.

    The term ‘community’ is misleading in the Australian context
    because many Indigenous settlements are artificial constructs that bring
    together disparate clan and language groups. Many of these settlements only took
    root because non-Indigenous people established a mission or ration depot, and
    over time Indigenous peoples settled in and around these locations. Not
    surprisingly, this mix of clan and language groups created and continues to
    create tensions and stresses in what we now loosely refer to as
    ‘Indigenous communities’.

    The transformation of a ‘settlement’ into a
    ‘community’ in the sense of a cohesive functioning
    ‘town’ like other Australian rural towns, has been a policy
    objective going back to the
    1960s.[225] The objective of
    ‘normalising’ Indigenous communities clearly underlies current
    government initiatives, rather than the stated aim of direct engagement with
    Indigenous communities.

    A good case in point is provided by the recent amendment of the Aboriginal
    Land Rights (Northern Territory)
    Act 1976 to enable the creation of
    99 year leases over Indigenous owned land. The objective of this proposal
    appears to have been to turn Indigenous settlements into ‘normal
    townships’, in part by overriding traditional land ownership laws and the
    responsibilities of traditional custodians through the device of a
    ‘headlease’.

    Such attempts (and the 99 year leases are just the latest incarnation of this
    objective) will almost certainly have the opposite effect to that which is
    desired. The changes are likely to reinforce the artificiality and alienating
    nature of these communities, and to add to their social dysfunction. The rights
    of the traditional owners will be nullified. Regardless of compensation
    arrangements or ‘rents’, this is unlikely to work towards the
    development of harmonious communities. Similarly, Indigenous initiatives to
    relocate away from the social dysfunctional characteristics of large Indigenous
    settlements by establishing homelands communities have met with a degree of
    negativity (see discussion of Wadeye COAG trial above).

    Such policy developments lead me to suspect that the direct engagement
    objective, whilst well intentioned, is not yet sufficiently based on a full
    understanding and acceptance of the values, aspirations and social organisation
    of Indigenous Australians. As well as mutual obligation, we must strive for
    mutual understanding and genuine partnership.

    • Capacity
      building

    Indigenous peoples are not always in a position of equal power, nor do they
    necessarily have the capacity to engage in direct negotiations without some risk
    to their legitimate interests. Safeguards must be in place to ensure that
    interests and rights are protected. Where necessary, assistance should be
    provided in strengthening capacity to engage in negotiations.

    Over many years there has been considerable effort put into capacity building
    in Indigenous communities. Many of these programs have been successful, and
    there is now significant Indigenous capability in a wide range of areas. But the
    need to build and strengthen capacity remains a massive task, and when the
    emphasis is placed on direct negotiation, consultation and agreement making as
    under the current arrangements, this potentially brings the capacity building
    requirement right down to the grass roots.

    The more that this capacity building can come from Indigenous organisations
    the more effective it will be. I note the continuing work of the Office of the
    Registrar of Aboriginal Corporations in providing on-the-ground accredited
    training in corporate governance for Indigenous Governing Committees and
    Boards.[226] There is, however, an
    ongoing need for a strategic approach to creating succession in communities for
    Indigenous peoples to take over many of the jobs currently undertaken by non
    Indigenous people in communities. There are also many organisations, both
    government and non-government working at the local, regional and national levels
    to strength and enhance Indigenous capacity.

    There is a particular concern in relation to small SRAs and capacity
    building, which I highlighted in the Social Justice Report 2005:

    With the initial focus on single issue SRAs, it is also difficult to see that
    a capacity building approach tied to long term change is being prioritised in
    the SRA approach – although the government has clearly indicated that this
    is an intention of the process and will be built upon through the negotiation of
    more comprehensive SRAs.[227]

    Since then, the Government has responded (in August 2006) to my report by way
    of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres
    Strait Islander Affairs, Many Ways Forward – Capacity Building in
    Indigenous communities.[228]
    One of the Committee’s recommendations was that all three levels of
    government work cooperatively and in consultation with Indigenous peoples in
    relation to the provision of services. This whole of government approach to
    service delivery should include:

    the incorporation of capacity building into the design and implementation of
    programs delivering services to Indigenous communities, including funds to
    enable mentoring of community members and
    organisations.[229] [Recommendation 7(d)]

    In its response to the Committee, the government observed generally in
    respect of SRAs and capacity building, that:

    The close engagement with communities in the development of SRAs has allowed
    the Government to obtain a better idea of the capacity building requirements of
    communities and to tailor program and service delivery to help build capacity
    where it is needed. Approximately half of all SRAs signed to date feature
    community capacity building, governance and leadership initiatives supported by
    the Government.[230]

    The government in specifically responding to Recommendation 7 (d) did not
    accept this particular recommendation in full, however, it noted that:

    Capacity building, within both Indigenous communities and government
    agencies, is a key focus for the Government. Rather than it being an automatic
    requirement that a capacity building component be built into the design and
    implementation of programs, capacity building needs should be considered in the
    light of the circumstances of individual communities and service delivery
    organisations.[231]

    Undoubtedly this is so. Communities have variable levels of capabilities.
    Some only need some initial facilitation support, such as assistance with
    marketing, seed funding for enterprises, or linkages to relevant agencies in
    fields such as tourism, the arts and environmental management. Other
    communities, perhaps without experience or training in the past, might need
    substantial and longer-term assistance in capacity building.

    What matters is that direct engagement can only be meaningful if the capacity
    exists in communities to so engage. In designing program delivery, capacity
    building always needs to be considered and resources made available appropriate
    to the circumstances.

    The changing role of the Office of Indigenous Policy
    Coordination (OIPC)

    Organisational
    stability during the implementation of new administrative arrangements
    would normally help such arrangements to ‘filter down’ and become
    understood and accepted by clients as being the way that business is now done.
    However, such stability has been lacking in respect of the new arrangements in
    Indigenous affairs, with a number of significant shifts in both arrangements and
    policy settings in the relatively short period since the new arrangements came
    into effect. Changes to the location of OIPC within the Indigenous affairs
    bureaucracy are suggestive of the instability that lies at the very foundation
    of the new arrangements.

    As the successor to
    ATSIC and ATSIS, OIPC was to be the focus of the implementation of the new
    arrangements. Its role
    included:

    • Coordinating
      Indigenous policy and programs at the national level;
    • Managing the Indigenous Coordination
      Centres (ICCs);
    • Brokering relationships
      with other levels of government, including with the states and territories;
      and
    • Reporting on the performance of
      government programs and service delivery for Indigenous people, in the context
      of policy review and development.

    At the time of the
    implementation of the new arrangements OIPC also retained some responsibility
    for delivering major programs, particularly in relation to land rights and
    native title.

    OIPC faced
    significant difficulties from the start. The new arrangements involved a number
    of innovative changes, including ICCs, Regional Partnership Agreements (RPAs)
    and Shared Responsibility Agreements (SRAs). These changes brought new
    challenges for policy and program development, such as the need to reduce
    barriers to access mainstream services for Indigenous peoples, which were often
    provided by state and territory governments.

    As a result of
    mainstreaming ATSIC programs, OIPC lost a significant number of skilled and
    experienced staff, including Indigenous
    staff.[232] The reduced
    organisational expertise available to the new agency, given the considerable
    challenges facing it, created its own difficulties. As well, an undue confidence
    based on an assumption that ATSIC had been the major cause of failure in
    Indigenous affairs, may have exacerbated the difficulties which have accompanied
    implementation of the new
    arrangements.

    Early
    reservations on the part of Secretaries of some departments about the role of
    OIPC were noted by Gray and
    Sanders.[233] In their view, the
    role of OIPC
    was:

    • Too
      prominent in the new arrangements, and potentially OIPC could grow into the
      government’s major Indigenous agency, thereby undermining the objective of
      mainstreaming; and
    • That OIPC sat awkwardly
      in the Department of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs
      (DIMIA).

    One
    Secretary’s view (at the time OIPC was located in DIMIA) was
    that:

    ... it might be
    more productive if OIPC were in the future ‘broken up’ and for
    relevant parts of it to come across into that department [the department of the
    person making this observation], rather than being left as an ‘awkward
    pimple’ on a department dominated by its immigration
    function.[234]

    It seems that this has now largely transpired. First OIPC was transferred to
    the Department of Family and Community Services that was later renamed FaCSIA.
    Then, a reorganisation of FaCSIA in the latter part of 2006 resulted in OIPC
    programs and some of its key functions being taken from OIPC and subsumed within
    the overall departmental structure of FaCSIA. Program losses included native
    title and land rights, which are now handled by a Branch (Land) within the
    Indigenous Land and Housing Division of FaCSIA. The other major change is the
    loss of the responsibility for managing ICCs. ICC managers now report to FaCSIA
    state and territory managers, whose responsibilities are wider than Indigenous
    programs.

    As the OIPC website states:

    Certain functions that had been with OIPC are now undertaken from within the
    wider FaCSIA, including management of ICCs and program
    management.[235]

    As at November 2006, the role of OIPC was as follows:

    • Provide advice to the Minister for Families, Community Services and
      Indigenous Affairs;
    • Coordinate and drive whole-of-government innovative policy development and
      service delivery across the Australian Government;
    • Coordinate the Single Indigenous Budget;
    • Broker relations with State and Territory Governments on Indigenous
      issues;
    • Evaluate and report on the performance of government programs and services
      for Indigenous people to inform policy review and development; and
    • Support the work of the Ministerial Taskforce on Indigenous Affairs,
      Secretaries’ Group on Indigenous Affairs and National Indigenous
      Council.

    It seems that under the new administrative arrangements OIPC
    becomes one division or group among others in the FaCSIA structure, rather than
    an autonomous agency as suggested by its
    name.[236] The Secretary of
    FaCSIA, Dr Farmer, described the change in the following discussion at the
    Senate Estimates hearing in November 2006:

    Dr Harmer - OIPC in the new structure has been redefined to a
    coordinating group.
    Senator CHRIS EVANS - Coordinating group. So what does that mean in
    terms of its resources? Policy coordination is a small section?
    Dr Harmer - No, it is not small. It is a significant coordination
    function which manages the single Indigenous budgets submission and manages the
    secretariat for the secretary’s [sic] group. It manages the secretariat
    for the National Indigenous Council and a whole range of other coordination
    tasks—
    Senator CHRIS EVANS - All of the line functions have been placed
    elsewhere?
    Dr Harmer - They are now part of FaCSIA proper, yes.
    Senator CHRIS EVANS - They have all been brought under one roof inside
    FaCSIA?
    Dr Harmer - Yes, they
    have.[237]

    Although OIPC undoubtedly retains important coordination functions,
    nevertheless, the loss of responsibility for management of the ICCs is highly
    significant. This role provided leverage in policy development and relationship
    brokering roles; ICCs were a key OIPC responsibility. In October 2005 the
    Secretaries’ Group on Indigenous Affairs released a Bulletin on
    ICCs[238] which emphasised the
    pivotal role of OIPC in relation to the management and functioning of the ICCs.
    As recently as August 2006 the government’s response to a report of the
    House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islander Affairs stated that ‘OIPC leads the
    ICCs’.[239] Given the
    pre-eminence of ICCs in the new arrangements, this change appears to represent a
    major downgrading of OIPC’s role.

    These changes to OIPC’s role only increase present uncertainty about
    where overall responsibility for Indigenous policy lies. Despite assurances from
    FaCSIA that the reorganisation will lead to a greater focus within that
    Department on Indigenous policies and programs by bringing together all
    Indigenous-specific programs,[240] I am concerned that we are in fact seeing an increase in
    ‘disconnected’ government. One wonders where within the system, the
    objective of boosting Indigenous peoples’ ability to ‘harness the
    mainstream’ now lies.

    The fact that OIPC sits within FaCSIA and that its various Indigenous
    programs have been grouped under one Deputy
    Secretary[241] appears to give
    FaCSIA a de facto lead agency role in Indigenous affairs. Another way of
    putting this is that the Secretary of FaCSIA is now the senior official in
    Indigenous affairs. To what extent this is a rational outcome, or whether it
    reflects the vagaries and shifting sands of bureaucratic arrangements is
    unclear. Confusion over who is responsible for leading change has been
    identified in respect of the failures of the COAG trial in whole of government
    administration at Wadeye (see above). I am concerned that this may be an
    emerging system-wide problem.

    FaCSIA is a mainstream agency that has responsibilities to a broad range of
    clients. It is difficult to see how it can be expected to consistently provide
    the essential advocacy and support that is needed to adequately protect
    Indigenous rights and interests.

    It is equally concerning that the portfolio of Indigenous affairs does not
    have a Minister with sole responsibility. Instead the Minister responsible is
    also the Minister for Families and Community
    Services.[242] Not only does this
    mean the Minister’s attention is not focussed on Indigenous affairs and
    the task of directing the whole of government approach to address Indigenous
    disadvantage, it also means that this Minister has multiple responsibilities at
    the Cabinet table. It is therefore not to be expected that he will always have
    the needs and aspirations of Indigenous Australians at the forefront of his
    mind; they will inevitably and frequently come second.

    This situation is disturbing. If Indigenous affairs are going to be
    effectively subsumed within broader departmental structures and Ministerial
    portfolios, this will reduce visibility, accountability and perhaps
    responsibility. It raises the issue of just how far the mainstreaming of
    Indigenous affairs is to go. It appears to be consistent with the dogma that
    Indigenous Australians have no special place, and no special rights.

    Text Box 8 - The quiet revolution?

    The full reach of the ‘quiet revolution’ may have yet been
    under-estimated. Since the establishment of an Office of Aboriginal Affairs
    (established by the Prime Minister in
    1967),[243] the
    Commonwealth’s involvement in Indigenous affairs, including its relations
    with the states and territories, has been mediated through relatively autonomous
    stand-alone administrative machinery. This machinery has included the Office of
    Aboriginal Affairs, the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, ATSIC and finally
    ATSIS.

    Now, we are going in the opposite direction and OIPC, as the agency with the
    nominal task of coordinating Indigenous policy, is being reduced in status, and
    is in danger of losing the degree of autonomy and separation that would appear
    necessary to allow for providing independent advice and objective evaluation of
    programs. No new agency charged with such responsibility seems likely.

    In
    terms of the principal concern of this chapter, these changes beg the question
    of who is to watch, monitor and assess progress in eliminating the barriers that
    inhibit Indigenous peoples’ ability to access mainstream services? Are
    mainstream services to evaluate their own progress? If so how can objectivity be
    guaranteed?

    The changes in role of OIPC are part of a kaleidoscope of shifting
    arrangements that have confused and bedevilled the ‘new arrangements in
    Indigenous affairs’ since their inception and implementation. The
    confusion and instability appears to be worsening. Whilst I hope this does not
    continue to be the case, these are matters of concern and my Office will follow
    them closely over the next 12 months.

    Monitoring
    and evaluation mechanisms – ensuring accountability for the new
    arrangements

    There is a danger in the new arrangements of an ‘accountability
    gap’. Such a gap could develop between the rhetoric of improved
    outcomes through mainstreaming on a ‘whole-of-government’ basis, and
    the reality of actual outcomes for Indigenous peoples and communities on
    the ground.

    The need to evaluate the new arrangements has been recognised from early in
    their implementation. In 2002 COAG noted that:

    failures in the past have emphasised the importance of policy that is
    evidence based and incorporates ongoing mechanisms for evaluation and
    review.[244]

    In 2004 COAG agreed to a National Framework of Principles for Delivering
    Services to Indigenous
    Australians
    .[245] This
    Framework clearly linked the need for greater transparency and accountability to
    the goal of better service delivery to Indigenous peoples. By adopting the
    Framework, Australian governments committed themselves to:

    • Strengthen the accountability of governments for the effectiveness of their
      programs and services through regular performance review, evaluation and
      reporting;
    • Ensure the accountability of organisations for the government funds that
      they administer on behalf of Indigenous people; and
    • Task the Productivity Commission to continue to measure the effect of the
      COAG commitment through the jointly-agreed set of indicators.

    In the Social Justice Report 2004 I noted that there was a
    need for ‘rigorous monitoring of the implementation of the new
    arrangements’.[246] In 2005
    the Senate Select Committee on the Administration of Indigenous Affairs, noting
    that ‘the Committee has not been presented with any actual evidence to
    show that mainstreaming will bring about improvements in service
    delivery’,[247] recommended:

    that the Government immediately establishes a mechanism to thoroughly and
    impartially assess the new mainstreaming arrangements as they are implemented,
    including those already in place. The Committee also recommends that the
    resultant report is made public. (Recommendation
    5.1)[248]

    The Secretaries’ Group on Indigenous Affairs commented in its Annual
    Report 2004-05
    on the implementation of the new arrangements: ‘We
    consider that, given the magnitude of the task, the progress made to date is
    significant.’[249]

    It would be reassuring to think that this is the case, but can we be sure?

    In implementing the reconciliation framework to address Indigenous social and
    economic disadvantage, COAG in 2002 commissioned a regular report against key
    indicators of Indigenous disadvantage. The Prime Minister, Mr Howard,
    subsequently stated that the principal task of this report would be:

    to identify indicators that are of relevance to all government departments
    and Indigenous stakeholders and that can demonstrate the impact of programme and
    policy interventions’. [250]

    Subsequently, the Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service
    Provision (SCRGSP), with secretariat assistance from the Productivity
    Commission, produced Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage – Key
    Indicators 2003,
    [251] and a
    second report in 2005. As the Chairman of the Productivity Commission, Gary
    Banks, has observed, by linking progress with reducing Indigenous disadvantage
    to government programs, the accountability of governments in dealing with
    Indigenous disadvantage has been
    elevated.[252]

    The laudable, indeed essential, objective of monitoring the impact of program
    and policy interventions through charting changes in key indicators has proved
    in actuality somewhat difficult to achieve. Despite the best efforts of the
    Productivity Commission, the Key Indicators reports have not been able,
    to date, to yield data that can, in the Prime Minister’s words,
    ‘demonstrate the impact of programme and policy interventions’.

    It is simply too early for changes flowing from the new arrangements to show
    up in a way that cause and effect can be reasonably identified. The Key
    Indicators 2005
    report is based to a considerable degree on data that
    predates the policy initiatives arising from COAG and implemented by the new
    arrangements in Indigenous
    affairs.[253] As well, there are a
    range of significant gaps, inconsistencies and definitional problems in the
    data.[254]

    The Key Indicators 2005 report showed at best a mixed picture in
    respect of addressing Indigenous disadvantage in Australia, with some key
    indicators showing improvement, but others showing deterioration. Overall the
    Productivity Commission concluded that:

    ... in the areas identified as crucial to reducing disadvantage, outcomes
    fall well short of what is
    needed.[255]

    Although there are significant problems associated with using the Key
    Indicators
    reports to assess the outcomes of the new arrangements, at least
    in the short to intermediate term, the Productivity Commission has advised that in time they will enable government to gauge the extent to which the new
    arrangements are producing better
    results.[256]

    A further difficulty is that the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage reports provide a reading of outcomes from a ‘whole of
    government’ perspective. This means that the information is inevitably
    provided at a broad level.[257] The strategic change indicators in the reports are more closely linked to
    program areas, but are not comprehensive and also suffer from a range of data
    issues. It is simply not possible to establish causal linkage between policy
    objectives and/ or program specifics with the results of the key indicators. One
    can only draw conclusions by implication. As the Productivity Commission has
    correctly pointed out:

    It (the report) is not a substitute for detailed evaluation of specific
    programs and policy
    initiatives.[258]

    Overall, the risk is that without targeted evaluations, set against well
    considered benchmarks and reporting on relevant indicators, policy failure may
    take some while to show up in the key, or ‘headline’, indicators.
    The time lag in this reporting framework means that remedies and adjustments to
    policy settings may, by the time the necessity to make them has become clear, be
    all that more difficult to implement. The disadvantage of Indigenous peoples
    will be further entrenched.

    The Secretaries’ Group on Indigenous Affairs has also noted the
    following evaluation problems. Firstly, the problems of delay:

    ... it will take some years to be able to report comprehensively on the
    impact of the new arrangements for Indigenous
    Australians.[259]

    Secondly, the need for Key Indicators reports to be supported by other
    evaluation data. Thus, these reports:

    ... need to be complemented by a robust, whole-of-government accountability
    and performance reporting framework for the Australian Government’s
    programs and services. We need stronger performance indicators and a more
    systemised way of capturing and, more importantly, regularly reporting this
    information.[260]

    And thirdly, the need to link programs and actual on-the-ground outcomes:

    We also need to focus more on how funding or service interventions are making
    a difference in the life circumstances of Indigenous
    Australians.[261]

    According to the Secretaries’ Group, the new administrative
    arrangements for Indigenous affairs are, in fact, ‘supported by a
    comprehensive accountability framework, with multiple
    layers’.[262] The
    Secretaries’ Group also notes that the new arrangements are to operate in
    ‘a learning framework’, ‘sharing information and experience,
    learning from mistakes and progressively adopting approaches that work
    best.’[263] Such a learning
    environment can only work, of course, with a good evaluative data base.

    OIPC, in conjunction with other federal agencies, has prepared a plan for
    evaluation activities in respect of the government’s whole of government
    approach in Indigenous
    affairs.[264] While the plan
    covers the period 2006-09, it focuses on activities for the 2006-07 financial
    year.

    Mainstream government departments and agencies remain responsible for the
    evaluation of the programs they
    administer.[265] To avoid
    duplication of effort, agency evaluations are expected to be shared across
    agencies. OIPC has undertaken to compile and maintain a running directory of all
    evaluations of Indigenous specific programs over the past 5 years. The focus of
    the Evaluation Plan itself is on activities of a whole of government
    nature.[266]

    Thus both Indigenous specific and mainstream programs as accessed by
    Indigenous peoples, are excluded from OIPC’s evaluation activities. OIPC
    makes clear that:

    This plan is therefore only one element of the assessment of the new
    arrangements in Indigenous affairs. The new arrangements are being assessed
    through several layers of evaluation and performance management. This
    whole-of-government evaluation activity complements and will be informed by:

    • Evaluations and audits by independent authorities, including the Office of
      Evaluation and Audit (Indigenous Programs) in the Department of Finance and
      Administration;
    • Australian National Audit Office;
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner;
    • Departmental sponsored audits and evaluations of the mainstream and
      Indigenous specific programs, including lapsing programs and services each is
      responsible for;
    • Public-sector, academic and independent research activities, including those
      funded by government departments and those conducted independently by academic
      institutions;
    • Performance monitoring and reporting mechanisms, such as the Council of
      Australian Governments (COAG) Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Report and the annual Reports on Government Services; and
    • The Secretaries’ Group on Indigenous Affairs Annual
      Report
      .[267]

    It is proposed that the OIPC plan will be a rolling plan. It will
    be reviewed annually to ensure that planned evaluation activities target the
    areas of most need. Thus:

    The plan is not a constraining document, and other evaluative activities may
    be commissioned during the 2006-07 and beyond if the need
    arises.[268]

    The plan is an interesting document and I am pleased to see a continuing
    commitment to the need for ongoing evaluations. The plan builds on whole of
    government evaluative work over the past 12 months, including the Red Tape
    Evaluation
    (Morgan Disney
    report),[269] the formative
    evaluation of the 8 COAG trial sites, and the review of individual SRAs. There
    is a commendable flexibility built into the plan.

    The most recent system evaluation, the Morgan Disney report identified
    significant problems in program implementation. One significant problem
    identified, in terms of evaluation, is a mismatch between indicators established
    in funding approvals (for example for SRAs) and the intended
    outcomes.[270] The report found
    instead a compliance driven emphasis on outputs, unrelated to the objectives of
    the program or project. Indicators were not related to nation-wide objectives
    and tended to be idiosyncratic. The data resulting from poorly articulated
    indicators cannot be seen as evaluative or as providing guidance for policy
    development.

    In respect of the evaluations of the COAG trials, although not complete at
    the time of preparation of this report, these showed indications of serious
    failures of the trials. There appears to be a hasty transition from the
    evaluation findings to new or different policy settings underway without
    sufficient time to reflect on the lessons of the evaluations (as discussed in
    earlier sections of this chapter). The SRA reviews are ‘very low
    cost’ because they are very brief (and potentially superficial).

    While evaluations have to be as technically rigorous as possible, they also
    need to be conducted in an inclusive manner to ensure that accurate
    interpretations and conclusions are drawn from the data, and the correct policy
    implications drawn.

    There remains a particular challenge in respect of the objective of the new
    arrangements of ‘harnessing the mainstream.’ That is, how to achieve
    measurable outcomes for Indigenous peoples. Again, this problem has been
    highlighted by the Secretaries’ Group on Indigenous Affairs, which
    commented that ‘[i]n most areas, information is not yet available to
    assess the use of mainstream programs by Indigenous
    people.’[271]

    Further, they note:

    Improving the range and currency of this kind of information is an area where
    we need to do further
    work.[272]

    In this I concur. The range of information on accessing mainstream government
    services is patchy at best. There appears to be no overarching framework of
    benchmarks and indicators specific to issues of improving access to mainstream
    services. This amounts to a major evaluation gap in the new arrangements for the
    administration of Indigenous affairs given the centrality of this objective in
    reducing Indigenous disadvantage.

    It is possible that, given the lack of data and tools for measuring outcomes,
    there may in fact be no overall improvement in accessing mainstream services as
    a result of the new arrangements. Some Indigenous peoples, particularly those in
    urban areas, may actually be in a worse position as a result of the new
    arrangements, given the withdrawal of Indigenous-specific programs. This is a
    significant concern in the social justice context.

    The accountability problem is potentially acute in respect of mainstream, as
    distinct from Indigenous-specific, programs. The methodological difficulties
    entailed in monitoring and evaluating progress in improving accessibility to
    mainstream programs can be significant. This is an area that needs to be
    addressed specifically in planning for evaluation of the new arrangements.

    Over the coming year, my Office will continue to follow the implementation of
    the OIPC Evaluation Plan, as well as evaluations undertaken by other
    agencies wherever possible. In particular, I will closely watch developments in
    relation to the audit currently being conducted by the Australian National Audit
    Office into key aspects of the new arrangements at the federal level.

    The results of these evaluations will be of critical importance in guiding
    and modifying policy settings in Indigenous affairs. At the very least, the
    ‘lessons learned’ from these evaluations need to be shared widely
    and seriously considered by the Secretaries Group on Indigenous Affairs. They
    also need to be discussed with Indigenous peoples and other stakeholders
    including state and territory governments, the community sector and relevant
    industry bodies.

    Part
    3: Conclusions and recommendations

    An increasing degree of disquiet can be discerned in relation to the efficacy
    of the new arrangements. The concern is whether they are capable of delivering
    the promised improvements, given the extent and pervasiveness of Indigenous
    disadvantage, and whether any progress is being
    made.[273]

    As Dr Shergold, in his capacity as Chair of the Secretaries’ Group on
    Indigenous Affairs has observed, the reform of the administration of Indigenous
    affairs instituted in 2004 ‘set a huge challenge for the Australian Public
    Service (APS)’.[274] While
    Dr Shergold expressed confidence that the APS could meet this challenge, he did
    not underestimate the level of difficulty in radically re-structuring the
    administrative arrangements for Indigenous affairs.

    Streamlining service delivery, enhancing coordination, eliminating
    duplication, and engaging with local communities rather than having a ‘one
    size fits all’ approach, laudable as these objectives are, may instead
    create their own red tape entanglements, establish their own new bureaucratic
    silos and bump along in a series of half-developed initiatives that do not
    substantially reduce Indigenous disadvantage.

    It is indeed possible that the level of coordination and integration of
    services required under the new arrangements will prove to be too complex in
    implementation, and that the delivery of services to Indigenous communities will
    collapse under the weight of inordinately complicated and unrealistic
    arrangements. The impacts of continual change and insufficient attention to the
    management of the changes on staff in the ICCs also cannot be overlooked or
    disregarded. The Morgan Disney report, discussing the costs, benefits and
    consequences of coordination noted:

    The new arrangements at Australian Government level have built into their
    structure the need for a high degree of coordination between all the agencies
    represented in the ICCs. The necessary level of coordination is resource
    intensive and constantly needs attention. For every Minute (or administrative
    instruction) or policy statement that is issued in one department, there is a
    set of communications that must then occur between departments at national
    office, state/territory office and, ICC levels, in order to ensure that there is
    ‘joined up government’, with all parties made aware.

    This is resource intensive for the Australian Government agencies, and
    reduces the time available to spend with Indigenous organisations dealing with
    their needs and problems, and assisting them in developing their own
    organisational capacity.[275]

    The difficult but important challenge of improving the access of Indigenous
    peoples to mainstream services seems to be slipping from view. Experience with
    the implementation of the new arrangements has shown that assertions of intent,
    no matter how well-meaning, unless backed by specific programs, activities and
    undertakings, often have come to nought.

    There is a need to move away from a mindset that is concentrated on process,
    towards one that is more focussed on outcomes. One of the shortcomings of the
    new arrangements in Indigenous affairs has been the tendency to characterise all
    problems besetting Indigenous communities as the result of failed processes -
    whether it be during the ATSIC era, or more recently, a lack of coordination on
    the part of governments in respect of service delivery. It can be misleading to
    confuse process with outcomes, and it appears that this may be what the new
    arrangements have, unwittingly, tended to do.

    This confusion can also be seen as a by-product of the failure of the new
    arrangements to adopt a human rights based approach to addressing Indigenous
    disadvantage. The necessary components of this rights-based approach include:
    the development of agreed targets and benchmarks, an evaluative framework to
    assess whether the ‘progressive realisation’ principle is being met,
    and a people-centred approach which values the full participation of Indigenous
    peoples in the process.

    The ‘new broom’ that has been introduced through the new
    arrangements to date has been a process broom. This has both exaggerated the
    role of process as a cause of Indigenous disadvantage, and resulted in other key
    issues not receiving the priority attention they deserved. In this regard I am
    thinking in particular of:

    • The urgent need to improve access to mainstream services;
    • The need to give Indigenous peoples a real and substantive voice at the
      negotiating table. Without full Indigenous participation we are not moving from
      a passive welfare model, regardless of initiatives such as SRAs;
    • The significant under investment in infrastructure for Indigenous
      communities, a problem which is being exacerbated by the young and highly mobile
      demographic profile of the Indigenous population; and
    • The need to support Indigenous communities in capacity building to assist
      them in developing autonomy and self-reliance.

    The vacuum at the national and regional levels of Indigenous
    representative input is now serious. Without that Indigenous input, I am
    concerned that the mistakes of the past will be repeated, or the wrong lessons
    learned.

    Unless there is a re-engagement with Indigenous Australians on the basis of
    mutual respect and equality, with clear processes and certainty of structures
    for Indigenous representation and advocacy, it remains uncertain whether the new
    arrangements can produce tangible, significant and lasting benefits rather than
    amounting to little more than an administratively complex repackaging of
    existing programs.

    The following recommendations are made to address the critical absences of
    regular monitoring, engagement with Indigenous peoples and benchmarking of
    accessibility of mainstream service delivery. The first Inquiry identifies the
    need for regular parliamentary scrutiny that can then also be supplemented
    through the estimates process and in the examination of proposed
    legislation.

    Recommendation 1: Directed to Federal Parliament

    That there be established a regular federal parliamentary committee of
    inquiry into the progress of the new arrangements in Indigenous affairs and
    progress in achieving whole of government service delivery to Indigenous
    communities.

    This Inquiry should be conducted every two years. Its terms of reference
    should include identifying:

    • Progress in addressing existing inequalities in Indigenous peoples’
      access (both urban and remote) to mainstream services (including the adequacy of
      processes to ensure that Indigenous specific expenditure supplements mainstream expenditure rather than substitutes for this expenditure);
    • Progress in ensuring that processes are targeted so as to address existing
      need;
    • Effective, sustainable and representative mechanisms for the participation
      of Indigenous peoples at the local, regional and national levels;
    • The adequacy of performance monitoring and evaluation mechanisms for the new
      arrangements, including the adequacy of data collected to evaluate progress in
      addressing Indigenous disadvantage; and
    • Whether the new arrangements are meeting the commitments made by the
      Australian Government through COAG to overcome Indigenous disadvantage.

    The Committee’s terms of reference should also require it
    to report on the extent to which the new arrangements in Indigenous affairs
    comply with human rights based approaches to development and engagement with
    Indigenous peoples.

    The Committee’s inquiry processes should be required to maximise
    participation by Indigenous peoples, including by consulting widely with
    Indigenous communities and organisations.

    The second recommendation seeks to address one of the fundamental policy
    problems of the new arrangements.

    Recommendation 2: Directed to the Council of Australian Governments,
    National Indigenous Council and Ministerial Taskforce on Indigenous
    Affairs

    That there is acknowledgement by government of the importance of a human
    rights based approach to development in order to effectively implement the new
    arrangements and the achievement of effective and sustainable improvements in
    Indigenous living standards and well-being.

    This requires acknowledgement of the importance of Indigenous forms of
    social organisation on the basis of mutual respect and good faith and for
    supported processes, including through capacity building initiatives, to ensure
    that the aspirations of Indigenous peoples are able to be voiced.

    For example, the new arrangements should be able to provide mechanisms to
    support viable aspirations of smaller communities located on traditional country
    (outstations), and to develop appropriate enterprises in order to provide such
    communities with a degree of autonomy, purpose and stability.

    A human rights based approach to development also requires a people-centred
    approach that aims above all else to produce beneficial outcomes for Indigenous
    Australians. In order to move the bureaucratic culture away from its current
    emphasis on compliance, both governments and senior officials within the
    bureaucracy need to exercise their leadership to ensure the new arrangements
    prioritise beneficial outcomes on the ground. This will necessarily require a
    degree of flexibility being incorporated into the design and implementation of
    policies and programs for Indigenous peoples to ensure that where appropriate,
    processes can be modified to ensure beneficial outcomes can be achieved.
    Policies and programs should therefore be monitored and evaluated in terms of
    the effectiveness of their processes as well as the outcomes they achieve.

    The third recommendation relates specifically to the situation of urban based
    communities and peoples and ensuring adequate monitoring and an evidence base
    for decisions relating to mainstream accessibility.

    Recommendation 3: Directed to the Office of Indigenous Policy
    Coordination

    That, in exercise of its coordination and monitoring role at a whole of
    government level, the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination:

    • Identify and promote best practice examples of improving accessibility of
      mainstream services as achieved through individual programs (such as Medicare
      and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme equivalent access arrangements) as well as
      through whole of government coordination initiatives (such as ICCs and SRAs);
      and
    • Develop its proposed Indigenous urban strategy with the full participation
      of Indigenous communities and peoples in urban localities, and with the
      inclusion of explicit targets and benchmarks for improved access to
      programs.

    Endnotes

    [1] ATSIC was created in 1989 and commenced operating in 1990 until 2004. It was a
    fully elected Commission with 35 Regional Councils and a national Board of
    Commissioners. In 2003, the service delivery responsibilities of ATSIC were
    administered by a newly created body, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    Services
    (ATSIS).

    [2] Vanstone, A., (Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous
    Affairs), Australian Government Changes to Indigenous Affairs Services
    Commence Tomorrow
    , Media Release, 30 June
    2004.

    [3] Vanstone, A., (Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous
    Affairs), Australian Government Changes to Indigenous Affairs Services
    Commence Tomorrow
    , Media Release, 30 June
    2004.

    [4] Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination, New arrangements in Indigenous
    affairs: Attachment F: National Framework of Principles for Delivering Services
    to Indigenous Australians
    , OIPC, Canberra, 2004,
    p51.

    [5] Shergold, P., Hansard, Senate Select Committee on the Administration of
    Indigenous Affairs, Inquiry into the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    Bill 2005
    , 8 February 2005, p2, available online at
    www.aph.gov.au/hansard/senate/commttee/S8106.pdf accessed 14 February
    2007.

    [6] Vanstone, A., (Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous
    Affairs), Address to National Press Club, Speech, 23 February 2005:
    “Happily, I can say a quiet revolution in Indigenous affairs is already
    underway.”

    [7] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
    Justice Report 2004,
    HREOC, Sydney, 2004, Chapter 3 and Appendix 1,
    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
    Justice Report 2005,
    HREOC, Sydney, 2005, Chapter 3 and Appendix
    1.

    [8] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
    Justice Report 2003
    , HREOC, Sydney 2003,
    p13.

    [9] Gray, W. and Sanders, W.G., Views for the Top of the ‘Quiet
    Revolution’: Secretarial Perspectives on the New Arrangements in
    Indigenous Affairs,
    Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR),
    Discussion Paper no 282/2006, pp19- 22.

    [10] See, for example, the Whitlam Government’s
    reforms to the delivery of government services to Aboriginal communities in the
    Northern Territory in the early 1970s which dismantled the all-encompassing
    service provision umbrella of the Social Welfare Branch of the Northern
    Territory Administration in favour of line government
    agencies.

    [11] Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision (SCRGSP), Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage – Key Indicators 2003, Productivity Commission, Canberra, 2003, p
    v.

    [12] Henry, K., (Secretary of Treasury), Managing Prosperity, Address to the
    2006 Social and Economic Outlook Conference, Melbourne, 2 November 2006.

    [13] Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Concluding Observations:
    Australia 01/09/2000
    , 1 September 2000, UN Doc E/C.12/1/add.50, paragraph
    15.

    [14] Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision (SCRGSP), Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage – Key Indicators 2005, Productivity Commission, Canberra,
    2005.

    [15] Banks, G., (Chairman of the Productivity Commission), Indigenous
    disadvantage: are we making progress?
    Address to the Committee for Economic
    Development in Australia (CEDA), 21 September 2005, pp
    8-9.

    [16] Diabetes Australia, Rapid Increase in Diabetes Rates May Threaten Survival of
    Some Indigenous Groups
    , Media Release, 13 November 2006.

    [17] Taylor, J., Social Indicators for Aboriginal Governance: Insights from the
    Thamarrur Region, Northern Territory,
    Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy
    Research (CAEPR), Research Monograph No. 24, 2004,
    p12.

    [18] Article 2(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural
    Rights
    (ICESCR).

    [19] Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Comment 3: The
    nature of States parties obligations (art.2(1) of International Covenant on
    Economic, Social and Cultural Rights)
    , 14 December 1990, UN Doc E/1991/23,
    para
    2.

    [20] United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Human Development Report 2000
    – Human rights and human development,
    UNDP, New York, 2000, available
    online at http://hdr.undp.org/reports/global/2000/en/ accessed 14 February
    2007.

    [21] For an overview of these principles in the Australian context see further:
    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner,
    ‘Achieving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality within a
    generation’, Social Justice Report 2005, Chapter 2, HREOC, Sydney,
    2005 and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice
    Commissioner, ‘Measuring Indigenous disadvantage’, Social Justice
    Report 2002
    , Chapter 4, HREOC, Sydney,
    2002.

    [22] See for example, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,
    Article 27; Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General
    comment 4 (1991):
    The Right to adequate housing (art.11(1) of the
    International Covenant on Economic. Social and Cultural Rights),
    UN Doc
    E/1992/23, 13/12/91, 13 December 1991, para 8; Committee on Economic, Social and
    Cultural Rights, General comment 14 (2000): The Right to the highest
    attainable standard of health (article 12 of the International Covenant on
    Economic, Social and Cultural Rights),
    UN Doc E/C.12/2000/4, 11 August 2000,
    para
    27.

    [23] Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Comment 1:
    Reporting by States parties,
    24 February 1989, UN Doc E/1989/22, paras 3, 4,
    5, 6 and
    8.

    [24] See in particular: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice
    Commissioner, Social Justice Report 2000; Social Justice Report 2002; Social
    Justice Report 2005;
    and Native Title Report 2003, HREOC,
    Sydney.

    [25] United Nations, The Human Rights-Based Approach to Development Cooperation:
    Towards a Common Understanding Among the UN Agencies
    , United Nations, New
    York 2003, available online at
    www.unescobkk.org/fileadmin/user_upload/appeal/human_rights/UN_Common_understanding_RBA.pdf accessed 14 February
    2007.

    [26] Such as education, governance, nutrition, water and sanitation, HIV/AIDS,
    employment and labour relations, and social and economic
    security.

    [27] United Nations, The Human Rights-Based Approach to Development Cooperation:
    Towards a Common Understanding Among the UN Agencies
    , United Nations, New
    York 2003, available online at
    www.unescobkk.org/fileadmin/user_upload/appeal/human_rights/UN_Common_understanding_RBA.pdf accessed 14 February
    2007.

    [28] United Nations, The Human Rights-Based Approach to Development Cooperation:
    Towards a Common Understanding Among the UN Agencies
    , United Nations, New
    York 2003, available online at
    www.unescobkk.org/fileadmin/user_upload/appeal/human_rights/UN_Common_understanding_RBA.pdf accessed 14 February
    2007.

    [29] Commonwealth Grants Commission, Report on Indigenous Funding 2001,
    Canberra 2001, p
    43.

    [30] Commonwealth Grants Commission, Report on Indigenous Funding 2001,
    Canberra 2001, p
    62.

    [31] Commonwealth Grants Commission, Report on Indigenous Funding 2001,
    Canberra 2001,
    p101.

    [32] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commissioner, Social Justice Report
    2002,
    HREOC, Sydney,
    2003.

    [33] United Nations Committee on
    Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,
    General comment
    14 (2000): The right to the highest attainable standard of health (article 12 of
    the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights)
    , UN Doc
    E/C.12/2000/4, 11 August 2000, para 11. The full document, including references,
    is available online at
    http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/40d009901358b0e2c1256915005090be?Opendocument accessed 14 February
    2007.

    [34] United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General
    comment 14 (2000): The right to the highest attainable standard of health
    (article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural
    Rights)
    , UN Doc E/C.12/2000/4, 11 August 2000, para 27. The full document,
    including references, is available online at
    http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/40d009901358b0e2c1256915005090be?Opendocument accessed 14 February
    2007.

    [35] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
    Justice Report 2002,
    HREOC, Sydney, 2002,
    p98.

    [36] Shergold, P., (Secretary, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet), Connecting
    Government: Whole-of-Government Responses to Australia's Priority
    Challenges
    , Speech at launch of the publication of the
    same name, 20 April 2004, available online at
    http://www.dpmc.gov.au/speeches/shergold/connecting_government_2004-04-20.cfm accessed 18 January
    2007.

    [37] Council of Australian Governments (COAG), Communiqué: Council
    of Australian Governments’ Meeting 25 June 2004
    , available online at
    http://www.coag.gov.au/meetings/250604/#formats accessed 18 January
    2007.

    [38] Council of Australian Governments, National Framework of Principles for
    Delivering Services to Indigenous Australians,
    25 June 2004, available at
    http://www.coag.gov.au/meetings/250604/attachments_b.rtf accessed 18 January
    2007.

    [39] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
    Justice Report 2004,
    HREOC, Sydney, 2004,
    p127.

    [40] Gray, W. and Sanders, W.G., Views for the Top of the ‘Quiet
    Revolution’: Secretarial Perspectives on the New Arrangements in
    Indigenous Affairs,
    Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR),
    Discussion Paper No 282/2006,
    p23.

    [41] Structural arrangements designed to keep priority on reducing Indigenous
    disadvantage include the Ministerial Taskforce on Indigenous Affairs and the
    Secretaries’ Group on Indigenous
    Affairs.

    [42] Gray, W. and Sanders, W.G., Views for the Top of the ‘Quiet
    Revolution’: Secretarial Perspectives on the New Arrangements in
    Indigenous Affairs,
    Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR),
    Discussion Paper no 282/2006, p24.

    [43] Secretaries’ Group on Indigenous Affairs, Secretaries’ Group
    Annual Report on Indigenous Affairs 2004-05
    , Canberra, 2005, p13, available
    online at
    http://www.oipc.gov.au/performance_reporting/sec_group/ accessed 18 January
    2007.

    [44] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
    Justice Report 2005,
    HREOC, Sydney, 2005,
    p178.

    [45] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
    Justice Report 2005,
    HREOC, Sydney, 2005,
    p178.

    [46] Gibbons, W., (Associate Secretary, FaCSIA), Hansard, Standing Committee
    on Community Affairs Estimates, Canberra, 2 November 2006, pCA21, available
    online at
    http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/senate/commttee/S9783.pdf accessed 13 February
    2007.

    [47] Commonwealth Grants Commission, Report on Indigenous Funding 2001,
    Canberra 2001,
    p61.

    [48] Commonwealth Grants Commission, Report on Indigenous Funding 2001,
    Canberra 2001, p61-62.

    [49] Jonas, W., (previous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice
    Commissioner), The Recognition of Aboriginal Customary Law, Speech to the
    HREOC and International Lawyers Association (Australian Division) Workshop on
    ‘Recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customary law –
    international and domestic law implications’, Sydney, 20 November 2003,
    available online at
    http://www.humanrights.gov.au/speeches/social_justice/recognition_customary_law.html accessed 18 January 2007.
    [50] See, for example, report on work of the Winnunga Nimmityjah Heath Service in
    Canberra and its CEO Julie Tongs, ‘Tongs draws on sobering past to guide
    others down the right path’, Canberra Times, 18 November 2006,
    Forum
    B3.

    [51] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
    Justice Report 2004,
    HREOC, Sydney, 2004,
    p117.

    [52] House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islander Affairs (HORSCATSIA), “We Can Do It!” The Report of the
    Inquiry into the Needs of Urban Dwelling Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    Peoples,
    Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra 2001 at
    3.3.

    [53] Reys, S. (Managing Director, Arrilla - Indigenous Consultants and Services and Director, Reconciliation Australia), quoted in The Weekend
    Australian
    , November 4-5, 2004 – ‘The Nation’ section.

    [54] House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islander Affairs (HORSCATSIA), “We Can Do It!” The Report of the
    Inquiry into the Needs of Urban Dwelling Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    Peoples,
    Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra 2001, paragraphs 1.36 and
    1.37.1.

    [55] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
    Justice Report 2005,
    HREOC, Sydney, 2005,
    p179.

    [56] Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination, Correspondence with Aboriginal and
    Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner – Request for
    Information in preparation of Social Justice Report 2006
    , 22 December 2005,
    pp7-8.

    [57] The IEDS builds upon the government’s Indigenous Employment Policy (IEP).
    The IEP had been implemented progressively since 1999 to address continuing high
    unemployment rates among Indigenous Australians and a demographic profile which
    indicated that the labour market disadvantages of Indigenous Australians would,
    in all likelihood, increase further unless special efforts were made. The IEP
    focused on creating opportunities for Indigenous peoples in the private sector
    and aimed to: improve outcomes for Indigenous job seekers through Job Network;
    help Community Development Employment Project (CDEP) sponsors to place their
    work-ready participants in open (non-CDEP) employment; and support the
    development and expansion of Indigenous small business. See Australian
    Government, Indigenous Employment Policy, available online at
    http://www.workplace.gov.au/workplace/Category/SchemesInitiatives/IndigenousProgs/IndigenousEmploymentPolicyIEP.htm accessed 12 February
    2007.

    [58] Australian Government, Indigenous Economic Development Strategy: Achieving
    Indigenous Economic Independence,
    November 2005, available online at
    http://www.workplace.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/B7206570-9BFD-4403-B4A3-6649065FAE5A/0/IEDStrategyBooklet_revised_FINAL.pdf accessed 8 February
    2007.

    [59] Australian Government, Indigenous Economic Development Strategy: Achieving
    Indigenous Economic Independence,
    November 2005, available online at
    http://www.workplace.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/B7206570-9BFD-4403-B4A3-6649065FAE5A/0/IEDStrategyBooklet_revised_FINAL.pdf accessed 8 February 2007.
    [60] These reforms included an introduction of time limits for participation in CDEP
    contracts and an explicit focus on participants finding long-term jobs in the
    mainstream market. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice
    Commissioner, Social Justice Report 2005, HREOC, Sydney, 2005,
    p180-192.

    [61] CDEP participants are paid a wage rather than receiving unemployment payments
    such as Newstart and Youth Allowance. Participants in remote areas receive a
    slightly higher wage than those in non-remote
    areas.
    CDEP organisations are paid
    ‘on-costs’ to cover the costs of running CDEP activities. Places in
    CDEP are capped and demand has always outstripped the available
    places.

    [62] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
    Justice Report 2005,
    HREOC, Sydney, 2005,
    p180-181.

    [63] Unpublished Job Futures response to government discussion paper: Indigenous
    Potential Meets Economic Opportunity,
    November 2006, p2. Response provided
    by Job Futures to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice
    Commissioner.

    [64] Australian Government, Indigenous Employment Centres, Employment and
    workplace services for Australians website, available online at
    http://www.workplace.gov.au/workplace/Category/SchemesInitiatives/IndigenousProgs/IndigenousEmploymentCentres.htm accessed 9 February
    2007.

    [65] Andrews, K., (Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations), Indigenous
    Employment Discussion Paper Released
    , Media Release, 6 November 2006,
    KA303/06.

    [66] Australian Government, Indigenous Potential meets Economic Opportunity: A
    discussion paper,
    p5, available online at
    http://www.workplace.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/D61B8DCB-A036-423F-9511-299E83F22752/0/CDEPPaperdiscussionwebfinal.pdf
    accessed 18 January 2007
    .
    [67] Australian Government, Indigenous Potential meets Economic Opportunity: A
    discussion paper,
    p7, available online at
    http://www.workplace.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/D61B8DCB-A036-423F-9511-299E83F22752/0/CDEPPaperdiscussionwebfinal.pdf
    accessed 18 January 2007
    .
    [68] Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, CDEP Guidelines 2005-06:
    Building on Success,
    p.7, available at
    http://www.workplace.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/DA6EA99F-EB21-4C90-810F-405D3AC49A51/0/CDEP_Guidelines2005_06.pdf accessed 13 February
    2007.

    [69] Australian Government, Indigenous Potential meets Economic Opportunity: A
    discussion paper,
    p6, available online at
    http://www.workplace.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/D61B8DCB-A036-423F-9511-299E83F22752/0/CDEPPaperdiscussionwebfinal.pdf
    accessed 18 January 2007
    . The timeframe was Aug 2005 –
    August 2006, and represented a 68 percent increase over two
    years.

    [70] Australian Government, Indigenous Potential meets Economic Opportunity: A
    discussion paper,
    p7, available online at
    http://www.workplace.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/D61B8DCB-A036-423F-9511-299E83F22752/0/CDEPPaperdiscussionwebfinal.pdf
    accessed 18 January
    2007
    .
    [71] Australian Government, Indigenous Potential meets Economic Opportunity: A
    discussion paper,
    p7, available online at
    http://www.workplace.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/D61B8DCB-A036-423F-9511-299E83F22752/0/CDEPPaperdiscussionwebfinal.pdf
    accessed 18 January
    2007
    .
    [72] Australian Government, Indigenous Potential meets Economic Opportunity: A
    discussion paper,
    p2, available online at
    http://www.workplace.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/D61B8DCB-A036-423F-9511-299E83F22752/0/CDEPPaperdiscussionwebfinal.pdf
    accessed 18 January
    2007
    .
    [73] Australian Government, Indigenous Potential meets Economic Opportunity: A
    discussion paper,
    p8, available online at
    http://www.workplace.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/D61B8DCB-A036-423F-9511-299E83F22752/0/CDEPPaperdiscussionwebfinal.pdf
    accessed 18 January
    2007
    .
    [74] Australian Government, Indigenous Employment Policy, Employment and
    workplace services for Australians website, available online at

    http://www.workplace.gov.au/workplace/Pages/ContentPage.aspx?NRMODE=Published&NRORIGINALURL=/workplace/Category/SchemesInitiatives/IndigenousProgs/IndigenousEmploymentPolicyIEP.htm&NRNODEGUID={1BB4D436-B862-4E41-9ABA-CFBDA2C2A713}&NRCACHEHINT=Guest#1 accessed 9 February
    2007.

    [75] Australian Government, Structured Training and Employment Projects (STEP) for
    employers,
    available online at
    http://www.workplace.gov.au/workplace/Individual/IndigenousAustralians/StructuredTrainingandEmploymentProjectsSTEPforemployers.htm accessed 13 February
    2007.

    [76] Australian Government, Indigenous Programs, available online at http://www.workplace.gov.au/workplace/Category/SchemesInitiatives/IndigenousProgs/ accessed 9 February
    2007.

    [77] Unpublished Job Futures response to government discussion paper: Indigenous
    Potential Meets Economic Opportunity,
    November 2006, p5. Response provided
    by Job Futures to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice
    Commissioner.

    [78] Australian Government, Indigenous Potential meets Economic Opportunity: A
    discussion paper,
    p13, available online at
    http://www.workplace.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/D61B8DCB-A036-423F-9511-299E83F22752/0/CDEPPaperdiscussionwebfinal.pdf
    accessed 18 January
    2007
    .
    [79] An overview of the reform process over the past two years is provided in the
    chronology of events in Appendix 1 of this report and Appendix 1 of the Social Justice Report
    2005
    .

    [80] Australian Government, Indigenous Potential meets Economic Opportunity: A
    discussion paper,
    p9, available online at
    http://www.workplace.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/D61B8DCB-A036-423F-9511-299E83F22752/0/CDEPPaperdiscussionwebfinal.pdf
    accessed 18 January
    2007
    .
    [81] Australian Government, Indigenous Potential meets Economic Opportunity: A
    discussion paper,
    p9, available online at
    http://www.workplace.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/D61B8DCB-A036-423F-9511-299E83F22752/0/CDEPPaperdiscussionwebfinal.pdf
    accessed 18 January
    2007
    .
    [82] Australian Government, Indigenous Potential meets Economic Opportunity: A
    discussion paper,
    p9, available online at
    http://www.workplace.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/D61B8DCB-A036-423F-9511-299E83F22752/0/CDEPPaperdiscussionwebfinal.pdf
    accessed 18 January
    2007
    .
    [83] See, for example, the Reverend Gregor Henderson, President of the Uniting
    Church, Govt urged to defer axing of CDEP program, ABC News online, 27
    November 2006 available online at
    http://www.abc.net.au/message/news/ accessed 2 December
    2006.

    [84] Unpublished Job Futures response to government discussion paper: Indigenous
    Potential Meets Economic Opportunity,
    November 2006, p3-4. Response provided
    by Job Futures to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice
    Commissioner.

    [85] Australian Government, Indigenous Potential meets Economic Opportunity: A
    discussion paper,
    p9, available online at
    http://www.workplace.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/D61B8DCB-A036-423F-9511-299E83F22752/0/CDEPPaperdiscussionwebfinal.pdf
    accessed 18 January
    2007
    .
    [86] Unpublished Job Futures response to government discussion paper: Indigenous
    Potential Meets Economic Opportunity,
    November 2006, p5. Response provided
    by Job Futures to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice
    Commissioner.

    [87] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
    Justice Report 2005,
    HREOC, Sydney, 2005,
    p180-192.

    [88] Australian Government, Indigenous Potential meets Economic Opportunity: A
    discussion paper,
    p14, available online at
    http://www.workplace.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/D61B8DCB-A036-423F-9511-299E83F22752/0/CDEPPaperdiscussionwebfinal.pdf
    accessed 18 January
    2007
    .
    [89] Australian Government, Have your say, Employment and workplace services
    for Australians website, available online at
    http://www.workplace.gov.au/workplace/Category/SchemesInitiatives/IndigenousProgs/Haveyoursay.htm accessed 13 February
    2007.

    [90] Unpublished Job Futures response to government discussion paper: Indigenous
    Potential Meets Economic Opportunity,
    November 2006, p11. Response provided
    by Job Futures to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice
    Commissioner.

    [91] Australian Government, Indigenous Potential meets Economic Opportunity: A
    discussion paper,
    p12, available online at
    http://www.workplace.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/D61B8DCB-A036-423F-9511-299E83F22752/0/CDEPPaperdiscussionwebfinal.pdf
    accessed 18 January
    2007

    [92] Unpublished Job Futures response to government discussion paper: Indigenous
    Potential Meets Economic Opportunity,
    November 2006, p7. Response provided
    by Job Futures to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice
    Commissioner.

    [93] Council of Australian Governments, Council of Australian Governments
    Communiqué: Reconciliation
    , 5 April 2002, available online at
    http://www.coag.gov.au/meetings/050402/index.htm#reconciliation accessed 18 January
    2007.

    [94] Council of Australian Governments, COAG Indigenous Trials: Trial Objectives, available online at http://www.indigenous.gov.au/coag/trial_sites/default.html accessed 18 January
    2007.

    [95] Indigenous Communities Coordination Task Force, Trial Objectives, see
    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
    Justice Report 2003,
    HREOC, Sydney, 2003,
    p40.

    [96] Council of Australian Governments, COAG Indigenous Trials: Evaluation, available online at http://www.indigenous.gov.au/coag/evaluation/default.html accessed 9 November
    2006.

    [97] Management Advisory Committee, Connecting Government – Whole of
    government responses to Australia’s priority challenges,
    Australian
    Public Service Commission, Canberra, 2004,
    p158.

    [98] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
    Justice Report 2004,
    HREOC, Sydney, 2004,
    p71.

    [99] Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination, Australian Government Submission to
    the Senate Select Committee on the Administration of Indigenous Affairs,
    11
    August 2004, p2, available online at
    http://www.aph.gov.au/Senate/committee/indigenousaffairs_ctte/submissions/sub128.pdf
    [100] Senate Select Committee on the Administration of Indigenous Affairs, After
    ATSIC – Life in the mainstream?
    Australian Senate, Canberra, March
    2005.

    [101] Senate Select Committee on the Administration of Indigenous Affairs, After
    ATSIC – Life in the mainstream?
    Australian Senate, Canberra, March
    2005, paragraph 5.61,
    p91.

    [102] Senate Select Committee on the Administration of Indigenous Affairs, After
    ATSIC – Life in the mainstream?
    Australian Senate, Canberra, March
    2005,
    p92.

    [103] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
    Justice Report 2003,
    HREOC, Sydney, 2003, p46.

    [104] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
    Justice Report 2003,
    HREOC, Sydney, 2003,
    p46.

    [105] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
    Justice Report 2003,
    HREOC, Sydney, 2003,
    p48.

    [106] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
    Justice Report 2005,
    HREOC, Sydney, 2005,
    p193.

    [107] House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islander Affairs (HORSCATSIA), Many Ways Forward: Report of the inquiry into
    capacity building and service delivery in Indigenous communities,
    June 2004,
    paragraph 2.94 at
    p.47.

    [108] House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islander Affairs (HORSCATSIA), Many Ways Forward: Report of the inquiry into
    capacity building and service delivery in Indigenous communities,
    June 2004,
    paragraph 2.94 at
    p.47.

    [109] House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islander Affairs (HORSCATSIA), Many Ways Forward: Report of the inquiry into
    capacity building and service delivery in Indigenous communities,
    June 2004,
    Recommendation 3,
    p61.

    [110] Australian Government response to Many Ways Forward – Capacity building
    and service delivery in Indigenous communities
    , August 2006,
    p15.

    [111] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
    Justice Report 2003,
    HREOC, Sydney, 2003, pp227-251; Aboriginal and Torres
    Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social Justice Report 2004, HREOC, Sydney, 2004, pp71-74; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social
    Justice Commissioner, Social Justice Report 2005, HREOC, Sydney, 2005,
    pp193-202.

    [112] Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination, Evaluation Plan for
    Whole-of-Government Activities in Indigenous Affairs 2006-09,
    Attachment A,
    available online at
    http://www.oipc.gov.au/documents/OIPC_EvaluationPlan_23May.pdf accessed 18 January
    2007.

    [113] Ms Bryant, Hansard, Standing Committee on Community Affairs Estimates,
    Canberra, 2 November 2006, p29, available online at
    http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/senate/commttee/S9783.pdf accessed 13 February
    2007.

    [114] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
    Justice Report 2005,
    HREOC, Sydney, 2005,
    pp193-202.

    [115] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
    Justice Report 2005,
    HREOC, Sydney, 2005,
    pp200-01.

    [116] The Eureka Project, Take It Or Leave It – How COAG is failing
    Shepparton’s Aboriginal People,
    The Eureka Project Pty Ltd Melbourne,
    October 2005,
    p9.

    [117] Bill Gray AM, Council of Australian Governments (COAG) – Wadeye
    Northern Territory – An independent evaluation,
    May
    2006.

    [118] Secretaries’ Group on Indigenous Affairs, Secretaries’ Group
    Annual Report on Indigenous Affairs 2004-05
    , Canberra, 2005, p7, available
    online at
    http://www.oipc.gov.au/performance_reporting/sec_group/ accessed 18 January
    2007.

    [119] Vanstone, A., (Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous
    Affairs), Address to National Press Club, Speech, 23 February
    2005.

    [120] Taylor, J., Social Indicators for Aboriginal Governance: Insights from the
    Thamarrur Region, Northern Territory,
    Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy
    Research (CAEPR), Research Monograph No24, 2004,
    p35.

    [121] Govt Rejects 20-Yr Lease Proposal, 1 December 2006, News item available
    online at
    http://www.abc.net.au/message/news/stories/ms_news_1802425.htm accessed 15 February
    2007.

    [122] Taylor, J., Social Indicators for Aboriginal Governance: Insights from the
    Thamarrur Region, Northern Territory,
    Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy
    Research (CAEPR), Research Monograph No. 24, 2004,
    pp35-36.

    [123] FaCSIA, Community Housing and Infrastructure Program (CHIP) E-Sub Program
    Guidelines 2006-07,
    pp5-6, available online at
    http://www.facs.gov.au/internet/facsinternet.nsf/via/chip_guidelines/$file/e-sub_guide_2006_07.pdf accessed 5 December
    2006.

    [124] Gibbons, W., (Associate Secretary, FaCSIA), Hansard, Senate Standing
    Committee on Community Affairs, Additional Budget Estimates, Canberra, 12
    February 2007, pCA99. Available at
    http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/senate/commttee/S9937.pdf accessed 15 February
    2007.

    [125] Gibbons, W., (Associate Secretary, FaCSIA), Hansard, Senate Standing
    Committee on Community Affairs, Supplementary Budget Estimates, 2 November 2006,
    pCA39, available online at
    http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/senate/commttee/S9783.pdf accessed 13 February
    2007.

    [126] Gibbons, W., (Associate Secretary, FaCSIA), Hansard, Senate Standing
    Committee on Community Affairs, Supplementary Budget Estimates, 2 November 2006,
    pCA39, available online at
    http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/senate/commttee/S9783.pdf accessed 13 February
    2007.

    [127] Gibbons, W., (Associate Secretary, FaCSIA), Hansard, Senate Standing
    Committee on Community Affairs, Supplementary Budget Estimates, 2 November 2006,
    pCA16, available online at
    http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/senate/commttee/S9783.pdf accessed 13 February
    2007.

    [128] Brough, M., (Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs),
    quoted in ‘No more waiting on black projects’, article in
    Equity Email Networks Newsletter, Issue 26, 14 September 2006, available
    online at
    http://www.equity.qut.edu.au/publications/publications/newsletter/E_News_Issue_26.doc accessed 18 January
    2007.

    [129] Brough, M., (Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs),
    quoted in ‘No more waiting on black projects’, article in
    Equity Email Networks Newsletter, Issue 26, 14 September 2006, available
    online at
    http://www.equity.qut.edu.au/publications/publications/newsletter/E_News_Issue_26.doc accessed 18 January
    2007.

    [130] Harmer, J., (Secretary, FaCSIA), Hansard, Senate Standing Committee on
    Community Affairs Estimates, Canberra, 2 November 2006, pCA41, available
    online at
    http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/senate/commttee/S9783.pdf accessed 13 February
    2007.

    [131] Gibbons, W., (Associate Secretary, FaCSIA), Hansard, Senate Standing
    Committee on Community Affairs, Supplementary Budget Estimates, 2 November 2006,
    pCA42, available online at
    http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/senate/commttee/S9783.pdf accessed 13 February
    2007.

    [132] Harmer, J., (Secretary, FaCSIA), Hansard, Senate Standing Committee on
    Community Affairs, Supplementary Budget Estimates, Canberra, 2 November 2006, pCA41, available online at
    http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/senate/commttee/S9783.pdf accessed 13 February
    2007

    [133] Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination, Correspondence with Aboriginal and
    Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner – Request for
    Information in preparation of Social Justice Report 2006
    , 22 December 2005,
    pp8-9.

    [134] Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination, Correspondence with Aboriginal and
    Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner – Request for
    Information in preparation of Social Justice Report 2006
    , 22 December 2005,
    p8.

    [135] Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination, Correspondence with Aboriginal and
    Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner – Request for
    Information in preparation of Social Justice Report 2006
    , 22 December 2005,
    p8.

    [136] Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination, Correspondence with Aboriginal and
    Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner – Request for
    Information in preparation of Social Justice Report 2006
    , 22 December 2005,
    p9.

    [137] Gibbons, W., (Associate Secretary, FaCSIA), Hansard, Senate Standing
    Committee on Community Affairs, Supplementary Budget Estimates, 2 November 2006,
    pCA22, available online at
    http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/senate/commttee/S9783.pdf accessed 13 February
    2007.

    [138] Gibbons, W., (Associate Secretary, FaCSIA), Hansard, Senate Standing
    Committee on Community Affairs, Supplementary Budget Estimates, 2 November 2006,
    pCA22, available online at
    http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/senate/commttee/S9783.pdf accessed 13 February 2007.
    [139] These are outlined in detail in the Chronology in Appendix One as well as in
    Chapter 3 of this report.

    [140] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
    Justice Report 2005,
    HREOC, Sydney, 2005,
    pp107-109.

    [141] Brough, M., (Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs),
    quoted in ‘No more waiting on black projects’, article in
    Equity Email Networks Newsletter, Issue 26, 14 September 2006, available
    online at
    http://www.equity.qut.edu.au/publications/publications/newsletter/E_News_Issue_26.doc accessed 18 January
    2007.

    [142] Brough, M., (Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs),
    quoted in ‘No more waiting on black projects’, article in
    Equity Email Networks Newsletter, Issue 26, 14 September 2006, available
    online at
    http://www.equity.qut.edu.au/publications/publications/newsletter/E_News_Issue_26.doc accessed 18 January
    2007.

    [143] OIPC, Evaluation Plan for Whole-of-Government Activities in Indigenous
    Affairs 2006-09
    , Attachment C, available at
    http://www.oipc.gov.au/documents/OIPC_EvaluationPlan_23May.pdf accessed 18 January 2007.

    [144] OIPC, Evaluation Plan for Whole-of-Government Activities in Indigenous
    Affairs 2006-09
    , Attachment C, available at
    http://www.oipc.gov.au/documents/OIPC_EvaluationPlan_23May.pdf accessed 18 January
    2007.

    [145] See, for example, the Northern Territory Government’s BushTel site which
    provides a basic data set on all Indigenous communities in the Territory, at
    http://www.bushtel.nt.gov.au/portal/page?_pageid=53,1&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&p_nav_type=BushTelHome&p_text_only accessed 19 January
    2007.

    [146] See Taylor, J., Social Indicators for Aboriginal Governance: Insights from
    the Thamarrurr Region, Northern Territory,
    Centre for Aboriginal Economic
    Policy Research (CAEPR) Research Monograph No.24, 2004, available at
    http://www.anu.edu.au/caepr/mono.php ; and Taylor, J. and Stanley, O., The Opportunity Costs of the Status Quo in
    the Thamarrurr Region,
    CAEPR Working Paper No28, 2005, available at
    http://www.anu.edu.au/caepr/working.php accessed 15 February
    2007.

    [147] See, for example, Taylor, J., Bern, J. and Senior, K.A., Ngukurr at the
    Millennium: A Baseline Profile for Social Impact Planning in South-East Arnhem
    Land,
    Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR) Research
    Monograph No 18, 2000, Chapter
    1.

    [148] Taylor, J., Bern, J. and Senior, K.A., Ngukurr at the Millennium: A Baseline
    Profile for Social Impact Planning in South-East Arnhem Land,
    Centre for
    Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR) Research Monograph No 18, 2000,
    p5.

    [149] Taylor, J., Bern, J. and Senior, K.A., Ngukurr at the Millennium: A Baseline
    Profile for Social Impact Planning in South-East Arnhem Land,
    Centre for
    Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR) Research Monograph No18, 2000,
    p6.

    [150] See for example comments by Senator Adams, member of the Senate Committee on
    Community Affairs, Hansard, Senate Standing Committee on Community
    Affairs, Supplementary Budget Estimates, 2 November 2006, pCA44. “I find
    it very, very strange that you have to now go and employ consultants to get the
    data about dealing with these communities. It just is incredible. There have
    been trials, trials and trials, and I think you will find that the Aboriginal
    communities are saying, ‘Gosh, not another survey! We are not being
    researched again!’ This is just a disgrace.” Available at
    http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/senate/commttee/S9783.pdf accessed 13 February
    2007:

    [151] Martin, C., (Northern Territory Chief Minister and Minister for Indigenous
    Affairs), Hansard, Question Time, 13 June 2006, available online at
    http://notes.nt.gov.au/lant/hansard/hansard10.nsf/0/19638dd5f6e96927692571b60000908d?OpenDocument&Click accessed 19 January
    2007.

    [152] Brough, M., (Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs), Alice Springs Town Camps and Itinerant Populations – NT and Local
    Politicians Can’t Walk Away from Solutions,
    Media Release, 25 August
    2006. See also ABC news item: Federal Government can negotiate with
    Indigenous leaders without NT: Brough,
    9 November
    2006.

    [153] Brough, M., (Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs), New Aboriginal Land Deal for Galiwin’ku, Media Release, 19 June
    2006.

    [154] The Australian, ‘Island “held to ransom” over
    land’, The Australian, 9 November
    2006.

    [155] To rely on the relevant Land Council may not be sufficient for this
    purpose.

    [156] This issue is discussed at length in the Native Title Report 2006,
    particularly chapter
    2.

    [157] Brough, M., (Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs), Indigenous Affairs Arrangements, Foreword, Department of Families,
    Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Canberra, 2004,
    p.v.

    [158] OIPC, Indigenous Coordination Centres – Questions and Answers, at http://www.Indigenous.gov.au/icc/qa.html accessed 19 January
    2007.

    [159] Gray, W. and Sanders, W.G., Views for the Top of the ‘Quiet
    Revolution’: Secretarial Perspectives on the New Arrangements in
    Indigenous Affairs,
    Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR),
    Discussion Paper no 282/2006,
    p13.

    [160] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
    Justice Report 2005
    , HREOC, Sydney, 2005, p42-46;
    p86-94.

    [161] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
    Justice Report 2005
    , HREOC, Sydney, 2005,
    p46.

    [162] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
    Justice Report 2005
    , HREOC, Sydney, 2005,
    p46.

    [163] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
    Justice Report 2005
    , HREOC, Sydney, 2005,
    p46.

    [164] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
    Justice Report 2005
    , HREOC, Sydney, 2005, p46.

    [165] Gray, W. and Sanders, W.G., Views for the Top of the ‘Quiet
    Revolution’: Secretarial Perspectives on the New Arrangements in
    Indigenous Affairs,
    Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR),
    Discussion Paper no 282/2006,
    p13.

    [166] For example, Gray found evidence that the partners in the COAG trial began to
    initiate funding applications and responses that were not part of the agreed
    processes under the SRA. See Gray, W. and Sanders, W.G., Views for the Top of
    the ‘Quiet Revolution’: Secretarial Perspectives on the New
    Arrangements in Indigenous Affairs,
    Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy
    Research (CAEPR), Discussion Paper no 282/2006,
    p8.

    [167] Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination, Correspondence with Aboriginal and
    Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner – Request for
    Information in preparation of Social Justice Report 2006
    , 22 December 2005,
    p5.

    [168] Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination, Correspondence with Aboriginal and
    Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner – Request for
    Information in preparation of Social Justice Report 2006
    , 22 December 2005,
    p5.

    [169] Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination, Correspondence with Aboriginal and
    Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner (Email), 15 June
    2005.

    [170] Calma, T., Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Evaluating the external forces which exert an influence on government policy
    direction,
    Speech delivered at Collaborative Indigenous Policy Development
    Conference, Brisbane 27-28 June
    2006.

    [171] This is according to the Secretaries’ Group on Indigenous Affairs, Annual Report on Indigenous Affairs 2004-05, Office of Indigenous Policy
    Coordination, Canberra, 2005p 6. However, it appears that not all ICCs may, in
    fact, have solution
    brokers.

    [172] Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, CDEP Guidelines 2005-06:
    Building on Success,
    p25. Available at
    http://www.workplace.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/DA6EA99F-EB21-4C90-810F-405D3AC49A51/0/CDEP_Guidelines2005_06.pdf accessed 13 February
    2007.

    [173] See Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee, 2006-07 Budget Estimates,
    Question No.071, p
    79.

    [174] Senate Estimates, Hansard, Senate Standing Committee on Community
    Affairs, Supplementary Budget Estimates, Canberra, 2 November 2006, pCA11-12. Available at
    http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/senate/commttee/S9783.pdf accessed 13 February
    2007.

    [175] See for example Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice
    Commissioner, Social Justice Report 2005, HREOC, Sydney, 2005,
    p166-169.

    [176] Henry, K., (Secretary of the Treasury), Managing Prosperity, Address to
    the 2006 Economic and Social Outlook Conference, Melbourne, 2 November 2006, p6,
    available at
    http://www.treasury.gov.au/documents/1183/PDF/Managing_Prosperity.pdf accessed 19 January 2007. See also the evaluation of the Wadeye COAG trial, as
    discussed in section one of this chapter. It noted an increase in red tape as a
    result of the whole of government efforts as part of the
    trial.

    [177] Australian Government, e-Sub online introduction, available at https://www.indigenous.gov.au/eSub/PublicPages/IntroInformation.aspx accessed 14
    February
    2007.

    [178] Morgan Disney & Associates, A Red Tape Evaluation of Selected Indigenous
    Communities: Final Report for the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination,
    Morgan Disney & Associates Pty Ltd, May
    2006.

    [179] Morgan Disney & Associates, A Red Tape Evaluation of Selected Indigenous
    Communities: Final Report for the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination,
    Morgan Disney & Associates Pty Ltd, May 2006,
    p6-7.

    [180] Morgan Disney & Associates, A Red Tape Evaluation of Selected Indigenous
    Communities: Final Report for the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination,
    Morgan Disney & Associates Pty Ltd, May 2006,
    p7.

    [181] Morgan Disney & Associates, A Red Tape Evaluation of Selected Indigenous
    Communities: Final Report for the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination,
    Morgan Disney & Associates Pty Ltd, May 2006,
    p8-9.

    [182] Morgan Disney & Associates, A Red Tape Evaluation of Selected Indigenous
    Communities: Final Report for the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination,
    Morgan Disney & Associates Pty Ltd, May 2006,
    p10.

    [183] Morgan Disney & Associates, A Red Tape Evaluation of Selected Indigenous
    Communities: Final Report for the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination,
    Morgan Disney & Associates Pty Ltd, May 2006,
    p82.

    [184] Morgan Disney & Associates, A Red Tape Evaluation of Selected Indigenous
    Communities: Final Report for the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination,
    Morgan Disney & Associates Pty Ltd, May 2006,
    p10.

    [185] Morgan Disney & Associates, A Red Tape Evaluation of Selected Indigenous
    Communities: Final Report for the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination,
    Morgan Disney & Associates Pty Ltd, May 2006,
    p83.

    [186] Morgan Disney & Associates, A Red Tape Evaluation of Selected Indigenous
    Communities: Final Report for the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination,
    Morgan Disney & Associates Pty Ltd, May 2006,
    p10.

    [187] Secretaries’ Group on Indigenous Affairs, Shared responsibility
    agreements
    , Bulletin 1, April
    2006.

    [188] Secretaries’ Group on Indigenous Affairs, Annual Report on Indigenous
    Affairs 2004-05,
    Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination, Canberra, 2005,
    p9. Available at
    http://oipc.gov.au/performance_reporting/sec_group/ar2005/OIPC_Sec_Report05.pdf accessed 15 February
    2007.

    [189] Australian Government, Indigenous Portal, SRA and RPAs Website available
    at
    http://www.Indigenous.gov.au/sra.html accessed 19 January 2007.
    [190] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
    Justice Report 2005,
    HREOC, Sydney, 2005, p178-79. The report notes (p179),
    however, that while ‘there are some SRAs in urban contexts’ they
    ‘are, however, very few in number. The SRA process has not, to date, been
    a significant tool in harnessing the
    mainstream.’

    [191] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
    Justice Report 2005,
    HREOC, Sydney, 2005,
    p178-9.

    [192] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
    Justice Report 2005,
    HREOC, Sydney, 2005,
    p179.

    [193] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
    Justice Report 2005,
    HREOC, Sydney, 2005,
    p179.

    [194] OIPC, Areyonga Bus and Oval SRA, June 2005, available at http://www.indigenous.gov.au/sra.html#sra accessed 19 January
    2007.

    [195] OIPC, Areyonga Bus and Oval SRA, June 2005, available at http://www.indigenous.gov.au/sra.html#sra accessed 19 January
    2007.

    [196] For the full survey results see further Chapter 3 of this
    report.

    [197] OIPC, New Arrangements in Indigenous Affairs, p40. Available http://www.oipc.gov.au/About_OIPC/new_arrangements.asp accessed 15 February
    2007.

    [198] OIPC, New Arrangements in Indigenous Affairs, p32. Available http://www.oipc.gov.au/About_OIPC/new_arrangements.asp accessed 15 February
    2007.

    [199] Secretaries’ Group on Indigenous Affairs, A Comprehensive Approach to
    Indigenous Reforms,
    Bulletin 3/2005. Available at
    http://www.apsc.gov.au/indigenousemployment/bulletin0305.pdf accessed 15 February
    2007.

    [200] Secretaries’ Group on Indigenous Affairs, A Comprehensive Approach to
    Indigenous Reforms,
    Bulletin 3/2005. Available at
    http://www.apsc.gov.au/indigenousemployment/bulletin0305.pdf accessed 15 February
    2007.

    [201] Secretaries’ Group on Indigenous Affairs, A Comprehensive Approach to
    Indigenous Reforms,
    Bulletin 3/2005. Available at
    http://www.apsc.gov.au/indigenousemployment/bulletin0305.pdf accessed 15 February
    2007.

    [202] Secretaries’ Group on Indigenous Affairs, A Comprehensive Approach to
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    [205] Regional Partnership Agreement between the Ngaanyatjarra Council (Aboriginal
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    [206] Social Justice Report 2005, op cit, p
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    [207] Gibbons, W., (Associate Secretary, FaCSIA), Hansard, Senate Standing
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    [209] Compare to the Ngaanyatjarra RPA which is a 4-way agreement between the
    Australian Government, the Western Australian Government, the Ngaanyatjarra
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    [210] Brough, M., (Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs), Port Headland tackles Indigenous Unemployment, Media Release, 7 November
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    [211] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
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    [212] Vanstone, A., (Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous
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    [213] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
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    [214] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
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    [215] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
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    [216] OIPC, Regional Indigenous Engagement Agreements, available at http://www.oipc.gov.au/documents/RegionalIndigenousEngagementArrangements_Parameters.pdf accessed 4 December
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    [219] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
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    [220] Vanstone, Address to National Press Club 23 February 2005 at http://www.kooriweb.org/foley/news/vanstone1.html accessed 15 February
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    [221] Brough, M., (Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs), Indigenous Affairs Arrangements, Foreword, OIPC, Commonwealth of
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    [222] ‘European’ in terms of the system of laws that entered Australia
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    [223] Pearson, N., ‘The Right Side of the Law’, The Australian, 11
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    [224] Corbett, K., ‘Stop criticising indigenous people – leader’,
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    [225] See Rowley, C.D., The Remote Aborigines, Pelican, Sydney,
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    [226] see Office of the Registrar of Aboriginal Corporations at http://www.orac.gov.au/training_information_sessions/calendar/default.aspx
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    [228] House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait
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    capacity building and service delivery in Indigenous communities,
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    [229] House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait
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    [230] Australian Government response to Many Ways Forward – Capacity building
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    [231] Australian Government response to Many Ways Forward – Capacity building
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    [232] Previous reorganisations and downsizing of ATSIC had already had a considerable
    detrimental impact, particularly the reorganisation of
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    [233] Gray, W. and Sanders, W.G., Views for the Top of the ‘Quiet
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    Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR),
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    [234] Gray, W. and Sanders, W.G., Views for the Top of the ‘Quiet
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    [235] Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination, About OIPC, available at http://www.oipc.gov.au/About_OIPC/default.asp accessed 19 January
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    [236] See FaCSIA Organisation Structure January 2007, available at http://www.facs.gov.au/internet/facsinternet.nsf/aboutfacs/orgchart.htm accessed 15 February
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    [237] Harmer, J., (Secretary, FaCSIA), Hansard, Senate Standing Committee on
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    [238] Secretaries’ Group on Indigenous Affairs, The ICC model: Five point
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    [239] Australian Government response to Many Ways Forward – Capacity building
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    [240] Gibbons, W., (Associate Secretary, FaCSIA), Hansard, Senate Standing
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    Indigenous-specific are in one area of the department, together with the
    whole-of-government coordination functions in the Office of Indigenous Policy
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    [241] See FaCSIA Organisation Structure January 2007, available at http://www.facs.gov.au/internet/facsinternet.nsf/aboutfacs/orgchart.htm
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    [242] The Hon. Mal Brough MP was appointed Minister for Families, Community Services
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    Affairs on 27 January 2006. Prior to this, The Hon Senator Amanda Vanstone MP
    was the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, and
    Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Indigenous Affairs. See Parliamentary
    Library, Parliamentary Handbook of the Commonwealth of Australia, Current
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    [243] See Rowley, C.D., The Remote Aborigines, Pelican, Sydney, 1972, p343.
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    [245] COAG, Communiqué, 25 June 2004, Attachment B – National
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    [246] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
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    [247] Senate Select Committee on the Administration of Indigenous Affairs, After
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    [248] Senate Select Committee on the Administration of Indigenous Affairs, After
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    [250] Howard, J., (Prime Minister) letter to Mr Gary Banks, Chairman Steering
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    [251] SCRGSP (Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision), Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage – Key Indicators 2003, Productivity Commission, Canberra, 2003. Available at http://www.pc.gov.au/gsp/reports/indigenous/keyindicators2003/ accessed 15 February
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    [252] Banks, G., (Chairman of the Productivity Commission), Indigenous
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    [259] Secretaries’ Group on Indigenous Affairs, Annual Report on Indigenous
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    [264] OIPC, Evaluation Plan for Whole-of-Government Activities in Indigenous
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    [265] Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee, Answers to questions on
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    [269] Morgan Disney & Associates, A Red Tape Evaluation of Selected Indigenous
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    [271] Secretaries’ Group on Indigenous Affairs, Annual Report on Indigenous
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    [272] Secretaries’ Group on Indigenous Affairs, Annual Report on Indigenous
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    [273] See, for example, ‘Post-ATSIC Agenda Needs Explaining’, The
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    Australian,
    16/17 September 2006, p3. Also Bartos, S., (Director of the
    National Governance Institute, University of Canberra), ‘The light at the
    end of the tunnel could be –The year in review’, Canberra
    Times
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    [274] Shergold, P., Foreword, in Secretaries’ Group on Indigenous
    Affairs, Annual Report on Indigenous Affairs 2004-05, Office of
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    [275] Morgan Disney & Associates, A Red Tape Evaluation of Selected Indigenous
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    Morgan Disney & Associates Pty Ltd, May 2006, p72.