Chapter 11 Outcome 7 - Indigenous
Outcome 7 at a glance
Closing the gap in Indigenous disadvantage with improved wellbeing, capacity to participate economically and socially and to manage life-transitions for Indigenous Australians through Indigenous engagement, coordinated whole of government policy advice and targeted support services.
Outcome and programs
Figure 11.1 Outcome 7 programs
- In 2010–11 the Office of Remote Indigenous Housing worked with states and territories under the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing to increase the supply of new houses, reduce overcrowding and improve the condition of existing houses in remote Indigenous communities across Australia. Targets for 2010–11 were met or exceeded by all states and the Northern Territory. Nationally 490 new houses were built, against a target of 463, and 2,288 houses were refurbished or rebuilt, against a target of 2,012.
- The Alice Springs Transformation Plan (ASTP) was announced in May 2009 as a joint Australian and Northern Territory Government initiative. Since this time, the Northern Territory Government has constructed 60 additional houses and upgraded 89 existing houses on the town camps, to bring housing and infrastructure on the camps to a standard similar to the rest of Alice Springs. This has resulted in regular weekly rubbish collection services and the naming of streets to facilitate postal delivery services.
- The ASTP has also completed four major accommodation projects to reduce homelessness and provide much needed transitional support for Indigenous people moving into public housing. One such project includes the 150-bed Apmere Mwerre Visitor Park, which was opened on 2 February 2011. Managed by Aboriginal Hostels Limited, the park provides a variety of accommodation options in a safe and secure environment for people visiting Alice Springs for short stays.
- To complement the additional accommodation, just under $26 million has been allocated to strengthen social support services for Indigenous people across Alice Springs including family support services, tenancy management, early childhood and life skills.
- As part of the Government’s commitment to increased community safety in the Northern Territory, the first of five new permanent police stations opened in Yarralin in April 2011. Stations in Arlparra, Gapuwiyak, Imanpa* and Ramingining are scheduled to be built by June 2012.
- On 8 June 2011, Indigenous community members in the Northern Territory’s Gove region, mining corporation Rio Tinto Alcan and the Prime Minister, Ministers Macklin and Snowden and the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory celebrated the signing of the Rio Tinto Alcan Gove Traditional Owners Agreement. This agreement under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 secures the future operations of the Gove mine and provides a range of benefits for the traditional owners. Payments from mining will be directed to projects supporting local economic development and promoting local culture.
- The Department supported development of the 2011 Prime Minister’s Statement and accompanying booklet, which the Prime Minister presented in Parliament on 9 February 2011.
- The Cape York Welfare Reform trial was extended until 31 December 2012, to consolidate the progress already made through local, Indigenous-led approaches to improving community safety, school attendance and the care and protection of children. The four communities participating in the trial are Aurukun, Coen, Hope Vale and Mossman Gorge.
- A discussion paper on the future of the NTER was launched on 22 June 2011 by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Indigenous Affairs. The paper, Stronger futures in the Northern Territory, provides the basis for ensuring that the views of people living in the Northern Territory will be at the centre of what the Government does next to tackle the unacceptable level of disadvantage still experienced by too many Indigenous people.
- FaHCSIA supported the establishment of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, which convened for the first time in June 2011 and elected its first six directors from the 120 delegates. The National Congress is a new advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on policy issues across government.
- The Department, through the Indigenous Constitutional Recognition Secretariat, provided support to the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians, which was announced in December 2010. The panel began national consultations that will extend to more than 60 locations in urban, regional and remote areas, and underpin its advice to the Government on possible reforms to the Constitution.
Program 7.1: Economic Development and Participation
The objective of program 7.1 is to improve the capacity of Indigenous Australians to participate in the economy.
The program has one component: Community Development Employment Projects program.
Community Development Employment Projects program
The objective of the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) program is to strengthen Indigenous communities and support Indigenous people in remote areas through community development and participation opportunities that develop skills; improve capacity, work readiness and employability; and link with local priorities.
New initiatives are increasing pre-vocational preparation, young women’s participation and workforce development for children’s services.
A further $48.3 million was invested in community action plans and the programs, training and infrastructure to support them. This is the second year of a $172.4 million three-year package that enables Indigenous communities to respond to local opportunities. Under the plans, program providers delivered community development, accredited and non-accredited training, and infrastructure works. Many of the 360 mentors and community development officers that deliver CDEP programs are local Indigenous people.
Phase one of a quality assurance approach for CDEP services—the continuous improvement framework—was trialled successfully among 19 providers. Further evaluations were undertaken with the 19 providers at the six-month mark. The evaluations confirmed that the process was beneficial to both the providers and the Department.
Summary of performance
Table 11.1 summarises the Department’s results for program 7.1 against the key performance indicators published in the
2010–11 PB Statements.
Table 11.1 Program 7.1—key performance indicators
|Key performance indicator||Result|
|Community Development Employment Projects program|
|Percentage and number of the Community Action Plans which are progressing on schedule to meet community development goals for CDEP by 30 June 2012||92%; 68 out of 74|
|Percentage and number of CDEP participants who have commenced non-accredited training||5%; 1,271a|
|Percentage and number of CDEP participants who commenced and completed accredited training||20%; 623 out of 3,159|
|Percentage and number of CDEP participants who commenced Work Experience who remained in continued Work Experience for 13 weeks or more||43%; 393|
|Percentage and number of CDEP participants who commenced off-CDEP employment||8%; 2,004|
|Percentage and number of CDEP participants who commenced off-CDEP employment that remained in continued employment for 13 weeks or more||69%; 1,386|
aThis figure is point-in-time on 30 June 2011.
Table 11.2 summarises the Department’s results for program 7.1 against the deliverables published in the 2010–11 PB Statements.
Table 11.2 Program 7.1—deliverables
|Number of Community Development Projects||464a|
|Number of Work Readiness Services||830|
aIn addition, community development activities are funded under Community Action Plans.
Program 7.2: Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure
The objective of program 7.2 is to improve the quality of Indigenous housing and tackle overcrowding and homelessness in remote communities.
The program has one component: National Programs and Projects.
National Programs and Projects
The National Programs and Projects component has a number of elements that deliver a range of housing reforms, including the Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Program, the Indigenous Mothers’ Accommodation Fund, the Fixing Houses for Better Health program, the Hope Vale Welfare Reform Agreement, and the Indigenous Boarding Hostels Partnerships initiative.
In addition, the Municipal and Essential Services program funds the delivery of some services to targeted remote Indigenous communities under existing arrangements, pending the implementation of revised roles, responsibilities and funding across governments, as agreed under the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing. In 2010–11, the Department funded 70 organisations to deliver municipal and essential services to more than 400 communities across Australia.
In 2010, Pukatja, South Australia, was selected for the Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Program, which provides housing and infrastructure upgrades as well as capacity building in the community. Completed works in Pukatja included the construction of water bores, a power supply facility and three community houses, upgrades to school-oval drainage, classroom refurbishment, and road repairs. Health training and treatment, including veterinary services and community skills training to improve Indigenous employability, were also delivered.
Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia, has been selected as the location for the program in 2011. The scope of works includes a new health clinic, four new houses, water supply upgrades and construction of a common effluent sewerage system and treatment ponds.
Through the Indigenous Mothers’ Accommodation Fund, the Department completed a 24-bed facility in Cairns for Indigenous women who need to travel from their communities to access medical and other services during the final weeks of pregnancy.
Fixing Houses for Better Health was a targeted program of small-scale critical repairs and maintenance that serviced 547 houses in remote Indigenous communities from July 2009 to June 2011.
As part of the Hope Vale Welfare Reform Agreement 2007, the Department completed a new subdivision in Hope Vale, Queensland, in early 2011. Ownership of the subdivision has been handed over to the Hope Vale Aboriginal Shire Council.
Construction began on the 120-bed purpose-built Western Cape Residential Campus in Weipa, Queensland, in May 2011. This facility will provide student accommodation and is scheduled to open in 2012.
Summary of performance
Table 11.3 summarises the Department’s results for program 7.2 against the key performance indicators published in the
2010–11 PB Statements.
Table 11.3 Program 7.2—key performance indicators
|Key performance indicator||Result|
|National Programs and Projects|
|Number of hostel beds for Indigenous students handed over to a hostel operator by 30 June 2012||N/A|
|Number of hostel beds for Indigenous mothers handed over to a hostel operator by 30 June 2011||24 beds|
|Number of houses where functional assessments and fix works have been completed under Fixing Houses for Better Health projects by 30 June 2011||547 houses|
Table 11.4 summarises the Department’s results for program 7.2 against the deliverable published in the 2010–11 PB Statements.
Table 11.4 Program 7.2—deliverable
|National Programs and Projects|
|Percentage and number of new hostel construction projects that met agreed construction milestones||100%; 1|
Program 7.3: Native Title and Land Rights
The objective of program 7.3 is to support Indigenous rights to land recognised or provided for through Commonwealth land rights legislation and facilitate the representation and assistance of native title claimants and holders in the pursuit and exercise of native title rights.
The program has the following components:
- Native Title
- Land Rights.
The objective of the Native Title component is to provide representation and assistance for native title holders and claimants in their efforts to gain formal recognition of native title rights and in the exercise of those rights.
Native Title Act
The Native Title Act 1993 provides a framework for the recognition and protection of native title. The Act also provides a framework to recognise and fund representative and service provider bodies to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to pursue their claims to native title.
The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs has responsibilities under Division 6 of Part 2 and Part 11 of the Act in relation to the functions of prescribed bodies corporate and representative Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander bodies. The Act details the functions to be performed by native title representative bodies and comprehensively deals with the recognition, funding, accountability and administration of representative bodies. FaHCSIA provides support to the Minister in administering those parts of the Act.
Native title services
The Native Title component provides resources and support for a network of eight native title representative bodies (NTRBs) and six native title service providers, which are funded to perform the functions of an NTRB under the Act. The Torres Strait Regional Authority is also an NTRB, but receives its funding directly as part of its annual appropriation. These bodies represent and assist native title holders and claimants in their efforts to gain formal recognition of native title rights and in the exercise of those rights. The component also supports capacity building, training and research activities that are designed to support and enhance the operations of NTRBs.
When funds permit, the component makes small provisions for basic critical support on a needs basis for prescribed bodies corporate established to hold native title rights after claim determination. This assistance is generally provided through NTRBs.
In 2010–11, the program provided a total of $71.853 million to 14 NTRBs and service providers for their operations, including $1.5 million to provide basic support for 29 prescribed bodies corporate. In addition, $3.378 million was applied to capacity building, training, research and other support activities.
At 30 June 2011, there were 463 current active native title applications, six more than at 30 June 2010 (457), comprising 20 non-claimant applications, eight compensation applications and 456 claimant applications. During 2010–11, there were 31 determinations of native title—27 positive and four negative (unopposed non-claimant applications)—compared with 11 in 2009–10. During 2010–11, 73 new applications were filed, including 11 non-claimant applications and one compensation application.
All existing NTRBs have been recognised by the Minister as representative bodies under the Native Title Act for a period that expires on 30 June 2013. This alignment of recognition periods will facilitate a comprehensive comparative assessment of all NTRBs in 2012–13 to assist in formulating recommendations for future recognition periods.
Native title policy developments
The native title environment in which NTRBs operate is in a state of change. NTRBs had been almost entirely devoted to resolving claims, but now there are increasing demands for post-settlement assistance. The pressures will grow as the rate of claim resolution increases and as governments continue to pursue alternative and broader settlements for some claims.
The Minister announced on 3 June 2010 that she would be reviewing the role and statutory functions of NTRBs to ensure that they meet the changing needs of the native title system. This review will take place in the second half of 2011. The Minister also announced that the Department would be looking at how it can provide structured and needs-based support for native title holders, and traditional owners who accept alternative settlements.
The number and value of native title agreements are increasing, as evidenced by the following major announcements in 2010–11:
- the Kimberley Liquid Natural Gas Processing Hub: $1.5 billion, including a range of employment, training and economic opportunities
- the Pilbara operations of Rio Tinto: $2 billion, including a range of employment, training and economic opportunities.
The Government is seeking to ensure that such agreements are structured to provide sustainable long-term benefits for current and future generations of the affected communities.
On 3 July 2010, the Government released a discussion paper, Leading practice agreements: maximising outcomes from native title benefits, that outlines a package of possible reforms to promote leading practice in sustainable agreement making and the governance of native payments. A complementary discussion paper, Native title, Indigenous economic development and tax, canvassed possible tax reforms.
Public consultations were held jointly on the two discussion papers in the second half of 2010. The Government is currently considering reform proposals in light of the feedback received.
The Australian Government has supported the negotiation of the Victorian Native Title Settlement Framework since 2008, and in 2010 concluded a National Partnership Agreement on Native Title with the Victorian Government, providing financial support for the first claims negotiated under the framework.
Following consultation throughout 2010, the Department is finalising amendments to the Native Title (Prescribed Body Corporate) Regulations 1999 that are designed to:
- improve the flexibility of the prescribed bodies corporate governance regime
- provide for the transfer of prescribed bodies corporate functions
- enable prescribed bodies corporate to charge a fee for costs incurred in providing certain services.
The objective of the Land Rights component is to support Indigenous rights to land recognised or provided for through Commonwealth land rights legislation. In the Northern Territory support under the Land Rights component is complemented by funding allocated through the Aboriginals Benefit Account. The Land Rights component provides funding for the operations of the Office of the Aboriginal Land Commissioner, and some costs associated with administration of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976.
The Land Rights component supports organisations that perform roles under the Aboriginal Land Grant (Jervis Bay Territory) Act 1986 and the Aboriginal Land (Lake Condah and Framlingham Forest) Act 1987.
In Jervis Bay Territory, the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council has a broad range of functions including management of Aboriginal land in the territory. During 2009–10 a special adviser was appointed to work with the council on various matters and to report on the council’s operations and the needs of the community. The special adviser’s report was completed in late 2010, and led to discussions with the community on future actions. FaHCSIA is working to negotiate a regional partnership agreement in conjunction with other agencies with a service delivery role in Wreck Bay.
In 2009–10, management of the former Lake Condah Mission, cemetery and associated lands in western Victoria transferred to the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation, the registered native title body corporate for the Gunditjmara native title holders. Framlingham Forest is in the traditional land of the Kirrae Whurrong, Tjap Whurrong and Peek Whurrong peoples.
In 2010–11 the Department expended $1.3 million under the Land Rights component, comprising $277,000 for the operations of the Office of the Aboriginal Land Commissioner, $178,000 for the cost of surveys on Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory to facilitate the arrangement of leases under the relevant legislation, and $845,000 for the operations of the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council.
Summary of performance
Table 11.5 summarises the Department’s results for program 7.3 against the key performance indicators published in the
2010–11 PB Statements.
Table 11.5 Program 7.3—key performance indicators
|Key performance indicator||Result|
|Proportion of native title claims progressed||86%|
|Proportion of native title claims concluded||8.9%|
|Number of future act agreements progressed and concluded (six months to 31 December 2010)a||611|
aFull-year figure was unavailable at the time of publication. The 2009–10 full year result was 1,013.
Services under this program are demand driven, and completion rates are determined in a complex interaction with other stakeholders, often with conflicting interests. Because of this, deliverables cannot be forecast for forward years.
Program 7.4: Indigenous Capability and Development
The objective of program 7.4 is to enhance engagement with and support for individuals, families and communities to improve wellbeing and capability.
The program has the following components:
- Indigenous Capability and Development
- Flexible Funding
- Registrar of Indigenous Corporations
- Aboriginals Benefit Account (Special Appropriation)
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land Account
- Ranger Agreement.
During 2010–11, responsibility for the Indigenous Cultural Remains Program was transferred to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet under the Administrative Arrangements Orders.
Indigenous Capability and Development
The Indigenous Capability and Development component focuses on capacity building; promoting Indigenous issues, culture and knowledge; and engagement with government. The component helps to support the Government’s commitment to strengthen its relationship with Indigenous Australians.
National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples
The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples was formally launched on 2 May 2010 following years of work to establish a new national Indigenous representative body. The National Congress will provide a voice for Indigenous Australians, and provide the opportunity to build new relationships with governments and industry to secure the economic, social, cultural and environmental futures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The Australian Government has committed $29.2 million over five years to support the National Congress.
The inaugural meeting of the National Congress delegates was held in June 2011. The delegates elected a board and decided on the priorities of the National Congress for the next 12 months. Support for the National Congress is one part of the Government’s commitment to strengthening its relationship with Indigenous Australians.
Constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians—establishment of an expert panel
The Australian Government established the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians in December 2010 to ensure appropriate public discussion and debate about proposed changes to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution.
In 2010–11, the Department supported the independent panel to meet its terms of reference by providing secretariat services for panel meetings and organising the panel’s broad national consultations. The panel is to report to the Government on options for constitutional change by December 2011.
Indigenous Leadership Program
The Indigenous Leadership Program continued to develop the leadership capability of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, men and young people from urban, regional and remote communities across Australia. In 2010–11, 454 women and 294 men participated in the national leadership program. Participants developed a range of leadership activities, including educational and cultural awareness-raising resources and leadership information, and ran support groups and young women’s camps.
An additional 396 women and men attended targeted, regional or special-interest leadership workshops. Participants included the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council, youth in the Illawarra region, and rangers from the Laynhapuy Homelands.
Advanced Leadership Opportunities were extended to 134 participants across 15 projects. The projects included accredited leadership training, a partnership with Youth Challenge Australia to sponsor 12 participants to develop leadership through participating in community development projects in Vanuatu, a partnership with Jobs Australia to sponsor 24 participants on a Kokoda Track leadership activity, and attendance at United Nations events.
Governance and leadership is one of the seven building blocks in the National Indigenous Reform Agreement. Through its national office and extensive network, the Department delivered additional leadership and community governance workshops and projects to enhance the leadership capabilities and political awareness of Indigenous people within their communities, and to promote better engagement with government. Leaders were encouraged to participate in local reference groups and local advisory boards and to join the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.
The Department supported other leadership and governance activities in communities, including community-initiated projects.
An Indigenous engagement framework, Engaging today, building tomorrow—a framework for engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, was released across the Australian Public Service in May 2011 as part of activities to mark National Reconciliation Week 2011.
The framework aims to improve relationships and engagement practice with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians across the Australian Public Service. The Department led the development of the framework, which was endorsed by secretaries across agencies with key responsibilities in Indigenous affairs.
The framework encourages government departments to enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians to participate more directly in policy making and identifies three core objectives under which agencies can review their practice and take action:
- changing business processes
- building the capacity of Australian Public Service staff to better engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- building the capacity of non-government organisations and communities.
Indigenous Women’s Program
In 2010–11, the Indigenous Women’s Program provided $4.894 million to fund 123 activities in response to the particular needs and circumstances of local Indigenous women in their communities. Activities include enhancing the leadership skills of Indigenous women in a range of areas, such as parenting skills, living skills, pathways to educational and employment opportunities, personal development, social and networking opportunities, and local leadership and governance issues.
Remote service delivery
The National Partnership Agreement on Remote Service Delivery is a commitment by governments to work with Indigenous communities to improve the delivery of services to remote communities. Initial focus has been on 29 priority locations across the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia.
The national partnership committed its parties to new ways of working across governments and engaging with Indigenous people. A central plank of the partnership is to provide a single government contact point for people in each community to facilitate integrated service delivery.
In 2010–11, the Department worked with other government agencies and the 29 communities to develop local implementation plans to improve service delivery and infrastructure in each community. The Department also began to implement relevant actions set out in the plans.
The Department provided leadership training to people (including young people identified as potential leaders) from priority communities to increase their ability to drive change, and offered cultural awareness training to government staff to improve engagement. Integral to the changed approach has been the delivery of leadership and governance activities in the communities themselves. Workshops targeted members of the local reference groups established to negotiate and draft the local implementation plans for their community.
Australian, state and territory governments and local governments contributed to baseline mapping reports for local reference groups in each remote service delivery community. The reports describe government services and expenditure on existing service delivery and supporting infrastructure, and inform ongoing local implementation planning.
For example, in Mornington Island sewerage treatment was classified as below base-level standard in the baseline mapping. This is being addressed by local implementation planning through an action to deliver a range of essential infrastructure upgrades, including sewerage ponds upgrade and outfall, and construction of new landfill and rehabilitation.
In Mimili, animal management was considered below base-level standard in the baseline mapping. Through local implementation planning, action is being taken to address the issue by implementing an animal management and pest control strategy to address health and environmental issues associated with the overpopulation of dogs, feral horses, camels, donkeys and vermin.
In Numbulwar, the baseline mapping identified water quality as an issue, which is now being addressed through local implementation planning to provide information and education to the community on clean drinking water.
The Coordinator General for Remote Indigenous Services is a statutory officer responsible for monitoring, assessing, advising on and driving remote service delivery reform. The Coordinator General reports six-monthly to the Minister on the development and delivery of government services and facilities in each priority community, and on progress in meeting the Closing the Gap targets. See the annual report of the Coordinator General in Appendix K for more information.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation
The Australian Government established the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation in 2009 to support community-based healing and capacity‑building projects and research.
Before the Healing Foundation was established, the Department facilitated broad consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from across Australia about the foundation’s structure and role. The foundation’s philosophy is based on the theme ‘Strong spirit, strong culture, strong people’. The first national Healing Foundation gathering, ‘Let’s talk healing’, was held in Townsville in June 2010. Participants made recommendations at the gathering to guide the foundation’s work.
The foundation’s first funding round was announced in November 2010, and $2 million was allocated to 21 organisations to support community-based healing initiatives. Funded projects included cultural revitalisation through healing workshops and retreats, yarning circles and passing on of traditional skills.
Reconciliation Australia, established in 2000, is one of the primary drivers of community-level awareness and education to promote respectful relations between Indigenous and other Australians. Through its initiatives, including its Reconciliation Action Plan program, Reconciliation Australia encourages businesses, schools, organisations and individuals to commit to reconciliation. Reconciliation Australia is also supporting the Expert Panel on Indigenous Constitutional Recognition through a public awareness strategy.
The Australian Government continued its investment in reconciliation and provided an additional $10.8 million over three years in the 2009–10 Budget for the continued operations of Reconciliation Australia, of which $3.6 million was spent in 2010–11.
Breaking the cycle of alcohol and substance abuse
The Australian Government will provide $20 million over three years from 2011–12 to 2013–14 to assist Indigenous communities to develop and implement alcohol and substance abuse management plans, support community groups and non-profit organisations at a local level and provide prevention programs to tackle youth substance abuse. The Department will work with communities to implement innovative, community-led solutions to tackling alcohol and substance abuse.
Flexible Funding enables strategic investment to address priority needs in remote service delivery communities and elsewhere. Flexible Funding allows government to make strategic investments that address Indigenous community needs when other funding is not available.
Flexible Funding has two subcomponents:
- Indigenous Communities Strategic Investment
- Indigenous Remote Service Delivery Special Account.
Indigenous Communities Strategic Investment
The Indigenous Communities Strategic Investment component supports Indigenous communities to implement identified priorities and enable tailored responses to local community needs, particularly where there is a clear commitment to share responsibility between government and the community.
Indigenous Remote Service Delivery Special Account
The Indigenous Remote Service Delivery Special Account was established in 2010–11 to fund projects in the 29 priority locations. The Department will contribute $32 million of $46 million being jointly provided by FaHCSIA, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and the Department of Health and Ageing over three years, for high-priority projects that address community needs identified through local implementation planning. Examples of these high-priority projects are outlined below.
In Mornington Island, Queensland, an Innovative Learning and Young Mothers Centre is being established to deliver programs and support vocational training opportunities for school-aged mothers.
The Coen Aerodrome runway has been extensively upgraded to help ensure regular provision of services and supplies to Coen township as well as the ability to travel to and from the community.
Community-driven action planning activities have been funded, including environmental health action plans in the Kimberley, Western Australia, and community safety planning in Wilcannia, New South Wales.
In Wadeye in the Northern Territory, the Youth Drop-In Centre is being refurbished to provide recreation activities and programs for young people.
Registrar of Indigenous Corporations
The Registrar of Indigenous Corporations is a statutory officer whose role is to regulate and deliver services under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act). The Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations supports the Registrar.
In 2010–11, 96 per cent of registered corporations were compliant with their reporting obligations under the CATSI Act. The proportion of compliant registered corporations has increased each year from 24 per cent in 2002–03. Increased compliance significantly improves the accuracy and reliability of the Register of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporations, and supports good governance and transparency in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations.
The Registrar delivered 61 training programs to approximately 838 participants from 325 corporations, and 99.8 per cent of respondents to questionnaires indicated that they were either satisfied or very satisfied that the training met their needs. Training included:
- 22 Introduction to Corporate Governance programs in South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Tasmania
- 27 training programs to meet the specific needs of corporations, including annual general meeting support, post-administration and ‘doorway’ training programs, provided to groups seeking incorporation. The programs introduce participants to the principles of good governance
- six programs for remote service delivery sites, including Fitzroy Crossing, Beagle Bay and Ardyaloon
- four Building Strong Stores training programs for community stores under the Northern Territory community stores licensing scheme
- training programs provided in the Pilbara to four new native title bodies under a partnership established between the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations and Rio Tinto
- two Certificate IV in Business (Governance) courses started in 2010–11: one in Broome and the other in Port Macquarie. Participants will graduate in August 2011.
The Registrar launched two new services:
- LawHelp, which provides pro bono legal assistance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations registered under the CATSI Act. The service is a partnership with the Australian Government Solicitor and a number of Australia’s leading private sector law firms
- the Registrar’s Recruitment Assistance program, which helps corporations to build capacity by recruiting and keeping suitably skilled and experienced staff.
Aboriginals Benefit Account (Special Appropriation)
The Aboriginals Benefit Account enables the receipt and administration of statutory royalty equivalent monies derived from mining on Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory. The account is established under Part VI of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 and is a special account for the purposes of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997.
See the 2010–11 Aboriginals Benefit Account annual report (Appendix J) for detailed information on the management of the account, royalty equivalent income and expenditure for the benefit of Aboriginal people living in the Northern Territory.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land Account
The objective of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land Account is to provide a secure and ongoing source of funds to the Indigenous Land Corporation in perpetuity to provide economic, environmental, social and cultural benefits for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by assisting in the acquisition and management of an Indigenous land base.
The audited financial statements for the operation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land Account are in Part 4 of this report.
The objective of the Ranger Agreement is to make payments to the Northern Land Council as a form of rental to provide access to the Ranger Project area for the purposes of mining.
Summary of performance
Table 11.6 summarises the Department’s results for program 7.4 against the key performance indicators published in the
2010–11 PB Statements.
Table 11.6 Program 7.4—key performance indicators
|Key performance indicator||Result|
|Indigenous Capability and Development|
|Percentage and number of participants in Indigenous leadership programs who reported that they benefited from increased knowledge, skills and capabilities gained from their participation||
80%; 429 participants reported a benefit
The result for this indicator is derived using voluntary post-program participant surveys that measure program success based on self-reported improvements. A total of 537 participants completed the surveys.
|Percentage and number of Indigenous Women’s Program projects that met contractual requirements, including agreed outcomes||
93.5%; 87 projects met contractual requirements.
The result for this indicator is derived using project officer assessment. Of the 123 projects, 93 were completed at the end of the reporting period, and 87 of the completed projects had met their contractual requirements and outcomes.
|Percentage and number of Flexible Funding projects that have met specified project objectives||
The result for this indicator is derived using project officer assessment. Of the 454 projects, 328 were completed at the end of the reporting period with 98% meeting the specified project objectives.
|Registrar of Indigenous Corporations|
|Percentage and number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations that are compliant with reporting requirements under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006||96%; 1,934|
|Percentage and number of participants in corporate governance capacity development programs who have reported a significant increase in corporate governance knowledge and skills||
A total of 433 participants responded; 432 reported an increase in their corporate governance knowledge and skills. One participant gave a rating of undecided.
|Percentage and number of clients satisfied that the services provided met their needs||
A total of 433 participants completed the corporate governance surveys. Of those, one gave a rating of undecided.
Table 11.7 summarises the Department’s results for program 7.4 against the deliverables published in the 2010–11 PB Statements.
Table 11.7 Program 7.4—deliverables
|Indigenous Capability and Development|
|Number of people who participated in Indigenous leadership programsa||1,278|
|Number of Indigenous Women’s Program projects||123|
|Number of Indigenous leadership capacity development workshops held in priority communities under the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Service Delivery||13|
|Number of Indigenous leadership capacity development workshops held in locations other than priority communities under the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Service Delivery, including national, place-based and targeted workshops||49|
|Number of flexible funding projects||454|
|Registrar of Indigenous Corporations|
|Number of participants in corporate governance capacity development programs||838|
aIncludes the number of participants who attended leadership programs, including national and regional programs and targeted workshops, and participants sponsored to undertake an Advanced Leadership Opportunity.
Program 7.5: Closing the Gap in the Northern Territory
The objective of program 7.5 is to provide whole-of-government policy coordination and to implement targeted measures in relation to the National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap in the Northern Territory. The agreement aims to protect women and children, improve community capacity and provide sustainable community development in communities in prescribed areas.
The program has the following components:
- Family Support Package
- Youth in Communities
- Community Stores
- Leasing on Indigenous Land in the Northern Territory.
Closing the Gap in the Northern Territory builds on some of the measures that were initially part of the 2007 NTER announcement. The NTER is underpinned by legislation due to expire in August 2012 and the Government commenced consultations, with the support of the Department, before the end of 2010–11 about next steps.
Family Support Package
The Family Support Package aims to provide a coordinated response to Indigenous family violence in a number of Northern Territory communities to protect Indigenous children and families from abuse and violence.
Federal funding of $31.6 million over three years for the Family Support Package was announced in the 2009–10 Budget. The package funds 22 safe places in 15 remote communities and in Darwin and Alice Springs; a Mobile Child Protection Team; and Remote Aboriginal and Family Community Workers in 13 remote communities.
In October 2010, the Board of Inquiry into the Child Protection System in the Northern Territory released its report, titled Growing them strong, together. As part of its response to the report, the Australian Government announced funding of $7.5 million for:
- 22 additional Remote Aboriginal and Family Community Workers
- an additional Mobile Child Protection Team comprising 15 workers.
These measures build on the existing investment under the Family Support Package.
Youth in Communities
The objective of the Youth in Communities component is to deliver a comprehensive Indigenous youth strategy in the Northern Territory, to provide an effective diversion from at-risk behaviours and to improve life choices and outcomes.
Australian Government funding of $28.4 million is available over three years (2009–12). Twenty-one projects have been funded for youth-worker services, youth diversion activities and infrastructure projects across 36 community locations in the Northern Territory. In 2010–11, $8.97 million of this funding was released.
The Community Stores component aims to enhance the contribution of community stores to achieving food security in remote communities and ensure that community stores are able to meet the requirements of the Income Management measure that was part of the NTER.
Under the Community Stores Licensing program, significant improvements have been made in how stores function. In May 2011, an independent evaluation reported a positive impact on food security from stores licensing. The program contributed to improvements in ongoing access to food that is safe and of sufficient quality and quantity to meet household needs. Retail management practices also improved, including stock management, storage, shelving, pricing, point of sale and freight management.
At June 2011, 62 of the 73 communities involved in the NTER had a licensed store (85 per cent coverage). In total, 91 licensed community stores operated in the Northern Territory.
Leasing on Indigenous Land in the Northern Territory
The Australian Government holds five-year leases over 64 NTER communities under the Northern Territory National Emergency Response Act 2007. The leases were acquired to facilitate the administration of the NTER, providing security of tenure to allow for the development of infrastructure in communities, enabling prompt access for the delivery of services and clarifying responsibility for the repair and maintenance of buildings.
The Australian Government is committed to making fair rent payments to the Indigenous owners of five-year leased land, backdated to the commencement of the leases. To date the Australian Government has paid $3.08 million in rent payments to the Tiwi Land Council, the Central Land Council, the Northern Land Council on behalf of traditional owners and to the owner of the Rittarangu community living area. Payments will continue until the leases expire in August 2012.
The Australian Government aims to replace five-year leases with voluntarily negotiated leasing arrangements as quickly as possible to secure tenure of government assets and investments. This could be through a whole-of-township lease or other lease arrangements.
The Australian Government has offered whole-of-township leases to the larger NTER communities, where the opportunities for economic and township development are the greatest. Whole-of-township leases are the Government’s preferred model for leasing in these communities because they provide a platform for enhanced service delivery including social housing and for long-term economic development and home ownership. Whole-of-township leases improve access to the land and give land users a long-term right to use the land, which encourages businesses to invest in the community, facilitates home ownership, and makes it easier for government to deliver services. A whole-of-township lease does not change the underlying ownership of the land, and land owners are paid rent for the use of their land.
Through the voluntary negotiation of housing precinct leases, the Government is pursuing an Indigenous land tenure reform agenda to support the expansion of public and social housing provision in remote communities. These arrangements will enable the implementation of stronger property and tenancy management reforms to continue.
Securing long-term leases in Northern Territory communities requires consent from the relevant Aboriginal land trust, as represented by the relevant land council.
Community safety and remote policing are key elements of the Australian Government’s commitment to closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage in the Northern Territory. Under the National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap in the Northern Territory, payments of $128.6 million are being provided to the Northern Territory Government over three years from 2009–10 to 2011–12 for the following initiatives:
- 60 additional police across the Northern Territory
- five permanent police complexes
- operational costs for 18 temporary police stations in remote communities
- Substance Abuse Intelligence Desk and Dog Operations Unit
- Child Abuse Task Force.
In 2010–11, the first of five permanent police stations was completed at Yarralin. Opened in April 2011, the new station provides state-of-the-art police facilities, including police housing, visiting officers’ accommodation and a community room to provide a ‘bush court’.
Since the NTER began in 2007, Australian Federal Police have been deployed to the Northern Territory to conduct community policing duties. To enable a transition from Australian Federal Police to Northern Territory Police, the Department provided funding for the recruitment, training and allowances of an additional 60 permanent Northern Territory Police. Four squads of 15 recruits completed their training during 2009–10 and 2010–11, and on 15 June 2011, the Australian Federal Police completed the final drawdown of its members.
Summary of performance
Table 11.8 summarises the Department’s results for program 7.5 against the key performance indicators published in the
2010–11 PB Statements.
Table 11.8 Program 7.5—key performance indicators
|Key performance indicator||Result|
|Family Support Package|
|Strategies are in place to ensure a coordinated approach to family support services for remote communities in the Northern Territory||100%|
|Youth in Communitiesa|
|Percentage and number of priority communities with improved access to youth services||88.9%; 16 (of 18)|
|Percentage and number of priority communities where improved facilities are made available for providing youth services and activities||80%; 4 (of 5)|
|Percentage and number of communities in prescribed areas served by a licensed store||85%; 62 (of 73)|
aAlthough the wording ‘percentage and number of priority communities’ is applied to both Youth in Communities key performance indicators, the definition of ‘priority community’ varies slightly between programs due to differing program objectives. The number of priority communities is therefore not the same for the two indicators.
Table 11.9 summarises the Department’s results for program 7.5 against the deliverables published in the 2010–11 PB Statements.
Table 11.9 Program 7.5—deliverables
|Percentage and number of priority communities with improved access to family support services through the provision of a Remote Aboriginal Family and Community Worker presence over 12 months||92%; 12 communities|
|Number of cases in which the Mobile Child Protection team participates over 12 months||150 cases per month were achieved for the period February–June 2011 (1,514 per year)|
|Percentage and number of Safe Place facilities operating in priority communities over 12 months||
All 14 Women’s Safe Places were operational over 12 months (100%).
|Number of youth workers employed in priority communities||25a|
|Number of facilities made available for providing youth services and activities||4|
|Number of community stores licensed||91a|
aYouth in Communities service providers have reported that staffing fluctuations affect this number.
Outlook for Outcome 7
The Department is continuing to drive the delivery, implementation and progress of programs and services designed to close the gap in Indigenous disadvantage, build on its role in coordinating whole-of-government commitments, and provide leadership and policy advice.
Following the Prime Minister’s 2011 Closing the Gap report to Parliament, the 2011–12 Budget affirmed the Government’s commitment to address Indigenous disadvantage. The Budget provides $526.6 million to boost services to Indigenous Australians. This builds on the historic investments across Australia in the areas of early childhood, schooling, health, housing, jobs, safety and leadership.
The Department will continue to provide strategic oversight and advice to the Government on the Closing the Gap policy agenda. This is a long-term challenge facing the nation which will require sustained effort over many decades. Significant reforms have already been put in place through the National Indigenous Reform Agreement and a range of Indigenous-specific and -focused national partnership agreements, including Remote Housing, Early Childhood, Health, Remote Service Delivery and Economic Participation. The Department will continue to work with Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, businesses, non-government organisations and all levels of government to improve outcomes for Indigenous Australians.
With around three-quarters of Indigenous Australians living in cities, regional centres and towns, a diverse range of activities will continue to be delivered across the country to help close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage under the Council of Australian Governments’ National Urban and Regional Service Delivery Strategy. FaHCSIA, as lead agency, is supporting the Australian Government and jurisdictional efforts aimed at increasing the contributions of Indigenous-specific and mainstream activities in health, housing and homelessness, early childhood, education and economic participation. In South Australia, for example, the Northern Adelaide Initiative, involving a partnership between the Australian Government, the South Australian Government and the local governments of Salisbury, Playford and Gawler, will progress a joint commitment to working with the Aboriginal community and across governments to improve those services that are critical to closing the gap. A community partnership facilitator has been employed to assist in brokering solutions.
FaHCSIA, in collaboration with the Attorney-General’s Department, will progress work on a range of fronts to equip native title groups to manage the challenges of the future, encourage efficient and effective claim resolution, and ensure native title agreements provide sustainable benefits for native title groups.
The Department, in partnership with the Northern Territory Government, will continue to move the NTER into a more sustainable development phase. Consultations with Indigenous communities on ways forward began in June 2011, to inform policy development in the new year. Those consultations are underpinned by a discussion paper, released by the Prime Minister and the Minister on 22 June 2011, titled Stronger futures in the Northern Territory. The Department is also advancing an evaluation of the NTER, which with the consultations underway, will inform the next stage.
The Department’s support to the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples in strengthening its capacity to contribute to effective, well-informed policy development will facilitate mutual respect and genuine engagement between Indigenous Australians and the broader Australian community.
To advance recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in the Australian Constitution, the Department will continue to support the expert panel as it develops options for constitutional change for presentation to the Government by December 2011.
The Department, in consultation with the four communities of Aurukun, Coen, Hope Vale and Mossman Gorge, will evaluate outcomes from the Cape York Welfare Reform trial in 2011. The results will inform the trial’s future directions.
The Indigenous Economic Development Strategy is a whole-of-government policy that aims to support greater Indigenous economic participation and self-reliance. The strategy outlines five priority areas for increasing the personal and economic wellbeing of Indigenous Australians: education; jobs; business and entrepreneurship; financial security and independence; and strengthening foundations. The strategy will be implemented through a series of three-yearly action plans, which outline actions that address the strategy’s priorities. The strategy will run until 2018 and will be used by government to guide the development of policies, programs and initiatives for Indigenous economic development. The strategy will be finalised in 2011–12.
*The Northern Territory has requested that an alternative location for this police station be considered. Discussions are continuing.