NACCHO Aboriginal Health report alert : 2016 #AHRC Social Justice / Close the Gap report released

social-justice

   “ The Australian Government follow through on the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 by:

  • providing new, quarantined funding for each of the activities outlined in that plan; and
  • continuing to work with the National Health Leadership Forum to oversee the progress of the plan. “

  Recommendation 7 see all 28 recommendations below

“Indigenous people are self-determining and resilient. We can provide clear input on policy, based on evidence and experience. The question is, when will governments listen?

“Governments and their policymakers must listen to, value and implement the practical solutions proposed by Indigenous Australians,”

Deputy Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Robynne Quiggin

The Social Justice and Native Title Report 2016, tabled today 3 December  in Federal Parliament, includes an agenda for reform based on solutions proposed by Indigenous Australians.

DOWNLOAD the Social Justice report here : ahrc_sjntr_2016

Or Word file copy here

Close the Gap

This year also marks 10 years since the beginning of the Close the Gap Campaign on 17 March 2006. The response of the Australian Government to the campaign has led to a broader community understanding of the challenges for addressing Indigenous health inequality, and has led governments to make substantial improvements to their policies and programs nationwide.

This has included through the adoption of benchmarks and targets over a 25 year period, and significant reforms to inter-governmental funding arrangements to meet these. Solid progress has been made over the last decade, including in the areas of infant and child health, smoking rates and increased access to medicines.10

There is still a long way to go to achieve health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples within a generation, but it is important to acknowledge that sustained change is a long term goal. It will require consistent and concerted efforts to maintain funding and policy directions and support direct initiatives such as community controlled medical services.

DOWNLOAD the previous released Close the Gap Report referred to here

progress_priorities_report_ctg_2016_0

Australian Human Rights Commission President, Gillian Triggs, said governments must genuinely engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to address issues such as property rights, justice targets and escalating incarceration rates.

Professor Triggs, who is acting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, said significant numbers of Indigenous Australians are passing away from violence, illness or a combination of both while detained by the state.

“This rate of incarceration and death, 25 years after the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, is intolerable,” Professor Triggs said.

Deputy Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Robynne Quiggin, said reforms proposed by Indigenous Australians during the year include:

  • Delivering on measures set out in the Redfern Statement
  • Implementing reforms developed by the Indigenous Property Rights Project
  • Allowing income programs to be opt-in

Ms Quiggin said these initiatives, together with continuing consultations on constitutional recognition, would enable structural change and deliver a system which values Indigenous knowledge and the human rights of Indigenous peoples.

The Social Justice and Native Title Report 2016 is the seventh and final report covering the term of the previous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda.

Commissioner Gooda resigned in August 2016 to join the Royal Commission into the Child Protection and Youth Detention Systems of the Northern Territory.

Text Box 1.2: Call for Action by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak organisations[i]
  Commit to resource Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led solutions, by:

Restoring, over the forward estimates, the $534 million cut from the Indigenous Affairs portfolio in the 2014 Budget to invest in priority areas outlined in this statement; and

Reforming the Indigenous Advancement Strategy and other Federal funding programs with greater emphasis on service/need mapping (through better engagement) and local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations as preferred providers.

Commit to better engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through their representative national peaks, by:

Funding the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples (Congress) and all relevant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak organisations and forums; and

Convening regular high level ministerial and departmental meetings and forums with the Congress and the relevant peak organisations and forums.

Recommit to Closing the Gap in this generation, by and in partnership with COAG and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people:

Setting targets and developing evidence-based, prevention and early intervention oriented national strategies which will drive activity and outcomes addressing:

  • family violence (with a focus on women and children);
  •  incarceration and access to justice;
  •  child safety and wellbeing, and the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care; and
  •  increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander access to disability services;

Secure national funding agreements between the Commonwealth and States and Territories (like the former National Partnership Agreements), which emphasise accountability to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and drive the implementation of national strategies.

Commit to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders to establish a Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs in the future, that:

  •  Is managed and run by senior Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander public servants;
  •  Brings together the policy and service delivery components of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs and ensures a central department of expertise;
  •  Strengthens the engagement for governments and the broader public service with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the management of their own services.

Commit to addressing the unfinished business of reconciliation, by:

Addressing and implementing the recommendations of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, which includes an agreement making framework (treaty) and constitutional reform in consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.

[i] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations Unite, ‘The Redfern Statement’ (Group statement, 9 June 2016) 5, 15-17 <http://nationalcongress.com.au/the-redfern-statement/>.

Recommendations

Recommendation 1: The Australian Government follow up the initial meetings with Indigenous leadership with regular consultations which materially inform policy and legislation impacting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Recommendation 2: The Australian Government pursue the key priorities for change and recommendations outlined in the Redfern Statement, utilising the Council of Australian Governments and other processes to engage states and territories.

Recommendation 3: The Australian Government establish and promote a monitoring and reporting framework to measure government progress in relation to Indigenous child welfare.

Recommendation 4: The Australian Government, as a matter of urgency, support the development of justice targets, Justice Reinvestment initiatives and other evidence based state and territory legislative, administrative and service delivery initiatives that will contribute to substantial reductions in Indigenous incarceration rates.

Recommendation 5: The Australian Government prioritise early intervention and prevention initiatives that provide comprehensive support and protection from violence to vulnerable Indigenous populations including women, children and the elderly.

Recommendation 6: The Australian Government ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).

Recommendation 7: The Australian Government follow through on the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 by:

  • providing new, quarantined funding for each of the activities outlined in that plan; and
  • continuing to work with the National Health Leadership Forum to oversee the progress of the plan.

Recommendation 8: The Australian Government work with the Western Australian Government to ensure that the principles of free, prior and informed consent underpin the consultation with Aboriginal peoples regarding any proposed land tenure changes as a part of its Regional Services Reform policy.

Recommendation 9: The Australian Government support the outcomes of the national consultations conducted by the Referendum Council.

Recommendation 10: The Australian Government include the United Nations on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in the definition of human rights in the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 (Cth) and review existing legislation, policies and programmes for conformity with the UNDRIP.

Recommendation 11: The Australian Government encourage state and territory governments to consult with Indigenous peoples about the need to establish or re-establish stolen wages reparations schemes.

Recommendation 12: The Australian Government should make the Cashless Debit Card and the Community Development Program in remote communities’ voluntary, opt-in schemes (See Social Justice Native Title Report 2015, Recommendation 5).

Recommendation 13: The Australian Government conduct independent evaluations of the Cashless Debit Card Trials and Community Development Program which involve participation and feedback from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples directly affected and make these evaluations publically available.

Recommendation 14: The Australian Government work with the states, territories and relevant stakeholders including the National Native Title Tribunal, to ensure the integration of key information about the Indigenous Estate on state and territory land title information systems.

Recommendation 15: The Australian Government support Indigenous land holders to more comprehensively map the extent of their Indigenous Estate.

Recommendation 16: The Australian Government support the Indigenous Strategy Group’s endorsed model(s) for long-term leasing.

Recommendation 17: The Australian Government support the review of state and territory land use planning regimes in consultation with Indigenous organisations to ensure the Traditional Owners of the Indigenous Estate can exercise the right to free, prior and informed consent regarding land use planning decisions.

Recommendation 18: The Australian Government:

  • recognise the key roles that native title Prescribed Bodies Corporate (PBCs), Native Title Representative Bodies and Service Providers (NTRB/SPs), the National Native Title Council and locally based, Indigenous-led specialist cultural and economic development organisations play in driving and supporting economic development on the Indigenous Estate; and
  • ensure these Indigenous-led organisations are properly funded and supported to carry out this important work, in addition to any statutory duties they may have.

Recommendation 19: The Australian Government support locally based research and scoping initiatives to identify Indigenous-led economic development opportunities suited to the unique land holdings and strengths of Traditional Owner groups, including opportunities to develop the cultural economy, partner with local operations and ‘tap in’ to industry initiatives in the broader region.

Recommendation 20: The Australian Government fund effective, applied training in business and other skills to build the capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander directors and managers.

Recommendation 21: The Australian Government support the analysis of risks for both Indigenous land holders and financial institutions with the objective of developing a new risk framework to underpin decision making, investment and business practices regarding the Indigenous Estate in partnership with Indigenous people and financial institutions.

Recommendation 22: The Australian Government support legislative and policy measures to allow Prescribed Bodies Corporate (PBCs) to freely choose the best incorporation method for their purposes and support the regulators to assist PBCs in governance and incorporation matters.

Recommendation 23: The Australian Government continue to support and resource locally designed employment programs including ranger and other culturally based land management programs beyond the current 2020 commitment.

Recommendation 24: The Australian Government support the development of tailored governance arrangements and other tools to support effective benefit sharing and wealth management strategies.

Recommendation 25: The Australian Government work with the states and territories to avoid limiting recognition of native title rights to take resources in consent determinations.

Recommendation 26: The Australian Government prioritise funding Native Title Representative Bodies and Native Title Service Providers (NTRB/SPs) to pursue native title compensation claims on behalf of their clients through litigation or agreement making.

Recommendation 27: The Australian Government continue to support and resource the Australian Human Rights Commission to facilitate the Indigenous Property Rights Project with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, government and other stakeholders, in order for the agenda developed by the Indigenous Strategy Group to be further advanced and achieved.

Recommendation 28: The Australian Government, in cooperation with representative bodies, use the UNDRIP to develop subject specific indicators and work with the Australian Human Rights Commission to monitor the implementation of UPR recommendations relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

 

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