NACCHO Aboriginal #WomenVoices Health @June_Oscar @AusHumanRights launches Wiyi Yani Thangani : #HaveYourSay

This process will not shy away from the hard truths, but equally it will seek to highlight the enormous strength that exists amongst us,

From our remote communities to our urban centres, I hope to highlight the diversity that exists among us, as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls.

There are significant opportunities to grasp here, to ensure that our needs and aspirations and our voices are at the forefront of the government’s agenda – beyond the narrow frame of victimhood and dysfunction.

Together we will raise our voices as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls and together, we will deliver a message to government that demands to be heard,”

Wiyi Yani U Thangani means Women’s Voices in Commissioner Oscar’s Bunuba language.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO on Friday launched the Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) project.

Consultations will take place in major cities and regional and remote communities throughout 2018. A final report will be presented to the Government in mid-2019

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls : HAVE YOUR SAY ! see Part 2 and 3 below

The project will be led by the Australian Human Rights Commission in partnership with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Commissioner Oscar was joined by the Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion (see Part 3 below )

Aunty Norma Ingram, June Oscar , Pat Turner CEO of NACCHO , Jackie Huggins Congress for the launch of project Wiyi Yani U Thangani

With cultural performance

From the Redfern Dance Group

June Oscar with Dr Anita Heiss MC and Senator

The project will build on the legacy of the Women’s Business report of 1986, which was the first and last time national consultations were held with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

“It is remarkable to me, that this report represents the first time that the views of Indigenous women were sought by government. Three decades later, Wiyi Yani U Thangani is a continuation of that journey,” Commissioner Oscar said.

The project will include a series of community visits and conversations with Indigenous women and girls around the country from early next year.

“The experiences of our women everywhere, but particularly in the justice space, and in the stories of people like the late Ms Dhu and Rosie Fulton and of our girls in care and juvenile detention are crying out for greater visibility, for greater coordinated effort and greater weight within the halls, laws and policy of government.

Part 2 The Project

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO is leading a national conversation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls to hear their priorities, challenges and aspirations for themselves, their families and their future.\

Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) will explore:

  • the needs, challenges and aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls today
  • the key achievements in relation to the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls over the past 30 years
  • ways to enhance the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls so that they can lead happy, healthy and fulfilling lives
  • ways to promote and protect culture.

Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices)  will run from late 2017 and throughout 2018 and will speak with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls from across the country either at a series of community meetings or via our online submission process.

Part 3 Join the Conversation

We want to hear:

  • what are your priorities and dreams?
  • what is needed for effective programs and services?
  • what do you need to feel safe, happy and empowered?
  • what are the key challenges and strengths for women and girls in your community?

We know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are unique and that there is much diversity amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls.

Wiyi Yani U Thangani will seek to engage with a broad range of people, especially those with unique aspirations and priorities, including Elders, linguistically diverse and LGBTI Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls. Through our collective voice we have the power to influence our lives and our future.

YARN WITH US

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner and her team will be traveling around Australia from February 2018 to speak with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls and those who support them.

We look forward to speaking with as many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls as possible in 2018.

Further updates about the Project can be found on this website or by following us on social media.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner invites all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls (12yrs+) and those who support them to join the Wiyi Yani U Thangani conversation. If we do not get a chance to speak to you directly, we still wish to encourage you to have your say or get in touch with us.

MAKE A SUBMISSION

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner invites all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls (12yrs+) and those who support them to join the Wiyi Yani U Thangani conversation.

Please register your interest here to receive further information on how to Have your Say when  it becomes available. Details will be available soon.

Part 4 : Minister Scullion on Friday launched the Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) Securing Our Rights, Securing Our Future project.

  • The project, led by first female Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO, will explore ways to support the empowerment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls.
  • The Coalition Government is providing $1.25 million for this national project.

The voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls will be heard loud and clear with the launch of a major project exploring their security and success.

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion, together with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Ms June Oscar AO, today launched the WiyiYani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) Securing Our Rights, Securing Our Future project.

The national project, which will canvas the views of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls across the nation to better understand the issues surrounding their personal, socioeconomic and cultural security, was a priority for Minister Scullion.

“As Minister for Indigenous Affairs I am absolutely determined to support the needs, aspirations and successes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls.” Minister Scullion said.

“This project gives Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls a platform to speak directly on the issues affecting them and what they need to achieve their full potential.

“Australia’s First Nation women provide courage and hope to their communities, and we need to ensure they have the right supports and pathways in place to guarantee their prosperity.

The Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) Securing Our Rights, Securing Our Future project draws inspiration from the landmark 1986 Women’s Business report – a report on the progress of Aboriginal and Torres Islander women and girls,delivered by the Aboriginal Women’s Taskforce within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

“This is the first national consultation conducted by and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls since the 1986 Women’s Business report – more than 31 years ago,” Minister Scullion said.

“The Women’s Business Report highlighted the strength and resilience of Indigenous women as change-makers within their community.

“We know this continues to be the case for many women across the country – these women are making a positive difference for their families and communities.

“I am especially grateful that this project is being conducted by Australia’s first female Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner.

“June is both a leader and an inspiration to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls across Australia. She has driven change in her own community, and I am proud to be working alongside her.

Consultations will take place in major cities and regional and remote communities throughout 2018. A final report will be presented to the Government in mid-2019.

For more information about the project and how to make a submission, please visit https://www.humanrights.gov.au/

 

 

Prime Minister @TurnbullMalcolm and @BillShortenMP opening #NRW2017 #1967Referendum #Mabo25 by taking a @TheLongWalkOZ to #dreamtimeattheG

 

” But to describe ‘67 as a sudden awakening of our nation to these injustices, minimizes the sacrifices of those families who had survived since European arrival and then contributed year upon year into seeking equality of opportunity.

This is a story of resilience. It is a story of survival. It is a story of persistence and courage.

Every step of the journey to 1967 was built on the last.

It was a campaign that took decades of relentless agitation and advocacy, setbacks and sacrifice, courage and resilience.

So in 2017 we stand on the shoulders of those giants. ‘

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull opening #NRW2017 Melbourne

Download Speech PDF or read in full below

Prime Minister Speech 1967 Ref

 ” But even though we make this progress none of us can really pretend for one minute can we ?.

That racism has vanished from the game – or indeed from the country that we love. Years of legalised and institutionalised prejudice still cast a long shadow, paternalism and neglect are difficult habits hard to break.

So much of our historical narrative needs revisiting and discussion in order to reform and we see that shadow of inequality and diminished opportunity even now in housing, in education, in health, in family violence.

Think about in health, we still have too many of our First Australian Mothers losing babies, or dying in childbirth, we have even as we sit here looking at our progress, First Australians going blind because of a third-world disease We see it in our justice system – where young Aboriginal men are more likely, at the age of 18 to go to jail than to go to university.

As moving as this week of milestones has been, as magnificent as tonight’s game will surely be – I believe the best way our generation can honour the previous generation is by living up to the example that we’ve heard about today.

That means tackling the nitty-gritty of practical disadvantage, it means finding common ground.

Bill Shorten opening #NRW2017 Melbourne

Download Speech PDF or read in full below

Bill Shorten Speech 1967 Referendum

Watch Opening Ceremony #Dreamtime at the G

Or HERE online

VAHS and Gippsland ACCHO Healthy Lifestyle Teams at Long Walk Launch

SEE LINK to Album

Part 1 Prime Minister

I acknowledge that we are here on the land of the Wurundjeri people whose country extends to the north of the Birrarung, and the Boonwurrung people whose country extends to the south.

I pay my deepest respects to them, and their elders past and present.

And I acknowledge the campaigners of the 1967 Referendum, including here today Uncle Syd Jackson and Mr Jason Oakley, and the plaintiffs in the great Mabo litigation, whose 25th anniversary we are commemorating this week as well.

View new Reconciliation Week TV AD HERE

I’m joined by my Parliamentary colleagues Nigel Scullion, the Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Ken Wyatt MP, the Minister for Indigenous Health. Ken has actually just left us and said he’s got to go and meet with the AMA – but I think it’d be more entertaining here.

It is good to be joined by Bill Shorten, the Leader of the Opposition.

And of course, the AFL – thank you for the extraordinary leadership you show. 700 AFL players, Richard, I was told a moment ago, Richard and Gill – 82 Indigenous players out of 700. What a great achievement.

Or Download this graphic as a PDF for sharing

AFLPA-Indigenous-Player-Map-2017

Tanya, thank you for your great speech and your great leadership. Justin Mohamed – CEO, Reconciliation Australia and Tom Calma – Co Chair. And so many dear friends and distinguished guests.

I want to thank for the Welcome to Country – Aunty Zeta and Aunty Carolyne. Thank you so much for welcoming us to your country.

And Aunty Pam – great speech and deadly shoes. Fantastic! So good.

NACCHO/ VAHS ACCHO file photo

And what an amazing performance from the Torres Strait, from the Eip Karem Beizam group, and of course the dancers and the singers, Shellie Morris and Dhapanbal Yunupingu. This is a great occasion.

Thank you all for joining us here today to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the 1967 Referendum, the 25th anniversary of the Mabo decision, and the start of National Reconciliation Week 2017.

On this day exactly fifty years ago, millions of Australians had their names marked off on the electoral roll, stepped into a polling booth, just minutes later walked out, and united made history.

Their overwhelming support at the Referendum expanded Commonwealth powers to make laws relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and enabled all First Australians, who had always been here, as Chicka Dixon just reminded us to be counted as part of the official population.

1967 was a crucial point in Australia’s reconciliation journey, where we consciously moved from exclusion to inclusion, from injustice and pain, towards healing, and where we recognised we were greater united than divided.

For our First Australians had not been treated with the respect they deserved, with the respect you deserved, with laws and regulations controlling, limiting and diminishing your lives.

Generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, a number of whom are here today, who were removed from their families and communities because of the colour of their skin. We acknowledge that this removal separated children from their families, their lands, languages and cultures – cared for by their ancestors for more than 50,000 years.

Indigenous Diggers, returning from war having defended our freedoms, democracy and the rule of law, were denied the full rights of citizenship for which they had so bravely fought.

For our nation’s birth certificate, the Constitution, had declared a Federation from six separate colonies, but had excluded our First Australians – the very people who have cared for this land from time out of mind.

But to describe ‘67 as a sudden awakening of our nation to these injustices, minimizes the sacrifices of those families who had survived since European arrival and then contributed year upon year into seeking equality of opportunity.

This is a story of resilience. It is a story of survival. It is a story of persistence and courage.

Every step of the journey to 1967 was built on the last.

It was a campaign that took decades of relentless agitation and advocacy, setbacks and sacrifice, courage and resilience.

So in 2017 we stand on the shoulders of those giants.

And we are honoured to be joined here by some of the ‘67 campaigners and Mabo plaintiffs and their amilies.

They too stood on the shoulders of the giants that came before them.

In 1925 Worimi Fred Maynard established the Australian Aboriginal Progressive Association with the logan “One God, One People, One Destiny”.

In 1938, Yorta Yorta man William Cooper, Bill Ferguson and Jack Patten organised the ‘Day of Mourning’ n Australia Day, as well as the indefatigable Margaret Tucker.

There were giants like Bill Onus, and Ngemba woman Pearl Gibbs.

With each step building on the last, Pastor Doug Nicholls succeeded Cooper as head of the Australian Aboriginals League

After a great career of football and politics Doug was the first Aboriginal person to be knighted, despite been excluded from the change rooms by his team mates simply because of his Aboriginality.

It is fitting the Sir Doug Nicholls Round will be played at the ‘G’ today, to recognise, as we do every year,his contribution to football and the spirit of reconciliation which he embodied.

Here in Victoria, the roots of the referendum movement trace right back to the early 19th century, when William Barak and Simon Wonga, led the Kulin nation in their struggle for their land and their culture

So many champions over so many years – each stream building into the river wide enough to embrace a nation and change its constitution.

Jessie Street, Bert Groves, Joyce Clague, Oodgeroo Noonuccal, Chicka Dixon, Dulcie Flower, ShirleyPeisley, Pastor Frank Roberts, Laurie Moffatt, Joe McGuiness.

The Freedom Riders, led by the young Charles Perkins.

Too many to name, these are just a few – but we honour them all today.

On a Monday night in May 1957, thousands of Sydneysiders converged on the Town Hall to watch a documentary that laid bare the harsh reality of life for remote Indigenous communities. It revealed a nation divided.

This was the night Faith Bandler and Pearl Gibbs launched their petition to demand a better deal for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Their campaign began with a couple of thousand signatures and ended just over 10 years later with 90.77 per cent of the population voting ‘yes’ for change.

The campaigners had an unswerving belief that every step would move us closer together as Australians.

So to everyone who, over decades, worked with and for the groups that built and grew the case for the referendum, today we say again thank you.

For the many hundreds of thousands of First Australians who felt the ground beneath them shift thatday, who felt their horizons open up and their status as citizens at long last enshrine the rights it should -the 27th of May 1967 remains the turning point.

And it’s why this week I announced a $138 million education package to further enable the economic and social inclusion for which the ’67 campaigners fought and for which our government is committed to continue and develop and grow.

Every element of our policy is focused on that economic empowerment, the foundation of which as we know, and Syd and I were just discussing this a momentago, is education.

‘67 saw Australians come together in a moment of national unity to properly acknowledge the identity, the culture, the history, the citizenship of our First Australians.

This week we also celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the High Court’s decision to uphold native title rights in the hard-won Mabo case.

The five plaintiffs were fighters for their spiritual and cultural survival – Eddie Mabo, Father Dave Passi, Sam Passi, James Rice and Celuia Mapo Salee.

Each step was built on the last, and importantly, because of the ‘67 change, the Commonwealth could create, could enact the Native Title Act.

Today, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ rights and interests in the land have been formally recognised in over 40 per cent of Australia’s land mass.

The number of determinations under the Native Title Act now outweighs the number of claims currently registered.

Now, this week has seen us look towards another step, with the Referendum Council’s National Convention at Uluru.

As I know better than most, changing the Australian Constitution is not easy. 44 referendums, only 8 successes.

The last remotely controversial amendment to be approved was in 1946.

Indeed, history would indicate that to succeed not only must there be overwhelming support, but minimal, or at least tepid, opposition.

Fundamental to our Constitution is the supremacy of Parliament underneath the Constitution.

Our laws are made by the House of Representatives and the Senate – each democratically elected, with each member and senator representing both their constituency and above all their nation.

The campaigners of 67’s success inspired Neville Bonner to join the Liberal Party and run for Parliament.

He brought his voice to the Senate in 1971 and now there are five First Australians in our Parliament

including the first Aboriginal Minister – Ken Wyatt who was the first Aboriginal man to serve in the

House of Representatives and across the aisle Linda Burney the first Aboriginal woman so to serve in the House of Representatives. And of course in the Senate Pat Dodson, Malarndirri McCarthy and Jacqie Lambie

We thank the delegates at Uluru for their work which will now be considered by the Referendum Council which will in turn advise the Opposition Leader and myself and through us the Parliament.

See NACCHO Friday Post #Ulurustatement

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #treaty : #Uluru Summit calls for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution

It is the Parliament’s duty, and its alone, to propose changes to the Constitution.

But the Constitution cannot be changed by Parliament – only the Australian people can do that.

No political deal, no cross party compromise, no leaders’ handshake can deliver constitutional change.

To do that a constitutionally conservative nation must be persuaded that the proposed amendments respect the fundamental values of the Constitution and will deliver precise changes, clearly understood, that benefit all Australians.

A Referendum will demand politicians to lead, and we will, but a successful campaign for Constitutional

Recognition must ask Australians to acknowledge the humanity of their neighbour – their fellow Australian – and harness support for the proposal with as much resolute solidarity and unity as the campaigners of ’67 did 50 years ago.

Today I believe all Australians acknowledge what we know is true – that prior to European settlement our First Australians spoke hundreds of languages, cared for this country, your song lines crossed the entire nation, your languages carried sacred knowledge, your stories of creation were passed on from generation to generation, and when Aboriginal people lost those songs, those languages, that knowledge, we all lost. We all lost.

But we also acknowledge that despite so much loss, much was saved and you are, we are restoring and recovering languages and cultures, and in doing so, reuniting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and all Australians, with the most ancient human cultures on earth.

Your contribution is not static or frozen in time and we’ve been reminded of that today. It is sewn into the fabric of our modern society and our modern economy, and as Prime Minister I will continue to acknowledge and do all I can to ensure that being Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander means to be successful, to achieve, to have big dreams and high hopes, and to draw strength from your identity as an Indigenous person in this great country.

Charles Perkins said that ‘If he wouldn’t have done it, others would have.’

Perhaps he was right. But to those who have championed rights and equality for First Australians over our history, and those who continue that work today, you have never taken progress for granted and for that we thank you.

Your culture, our culture, is old and new, as dynamic as it is connected – on the highest tree top the new flower of the morning draws its being from deep and ancient roots.

Now it is up to us, together and united, to draw from the wisdom and the example of those we honour today and so inspired bring new heights and brighter blooms to that tree of reconciliation which protects and enriches us all.

Thank you very much.

Part 2

THE HON BILL SHORTEN MP LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the 1967 Referendum and the 25th Anniversary of the Mabo Decision.

Good afternoon everybody.

I too, would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land upon which we meet,

I pay my respects to the traditional owners and indeed all elders past, present and future.

The Prime Minister very graciously acknowledged a lot of the guests here so I won’t go through the same list but simply echo the Prime Ministers words but I do want to say that as we celebrate anniversaries of half a century ago and a quarter of a century ago, we should also always acknowledge that for over 500 centuries – this is, was and always will be, Aboriginal land.

It would be remiss of me and perhaps even fool-hardy not to acknowledge, not only Auntie Carol and Auntie Zeta but Auntie Pam and perhaps not prominent on her CV but she and I would work together in a law firm — and if you could guess, for anyone who knows Pam she was in charge of nearly everything.

But I have to say Pam, when you spoke about your father, you gave us all a gift, one of the great sadnesses when a parent passes is that you can’t always reconstruct every conversation but what you did Pam, is when you described the folded chairs and the card table and the thermos and the sandwiches and the campaigning, what you did Pam, is you gave us the gift of an inkling of what it must have been like to have him as your father and what a strong man he was so thank you very much Pam.

I also should of course acknowledge the great campaigners of 67, the plaintiffs in Mabo and their proud families, although not all live with us, we are the beneficiaries of their legacy.

We are, I believe, more open and a more open and diverse country than we were 50 years ago.

More honest about our past, more confident about our future.

But this is not just because of the passage of time or mere good luck. It’s because of the people that we’re acknowledging today, there is inspiration in someone’s victory…there are lessons and one thing which I take from what we’ve heard today is that there’s no such thing as passive progress.

Progress is always a struggle.

No-one gave the 67 campaigners anything – it was earned, it was fought for. No-one gave Eddie Mabo and his fellow plaintiffs anything before he started and it wasn’t just contesting the law, the fact that these Plaintiffs believe the Australian justice system which, to be fair and accurate, hadn’t initially been the best friend of First Australians in the previous two hundred years, the fact that they contested it took a great strength of character.

No-one gave the Stolen Generations anything and this week is the twentieth anniversary of the Bringing them Home report indeed, for the Stolen Generations their very existence was arrogantly dismissed.

The inquiry described the stolen generations as tantamount to genocide but you and the stolen generation faced Australia, to make us look at the reality of children taken away from their mothers, from their country, from their families and their culture.

It is very difficult to bring the hard truth of history home and – at long last – we did say

Sorry.

And friends, as we celebrate I’m always conscious of that tension in politics and in life, how much do you talk about the good news and how much do you acknowledge the bad news, how much do you say and admire our progress and how much do we look at the journey we still have to go, it is that truth telling which I still think confronts us now.

We salute the outstanding accomplishments of our fellow Australians who are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Australians.

I think of artists and authors and film-makers, I think of fashion-designers, I think of scientists and lawyers and school-teachers, I think of sports men and women.

But we also know, as we admire the progress that real reconciliation demands of us all especially those of us privileged to be in positions of leadership, it demands truth-telling.

Acknowledging that we have further to go, I believe, does not diminish what has been achieved, in fact it honours it and enhances previous struggle. Tonight, a packed crowd will be at the Sir Doug Nicholls Round watching two great teams and like Shaun Burgoyne last night and Buddy Franklin, Shane Edwards will proudly wear the 67 number tonight.

It is isn’t it a long way from when Doug Nicholls was driven from Carlton because of the colour of his skin, when All Australian Polly Farmer was the target of on field abuse each week.

When, my great friend Pat Dodson was playing for the Monivae Firsts in 1965 and 66, he describes himself as a Collingwood six-footer, he wasn’t counted as an Australian, although he captained that team.

And just like Rugby League – AFL is different and I think better, because of generations of Aboriginal stars who have won their admirers with their brilliance and changed minds with their courage.

Nicky Winmar lifting up his jumper and showing the Victoria Park crowd where I once worked, that he was black and proud.

Michael Long who made his stand on Anzac Day 1995. Adam Goodes – unshakeable in his dignity, unmoving in his strength… such a contrast to the cowards who booed him, hiding their prejudice in the crowd and so many other champions.

It’s ironic now, I don’t think anyone could imagine AFL without our Indigenous stars and I congratulate the leadership of successive leaders of the AFL including today Gillon McLachlan and Richard Goyder.

But even though we make this progress none of us can really pretend for one minute can we ?.

That racism has vanished from the game – or indeed from the country that we love. Years of legalised and institutionalised prejudice still cast a long shadow, paternalism and neglect are difficult habits hard to break.

So much of our historical narrative needs revisiting and discussion in order to reform and we see that shadow of inequality and diminished opportunity even now in housing, in education, in health, in family violence.

Think about in health, we still have too many of our First Australian Mothers losing babies, or dying in childbirth, we have even as we sit here looking at our progress, First Australians going blind because of a third-world disease We see it in our justice system – where young Aboriginal men are more likely, at the age of 18 to go to jail than to go to university.

We see it right now in the unacceptable record numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders growing-up in out-of-home care: struggling at school during the day, battling trauma and disconnection at night.

As moving as this week of milestones has been, as magnificent as tonight’s game will surely be – I believe the best way our generation can honour the previous generation is by living up to the example that we’ve heard about today.

That means tackling the nitty-gritty of practical disadvantage, it means finding common ground. Yesterday, delegates from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nations said:

“In 67 we were counted, in 2017, we seek to be heard”. It is a powerful message about unfinished business in our country.

On behalf of all Australians, I want to thank the attendees who gathered at Uluru, the hundreds of Aboriginal people who have taken part in 12 dialogues around the nation.

And the thousands of people who have provided written submissions to the Referendum Council. The Referendum Council now has the task of drawing on all of these contributions – and providing a set of recommendations to the Prime Minister, myself and indeed the whole parliament, at the end of June.

It is complex and important work: we owe the members time and those who participated the time and the space to finish their work.

And we owe them an open mind on the big questions – the form recognition takes, on treaties, on changes required to the constitution and on the best way to fulfil the legitimate and long-held aspiration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for a meaningful, equal place in our democratic system.

I’ve had a number of constructive conversations with our Prime Minister including indicating, as far as I am concerned a sincere desire for bipartisanship and a sincere desire to make progress on this issue.

It is important that we combine Government and Opposition to try to work cooperatively, I’m sure we will have further dialogue, both of us will need to think hard, talk to colleagues and the Referendum Council and broadly with the community.

I do not doubt the size of the mountain that we have to climb.

But for any Australian looking for inspiration, I would say ‘look to our history’.

Look at the spirit of ‘67 or the legend of Eddie Mabo.

Look to the strength and the story of the Gurindji at Wave Hill.

Look to the brilliance of Doug Nicholls.

The lesson of Charlie Perkins and the Freedom Riders.

Look to the legacy of those Aboriginal service men and women who have served, fought and died for a country that up to that point didn’t even count them in its census.

Look at: Faith Bandler or Pearl Gibbs or Chicka Dixon, Joe McGinnis or Charlie Perkins and Jessie Street and many others.

And all those other heroes famous and perhaps not so famous who went door-to-door, shopping centre to shopping centre, signature by signature. I said earlier that no one gave these warriors of change, anything. Whatever they have won, they had earned but in fact they gave Australia a gift, 50 years ago.

They gave Australia a gift 25 years ago. They gave us the gift of hope – they gave us the gift of imagination. And it’s now it is our test to measure up.

I am a student of history, I look back and I wonder, what were people thinking, what were the arguments and the tensions and the means, what was going through their minds and what was going through their hearts.

It is incredibly, I think, encouraging that back in 1967 the parliament was full of white men, many born at the turn of the 20th Century, they found common ground to support a Yes vote.

The government didn’t fund a ‘No’ case in 1967.

If those men then, of a certain background and disposition could find the humility to admit that they were wrong, if they could find that wisdom within themselves to challenge their preconceptions and decide what was right…

If they could imagine then, in their circumstances a more equal time for Australia. Then are we in this generation up to it now?

Surely we can imagine a reconciled Australia?

Surely we can imagine an Australia where the gap is actually closed, where justice is colour-blind?.

Surely we can imagine an Australia where every Aboriginal child can grow up healthy, can get the best possible education, equal to every other child and to not have to be separated from their families.

Surely we can imagine now – and deliver now – a future:

Where Aboriginal mothers no longer live with the anxiety that their child could be taken from them.

Where the last stubborn stains of persistent racism are removed, forever – from our not only our hearts and our language but from our laws.

Surely we can deal honestly and decently with issues of reparations, recovery and reconnection where we are capable of having the important conversation about meaningful recognition, about treaties about post-constitutional settlement.

Surely we can imagine a set of circumstances just as there are Aboriginal AFL Champions that will one day have a Aboriginal Prime Minister or an Aboriginal President of our Republic.

But what is the most important, and I think the challenge for us is, for us in particular privilege who have some say in the debate of the day, is the road will be hard and it’s going to require the best thought and the best cooperation.

What it’s going to recognise is this, are we capable of imagining an Australia, where our first Australians are equal to all other Australians because I can already imagine that when our first Australians are equal to all other Australians then we are all better Australians.

Thank you very much.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News : Minister Scullion to host #RedfernStatement workshop with our leaders

Pat

“Indigenous leaders from the 18 lead organisations that signed the #RedfernStatement have been invited to attend the workshop with Senator Scullion ( including NACCHO )  to discuss key issues including health, early childhood, justice, preventing violence and disability.

These leaders  met on 9th of June 2016, in Redfern where in 1992 Prime Minister Paul Keating spoke truth about this nation – that the disadvantage faced by First Peoples affects and is the responsibility of all Australians. “

Photo above NACCHO CEO Pat Turner addressing the national media ; Redfern Statement details below

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, will host a workshop with the leaders of key Indigenous organisations that signed the Redfern Statement.

The workshop, to be held in coming weeks, will build on the Government’s reforms over the past three years and provide a valuable opportunity for Indigenous leaders who represent a range of sectors to come together with the Minister to hold strategic discussions about ways engagement within Indigenous Affairs can be further strengthened.

Minister Scullion said the workshop would draw on the skills and expertise that participants brought to the table, and build on his commitment to work with Indigenous people and organisations at all levels – from community and grassroots organisations through to those on the state, territory and national stage.

“I would like to explore strategies to progress issues outlined in the Redfern Statement – and note there are significant areas in which it aligns with the Government’s Indigenous reform agenda,” Minister Scullion said.

“I share the aspirations outlined in the Redfern Statement and see the workshop as an important step to bring about positive and sustainable change. We must connect through genuine dialogue, and I am looking forward to a continuing and constructive conversation.

“I want this workshop to identify ways we can enhance government and community engagement to bring about a real difference on the ground. We are committed to getting this right, learning from the past and building strong relationships for the future.”

The Redfern Statement

An urgent call for a more just approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs

“Social justice is what faces you in the morning. It is awakening in a house with adequate water supply, cooking facilities and sanitation. It is the ability to nourish your children and send them to school where their education not only equips them for employment but reinforces their knowledge and understanding of their cultural inheritance. It is the prospect of genuine employment and good health: a life of choices and opportunity, free from discrimination.”

Mick Dodson, Annual Report of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, 1993.

The Redfern Statement

Download the 18 Page document here

Redfern Statement June 2016 Elections 18 Pages

Redfern Statement

A call for urgent Government action

In the past 25 years – a generation in fact – we have had the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, the Bringing them home Report and Reconciliation: Australia’s Challenge: the final report of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation. These reports, and numerous other Coroner and Social Justice Reports, have made over 400 recommendations, most of which have either been partially implemented for short term periods or ignored altogether.

In the last 25 years we have seen eight Federal election cycles come and go, with seven Prime Ministers, seven Ministers for Indigenous Affairs, countless policies, policy changes, funding promises and funding cuts – all for the most marginalised people in Australia.

For the last quarter century, then, we’ve seen seminal reports which have repeatedly emphasised that our people need to have a genuine say in our own lives and decisions that affect our peoples and communities. This, known as self-determination, is the key to closing the gap in outcomes for the First Peoples of these lands and waters.

All of these reports call for better resourcing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

All of these reports call for real reconciliation based on facing the truths of the past and creating a just and mature relationship between the non-Indigenous Australian community and the First Peoples.

The next Federal Government will take on the same responsibility to right this nation’s past injustices as the last eight Federal Governments have had. The next Government of Australia will take power with our First Peoples facing the same struggles as they were in 1992. But this next Federal Government also has an unprecedented nation-building opportunity to meaningfully address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage. They have the mandate to act. We therefore call on the next Federal Government to:

  • 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.

The health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples cannot be considered at the margins.

It is time that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices are heard and respected, and that the following plans for action in relation to meaningful engagement, health, justice, preventing violence, early childhood and disability, are acted upon as a matter of national priority and urgency.

National Representation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

It is critical that Australia’s First Peoples are properly represented at the national level to ensure meaningful engagement with Government, industry and the non-government sectors to advance the priorities of our people.

Since 2010, the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples (Congress) has gone some way to fill the gap in national representation since the demise of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission in 2005.

However, there remain too many gaps in adequate national level representation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – particularly for employment and education. Without Congress or equivalent national bodies where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders are supported to engage with Government it will be difficult for the next Federal Parliament to meet the multi-partisan priority and commitment to work ‘with’ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

We call on the next Federal Government to commit to:

  1. Restoration of funding to the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples

The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples (Congress) was established in 2010 to be the representative voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and to advocate for positive change. The decision to defund Congress, just as it is beginning to emerge as a unifying element among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups, is a mistake.

Without support, Congress’ ability to do its job of representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander interests is severely compromised. Congress must be supported to provide a mechanism to engage with our people, develop policy, and advocate to Government.

Congress should be supported to reach sustainability and independence as soon as possible.

 

  1. A national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative body for Education

Although there are many good quality Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, and strong leaders, working at the State and local level in the education sector, there is currently no national body to promote and engage in education policy for Australia’s First Peoples.

The education sector is fragmented across early childhood, primary and secondary education, vocational education and training, and higher education, with each of state and territory having public, catholic and private school systems. In the absence of a single national education voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Congress has been active in coordinating and promoting unity across these sectors. Congress has consulted widely with its members, educators and organisations, many of which have a long history of working in this area.

We call on the next Federal Government to establish a national body that can call for policies support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and communities across all of these educational systems.

  1. A national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative body for Employment

The highly disadvantaged employment and income status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is well documented. While we appreciate attempts at advancing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the many issues around employment require a unified and expert voice.

Beyond skills training, mentoring and targeted employment services to enhance the job readiness of

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, concerted effort needs to be directed to creating jobs that are suitable and meaningful for our people. This is of particular concern in remote areas, where mainstream commercial and labour market opportunities are limited. In urban and rural areas, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are faced with issues of racism and discrimination in the workplace.

 

The next Federal Government should establish and fund a national representative body of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders to drive employment and economic solutions for our people, in order to:

  • Work with our communities to develop their own strategies for economic development, and promote community participation and management;
  • Promote strategies to create Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-friendly workplaces; and
  • Work with Government to design welfare policy that encourages, rather than coerces, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples into employment.
    1. A national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative body for Housing

Federal and State Government policies concerning Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing is currently disjointed, wasteful and failing. For example, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in urban and regional markets face many barriers in accessing and securing safe and affordable housing, including discrimination and poverty.

The next Federal Parliament should support the development of a national representative body of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders who can focus on housing security for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and:

  • Advocate for the ongoing support for remote communities to prevent community closures;
  • Work with communities to develop a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing strategy, with the aim of improving the housing outcomes for our people across all forms of housing tenure; and
  • Provide culturally appropriate rental, mortgage and financial literacy advice.

First Peoples Health Priorities

Closing the Gap in health equality between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians is an agreed national priority. The recognised necessity and urgency to close the gap must be backed by meaningful action.

All parties contesting the 2016 Federal Election must place Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs at the heart of their election platforms, recognising the health equality as our national priority.

Despite the regular upheaval of major policy changes, significant budget cuts and changes to Government in the short election cycles at all levels, we have still managed to see some encouraging improvements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes. But much remains to be achieved and as we move into the next phase of Closing the Gap, enhanced program and funding support will be required.

We appeal to all political parties to recommit to Closing the Gap and to concentrate efforts in the priority areas in order to meet our goal of achieving health equality in this generation.

We call on the next Federal Government to commit to:

  1. Restoration of funding

The 2014 Federal Budget was a disaster for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This is not an area where austerity measures will help alleviate the disparity in health outcomes for Australia’s First Peoples.

The current funding for Aboriginal health services is inequitable. Funding must be related to population or health need, indexed for growth in service demand or inflation, and needs to be put on a rational, equitable basis to support the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan (2013–2023).

  1. Fund the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan (2013–2023)

Future Budgets must adequately resource the Implementation Plan’s application and operation. As a multi-partisan supported program, the Implementation Plan is essential for driving progress towards the provision of the best possible outcomes from investment in health and related services.

  1. Make Aboriginal Community Controlled Services (ACCHS) the preferred providers

ACCHS should be considered the ‘preferred providers’ for health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Where there is no existing ACCHS in place, capacity should be built within existing ACCHS to extend their services to the identified areas of need. This could include training and capacity development of existing services to consider the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health strategy to self-fund new services. Where it is appropriate for mainstream providers to deliver a service, they should be looking to partner with ACCHS to better reach the communities in need.

  1. Create guidelines for Primary Health Networks

The next Federal Government should ensure that the Primary Health Networks (PHNs) engage with ACCHS and Indigenous health experts to ensure the best primary health care is delivered in a culturally safe manner. There should be mandated formal agreements between PHNs and ACCHS to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership.

  1. Resume indexation of the Medicare rebate, to relieve profound pressure on ACCHS

The pausing of the Medicare rebate has adversely and disproportionately affected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their ability to afford and access the required medical care. The incoming Federal Government should immediately resume indexation of Medicare to relieve the profound pressure on ACCHS.

  1. Reform of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy

The issues with the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) are well known. The recent Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee Report into the tendering processes highlighted significant problems with the IAS programme from application and tendering to grant selection and rollout.

The next Federal Government must fix the IAS as an immediate priority and restore the funding that has been stripped from key services through the flawed tendering process.

  1. Fund an Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy encompasses Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ holistic view of mental health, as well as physical, cultural and spiritual health, and has an early intervention focus that works to build strong communities through more community-focused and integrated approaches to suicide prevention.

The Strategy requires a considered Implementation Plan with Government support to genuinely engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, their organisations and representative bodies to develop local, culturally appropriate strategies to identify and respond to those most at risk within our communities.

  1. Develop a long-term National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Determinants of Health Strategy

The siloed approach to strategy and planning for the issues that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people face is a barrier to improvement. Whilst absolutely critical to closing the gap, the social determinants of health and wellbeing – from housing, education, employment and community support – are not adequately or comprehensively addressed.

The next Federal Government must prioritise the development of a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Determinants of Health Strategy that takes a broader, holistic look at the elements to health and wellbeing for Australia’s First Peoples. The Strategy must be developed in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through their peak organisations.

Please note the balance of document can be read here

Redfern Statement June 2016 Elections 18 Pages

NACCHO Aboriginal News Alert : Scullion’s Indigenous policy approach trapped in CLP’s Territory wreck

NT MON

” The overwhelming anti-CLP bush vote wasn’t just Aborigines reacting against four wasted years. The return to Labor was a sophisticated demonstration that a decade after the federal government intervention in the face of a “national emergency” — including a suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act to make it possible — people are sick of having a surveillance-based, punitive regime with uncertain results forced upon them .

The matey, blokey relationship between Scullion and Adam Giles, even as a sizeable sector of the Territory’s indigenous community feared CLP plans to enact changes to the Land Rights Act, will likely not be reproduced with Michael Gunner.

The Australian 29 August picture above NACCHO file : see results of NT election below

Nigel Scullion departs Darwin for Canberra with his Northern Territory Country Liberal Party in smoking ruins and a clear warning that the experiment with a coercive, big-stick approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advancement is at an end.

The Indigenous Affairs Minister, who as Territory senator is the CLP’s only representative in the Turnbull government and whose mantra has been mostly “more kids at school, more adults in real jobs”, watched ashen-faced on Saturday evening as the election results came in.

Criticism of Scullion’s handling of his portfolio, already sharp, will increase. A pending Australian National Audit Office review of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy, the government’s centrepiece funding policy, will likely be even more devastating than the recent Senate inquiry into the same vehicle.

That audit is due in December — the Senate inquiry reported in March that the strategy’s 2014 implementation, involving the collapsing of 150 indigenous-specific programs into five streams and the corralling of an $8.6 billion four-year budget into the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, had been a shambles.

“It was a bureaucratic process of officers of the department out there deciding what was needed by communities, when in fact … you should be engaging with the community to work out what the community is saying,” Mick Gooda, whose royal commission into juvenile detention in the NT is about to get under way, told the committee.

Which is a key takeaway of Saturday’s vote. The candidates who did best in the bush were those with strong local support bases and who were seen to be listening to communities’ needs. Nor, it should be noted, do people necessarily distinguish between Territory and federal programs and funding.

The matey, blokey relationship between Scullion and Adam Giles, even as a sizeable sector of the Territory’s indigenous community feared CLP plans to enact changes to the Land Rights Act, will likely not be reproduced with Michael Gunner.

The new chief minister will be acutely aware of the indigenous affairs policy landscape that helped get him elected, and surely will be at pains to press Scullion on it.

From the Conversation

Labor easily win the NT election

At the 2012 Northern Territory election, the Country Liberal Party (CLP) won 16 of 25 seats, to 8 for Labor and 1 Independent. During a chaotic term, 4 CLP and 1 Labor members defected to sit as Independents, so the pre-election parliamentary numbers were 12 CLP, 7 Labor and 6 Independents.

At yesterday’s NT election, the ABC is calling 15 of 25 seats for Labor, 1 for the CLP and 3 for Independents, with 6 in some doubt. The ABC’s prediction is 18 Labor, 3 CLP and 4 Independents. Even if Labor loses all doubtful seats, they would still have a clear majority.

Two of the doubtful seats – Blain and Nhulunbuy – are cases where the incorrect final two candidates were selected on election night. The electoral commission will need to redo the two candidate count in those seats. Former chief minister Terry Mills, who was deposed by Adam Giles in the last term, will need a strong flow of preferences from the CLP in Blain.

Giles himself is in trouble in his own seat of Braitling, trailing Labor by 21 votes on a swing of almost 20 points. Former Labor leader Delia Lawrie is likely to hold her seat of Karama as an Independent; she leads by 51.2-48.8.

Overall primary votes were 43.1% for Labor (up 6.6), 31.7% for the CLP (down 18.9), 3.5% for the new 1 Territory Party, 2.8% for the Greens (down 0.5) and 18.9% for all Others (up 9.3). The Others were mostly Independents. The Poll Bludger has a breakdown of the votes and seats for each region.

There are still some booths that have not yet been added to counts, particularly in remote seats. However, most electorates are reporting postal counts, so it is unlikely that the CLP’s position will improve post-election, in the way the Federal Coalition’s position improved. Counting will resume tomorrow morning.

At this election, the voting system was changed to optional preferential voting; previous NT elections used compulsory preferential voting. However, this change appears to have helped Labor. In Braitling, Labor trails by 10.4% on primary votes, but leads by 0.4% after preferences. It is likely that minor party voters who were hostile to the CLP put the CLP last, while those who were better disposed to the CLP followed the CLP’s advice, and just voted “1”.

 

 

NACCHO 2015-16 Federal Budget Analysis Report : Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector

Report2

DOWNLOAD the POST 2015-2016 Budget Analysis HERE

Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector

Core Funding

The Australia Government has made a re-commitment to the Sector:

  • $1.4bn over 3 years or $448m / per year. This will include a 1.5% CPI increase over a 3 year period.
  • The Government has confirmed NACCHO and Affiliate funding for 18 months in the amount of $18m, with the Department of Health commencing a review of role and function.

In 2015-16, the Government will implement a National Continuous Quality Improvement Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care, through the expansion of the Healthy for Life activity.

Funding methodology

From 1 July 2015, the Government will progressively implement a new funding approach for the Indigenous Australian’s Health Programme.

The new approach will support the targeted use of funds in regions whose populations experience high health need and population growth.

The Budget papers explicitly mention NACCHO and Affiliates as being engaged as the nominated community stakeholders along with States/Territories in the development of this mechanism.

Indigenous Chronic Disease Package

The Budget has not provided any clear answers regarding the future of the Indigenous Chronic Disease package, outside of a stated commitment to “focus on improving the prevention, detection and management of chronic disease to improve health outcomes”.

Tackling Indigenous Smoking Program – a redesigned program will be implemented arising from the review undertaken in 2014-15. No detailed announcements were made in the Budget as the Minister is yet to sign off on the outcomes of the review.

Australian Nurse Family Partnership Program and New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services – the Australian Nurse Family Partnership Program will grow from three to five sites and New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services will reach an additional 25 services in 2015-16, bringing the total to 110 service, with an enhanced capacity to identify and manage Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in affected communities.

Close the Gap PBS Co-payment – expected to be an ongoing measure worth $85m, however there were no announcements in the Budget. NACCHO will look to identify this funding in a more detailed analysis.

MBS Practice Incentive Payments – expected to be ongoing funding and will form part of the MBS Review, with an intention to enhancing the program.

Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme

Initiatives funded under the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme include primary health care services (including eye and ear health), maternal and child health activities, medical outreach to rural and remote areas, and targeted initiatives to improve prevention and primary health care management of chronic diseases.

The Budget papers outline the Department of Health’s commitment to a joint approach to the development of the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme.

This provides an opportunity for ACCHSs to discuss the development of the Programme and funding methodology with local MPs.

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan Implementation Plan

In 2015, the Government will release the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan (2013-2023) Implementation Plan which is being developed in partnership with the National Health Leadership Forum (NHLF).

In 2015-16, the Government will commence the actions outlined in the Implementation Plan and will continue working with the NHLF to monitor and review progress.

Workforce

Focus on rural and remote shortages. A new geographical classification system will ensure incentive payments are targeted to doctors and dentists who choose to practice in areas of greatest need.

A range of medical, nursing and allied health scholarships will be consolidated.

Expansion of GP training places to 1,500 commencing places every year under the Australian General Practice Training Program.

The Remote Vocational Training Scheme supports doctors practicing in some of Australia’s most remote locations to undertake vocational general practice training.

The Scheme supports 22 new training places each year. In 2015, a new cohort of 10 registrars training in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services commenced training under this scheme.

Health Budget Announcements

MBS

The Government has announced a review of Medicare. This will include a comprehensive review of all 5500 MBS items.

This process will also oversee the establishment of a Primary Health Care Advisory Group to focus on innovative ways to deliver primary care, especially chronic disease.

The Government has committed $34.3m over two years to undertake this process. The Taskforce is expected to report back with key priority areas for action late in 2015.

NACCHO has already initiated discussions with the Department of Health to influence the consultation process and ensure the Sector has a seat at the table in these processes.

In addition, NACCHO has secured confirmation of an extension of the Section 19.2 ACT which expires on 30th June 2015, which enables ACCHSs to receive financial benefit from Medicare rebates in addition to Government funding. Confirmation letters will be sent to member services confirming an extension of the exemption until 30th June 2018.

The Government remains committed to the freeze on MBS rebate indexation. This will cost the Sector critical funding to support services outside of grant funding. NACCHO will work with the Department to address gaps in MBS revenue.

Healthy Kids Check

The Budget cut Medicare funding for the “Healthy Kids Check”, a consultation with a nurse or GP to assess a child’s health and development before they start school.

Funding for the program will stop in November. This measure is considered a duplication with existing state and territory based programs.

This change does not impact ACCHS or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to the same degree. ACCHSs can continue to bill health assessments through a separate item (715) which is eligible to be billed at any age.

PBS

The Budget provides additional spending of $1.6b over five years, with a further $2.5b in recommendations which are in the final stage of negotiations.

Listings include:

    • Breast cancer
    • Melanoma
    • Eye disease
    • Shingles vaccine for people 70-79.

The benefits for some of the measures, such as the cancer drugs, are undermined by others such as the fee reduction for the shingles vaccine. This covers an age cohort which largely excludes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who have lower life expectancy. NACCHO is working with the Department to address this.

Sixth Pharmacy Agreement

The 6th Community Pharmacy Agreement (CPA) has reached the final stages of negotiation. NACCHO and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia have been negotiating 1 year transition funding of QUMAX to enable development of an Implementation Plan under the 6th CPA.

NACCHO will seek to expand QUMAX from 76 services to 134 services who currently receive funding from the Department rather than directly.

This Agreement introduces pilot trials for pharmacists to undertake basic functions usually undertaken by Doctors and Nurses, for example vaccinations, wound care and chronic disease management. This could be seen as money being taken out of the primary care sector and re-directed to pharmacists.

PHN Funding

Current funding allocated to Medicare Locals will transfer to the PHNs. The 2015-16 Health Budget papers indicate that “identified primary mental health care services will [also] be transitioned to Primary Health Networks”. Additionally, the Minister for Health has advised in writing to NACCHO that funding for Complementary Care and Supplementary Services will transition from Medicare Locals to the PHNs.

This decision was based on notion that this would ensure greater access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, regardless of where they access their primary health care. This position implies that Medicare Locals were providing universal care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, despite a lack of evidence to support this.

NACCHO will continue to lobby the Minister and the Department to re-allocate Aboriginal Medicare Local funding to the Sector, rather than to PHNs.

Flexible Funding

Last year’s Budget foreshadowed $197.1m in cuts to the ‘Health Flexible Funds’ over three years.

This year, that figure has increased to $500m worth of cuts over four years, according to the Secretary of the Department of Health. There is still no clarity in relation to how these savings are to be achieved.

Among the 16 Flexible Funds which could be affected are those supporting the provision of essential services in rural, regional and remote Australia; working to Close the Gap in health outcomes for Indigenous Australians; managing vital responses to communicable diseases; and delivering substance use treatment services around the country.

NACCHO is currently working with the Public Health Association of Australia on a public campaign opposing these cuts.

Mental Health

There were no measures announced in response to the Mental Health Commission’s recent review of programs and services.

Instead, the Government has committed to develop and implement options for policy and program changes. This process will be driven through an expert reference group, which will develop short, medium and long-term implementation strategies based on reviews findings:

    • Suicide prevention
    • promotion, prevention and early intervention of mental health and illness;
    • the role of primary care in treatment of mental health, including better targeting of services; and
    • national leadership, including regional service integration.

NACCHO will monitor announcements for Mental Health in relation to the Federal Budget and the commencement of the Expert Reference Group. It is expected these announcements will be linked to the development of the Federation White Paper.

Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF)

The MRFF has been revived in this year’s budget. Funding for the MRFF will be derived from savings found in the Health budget. The MRFF will receive $400m over the next four years, starting with $10m in this financial year.

Last year NACCHO lobbied for the reinvestment of $121m in savings from the Aboriginal health budget, rather than its inclusion in the MRFF funding bucket. NACCHO will closely monitor which money is allocated to the fund and how it is used to promote research that benefits Aboriginal people.

Ice Campaign

This Budget commits $20 million over two years for a new stage of the National Drugs Campaign primarily aimed at the use of ice. No consultation has been undertaken in the lead up to the announcement of this health promotion campaign. It almost certainly will not achieve tangible outcomes for Aboriginal people.

In addition, it is unclear how this complements the recent development of a National Ice Taskforce, under the leadership of the Prime Minister, which is currently undertaking public consultations around the country. It is expected that reporting for this process will not commence until mid-year.

NACCHO is currently developing a response to the National Ice Taskforce and considering alternate strategies to progress development of a Sector-led response to Ice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander communities.

General Budget Announcements

Income Management — two year extension

The Government will provide $146.7 million over two years to extend existing income management arrangements in all current locations until 30 June 2017, despite evidence to the contrary that this approach is effective.

Income management will continue in: Perth Metropolitan, Peel and Kimberley regions, Laverton, Kiwirrkurra and Ngaanyatjarra Lands in Western Australia; Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, Ceduna and Playford in South Australia; Cape York, Rockhampton, Livingstone and Logan in Queensland; Bankstown in New South Wales; Greater Shepparton in Victoria; and in the Northern Territory.

Youth Employment Strategy

The Government will provide over $330 million to implement a Youth Employment Strategy. This provides targeted support for groups of young people who are more susceptible to long term unemployment or are at risk of welfare dependence.

The Government will reverse the 2014-15 Budget measure Stronger Participation Incentives for Job Seekers under 30 and instead require young people under 25 years of age to actively seek work for a four week waiting period before receiving income support payments.

NACCHO will continue to lobby for an exemption for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth, who are disproportionately affected by unemployment.

Small Business Package  

The Government has introduced a raft of tax measures and incentives that may be applicable to some ACCHSs.

The Government is reducing the tax rate for the more than 90 per cent of incorporated businesses with annual turnover under $2 million. The tax cut will apply from 1 July 2015.

The Government will also provide a 5 per cent tax discount to unincorporated businesses with annual turnover less than $2 million from 1 July 2015.

All small businesses will get an immediate tax deduction for any individual assets they buy costing less than $20,000. (Currently, the threshold sits at $1,000).

This $20,000 limit applies to each individual item. Small businesses can apply this $20,000 rule to as many individual items as they wish. These arrangements start Budget night and continue until the end of June 2017.

NACCHO will develop a paper which outlines entitlements for the sector through these measures.

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NACCHO 2015 budget update : Aboriginal groups question budget strategy

photoCongress

“Priorities identified in the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) guidelines were too limited to address disadvantage in a holistic way.  Additionally, the delivery of the IAS is devoid of decision-making procedures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, and appropriate definition for community wellbeing.The current policy of overcoming disadvantage is limited in its application and does not take account of significant disadvantage faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, e.g. rates of incarceration and detention.“

 National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples (‘Congress’)

The Budget confirms that more than $145 million will be cut from Indigenous programs and services in 2015-16, including $46 million from Indigenous health”

Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Shayne Neumann

Budget 2015-16: information of relevance to Indigenous health

NACCHO 2015 Federal Budget Update : How the budget could Close the Aboriginal Health Gap ?

Report from Probono Australia

Picture above Press Conference Parliament HOUSE :LIVE on SKYNEWS

The Federal Government says Indigenous Australians will be the beneficiaries of fresh Budget shakeups in housing and jobs, but Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives have criticised the Government’s approach.

The 2015 Federal Budget includes $4.9 billion for the Government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy, including the negotiation of a new Remote Indigenous Housing Strategy to replace the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing.

According to the Government, the change will provide greater flexibility to respond to the housing needs of remote Indigenous communities and ensure that Government investment improves the condition of housing in those communities.

“The Government is reforming Indigenous Affairs to get adults into work, children to school and make communities safer,” Budget papers said.

“Under new arrangements, housing works will drive Indigenous training and employment and the states and the Northern Territory will be required to deliver positive outcomes in property and tenancy management, home ownership and land tenure.”

“These reforms will put in place practical change on the ground, supported by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet regional network of staff who are located in the communities they serve and deliver on this Government’s priorities to provide better outcomes for First Australians.”

However, the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples (‘Congress’) said priorities identified in the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) guidelines were too limited to address disadvantage in a holistic way.

“Additionally, the delivery of the IAS is devoid of decision-making procedures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, and appropriate definition for community wellbeing,” the organisation said.

“The current policy of overcoming disadvantage is limited in its application and does not take account of significant disadvantage faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, e.g. rates of incarceration and detention.“

A jobs package in the Budget will also aim to boost Indigenous economic participation, with the Government promising that “clear and accountable targets will significantly increase the number of Indigenous employees in the Australian public sector”.

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Graphic from Warren Mundine tweets

“The Government is focused on achieving positive results and a number of key reforms which will improve employment outcomes for First Australians are set to commence,” according to Budget papers.

“From 1 July 2015, reforms to remote employment services will start to transform the economic life of remote communities. The majority of remote job seekers will be active and engaged in meaningful work-like activities that contribute to communities and build real-life work skills and experience. A key aim will be to provide each individual with a real pathway to employment.”

“Through the Employment Parity Initiative, the largest companies in Australia will be supported to increase the number of Indigenous Australians in their workforce to levels which reflect the size of the Indigenous population, approximately three per cent. This initiative will see 20,000 more Indigenous job seekers into work by 2020.”

Congress said the package was too focused on subsidies for business.

“A major portion of the Budget for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples is delivered to the private sector as jobs providers and trainers. However, the huge subsidies to major businesses are not providing real jobs and have not been successful in avoiding sustained high unemployment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples,” Congress said.

“Grants should not be available to subsidise temporary employment in industries.  The employment programs should be linked to job creation through effective recruitment procedures and skills training provided whilst in permanent employment.”

Congress said the almost half a billion dollars worth of cuts from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs in the last Budget (2014-15) could still not be accounted for.

“The there is no evidence that significant savings were made and at the same time a number of community-based organisations were rejected in their applications under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS), on the basis that there were insufficient funds available.

“The cuts made in the last Budget should be restored until evidence of savings in the delivery of programs is available.”

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights advocacy organisation ANTaR said the Budget “failed the test of addressing the uncertainty, upheaval and cuts in Indigenous Affairs from the past 12 months.”

National Director Andrew Meehan said that last year’s Budget cut of $534 million to Indigenous Affairs, followed by an open competitive tendering process as part of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS), had left Indigenous Affairs in disarray.

“This last year has been one of real anxiety for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and communities , and the Budget missed the opportunity to put that right,” he said.

The Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Shayne Neumann, said the “unfairness” of last year’s Budget continued, given “massive” cuts gutting Indigenous programs and frontline services.

“The Budget confirms that more than $145 million will be cut from Indigenous programs and services in 2015-16, including $46 million from Indigenous health.

“This Budget provides no relief for the hundreds of Indigenous organisations still reeling from the massive cuts delivered through the Government’s disastrous Indigenous Advancement Strategy in the last Budget.

“This year’s Budget rips $95 million from the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing, in spite of serious overcrowding.

“We still don’t know where the cuts will fall, with many services facing an uncertain future.”

Congress said Indigenous engagement with the entire Budget process remained a concern.

“Since the demise of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have little or no capacity to monitor the Budget announcements, or to assess or innovate and improve as part of the Budget cycle.

“Expenditure in the Budget cycle on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples is difficult to gauge, as related Budget information is dispersed throughout portfolios and difficult to overview, including comparisons to previous reports on expenditures.  This complexity effectively prevents transparency and accountability and generates misinformation and controversy.”

Andrew Meehan agreed that it was time to elevate the importance of Indigenous Affairs in putting together the Budget.

“Across almost every social and economic measure, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the most disadvantaged and are far more likely to experience poverty than other Australians,” he said.

“A Budget that doesn’t put addressing this front and centre is not a fair budget. Nor does it demonstrate that Indigenous Affairs is at the heart of this government, as the Prime Minister has previously proclaimed.”

Download Budget Papers 2015 HERE

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NACCHO Funding News :Most groups funded under Indigenous advancement strategy non-Indigenous

Mick

Respectful engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples regarding these significant changes was conspicuous by its absence.If Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are to have confidence in these outcomes, we must be able to understand the process,” 

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice commissioner, Mick Gooda

More than half the organisations granted funding under the Indigenous advancement strategy are non-Indigenous, a Senate inquiry has been told.

NACCHO thanks  Follow on Twitter @heldavidson

from The Guardian for permission to publish ORGINAL HERE

Of the $4.9bn available, “about half” had already been allocated to existing programs before the first IAS application round opened, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet told the inquiry.

The Senate standing committee is examining the “impact on service quality, efficiency and sustainability” of the IAS after widespread confusion and dissatisfaction at the announcement of successful applications in March. The inquiry has received and published 58 submissions, with varying views.

In its submission the department defended the tender process and provided funding breakdowns, including that 45% of the organisations granted funding were Indigenous.

The Greens senator Rachel Siewert said it added “insult to injury” after the confusing process.

“The clear message from community members and stakeholders was that they wanted genuine conversations with the government, they want to run their own services and decide their own fate,” Siewert said.

The department also revealed while $4.9bn was allocated in the federal budget over four years, “approximately half” was already tied up in “dedicated funding arrangements” before the tender process began.

These included contracts which predated IAS such as the remote jobs and communities program and working on country programs.

Extending the assessment process owing to the overwhelming response also took further money from the pool as the government continued to fund more than 900 services which had been set to expire in the interim, leaving $2bn eventually available for applications.

Of that, $860m was committed in the first year, and some funding was set aside for demand-driven applications and to fill gaps identified during negotiations. The IAS has since allocated $20.5m to youth services in the Northern Territory.

In its submission the department acknowledged the IAS was a “significant shift for government” but said its introduction was “an opportunity to better target investment to three key government priorities of getting children to school, adults into work and making communities safer”.

“While the IAS funding round has been a significant undertaking particularly for Indigenous communities and the service sector, it has for the first time in at least a decade enabled government to look holistically at the suite of activities being delivered at both a sectorial and regional level.”

The department said it offered certainty to service providers as more than half the successful applicants had been offered funding contracts for two years or longer.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice commissioner, Mick Gooda, said in his submission “respectful engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples regarding these significant changes was conspicuous by its absence”.

He said many questions remain unanswered, including the amount of funding to each organisation, how it compared with what was requested, the period of contract granted, and which organisations lost funding altogether.

Gooda said the IAS “marked a shift to a competitive tender process” for unsuspecting organisations, and suggested it could have a negative impact on Indigenous-controlled organisations.

“If Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are to have confidence in these outcomes, we must be able to understand the process,” he wrote.

Having got “many calls” after the announcement of the process, Gooda said some organisations did not have the capacity to put together the complicated applications, a suggestion also made by the – otherwise largely supportive – North Australian Aboriginal Family Violence Legal Service.

Other organisations hired expensive consultants, and uncertainty led others to believe they did not fit the criteria, said Gooda.

The Community Council for Australia said it did not support historical funding models but criticised the IAS process for limited consultation, “top-down imposition of requirements” and apparent disregard or lack of knowledge about the realities of running services.

It said the IAS’s attempt to improve the “dog’s breakfast” of human service contracting was “undermined by the way this task was approached” including failing to heed recommendations from the productivity commission.

Using drastically reduced federal funding, the IAS sought to streamline myriad Indigenous funding arrangements into five key programs: jobs, land and economy; children and schooling, which received a third of funding; safety and wellbeing, which received nearly half ; culture and capability; and remote Australia strategies.

Geographically, the largest share went to eastern New South Wales (18%), which has a quarter of Australia’s Indigenous population, followed by greater Western Australia (13%) and the Top End and Tiwi Islands region (11%). A 10th of the funding went to central Australia.

“Regions in more remote areas attracted a greater share of IAS funding than their share of the Indigenous population reflecting relative need,” the submission said.

The department is continuing negotiations with applicants and will have 14 days to publish the final details once each is completed.

 

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NACCHO IAS $ Funding News: Indigenous sector outrage at funding for government departments and sport

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“Seeing the majority of grants going to non-Indigenous organisations, including government departments, had led him to believe Scullion and the department did not have “any clear policy or framework” when making the decisions.

“My understand in talking with the senior staff within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet was there was going to be a large focus on funding of Aboriginal community controlled organisations, or on seeking genuine partnerships with Aboriginal communities where non-Indigenous NGOs would be funded,”

“If one of the focuses of this government is getting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people employed and staying within the workforce then one would have thought we’d have seen a larger outcome of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations funded under this strategy. That’s clearly not the case.”

Matthew Cooke, Chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO)

From the Guardian 25 March in Darwin @heldavidson

The inclusion of government departments and sporting organisations among recipients of federal Indigenous funds has sparked concern and anger among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sector workers.

It comes as a swath of legal organisations and non-government organisations publicly plead with the prime minister to reverse multimillion dollar cuts to Indigenous legal services.

Published list of all successful organisations includes various state departments of education, health and ageing and sport and recreation

DOWNLOAD THE FULL LIST HERE 2014 IAS Funding List

On Tuesday afternoon a list of all 964 organisations which had been granted funding under the controversial Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) was published on the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet website, but it did not include a breakdown of individual programs or amounts offered.

The IAS consolidates more than 150 Indigenous affairs programs and policies into five broad areas, and is the result of more than half a billion dollars in cuts in the 2014 budget.

The federal minister for Indigenous affairs, Nigel Scullion, said more information on the IAS grants would be released once negotiations between the department and recipients had been finalised.

The list of recipients included several state government departments, the Northern Territory, universities, churches and a number of sporting organisations, including Australian Rugby Union, the Brisbane Broncos and North Queensland Cowboys NRL clubs, Swimming Australia and Athletics Australia.

The success of corporate entities in receiving federal funding for Indigenous-focused programs while some Indigenous-specific frontline services were rejected has sparked a backlash in the sector.

Aboriginal advocate Tauto Sansbury told National Indigenous Radio the strategy was not about Indigenous people or their advancement.

“When the salary is going to many non-Aboriginal organisations … there’s got to be a time when they step aside and say: we would like to work more closely with you and put the funding together and make a stronger organisation to achieve all the outcomes that we’ve been trying to achieve since day one,” he said.

Dameyon Bonson, founder of Black Rainbow, a fledgling advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) Indigenous youth, said the IAS results were “confusing.”

“The IAS only really seems to be advancing mainstream departments and organisations,” Bonson told Guardian Australia.

“When you look at some of these entities that have been funded, working with Aboriginal people is already part of their remit.”

At least one organisation – the Barkly regional council – has successfully negotiated a 12-month continuation of funding which was initially rejected.

A spokeswoman for Scullion told Guardian Australia the money for the council’s sport and recreation program was sourced from “unallocated funds within the [IAS]” and did not impact on any other service.

On 13 March 2015, the minister approved spending of $20.5m for a range of youth services across the Northern Territory, in addition to the $860m announced through the funding round the week earlier,” she said.

“The structure of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy allows the Australian government to address service delivery gaps that are identified and we will continue to methodically work through any gaps which are identified, in consultation with providers and communities.”

The Barkly council was among a number of long-standing organisations whose grant applications were rejected, among them the peak body for Indigenous legal services, which has said it will be now be forced to close in June.

The national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services (Natsils) has been cut by both the IAS and the Department of the Attorney General.

An open letter signed by 26 organisations including Amnesty International, the Australian Bar Association and Reconciliation Australia, on Wednesday pleaded with the prime minister, Tony Abbott, to reverse $43m in cuts to legal services, including $13m to Indigenous legal services.

The letter expressed concern over the cuts’ effect on “the delivery of frontline legal services to society’s most vulnerable members, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, women and children.”

“We note that these organisations have already made difficult decisions to withdraw, or reduce, key services due to the proposed funding cuts and accompanying uncertainty,” read the letter.

“We are further concerned that these cuts come at a time when there are crisis levels of Aboriginal and Torres Islander peoples’ imprisonment, high rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the child protection system and growing rates of family violence.”

The North Australian Aboriginal justice agency (Naaja) earlier this month told a Senate inquiry budget cuts of about $1.6m would cost 10 to 15 jobs.

From the end of this month Naaja would cease all criminal legal services in Darwin and Katherine for Aboriginal adults, other than those currently in custody and, as well as cut back on civil services, it was further reported on Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, Scullion hit back at criticisms of the list by Greens senator Rachel Siewert.

Siewert had described the list as “completely opaque” and accused the government of failing to admit which organisations did not receive funding.

Senate inquiry to target contentious Indigenous funding strategy

Senate committee to investigate an Indigenous advancement strategy funding process described as confusing, fractured and systemically racist

Read more HERE about submissions

“Contrary to Senator Siewert’s claims, the grant funding round has been conducted appropriately, in keeping with the commonwealth grant rules and guidelines and funding outcomes will provide the best possible services to First Australians,” said Scullion on Wednesday.

“I decided it was appropriate to release the full list of successful organisations given that members and senators from all parties had received a list of successful organisations based on their electorate, including state-wide electorates for senators.”

Scullion said all information would be available within 14 days after negotiations with the grant recipients had been finalised.

 

NACCHO $ funding update : #IAS Indigenous Advancement Strategy funding list revealed

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“Large sporting umbrella bodies including Swimming Australia, Athletics Australia, the Australian Rugby Union and the Australian Football League have all received indigenous funds. A host of universities around the nation are also on the list.

The inclusion of major organisations, governments, shire councils and large well-funded non-government organisations has sparked anger from Aboriginal community-controlled organisations, with many driven to the wall by the new funding regime and forced to lay off staff or close their doors.”

INDIGENOUS Affairs minister Nigel Scullion has bowed to pressure to provide transparency under the contentious Indigenous Advancement Strategy, today releasing a full list of organisations that have received grant funding.

But details of the amounts of the grants have not yet been released, with the Federal government still locked in negotations with organisations.

DOWNLOAD FULL LIST HERE 2014 IAS Funding List

The tendering process under the IAS will be examined by the Commonwealth Senate’s finance and public administration references committee following complaints from indigenous organisations that the process was chaotic and deeply unfair.

Two-thirds of the organisations that have been funded under the IAS are non-indigenous organisations, and the publication of today’s list of those funded confirms that the Northern Territory Government is among the bodies that have received indigenous-earmarked dollars.

The IAS is a policy instituted last year by Mr Scullion which streamlines thousands of grants worth billions of dollars into five broad funding streams. The revamped grant funding process means that thousands of organisations who once received small grants will no longer be funded, and those funded have received a lesser chunk of the money they previously received.

Today’s list confirms that Federal government departments including the departments of Health and Ageing, Education and Training, Sport and Recreation, Justice and Attorney-General, and the Department of Correctional Services have all been funded under the IAS.

Shire councils around the country are also on the list.

Large sporting umbrella bodies including Swimming Australia, Athletics Australia, the Australian Rugby Union and the Australian Football League have all received indigenous funds. A host of universities around the nation are also on the list.

The inclusion of major organisations, governments, shire councils and large well-funded non-government organisations has sparked anger from Aboriginal community-controlled organisations, with many driven to the wall by the new funding regime and forced to lay off staff or close their doors.

Mr Scullion’s office released a statement today saying the full list of grants would be eventually published.

“My department is still working through contract negotiations with providers and the funding amounts will be published when those negotiations are complete,” Mr Scullion said.

“I made the decision to conduct negotiations in March to give my department the necessary time to make sure the funding agreements and projects deliver the long-term, sustainable results Indigenous communities want and deserve.

“I have made a commitment that there will be no service delivery gaps as a result of this process. Where gaps are identified, my department will work closely with providers and communities to address those issues as a matter of urgency.”

 

 

 

NACCHO $ Funding updates : Indigenous-controlled sector the clear loser of Indigenous Reform Agenda

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“The IAS has offered us nothing in terms of new imaginings of and engagement with Aboriginal people, communities and capabilities

One would think, given the inability of mainstream services to close the gap in indigenous disadvantage to date, that all funding for indigenous advancement outcomes would require “high standards of governance and accountability.Yet in reading between the lines, it is primarily the indigenous community-controlled sector that requires additional scrutiny and surveillance.These special measures of surveillance and exemption in indigenous affairs are all too familiar to indigenous Australians who have lived under the protectionist and assimilationist policies of the last century and beyond.”

Dr Chelsea Bond, a senior lecturer in the Oodgeroo Unit at Queensland University of Technology.

“Maningrida has not had a youth suicide in the past 3 years, has seen a decrease in youth crime, teen pregnancies and STI rates which can be attributed to the support given by the youth centre to the young people of the community. In addition, the youth centre through its weekly Mooditj program offers disengaged and referred youth the opportunity to learn about sexual health, safe sex, life skills and much more”

Story 2 Below:  Malabam Health Board Aboriginal Corporation (Maningrida NT ) oversees the “GREATS” Youth Services (GYS) which has been hit hard with an 80% cut to its annual $400k budget under the IAS cuts!

Picture above :The Inala Wangarra Sport and Recreation Program aims to provide sporting and recreational opportunities for local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. (see story Below)

According to the federal government, the Indigenous Advancement Strategy represents a“new relationship of engagement” with indigenous Australia. Yet it was just under a decade ago that we were inflicted with a “new paternalism” by our Prime Minister, then the federal health minister, in justifying a raft of indigenous social policy measures including the Northern Territory Emergency Response (the Intervention), the introduction of alcohol management plans in Aboriginal communities in Queensland and the mainstreaming of indigenous services in urban and regional centres, which was continued under successive Labor governments.

Perhaps the only new thing about this strategy is the $534 million funding cut from the Indigenous Affairs portfolio. This is despite what the PM deems the “profoundly disappointing” results outlined in the government’s own Closing the Gap report last month. The PM’s chief indigenous adviser, Warren Mundine, did warn us that the reform agenda would produce “winners” and “losers”, and certainly from the coverage over the past few weeks, many indigenous communities are feeling as though they are on the losing side. While a full list of the winners and losers has yet to be released, we can see that the indigenous community-controlled sector has been hit particularly hard — be they peak bodies or local grassroots organisations, from Tennant Creek to Inala (the community in which I live), a wide range of front-line services will no longer exist as a result of the IAS announcement.

The other less reported “new reform“ under the IAS introduced last year has been the requirement for indigenous organisations receiving “grants of $500,000 or more in a single financial year from funding administered by the Indigenous Affairs portfolio to incorporate under Commonwealth legislation under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006”.

Organisations may be exempt from this requirement if they don’t primarily service indigenous people, or alternatively indigenous organisations may be exempt if they “can demonstrate that they are well-governed and high-performing”. This strategy we are told is to “ensure organisations receiving Australian Government funding to deliver Indigenous programmes have high standards of governance and accountability”.

One would think, given the inability of mainstream services to close the gap in indigenous disadvantage to date, that all funding for indigenous advancement outcomes would require “high standards of governance and accountability”. Yet in reading between the lines, it is primarily the indigenous community-controlled sector that requires additional scrutiny and surveillance. These special measures of surveillance and exemption in indigenous affairs are all too familiar to indigenous Australians who have lived under the protectionist and assimilationist policies of the last century and beyond.

Ironically, the indigenous community-controlled sector already meets high standards of accountability —  accountability for outcomes within our own communities. These organisations are governed and largely staffed by local indigenous community members who are held accountable to our communities for delivering on outcomes, often well beyond what we are funded to deliver and beyond the usual hours of business. This is not in lieu of financial accountability requirements to funding providers, but rather in addition to — an additional burden not often faced by large NGOs staffed by people from outside of our community.

Take, for instance, the community organisation I’m a board member of: InalaWangarra, which was one of the losers under the IAS.

Recently our organisation was funded around $50,000 to deliver an outcome of 20 indigenous people into careers as security guards, which was well shy of the actual costs of the program. Just this week 20 local indigenous people in Inala graduated from the program with a certificate II in security, certificate III in hospitality, and received their blue cards, police checks and security licences and now are all embarking on careers with a security company in our region. For that small investment, the CEO is dealing with three different state and federal funding providers and writing grant applications and acquittals for each one, on top of regular visits and phone calls from funding providers just to check on how we are doing, with another requiring written monthly reports. Part of the funds for this program was provided after completion to ensure we delivered on the outcomes, thus requiring the organisation to resource program implementation from other funds.

This isn’t good governance surely? And this is despite our previous achievement under a federal government pilot program that placed 88 local indigenous community members into jobs, most of whom were long-term unemployed, and retained employment beyond 13 weeks. Despite demonstrating competency, indigenous community-controlled organisations are still deemed “too risky” to funding providers, and it is this “relationship of engagement” that demands reform.

The “new reforms” in indigenous social policy must include equal, if not greater scrutiny over the inability of mainstream services to deliver the outcomes they are funded to deliver in our communities. Their governance structure doesn’t enable local communities to hold them accountable, and every year we are surprised at the new NGO that has rolled into our suburb or received funding to service our community, despite having demonstrated little engagement with our community.

One such example is the federal funding in 2012 for indigenous men’s sheds across the country as a men’s health initiative. Within our local community, the Inala Police Citizens Youth Centre was funded to establish a men’s shed. Yet, one year later The Satellite newspaper reported: “The one-year-old building at the back of the Inala Police Citizens Youth Centre (PCYC) has every tool imaginable on its shelves, walls and benches and a pile of wood just waiting to be crafted.” There is, however, one problem. The shed is predominately empty due to a lack of members. Yet Inala Wangarra’s indigenous men’s group has never struggled with engaging local men in its activities — it has simply struggled to engage financial investment from state or federal funding providers. This is not an isolated case, and examples of poor engagement and poor service delivery can be found across critical areas of health, education, housing, employment and training, which explains much of the gap of inequality that our people suffer. It is often left to the under-resourced local indigenous community controlled organisation to fill the gaps of mainstream service delivery models.

This is the site where genuinely “new reform” could be demonstrated — ensuring that all funding (both indigenous-specific and mainstream) advances the interests of the indigenous community it services, both in terms of process and outcomes.

Indigenous people are more than consumers of social services; we have the skills and capabilities to drive the services within our community. Our model of service delivery requires us to employ local indigenous people and build the capacity of the workforce within our community and this is what makes the indigenous community controlled sector so critical to achieving the Closing the Gap targets.

Our model of service delivery doesn’t trade off old imaginings of indigenous incompetence, dysfunction or despair.

New reform” in indigenous social policy will only be realised through new imaginings of and engagement with Aboriginal people, communities and capabilities. Unfortunately the IAS has offered us nothing new in this regard.

Malabam Health Board Aboriginal Corporation (Maningrida) oversees the “GREATS” Youth Services (GYS) which has been hit hard with an 80% cut to its annual $400k budget under the IAS cuts!

Maningrida has not had a youth suicide in the past 3 years, has seen a decrease in youth crime, teen pregnancies and STI rates which can be attributed to the support given by the youth centre to the young people of the community. In addition, the youth centre through its weekly Mooditj program offers disengaged and referred youth the opportunity to learn about sexual health, safe sex, life skills and much more

Media Release Malabam Health Board Aboriginal Corporation

“GREATS” Youth Services

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Another frontline community driven organisation has been hit hard by the recent release of the funding cuts made to Aboriginal community controlled organisations under the Federal Governments Indigenous Advancement Strategy.Malabam Health Board Aboriginal Corporation (Maningrida) oversees the “GREATS” Youth Services (GYS) which has been hit hard with an 80% cut to its annual $400k budget under the IAS cuts!

The Federal government has offered the youth services in Maningrida an annual budget of $80,000 to be involved in a children and schooling program which has little relevance to the extensive suite of services that it has been providing to the community over the past five years ; it currently services a youth population of 1500! Half of the population in Maningrida is under the age of 25 years and it is the biggest community in Arnhem Land with a population of 3500 people and 38 outstations.

GYS is the youth service that operates in Maningrida and offers a suite of activities, workshops, projects and community events and has done so since 2005. GYS currently employs 7 local indigenous staff and has a nightly head count of 75 youth at its drop-ins. GYS hosts a weekly community movie night and attracts an audience of 150 community families to enjoy social connections.

The monthly Friday night discos attract an audience of approx. 250 people and offer an alternative to boredom that can lead to crime, suicide and assaults.

Maningrida has not had a youth suicide in the past 3 years, has seen a decrease in youth crime, teen pregnancies and STI rates which can be attributed to the support given by the youth centre to the young people of the community. In addition, the youth centre through its weekly Mooditj program offers disengaged and referred youth the opportunity to learn about sexual health, safe sex, life skills and much more. GYS offers a weekly back to country bush trip with elders to re-engage the youth with culture! GYS also coordinates the NT police youth diversion program and focuses on restorative justice to keep youth out of jail!

The cuts through the IAS will force the seven local staff out of work and the youth centre to shut its doors 30th June, 2015. The youth centre will not be in a position to contiue its worthwhile service delivery primarily because the $80k on offer from the federal government has no connection with the services that have been on offer for the past nine years.

This will see the 1500 youth in the community without a service and a safe place to be at night. The community of Maningrida is in disbelief at the governments decision to cut its only youth service and are concerned with the impact of not having a reliable youth service beyond June

Youth Manager Noeletta McKenzie said “If GYS is to close I am concerned about the impact on the community and the probable rise in youth suicides and crime rates”, “We as a team at GYS have worked extremely hard to overcome the youth gang mentality and extended our hands out to the youth to ensure that suicide is not a thought”!. “I feel that youth services across the board through the IAS have been overlooked”!. “We are creating strong young leaders and all youth services play a vital role in the early lives of youth, especially in our communities”!

GYS was a community driven project when Mr. Millren (Dec) wrote a letter to the government 10 years ago seeking support as the youth were out of control and had no future! GYS is Mr. Millren’s legacy and it is now under threat, the decision by the government in relation to IAS funding for Maningrida is regrettable and has disheartened the many people who have travelled the journey since the innception of youth services in 2005 and observed the positive change that the service has had on the youth of

 

Having trouble with your IAS application ?

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The Minister Nigel Scullion advises that hotline has been setup to deal with funding inquiries 1 800 088 323