NACCHO political news:Report finds need for more effective leadership across government to tackle critical issues in Aboriginal affairs

 

Rob Oakey

Committee chair Rob Oakeshott MP said the need for more effective leadership across government to tackle critical issues in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs was clear.

A parliamentary committee has recommended a high level review of leadership in Indigenous Affairs

The report, by parliament’s joint Public Accounts and Audit Committee, supports recommendations from the Auditor-General for a ‘refresh’ of the lead agency role for Indigenous affairs, and calls for particular attention to be given to strengthening the authority of the agency to better drive changes across government departments.

DOWNLOAD REPORT HERE

Committee chair Rob Oakeshott MP said the need for more effective leadership across government to tackle critical issues in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs was clear.

“The Government needs a lead agency with authority and a clear mandate to oversee expenditure, monitor outcomes, define priorities and drive actions at whole-of-government level,” Mr Oakeshott said.

“We live in a time where the want to reconcile is high”, he added. “FaHCSIA has made commendable progress in improving coordination between government agencies, but the committee was not convinced that the current arrangements provide FaHCSIA with the authority needed to drive outcomes as effectively as possible.”

The committee’s report also recommended:

  • the development of an explicit whole-of-government strategy for capacity development —both within government and for not-for-profit Indigenous organisations;
  • improvements to the availability of location-based data on Indigenous expenditure and outcomes;
  • an update to be provided on efforts to measure outcomes in ‘priority’ remote service delivery communities; and
  • options to be examined for improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation and involvement in decision-making processes.

The committee came to its conclusions upon reviewing three reports published by the Auditor-General in 2012 focusing on government coordination arrangements for Indigenous programs.

The committee held three public hearings related to its review of the reports, and received written submissions from the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples and the Social Justice Commissioner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs.

An electronic copy of the report can be downloaded

For media comment: please contact Committee Chair, Rob Oakeshott MP, on
(02) 6584 2911.

 For information about the report:

please contact the committee secretariat by telephone (02) 6277 4615, e-mail jcpaa@aph.gov.au,

NACCHO political alert: What does the act of recognition mean for Aboriginal people ?

Mick

Unanimous support key to Indigenous recognition

“It can serve as a vehicle to increase and improve our resilience, self-worth, relationship with the broader Australian community and relationship with governments. Importantly, this recognition will be of great benefit to the Australian nation as a whole in coming to terms with our past in such a positive manner”

Mick Gooda

Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda has urged cross party support for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Recognition Bill 2012, due to be considered in Parliament on Wednesday 13 February.

It is hoped the Bill will pass without opposition on what is also a day of great significance – the 5th anniversary of the national apology to members of the Stolen Generations.

Commissioner Gooda said “the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Recognition Act 2012 would be an important step towards the main goal of constitutional reform. It should also serve as a springboard for further action to prepare the nation for a referendum.”

Commissioner Gooda believes unanimous support for the Act would be a demonstration of goodwill and commitment from all parties to furthering progress towards a referendum to reform the Constitution to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Unanimous bipartisan support is particularly critical given the bill includes a sunset clause of two years at the end of which time this recognition would lapse.

“The great potential of constitutional recognition should not be underestimated. It can serve as a vehicle to increase and improve our resilience, self-worth, relationship with the broader Australian community and relationship with governments. Importantly, this recognition will be of great benefit to the Australian nation as a whole in coming to terms with our past in such a positive manner,” said Commissioner Gooda.

However, constitutional reform must go beyond the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and address provisions of the Constitution which permit, enable or anticipate racial discrimination, said the Commissioner.

“This is not a conversation that is restricted to the political domain. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and organisations, the general public, civil society and business groups all have a crucial role to play in building momentum towards a referendum,” said Commissioner Gooda.

The Social Justice Commissioner has also called on Australians to acknowledge the anniversary and the significance of the apology to the stolen generations 5 years ago.

The apology on February 13 2008 was a recommendation by the Australian Human Rights Commission’s landmark 1997 Bringing Them Home report.

An important step along the journey of reconciliation, the apology was an acknowledgment of the human rights breaches against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children forcibly removed from their families.