Working Group on Indigenous Reform - Progress Status Report - Addressing the Recommendation of the First Six Monthly Report of the Coordinator-General for Remote Indigenous Services



Monday, 19 April 2010

About this report

On 4 December 2009, the Coordinator-General for Remote Indigenous Services (CGRIS) released his first 6 monthly report to the Minister for Families Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.  The report makes 8 recommendations, comprising some 17 separate sub-recommendations, and raises some other issues of importance across the whole of government.

The report was noted at COAG on 7 December 2009.  COAG decided that the Working Group on Indigenous Reform will provide a progress status report to COAG in early 2010 on the recommendations, including action taken to address the recommendations of the CGRIS’s report and any further action that may be required through COAG.

The following report constitutes the progress status report on the CGRIS recommendations and was endorsed by the Working Group on Indigenous Reform on 9 April 2010.

Recommendation 1 - Recognising the role of Local Government

Recommendation 1.1

By mid-2010, COAG should ensure the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Service Delivery clearly states the role of local Government.

Draft Response

Agreed

Summary of action:                     

The parties agree that local governments are playing an important role in the 29 priority communities, and that the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Service Delivery (RSD NP) should indicate the importance of the role of local government.  However, the parties also note that there are differences in approach to local government across jurisdictions and municipal services are not delivered by local governments in all priority locations.  The parties are consulting with State/Northern Territory local government associations, the Australian Local Government Association, and the relevant municipal services and other providers in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands where there is no local government, on an appropriate form of recognition to be afforded by the RSD NP. The parties agree to work with relevant local governments and municipal service providers to ensure that the agreed role of relevant local governments and municipal service providers is stated in Local Implementation Plans for each priority community.

Jurisdiction progress reports:

Queensland:

Local Governments play a key role in community consultation, some service delivery and especially in land reforms.  Mayors of Indigenous Councils are engaged regularly on Indigenous reforms through the Ministerial Indigenous Roundtable, local Negotiation Tables and with development of existing Local Indigenous Partnership Agreements. Local Governments will be engaged in the development, implementation and monitoring of Local Implementation Plans under the RSD NP. This includes non-Indigenous Local Governments, not just the Aboriginal Shire Councils.

New South Wales:

New South Wales supports the recommendation and will work with local government to ensure that local government is engaged in the implementation of the RSD NP in Walgett and Wilcannia. It considers the role of local government could be described in Local Implementation Plans to ensure there is better integration with the implementation of the RSD NP. 

Under the Murdi Paaki Regional Partnership Agreement, which also covers Wilcannia and Walgett, a concerted effort is being made to engage the eight Local Government Areas of the Region.  A Charter of Engagement has been drafted by all parties.  This Charter commits Local Government and the Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly (of which Walgett and Wilcannia are members) to: engaging in the planning and delivery of services; increasing Aboriginal employment; increasing Aboriginal participation in local government and local government sponsored community events; increasing cultural awareness and understanding of Aboriginal culture and heritage in local government; and increasing training and development opportunities for Aboriginal people in local government.  The Charter has already been accepted by several Shires, including Walgett Shire.  We will be working closely with the Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly to ensure all Shires engage in the Charter for an official signing ceremony due to occur between May and July 2010.

South Australia:

There are areas within South Australia that do not fall under any local government authority.  There are also a number of organisations in South Australian remote communities with roles in community governance.  These include Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) and its Executive Board and various community councils.  South Australia also has different mechanisms for delivering municipal services.  South Australia will ensure that these various organisations are consulted and engaged regarding their role in relation to the implementation of the RSD NP.

Northern Territory:

The Territory will facilitate the formal and operational recognition of Northern Territory Shires in all relevant aspects of the RSD NP. The Local Government Association of the Northern Territory is now a member of the Northern Territory Board of Management and a representative of Shire chief executives attend each Board of Management meeting. Shires are directly involved in baseline mapping and Local Implementation Planning in each of the Territory Growth Towns targeted by the RSD NPA.

Western Australia:

Western Australia supports formalising the role of local government in the RSD NP through the Local Implementation Planning process, and notes that it is essential that local government representation is included from the outset. The Western Australian Local Government Association has expressed its desire to be part of the process including formalising arrangements through signing of agreements or memoranda of understanding.

A number of actions have been and are being undertaken to more clearly define the role of local government in the RSD locations specifically, and in remote communities more broadly.  These actions include:

  • The RSD NP Bilateral Implementation Plan in Western Australia commits to the engagement of Local Governments (and other service delivery partners) and the signing of an MOU to clearly establish roles, operational processes and structures for integrated service planning and service delivery.
  • The Department of Indigenous Affairs (DIA) and the Department of Local Government are undertaking a joint project to identify the issues, roles and responsibilities related to the delivery of essential and municipal services in remote communities.  It is expected that one, and possibly two or more, of the RSD locations will be pilot sites for the development of comprehensive Local Government business plans for delivery of services to Indigenous people.
  • The Regional Operations Centre (ROC) has had significant engagement with the four local government areas regarding their roles in the priority locations, including facilitating planning workshops across four Local Government Areas in the Kimberley.

Australian Government:

The Australian Government has consulted with the Australian Local Government Association over the form of recognition of the role of local government which could be included in the RSD NP.  The Australian Local Government Association has advised the Australian Government of its agreement with the following proposed clause which could be included after clause 6 and before Part 1 of the RSD NP: “All parties to the RSD NP agree that local government or other municipal service providers have a critical role in ensuring the effective delivery of the NP in each priority community with the detail of  these service provider commitments under the NP, to be appropriately captured in the Local Implementation Plan for each priority community.”

Expected outcome(s):                 

That the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Service Delivery be amended to clearly indicate the importance of the role of local government or other relevant providers of municipal services in communities where local government does not operate, in the in the 29 priority communities under the RSD NP.

That the role of relevant local government or other relevant municipal service providers be stated in Local Implementation Plans for each priority location.

Implementation date: Amendment of the RSD NP by 30 June 2010; statements in Local Implementation Plans as these plans are agreed.

Recommendation 1.2

Local Implementation Plans developed under the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Service Delivery should be multilateral agreements between all three levels of government and communities.

Draft Response

Agreed

Summary of action:

The parties note that Local Implementation Plans will contain firm commitments to action agreed by communities and all levels of government. The jurisdictional Boards of Management will liaise with relevant local governments or other municipal service providers operating in priority communities to seek their formal agreement to becoming parties to Local Implementation Plans. 

Jurisdiction progress reports:

Queensland:

As noted in relation to Recommendation 1.1, the active engagement of local government in the Local Implementation Plan development process is being progressed.  Queensland has proposed that a "partnership" component of the Local Implementation Plan be signed by Local Government Mayors, or other community leaders for non-discrete communities such as Coen and Mossman Gorge where the respective Local Governments of Cook Shire and Cairns Regional Council will be engaged.

New South Wales:

New South Wales supports this recommendation. As noted in Recommendation 1.1, New South Wales has engaged with Local Government on a broad range of issues aimed at sustaining the engagement and participation of Aboriginal people across Western New South Wales in local government. Biannual forums between the Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly, the eight Local Government Areas and Aboriginal Affairs New South Wales will ensure progress is monitored and that the Local Implementation Plans are multilateral agreements between all levels of Government.

South Australia:

South Australia supports the principle that all three levels of government should be parties to Local Implementation Plans, which are also strongly supported as a means for achieving coordinated strategic planning.   However, the APY Lands are not covered by a local government council. South Australia notes that local governance mechanisms differ across states and territories, and can include the absence of a local government authority. These arrangements will be iterated in the Local Implementation Plans.

Northern Territory:

As noted in relation to Recommendation 1.1, the Northern Territory will facilitate the formal and operational recognition of Northern Territory Shires in all relevant aspects of the RSD NP, including seeking their agreement to become parties to Local Implementation Plans.

Western Australia:

This is already formalised in the RSD NP Bilateral Implementation Plan for Western Australia, which states that Commonwealth, State and Local Governments, Community and other service delivery partners will agree the Local Implementation Plans. 

Expected outcome:                     

That all levels of Government (and where appropriate, other municipal service providers to priority communities) will be parties to Local Implementation Plans.

Implementation date: As Local Implementation Plans are agreed

Recommendation 1.3

Local government in each of the priority locations should, by the end of February 2010, nominate a liaison officer to streamline coordination with Regional Operations Centres and assist in the development of Local Implementation Plans.

Draft Response

Agreed

Summary of action:                     

The Co-conveners of each jurisdictional Board of Management will request relevant local governments or municipal service providers operating in priority communities to nominate liaison officers (where similar positions do not already exist) to assist with the development of Local Implementation Plans, and will be encouraged to work in a coordinated manner with Regional Operation Centres.

However the parties note that the timing of nominations from local government or municipal service providers is a matter for those agencies. The parties are working to achieve nominations of liaison officers where positions are needed by the end of April 2010.

Jurisdiction progress reports:

Queensland:

Action is underway on establishing liaison officer positions where similar positions are not already in place. Queensland notes that Cape York Welfare Reform communities already have strong involvement in local decision making and governance, particularly through Local Program Offices (LPOs) and advisory Local Implementation Committees. Some LPOs have a funded local government representative.

New South Wales:

New South Wales supports the recommendation. As stated above, local government is already involved in these RSD sites through the Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly and this invitation will formalise local government participation in the two RSD sites by inviting the local government shire to nominate a liaison officer to work with the Regional Operation Centre to develop the Local Implementation Plan.

South Australia:

As there is no local government council on the APY Lands, liaison will occur with local community governance structures.

Northern Territory:

This recommendation has been implemented.  In the Northern Territory officers have been nominated in each shire council to perform a liaison officer function.

Western Australia:

The Director-General of the Department of Indigenous Affairs has written to the Kimberley Country Zone inviting them to place an officer in the Kimberley Regional Operation Centre to work as part of a collaborative cross-government approach.  Early discussions demonstrate support for this approach, and arrangements were discussed and progressed at the planning workshop between the Kimberley ROC and the Kimberley Country Zone in February. 

Expected outcome:                     

The relevant local government or municipal service providers operating in priority locations will be encouraged to nominate liaison officers to participate in local implementation planning.

Implementation date: End of April 2010

Recommendation 2 – Government presence in communities

Recommendation 2.1

Local Implementation Plans should reflect Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments and agencies with community service obligations to remote locations plans to increase their footprint over time to ensure that the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Service Delivery communities have access to adequate financial transactional capacity, postal services, licensing and bill paying facilities to support the objective of increasing economic and social participation.

Draft Response

Agreed in-principle

Summary of action:                     

Through the Local Implementation Plans and the Baseline Mapping the parties will look at the existing services and the appropriateness of these services, including identifying innovative practices and better practice examples for improving the access of remote communities to services such as financial transactional services, postal services, telecommunications services, and licensing and bill paying facilities.

Where a need for service improvements is identified (including in areas such as financial transactional capacity, postal services, licensing and bill paying facilities to support the objective of increasing economic and social participation) the parties will liaise with relevant agencies and private sector bodies to develop options for improved services.

The parties note that the input and expectations of local communities will be critical in determining the nature of any service reform. Service reform may include redesigning services as well as increasing service footprints over time, and these issues can be considered in the Local Implementation Plan development process.  

Jurisdiction progress reports:

Queensland:

The implementation of this recommendation will depend on engagement with local communities over key priorities and will be considered as part of the Local Implementation Planning process.  Queensland has experience with implementing transaction based services in remote communities (including the Aboriginal community of Yarrabah) such as Smart Service Queensland and Queensland Government Agent Program. These initiatives could provide a platform for a broader range of transactional services.

South Australia:

Through the baseline mapping process and Local Implementation Plans, South Australia will examine resource needs and explore opportunities for current services to be delivered more effectively. The South Australian government has recently increased its service delivery footprint.  For example, the recently established APY Lands Substance Misuse Facility at Amata provides treatment and rehabilitation services for people on the APY Lands, supplemented by an In-patient Residential service and a Mobile Outreach Service, which responds to referrals from several government and community sources (including Police, Nganampa Health Service, Community Corrections, the Magistrates Court, Rural Mental Health, and the Department of Families and Communities).

Services SA will develop new service provision in Amata and Mimili at PY Ku Centres, where the ROCs are based. These services will include:

  • Renewal of driver’s licences
  • Renewal of motor vehicle registration
  • Birth, deaths and marriage certificates
  • Court fine payments
  • Firearms licence payments.

There will also be provision of a 1800 phone number free call access for general government information.

New South Wales:

New South Wales supports the base line mapping of services and notes that any expansion in services will be considered as part of the Local Implementation Planning process, and will be subject to budgetary considerations, state-wide resource allocation considerations and issues regarding long term sustainability.

Northern Territory:

The Northern Territory  will provide the Coordinator-General for Remote Indigenous Services with information on Northern Territory Government plans to increase direct operations in Northern Territory priority sites and the Northern Territory’s Service Delivery Coordination Unit will work with relevant agencies to increase access to  financial transactional capacity, postal services, licensing and bill paying facilities in all Territory Growth Towns. Northern Territory priority sites. Any increases in services will be implemented in line with the Local Implementation Planning process.

Western Australia:

While it is acknowledged that access to adequate financial transaction capacity and other services identified in the recommendation are important contributors to increasing economic and social participation, the inclusion of these services as priorities in Local Implementation Plans will largely depend on the priorities set by individual communities. There is also the broader issue of defining “adequate services”.  The Western Australian government is in the process of developing a Remote Aboriginal Communities Policy that will provide for the development of service standards to be delivered in remote Aboriginal communities.  This policy will assist in assessing the adequacy of services and the commensurate effort and resources required to meet service standards that may indeed lead to increased footprint of service delivery agencies in the priority communities.

Australian Government:

The Australian Government will bring issues arising from the Local Implementation Planning process and baseline mapping reports to relevant Government Business Enterprises and organisations with whom the Australian government has community service obligations, and will ensure that RSD NP investment and service delivery principles are reflected in Local Implementation Plans, including comparative service delivery levels where appropriate, and considered through the annual monitoring and RSD NP review processes.

Expected outcome:                     

In locations where there are agreed inadequate levels of community services, and subject to any resourcing issues, Local Implementation Plans will include commitments to action to ensure that adequate levels of service are achieved within identified timeframes.

Implementation date: As Local Implementation Plans are developed and agreed with communities.

Recommendation 2.2

State and Territory Governments should commit to providing more visible and responsive policing in National Partnership Agreement on Remote Service Delivery communities including regular publicly available reporting to communities of:

  • minimum local policing levels;
  • the number and nature of daily community patrols; and
  • average response times.

Draft Response

Agreed in-principle

Summary of action:

The parties agree with the principle that the provision of high quality community based policing services is a vital component of community safety.  

The parties are committed to taking a range of actions to ensure that policing services in priority communities are accountable, have appropriate visibility, and are responsive to community needs. 

The parties will provide priority communities with information and reports regarding local policing services, the scope of which will be developed in the context of a broader community safety strategy and will be undertaken in consultation with communities.  Where necessary the provision of information and reports to communities will be addressed in the Local Implementation Planning process.

The parties consider that positive community safety outcomes are strengthened where a strong relationship between police and local communities exists. 

Each community should be able to bring concerns about community safety to local police, including concerns about the visibility and responsiveness of policing services, the sharing of appropriate information about local policing services, and have these concerns addressed in an appropriate and timely manner.

The parties also consider that policing is one aspect of community safety and that a broader approach to community safety involving the whole of government and the community is required.  This broader approach to community safety will be progressed through the Local Implementation Planning process.

Implementation will have regard to work occurring at the national level, including the round-table on Indigenous community safety involving State and Territory Attorneys-General, Indigenous Affairs Ministers, Police Ministers and Commissioners and Indigenous delegates with expertise in this area, as well as the Standing Committee of Attorney’s General.

Jurisdiction progress reports:

Queensland:

This recommendation is consistent with recent Crime and Misconduct Commission "Restoring Order" Report which recommends the Local Implementation Plans address community safety issues.  However, issues arise as to how much detail Local Implementation Plans will be able to cover.  Policing is critical but only one component of a comprehensive community safety approach. Queensland is currently examining strategies (education, health, community capacity and policing) to reduce Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s contact with the criminal justice system and increase community safety.

New South Wales:

New South Wales agrees that the local community should be able to bring concerns about policing directly to police through formal and informal mechanisms.  New South Wales has established Community Safety Precinct Committees in all Local Area Commands to enable community input into policing. Furthermore in each NSW Police Force Local Area Command with a significant indigenous population a Local Area Command Aboriginal Consultative Committee (LACACC) has also been established for formal and ongoing consultation. Both Walgett and Wilcannia have LACACC’s as well as Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers which provide a more immediate capacity for the community to bring concerns about community activities directly to the police. 

New South Wales also strongly supports the development of national proposals around Indigenous community safety, including pursuing the Community Safety National Partnership Agreement.  However, New South Wales considers it is essential that preventative and community building approaches as well as justice based approaches are included in these proposals to ensure a cohesive, well integrated approach to Indigenous community safety. 

As noted at the Indigenous community safety roundtable by all jurisdictions, the approach to community safety issues should be broadened and ensure a proactive rather than a reactive approach.  New South Wales considers a more holistic approach is warranted which brings together all aspects of Indigenous justice such as that exemplified in the National Indigenous Law and Justice Framework developed by the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General.  For example, to meet the recommendation of more visible and responsive policing, rather than more police, New South Wales considers a greater focus could be placed on strengthening relationships between police and the community including:

  • increasing Police attendance at community functions
  • police engagement in youth and Men’s group activities
  • integration of Night Patrol services with youth and policing
  • new domestic violence initiatives e.g. staying home – leaving violence.

South Australia:

Policing, while important, is only one element of a broader approach to ensuring community safety.  A comprehensive approach to community safety includes support from, and access to, other government services.  South Australia is examining opportunities for a broad approach to community safety through the Local Implementation Plan process. 

South Australia Police have developed and continue to conduct Community Safety Committee meetings in all APY Lands communities.

South Australia has already increased its police presence in remote communities and is currently developing criminal justice infrastructure to improve access to justice institutions.

Two new police complexes in the priority communities (Mimili and Amata) are now operating and one further police complex on the APY Lands will be operational shortly (Pukatja).

A new Court and Community Safety Centre will be constructed at Umuwa on the APY Lands by the end of 2010.  The centre will be used for specialised policing on child sex abuse and domestic violence issues and court related services.

SAPOL has advised that the data that can be provided includes:

  • Crime trends
  • Road safety
  • Staffing establishments
  • Special policing initiatives
  • Number of community safety meetings conducted

SA Police  has established 19 permanent police positions on the APY Lands:

  • There are 10 Community Constable positions available in the APY Lands and 2 Police Aboriginal Liaison Officers. These officers are supported by 6 sworn officers and 1 clerical officer at Marla
  • A Project Officer on the Community Safety Committees (12-month posting) is living at Murputja.

Northern Territory:

The Northern Territory Government will provide the Coordinator-General for Remote Indigenous Services with information on Northern Territory Police strategies to ensure priority sites have appropriate information on policing services.  Further the Northern Territory will provide the Coordinator-General for Remote Indigenous Services with an update on strategies to roll-out community-based approaches to policing and community safety.

Western Australia:

The Western Australian Government is committed to the principle of visible and responsive policing and has implemented the policy of a permanent police station facility staffed by resident police officers within a 200 kilometres radius of remote Indigenous communities.  The Western Australian Police in particular has a strong commitment to community safety and community policing principles and will continue to ensure that these are met.  However, it should be noted that the large number of Aboriginal communities/outstations located in the top half of the Dampier Peninsula coupled with the distances and types of access roads, makes it very difficult for police to visit remote Aboriginal communities for set times/periods irrespective of operational policing/community safety requirements and demands.  Western Australian Police could provide information of a historical nature relating to staffing levels, number and nature of patrols and response times directly to these communities as part of the Local Implementation Planning process.  However, the Western Australian Police are unable to provide this information in advance to communities as it is the nature of policing to conduct unscheduled operational activities at times that would not be made public.

This is consistent with the Bilateral Implementation Plan, which commits both Commonwealth and Western Australian Governments, in conjunction with Indigenous leadership,  local government and other service partners to develop and agree operational processes for service planning and delivery including the use of service level standards and the establishment of monitoring, reporting and performance improvement mechanisms.  The Western Australian Government is committed to the delivery of these commitments in the Bilateral Implementation Plan.

Australian Government:

The Australian Government will monitor information on policing services, and the effectiveness of policing services across the priority communities, including alignment of servicing with the service delivery and investment principles contained in the RSD NP.

Implementation is being supported by the Australian Government through the round-table on Indigenous community safety and the Standing Committee of Attorney’s General.

The Round-table meeting, hosted by the Australian Government, was held on 6 November 2009, and involved State and Territory Attorneys-General, Indigenous Affairs Ministers, Police Ministers and Commissioners and Indigenous delegates with expertise in this area.

A range of proposals have been developed following the meeting of the Round-table focussing on:

  • Prioritising Indigenous safety at the national level
  • policing in Indigenous communities;
  • alcohol management and related services;
  • information sharing and integrated service delivery; and
  • supporting victims of family violence.

A Steering Committee is currently developing proposals around each of the areas of focused discussion. The draft proposals will shortly be considered by the Ministerial Council of Police and Emergency Management - Police, Standing Committee of Attorneys-General and Ministerial Council on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs.  The draft proposals include:

  • Governments working with communities to develop, implement and monitor holistic community safety plans that involve community members and government and non-government agencies.
  • Implementation of an effective approach for policing Indigenous communities that includes law enforcement, community engagement and support as required from key services, including child protection, health, employment, housing, education, justice and other community services, and
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural awareness and cultural capability training for law enforcement and other justice officers.

The Australian Government will also ensure that actions relevant to policing this recommendation will be considered by the Standing Committee of Attorney’s General in developing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Safe Communities Strategy, and when the Strategy is finalised.  It is intended that the finalised strategy will become a schedule to the National Indigenous Reform Agreement.

Expected outcome:         

Appropriate levels of policing services will be addressed in conjunction with each community as part of the Local Implementation Planning process within the broader context of community safety. 

Nationally, proposals for addressing community safety and policing issues will be considered by relevant Ministers.

Implementation date:

Consistent with the timing of Local Implementation Planning process in each RSD priority location.

Ministers are expected to consider proposals for community safety and policing issues in April/May 2010.

Recommendation 2.3

The Department of Human Services should by early 2010, examine ways to improve Centrelink transactional and case management services in National Partnership Agreement on Remote Service Delivery communities.

Draft Response 

Agreed

Summary of Action

Under the Service Delivery Reform agenda announced by the Minister for Human Services on 16 December 2009, the Commonwealth will provide:

  • improved services for people living in remote areas or those who are socially isolated;
  • coordinated services for those most in need of intensive support; and
  • convenient services through access to more services in one physical location, and through single phone and online access points.

The reform agenda is in its initial phase.  The Commonwealth Human Services Portfolio is currently planning for implementation in collaboration with Commonwealth policy departments and other relevant agencies.  A priority will be bringing services directly to Indigenous communities and rural and remote Australia through Mobile Offices and visiting services. 

Care will be taken to:

  • manage alignment with existing Cape York Welfare Reform processes including case management currently overseen by the Family Responsibilities Commission; and
  • involve communities in the design and roll-out of any service reforms in priority communities.

Expected outcome:                     

Improvements in Centrelink transactional and case management services in priority communities, consistent Local Implementation Planning processes

Implementation date: On-going

Recommendation 3 – Implementation of remote service delivery

Recommendation 3.1

By mid-2010, the Commonwealth State and Territory governments should each examine the use of more flexible funding approaches which aggregate departmental funding into a master contract with each National Partnership Agreement on Remote Service Delivery community to:

  • align service delivery and provide some flexibility to modify inputs to help achieve the Closing the Gap outcomes; and
  • streamline reporting and reduce red tape.

Draft Response

Agreed in-principle

Summary of action:

Flexible funding can support a whole-of-government approach to service delivery in Indigenous communities that is streamlined, coordinated and community-oriented.  There are a range of flexible funding and contract reform initiatives that are already in place or are currently being implemented. The parties will work together to further explore models for flexible funding.  The parties will also examine opportunities and options appropriate to each jurisdiction to better align service delivery, streamline reporting and reduce red tape, whilst maintaining accountability and quality of services. Aggregating funding into a ‘master contract’ is an option that can be considered as part of this process.

Jurisdiction progress reports:

Queensland:

The principle of pooled funding is already operating in the Cape York Welfare Reform communities through a service procurement fund using flexible Queensland Government funds to address agreed priorities.  It has also been used across State Government agencies through the Aurukun Local Partnerships Project.  Queensland is keen to continue this approach in other RSD priority communities, in partnership with the Commonwealth.

New South Wales:

New South Wales agrees that there is value in examining options for alternative funding arrangements.  Particular approaches cannot be agreed at this stage as it is unclear how aggregated departmental funding would operate on the ground in the priority communities in New South Wales which have significant  Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal populations.

South Australia:

South Australia is committed to exploring opportunities to promote funding flexibility.  For example, the Department for Families and Communities is currently identifying ways to improve its grant management processes to streamline agreements with service providers, administrative and reporting requirements. 

More broadly, further discussion within South Australian government on how best to apply funding will occur within the context of Local Implementation Plans and in accordance with identified priorities.

Northern Territory:

The Northern Territory’s Service Delivery Coordination Unit will work with relevant Northern Territory Government agencies and the Northern Territory Coordinator-General for Remote Services in examining options for simplifying funding through RSD site-specific contractual arrangements.

Western Australia:

Western Australia supports the principle of flexible funding approaches and welcomes the opportunity to discuss and examine with the Commonwealth and other stakeholders appropriate funding models that can be applied in the Western Australian priority communities.

The Single Government Interface concept, as proposed by Western Australia, includes as an essential element, the development of innovative funding mechanisms to drive the reform process.  In order to make services more responsive to client needs and provide incentives for “joined-up” Government, alternatives to traditional funding mechanisms needs to be developed.  Reformed funding mechanisms underpin the role of the single government interface in making the policy, program development, delivery, review, and performance improvement process more effective in achieving the closing the gap targets.

Western Australia’s preference is to explore the range of possible flexible funding arrangements and discuss these with the appropriate stakeholders to arrive at the best fit funding model/s for Western Australia.

Australian Government:

The Australian Government has already streamlined head contracting with schedules for some Indigenous specific projects, is establishing a new Remote Service Delivery Flexible Funding Pool, and is examining the use of more flexible funding approaches in priority communities. The Australian Government will share best practice approaches to streamlined funding across jurisdictions, with a view to developing a range of models for flexible funding.

Expected outcome:                     

Identification of opportunities, including innovative contracting arrangements, for promoting funding flexibility, aligning service delivery, streamline reporting and reducing red tape.

Implementation date: Progress report of an inter-jurisdictional working group on options for flexible funding approaches in RSD communities to be prepared by 30 September 2010 and subsequently provided to COAG for consideration. This report will be developed by the inter-jurisdictional working group which is being formed to address recommendation 4.1 (see pages 25-27 below).

Recommendation 3.2

In conjunction with Local Implementation Planning and by no later than mid-2010, Commonwealth, State and Territory governments should ensure that funding arrangements under the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Service Delivery provide each community with adequate support for ongoing governance and leadership training. These arrangements should recognise the different circumstances of individual communities and provide for flexibility in prioritising funding for governance and training across the Remote Service Delivery communities.

Draft Response

Agreed

Summary of action:         

The National Partnership Agreement on Remote Service Delivery includes $201.8 million for the reform of all levels of governance, of which $67.7 million is for building community governance and leadership capacity. Tailored and flexible training packages are being developed in consultation with priority communities, and where an ongoing need for leadership and governance support is identified, this will be incorporated into Local Implementation Plans (noting that community needs around governance and leadership training are likely to be for the medium to long-term and will change over time). Indigenous Engagement Officers, supported by locally based government business managers, have or are being appointed for each priority community to identify and support governance arrangements already in place in communities, and provide informal “experiential” learning and development in a range of skills areas including governance and leadership.

Jurisdiction progress reports:

Queensland:

There is significant effort in relation to governance and leadership already underway in a number of Queensland communities.  For instance, the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership already runs significant Leadership Academy programs in the four Cape York Welfare Reform communities. The Community Governance Improvement Strategy has been helping help Indigenous councils achieve sustainable, good governance to enable effective service delivery.  Linkages with these existing programs and additional investment for governance and leadership will be managed through each Local Implementation Plan.

New South Wales:

Significant governance and leadership effort is already underway in New South Wales. Examples of current effort include:

  • Through the Murdi Paaki Regional Partnership Agreement jointly funded by the Commonwealth and the New South Wales Governments. The Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly (which comprises of the Chairs of the 16 Community Working Parties(CWP’s) in the region, including Walgett and Wilcannia) is funded to provide regional governance and leadership training to Community Working Party Chairs, community members and young leaders, including in Wilcannia and Walgett.
  • The Commonwealth Government recently funded the first round of the Community Working Party Chairs governance workshops. The Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly will be receiving additional funds through FaHCSIA to support participation in RSD workshops and planning. This funding also supports governance training, which will also be available to executives and members within the Regional Assembly.  
  • New South Wales RSD communities are also supported by the Two Ways Together Partnership Community Project Officers who work directly with the Community Working Parties to strengthen governance, increase engagement between Aboriginal communities and the three tiers of government.
  • The RSD in both Walgett and Wilcannia are strongly led by the Community Working Parties.  Both Community Working Parties support the implementation of programs in their community providing leadership and guidance to service providers.
  • It should be noted, Community Working Parties have been in existence in the Murdi Paaki Region since the late 1980’s, with Wilcannia CWP being the first CWP to commence community governance work.

South Australia:

Significant governance and capacity-building programs have already been provided in the APY Lands. New investment will be included in the Local Implementation Plans. Examples of current initiatives on the APY Lands include:

  • Building Strong Corporations workshops designed specifically for members of remote Aboriginal communities.
  • Governance reform training in Mimili, Pukatja and Indulkana.
  • The Capacity Building Program in Amata, Fregon, Pipalyatjara, Kalka, Nyapari, and Kanpi.
  • The development of training materials and an offer of Governance Training for newly elected APY Executive Board members.

Consistent with the provisions of the RSD NPA the South Australian government has allocated funding for the continuation of governance and capacity-building programs.

Northern Territory:

The Northern Territory RSD Board of Management recently endorsed an approach to governance and leadership that will see the Regional Operations Centre (ROC) identify corporate governance; community governance and individual leadership development training requirements in each RSD site and the most appropriate method of delivery in each case. This approach will be supported by a partnership across all three tiers of government to determine how existing governance and leadership resources can be aligned to meet the needs identified by the ROC and delivered in time to support the Local Implementation Plans (LIP) process.  Further, it is anticipated that each of the fifteen LIPs in the Northern Territory will include an agreed approach to ongoing place-based governance and leadership development.

Western Australia:

Consistent with the provisions of the RSD NP, the Western Australian government has allocated total funding $2.1 million for building community governance capacity in Western Australian RSD communities over the term of the Agreement.  This funding allocation, already included in the Department of Indigenous Affairs budget forward estimates, constitutes the State’s 1/3 share to complement the 2/3 funding share of the Commonwealth.

The following actions are now being undertaken to ensure the effective application of these funds to support specific governance and leadership needs in the RSD communities:

  • The Kimberley Regional Operations Centre is currently preparing a comprehensive matrix of governance and leadership development and training options, and will include a range of skills development, personal and professional development options available to communities.  It is also reviewing options for training, support, guidance and capacity development that can be accessed through the academic, not for profit, philanthropic and non-government organisation sectors.
  • A comprehensive package is being prepared for the delivery of mediation, governance, leadership and other skills training.  As part of this, funding has already been allocated to the Kimberley Aboriginal Law & Culture Centre (KALACC) by the Commonwealth and the State to ensure the ongoing support of cultural governance across the Kimberley, and specifically in relation to planning related to the RSD NP.

Australian Government:

The Australian Government has consulted Regional Operations Centres on local community governance and leadership needs, and is making funding available to Regional Operations Centres to deliver tailored training packages, and where the need has been identified, is providing targeted leadership training support through the Indigenous Leadership Program of the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.  This investment is being considered with investment from the relevant States and the Northern Territory. Planning to allocate funding for delivery of leadership training in the current financial year is well underway. Planning for 2010-11 will be directed through the outcomes identified in the Local Implementation Plans. The Australian Government has also facilitated national Indigenous leadership workshops involving Indigenous leaders from the priority communities between August 2009 and February 2010.

Expected outcome:                     

Tailored and flexible support for leadership and governance to be incorporated into Local Implementation Plans.

Implementation date: Leadership capacity building has commenced across priority communities and will continue to be tailored to meet needs into the future as Local Implementation Plans are developed.

Recommendation 3.3

The arrangements under recommendation 3.2 should also include providing Regional Operations Centres and Government Business Managers with specialist support in developing tailored governance and leadership training packages for communities.

Draft Response

Agreed

Summary of action:                     

Tailored leadership and governance training packages will be developed as part of the Local Implementation Planning process.  The support needs of Regional Operations Centres and Government Business Managers will be addressed concurrently with Local Implementation Planning, and where required, the assistance of training consultants will be sought in developing and implementing training packages. As part of the planning process, where governance training programs are developed and delivered, opportunities will be explored for developing partnerships with community organisations, including community-controlled service providers, non-government service providers and community governance organisations.

Expected outcome:

Specialist support needs of Regional Operations Centres and Government Business Managers will be addressed concurrently with the Local Implementation Planning process.

Implementation date: As the Local Implementation Plans are developed.

Recommendation 3.4

Local Implementation Plans should include agreement of all parties to community governance and leadership improvements, and the ongoing funding and support that will be required to meet these outcomes.

Draft Response

Agreed

Summary of action:                     

Community leadership and governance improvements will be addressed in Local Implementation Plans agreed with local communities.  Where there is ongoing funding and support required to meet agreed community needs, these will be identified in Local Implementation Plans. The Local Implementation Plans provide an opportunity to map out funding opportunities with communities to provide an holistic approach to improving community governance and leadership, including for instance youth leadership training and service delivery training for local service providers.

Expected outcome:

Community leadership and governance improvements will be identified in Local Implementation Plans.

Implementation date: As Local Implementation Plans are developed.

Recommendation 3.5

That COAG restate its commitment that priority should be given to the locations identified in the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Service Delivery when implementing all relevant COAG National Partnerships.

Draft Response

Agreed in-principle

Summary of action:                     

Parties will ensure that the needs of the priority communities will be given active consideration for funding in National Partnership Agreements relevant to remote communities.  The Working Group on Indigenous Reform would support COAG restating its commitment that the locations identified in the RSD NP are a priority and that these will be given active consideration when implementing relevant COAG National Partnerships.

Expected outcome:                     

COAG considers restating its commitment that the locations identified in the RSD NP are a priority and that these will be given active consideration when implementing COAG National Partnerships relevant to remote communities.

Implementation date: COAG considers restating its commitment by 30 June 2010. 

Recommendation 3.6

Commonwealth, State and Territory government education departments should consider creating liaison officer positions, establishing surge teams or out-posting officers to Regional Operations Centres to assist Government Business Managers to assist with Local Implementation Planning and coordinate investments to develop successful education pathways from early childhood through to post school training and employment tailored to the needs of individual communities.

Draft Response

Agreed in-principle

Summary of action:                     

The parties are committed to effective whole of government service delivery arrangements, and agree to ensure that appropriately skilled and empowered staff are available as needed to assist the Regional Operations Centres (ROCs) and Government Business Managers (GBMs) to achieve the objectives and priorities of government.

However, effective place-based service delivery is not always dependent on specific positions, structures or co-location. The place-based approach will encourage agencies to build relationships which enable them to work together to achieve outcomes which would not be possible through a single agency.

The parties agree to look for options to further enhance engagement in the work of ROCs and GBMs, which may include creating specific positions, on a case by case basis.

Jurisdiction responses:

Queensland:

Specific arrangements for the six Queensland priority communities will be considered during community engagement and as Local Implementation Plans are progressed, taking account of the needs in each community. In the four Cape York priority communities, there are already significant support staff in place in the four Cape York Welfare Reform Local Program Offices, representing government, community and the non-government partner – Cape York Institute – which are progressing the issues raised by the Coordinator-General. 

New South Wales:

Schools in New South Wales receive support to ensure that the learning needs of Aboriginal students are tailored to their needs and the needs of individual communities.  Each school region (including those servicing Walgett and Wilcannia) has a School Education Director with responsibility for Aboriginal education. The team includes the Leader Equity Programs (Distance Education and Aboriginal Education), a Quality Teaching Indigenous Engagement Consultant, an Aboriginal Education Consultant, Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers and Aboriginal Liaison Officers. There are also school based support positions such as Aboriginal Education Officers and Student Learning Support Officers (Aboriginal Education).

Any consideration of the need for further specialist education officer positions and ‘response teams’ in New South Wales will be in the context of these existing dedicated Aboriginal education resources.

South Australia:

Specific cross-agency teams are a useful instrument for achieving an immediate impact in remote communities, particularly when supported by local or peak Aboriginal organisations.

South Australia has created two Regional Coordinator positions on the APY Lands. 

Current state government initiatives reflect a focus on ensuring that responses are tailored to the needs of individual communities.  For example, APY TAFE (Department of Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology) provides accredited training for Anangu across the APY Lands, through a staffing model that provides out-posted officers (including in Amata and Mimili) as well as visiting lecturers.

Anangu Education is the service provision unit within the Aboriginal Lands District, of the Department of Education and Children’s Services, that provides education services for communities situated within the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, the Maralinga Tjarutja Lands and the Yalata Lands.

Over a number of years, there has been a steadily developing trend for Anangu to seek greater involvement in school issues and policy / curriculum directions.

In line with a request from Anangu people and with the Department of Education, and Children’s Services (DECS) policy on community involvement in schools, this movement was formalised for the APY Lands in an agreement between the Minister of Education, Anangu Education and the Pitjantjatjara/Yankunytjatjara Education Committee (PYEC), giving PYEC policy and operational control of education on the APY Lands.

Individual communities and their governing councils have a strong role to play in decisions associated with the education of their children. It is part of the responsibility of school principals and all staff to ensure that this link between school and community is maintained and developed so that genuine empowerment of the community in matters relating to education and school occurs.

Each community on the APY Lands also has representatives who serve on the PYEC. This body is a sub-committee of Anangu Pitjantjatjara and gives direction to Anangu Education. PYEC meets regularly to make determinations related to policy and operational matters associated with education across the Lands.

Northern Territory:

The Northern Territory Department of Education and Training already outposts a senior officer in the Service Delivery Coordination Unit, which is physically located in the Regional Operations Centre and provides support to Government Business Managers.  Further, the Territory is establishing Local Implementation Teams for each Territory Growth Town including all RSD sites that will, among other things, develop education pathways through to post school training and employment. This work is supported by a cross-jurisdictional RSD Employment, Training and Economic Development Working Group, which reports to the Board of Management.

Western Australia:

Western Australia supports the development of successful education and training pathways tailored to the needs of individual communities.  Work will be undertaken with the Education Department in terms of developing location specific strategies to improve outcomes in early childhood through to post school training as measured by the NIRA indicators.

Mechanisms are in place at the State and regional levels to ensure that education and training agencies are participating in the development of Local Implementation Plans.  A number of options will be considered to ensure that Commonwealth and State education departments are actively involved.  This may include the use of surge teams or out-posting officers to the Regional Operations Centre.

The Kimberley Regional Operations Centre has already progressed discussions regarding temporary secondment of “content experts” from relevant line agencies during the development of Local Implementation Plans.

The Kimberley Interagency Working Group, which draws membership from the three tiers of Government and includes representation from the Department of Education:

  • is involved in the development of Local Implementation Plans;
  • coordinates activity and investment in priority locations; and
  • establishes working groups to resolve any blockages and challenges identified.

Australian Government:

The Australian Government is seeking to support and enhance the engagement of ROCs and GBMs in relation to education, training and employment issues.  The Australian Government’s Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) has established:

a liaison officer in the Dubbo Regional Office to be the liaison officer to assist in Local Implementation Planning for Walgett and Wilcannia; and
a senior position officer in within its Northern Territory State Office to engage with the ROC Liaison Officer and  NT priority communities.

Arrangements are also in place to facilitate intensive engagement in key Indigenous place based reforms through the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER), the Cape York Welfare Reform Trials and in the Kimberley region. In each of these locations DEEWR has sought to implement appropriate arrangements to address emerging issues and priorities. This has included:

  • in the Kimberley providing a senior officer to work directly with key stakeholders to drive better Indigenous education and employment outcomes in that region; and
  • in Cape York, in response to the complexity associated with the education elements of the Cape York Welfare Reform Trials, providing dedicated resources at the Executive Level in DEEWR’s Queensland State Office and Cairns Regional Office to facilitate day to day engagement for the term of these trials. 

Additional options such as ‘hot desk’ arrangements within ROCs and the provision of experienced staff to support location specific activity on an as needs basis are currently being considered. DEEWR is also enhancing its place-based approaches through its program design and service delivery.

Expected outcome:                     

Opportunities will be taken to further enhance engagement in the work of ROCs and GBMs (which could include the creation of liaison officer or other specified positions where appropriate).

Implementation date: On-going

Recommendation 4 – Construction of Infrastructure

Recommendation 4.1

That the Commonwealth Departments of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government; and Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, in consultation with relevant State and Territory departments, investigate the feasibility of a single, whole of government contracting entity to plan and manage construction of community facilities in remote locations, with a scoping paper be presented for consideration by COAG in the second half of 2010.

Draft Response

Agreed in-part

Summary of action:                      

The parties agree on the importance of improving the planning and management of construction of community facilities in remote locations. The parties note the significant issues raised in the case studies at page 105 of the Coordinator General for Remote Indigenous Services report concerning delays in small scale infrastructure construction.  The parties consider that there is a range of potential options for improving planning and management of construction in communities that are worth considering, including the option identified in the recommendation of establishing a single whole of government entity. The parties agree to investigate and develop a range of options for more effective planning and streamlining of infrastructure investment. The parties will prepare a report for the consideration of COAG on these options. Concurrently the parties agree to look at more structured and cooperative local planning for investment. 

Jurisdiction progress reports:

Queensland:

In Queensland, the Remote Indigenous Land and Infrastructure Program Office, in Cairns, is undertaking asset and infrastructure mapping and development of a Land Administration Program.  The objective is to not only address land tenure issues and improve asset management and infrastructure development, but also provide a central and single record of community priorities as a basis for improved procurement strategies.  Any national proposal would need to be aligned with existing planning reforms in the remote Indigenous communities.

New South Wales:

New South Wales agrees that it is important to ensure that construction of facilities is co-ordinated and options to ensure this occurs should be explored. A whole of Government contracting entity would be one option to consider.

Any new models that might be adopted would need to take into account adequate local governance arrangements, local employment and local training and capacity building in keeping with the principles behind the RSD model.  South Australia:

South Australia acknowledges the value of a whole of government approach to coordinated planning.  Issues related to the planning and management of construction of community facilities in remote locations are receiving active consideration within the South Australian government. 

Northern Territory:

The Northern Territory’s Service Delivery Coordination Unit will work ensure that relevant Northern Territory Government agencies participate in investigating the options for improving the planning and management of construction of community facilities in remote locations.

Western Australia:

Western Australia supports this recommendation in principle and welcomes the opportunity to work with the Commonwealth to investigate effective models and how these can be implemented.  Any unified procurement system will require appropriate governance structures that meets requirements without introducing unmanageable administrative burden and that supports devolved and localised decision making. 

Western Australia particularly supports opportunities to increase Indigenous employment and training opportunities and recognises the need for a flexible approach to procurement to maximise local benefit.  As part of the Indigenous Employment Participation National Partnership, Western Australia is reviewing current procurement practices to maximise Indigenous employment outcomes. 

It should be noted that Western Australia has in place several innovative procurement options that will impact on the priority communities.  These procurement practices aim to maximize Indigenous employment outcomes and are to be trialled through the construction contracts of the early-start National Partnerships for the East Kimberley Development Package (EKDP) and Remote Indigenous Housing.  These projects will be evaluated for critical success factors, and will inform the development of guidelines to provide direction across government.

As part of the implementation of the EKDP National Partnership, Western Australia is looking at the best way contracts can be both bundled, and divided to provide maximum opportunities for real Indigenous employment and for involvement and development of Indigenous enterprises, while meeting timelines.  Western Australia has utilised the Industry Training Unit Program, Western Australia Department of Treasury and Finance, to ensure continuing employment opportunities for apprentices/trainees beyond the expected two-year build period of the EKDP National Partnership package.  Ways to provide ongoing opportunities for employment into other projects occurring in the locality or the region are also being considered.

Australian Government:

The Australian Government will chair an inter-jurisdictional working group on infrastructure.  The working group will be chaired by the Department of Families Housing Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and will include representatives of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government.  The first meeting of the working group is scheduled to take place in April 2010. The terms of reference for this working will include the preparation of a report on the potential options for improving planning and management of construction in the priority communities.

Expected outcome:                      

More effective arrangements to support government investment in community facilities in remote locations. 

Implementation date:

Progress report of an inter-jurisdictional working group on options for more effective planning and management of construction and infrastructure investments in RSD communities to be prepared by September 2010 and subsequently provided to COAG for consideration.

Recommendation 5 – APY Lands

Recommendation 5.1

That the South Australian Government leads immediate action to develop an effective platform, including certainty of access to government-funded service providers to ensure the delivery of services to Anangu.

Draft Response

Agreed

Summary of action:                     

There are a number of impediments to effective service delivery in the APY Lands.  Lack of clarity regarding powers and functions under the APY Land Rights Act have resulted in uncertainty of access for public servants and service providers to the APY Lands and to assets necessary for service delivery.  This is impeding delivery of vital services and must be resolved by all parties if outcomes for Anangu are to improve. 

The South Australian Government is working with the APY Executive to ensure that land tenure and leasing arrangements provide for an effective platform for the delivery of services to Anangu people.

Expected outcome:

The South Australian Governments will continue to put in place formal arrangements to resolve land tenure and access issues for the APY lands.        

Implementation date: On-going  

Recommendation 6 – Land tenure in Western Australia

Recommendation 6.1

That the Western Australian Government recommits to the resolution of tenure issues as a priority and provides a timeframe for action to ensure new housing is delivered to communities in the greatest need.

Draft Response

Agreed

Summary of action:                     

The Aboriginal Housing Legislation Amendment Bill 2009 has been introduced in the Western Australian Parliament and is expected to be operational by July 2010.

The legislation will provide amendments mostly to the Housing Act to enable the Housing Authority to manage housing on Aboriginal Lands Trust (ALT) and Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority (AAPA) land, as well as on non-ALT or AAPA land in which an Aboriginal corporation holds an interest, while ensuring minimal effects on native title rights or ownership.

The key feature of the legislation is the operation of Housing Management Agreements (HMAs):

  • On unleased ALT or AAPA land, the Housing Authority will enter into an HMA with the ALT or AAPA
  • On leased ALT or AAPA land or land held by an Aboriginal corporation, the Housing Authority will enter into an HMA with the Aboriginal corporation.
  • The HMAs gives the Housing Authority (on behalf of the Aboriginal entity) the control and management of the letting and leasing of the housing on nominated lots on the community layout plan.
  • HMAs are voluntary and negotiated on a case by case basis. 

The legislation will also amend the Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority Act 1972 through the insertion of a new section, which confirms that the AAPA and the ALT have always had the power to lease land proclaimed as reserves.  This will remove any perceived ambiguity in interpreting the AAPA Act.

Amendments to the Native Title Act 1993 have also been introduced in the Commonwealth Parliament to provide procedural rights for native title parties before public housing and certain public facilities can be constructed. 

Expected outcome:                     

Appropriate secure tenure arrangements in place prior to the commencement of scheduled capital works.

Implementation date: Enabling legislation enacted by July 2010, pending passage of legislation through both houses of Parliament.

Recommendation 7 – Education in

Recommendation 7.1

That the Queensland and Commonwealth Governments commit to urgently examine the Cape York Institute’s Academy proposal and what elements of the proposal might be adopted immediately to build on existing efforts to lift educational outcomes in Queensland priority locations.

Draft Response

Completed

Summary of action:                     

On 24 December 2009 the Queensland Government and Cape York Partnerships signed an agreement to implement the Cape York Aboriginal Australian Academy in the communities of Coen and Aurukun.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) outlining key roles/responsibilities and deliverables (‘class, club and culture’) has been signed between Cape York Partnerships and Queensland Department of Education and Training.  The class component commenced as teachers are being trained in the specific teaching approach.  A project implementation plan has been designed and practical implementation underway in Aurukun and Coen communities. Under the MoU between Cape York Partnerships and the Queensland Government up to $7.72 million over three years has been earmarked for the Academy under the Low Socio-Economic Schools National Partnership Agreement. Funding for the National Partnership Agreement has been provided by the Australian Government to state and territory governments.

Implementation date: Completed on 24 December 2009, and practical implementation under-way

Recommendation 8 – Governance in the Northern Territory and New South Wales

Recommendation 8.1

That the Northern Territory and New South Wales Governments ensure that in implementing recommendations 3.2 - 3.4, care is taken to align these activities with jurisdictional activity:

  • in the Northern Territory, this should include the government working with local shires to accelerate the roll out of Local Area Boards in the priority communities and ensuring they are properly resourced, informed and effective in advising on decisions associated with local government matters in these communities; and
  • in New South Wales, that assistance is consistent with its own Partnership Community Governance Framework and the Regional Partnership Agreement for the Murdi Paaki region.

Draft Response

Agreed

Summary of action:                     

Northern Territory:

Currently 13 of the 15 priority communities have Local Boards.  The three levels of government in the NT will continue working together to support capacity building, not only of Local Board members but of elected councillors under the recently reformed local government framework. The parties are working together to address these issues including an evaluation of gaps in local governance and conducting a skills audit of elected and Local Board members to identify the need for governance training and support.

The Northern Territory notes however, that many service delivery issues are not directly related to shires (e.g. Police; Health; Education) and many communities have a diverse range of governance entities (e.g. Community Safety Committees; Health Boards; School Councils) and therefore Local Boards are not the only consultative interface in many remote towns.  To this end, the Northern Territory Government is working with a range of stakeholders to improve coordination of all governance and leadership programs in each Territory Growth Town and in so doing build the overall level of ‘community governance’ capacity.

New South Wales:

New South Wales supports the alignment of the Two Ways Together Partnership Community Governance Framework and the Regional Partnership Agreement for the Murdi Paaki region with the implementation of recommendations 3.2 - 3.4 concerning governance and leadership training.

The Regional Partnership Agreement (RPA) for the Murdi Paaki Region was developed after the end of the COAG trial.  The RPA continues support for Aboriginal Community Working Parties, established in New South Wales since the late 1980’s in each of the 16 RPA communities, which include Wilcannia and Walgett. The parties, and the Wilcannia and Walgett communities, have agreed that the existing Aboriginal Community Working Parties will be used as the key interface or conduit to each community for the purpose of progressing the RSD NP.

The Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly has been briefed about the RSD NP and is supportive of this approach.  FaHCSIA in NSW hosted a workshop with the Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly Chair and NSW Aboriginal Affairs on 13 January 2010 and one of the outcomes was to agree to negotiate a new schedule to the RPA that provides for the implementation of the RSD in the Murdi Paaki region.    

Expected outcome:                     

Alignment of the implementation of recommendations 3.2-3.4 with jurisdictional activity

Implementation date: On-going

Attachment B – Response to other significant issues identified in the CGRIS Report

Issue 1 - Channelling local delivery through the Regional Operations Centre

“Mainstream agencies need to embrace the whole of government approach, including considering the outposting of staff to Regional Operations Centres for periods of time to assist Government Business Managers and Regional Operations Centres to coordinate new investment in a way that supports governments’ Closing the Gap targets.” (pg 2 of report)

Draft Response

Overall Comment:

The parties fully support the whole of government approach, and through the jurisdictional Boards of Management will investigate further options for supporting Regional Operations Centres.  Specific options, such as out-posting of staff, will be considered by relevant agencies on a case-by-case basis. 

Jurisdiction comments:

Queensland:

Regional Operations Centres are engaging content experts as needed, and, through the regional governance mechanisms operating in Cairns and Townsville, have strong input by Senior Queensland Government staff.

New South Wales:

The New South Wales Regional Operations Centre has a full functioning State and Commonwealth team that undertakes regular weekly meetings to facilitate working in a whole of government manner.  Any further ‘out posting’ would be considered by relevant agencies on a case by case basis.

Aboriginal Affairs New South Wales continues to engage the Western Regional Managers Group in the Local Implementation Plan. 

The Chairs of the Justice and Human Services and the Economic Development and Environment Clusters are invited to monthly Regional Operations Centre meetings to assist with current and new initiatives.

Aboriginal Affairs New South Wales continues to engage the Western Regional Managers Group in the Local Implementation Plan.  The Western Regional Managers Chairs of the Human Services and Justice Cluster and the Economic Development and Environment Cluster are now invited to weekly ROC meetings. This has further enhanced the integrated whole of government service delivery approach.

South Australia:

South Australia supports a whole of government approach in principle.  It is particularly important that Regional Operations Centres present as a genuine partnership between the Commonwealth and state and territory governments. There are two state government officials based in the Regional Operations Centre.

Northern Territory:

Key Northern Territory Government agencies have outposted staff to the Northern Territory Service Delivery Coordination Unit (SDCU) to assist with the implementation of the RSD NPA.  SDCU and the Regional Operations Centre are co-located.

Western Australia:

The Kimberley Regional Operations Centre has already progressed discussions regarding temporary secondment of “content experts” from relevant line agencies during the development of Local Implementation Plans.

  • The Kimberley Interagency Working Group, which draws membership from the three tiers of Government:
  • supports the development of Local Implementation Plans;
  • coordinates activity and investment in priority locations; and
  • establishes working groups to resolve any blockages and challenges identified.

Issue 2 - Delivery of End Stage Renal Disease Services

“I do not want to constrain discussion between governments on the exact nature of measures that may be required to resolve the complex problem of treatment of renal disease in remote Aboriginal communities but I urge action on two key fronts:

  • immediate consideration of strategies to boost renal services in Alice Springs including for patients travelling from the desert regions in nearby Western Australia and South Australia; and
  • further consideration by State and Territory Governments in partnership with the Commonwealth of the costs (including patient and family movements) and benefits of providing care in priority communities and the merits of co-locating renal services with primary health clinics in these locations” (pgs 77-78 of report).

Draft Response

Overall Comment:           

The Australian, Northern Territory, South Australian and Western Australian Governments are working together to plan for the short and long term management of renal patients from cross-border regions, and this includes the negotiation of a Tri-State Agreement between the Northern Territory, South Australian and Western Australian Governments for the short and long-term management of renal patients from those jurisdictions.

The Tri-State Agreement is in the final stages of negotiation and will address the concerns raised by the Coordinator General for Remote Indigenous Services regarding renal services in Alice Springs.

The Tri-State Agreement will include the geographical boundaries and patient flow for the treatment of cross-border patients.  Avenues to support people to have treatment closer to home are also being investigated.

The Tri-State Agreement grew out of discussions on the provision of renal services to patients from Central Australia on 4 December 2009 between representatives of the Northern Territory, South Australian and Western Australian Governments, and representatives from Nganampa Health Council (South Australia) and Ngaanyatjarra Health Service (Western Australia).  Outcomes of this meeting included:

  • Agreement on additional resources, cross-border coordination and data sharing to monitor and manage chronic disease in the border regions.
  • A jointly agreed model of care including exploration of alternative service models, and recognition of the higher costs of service delivery in remote locations.
  • Agreement between the Western Australian and Northern Territory Governments on the provision of dialysis services based on natural patient flows:
    • Patients from Warburton and to the west of Warburton to be serviced from Western Australia
    • Patients from the north and east of Warburton to be serviced from Alice Springs (subject to patient choice).

The parties support the co-location of self-care renal dialysis services in remote communities with local health services, where appropriate.  However, the parties note there are significant safety and logistical issues associated with the provision of dialysis services in remote areas.  The prerequisites for a safe and clinically effective dialysis service limit the environments and circumstances under which dialysis services can be supported.

Additional background:

Strategies for boosting renal services in Alice Springs

The Australian, Western Australian, South Australian and Northern Territory Governments acknowledge that access to renal dialysis services in Central Australia is an important and complex issue.

The Central Australian Renal Service has dialysis units in Alice Springs and Tennant Creek and serves a catchment area that crosses the Western Australian, and South Australian borders.  The demand for dialysis in Alice Springs outstrips supply and new Western Australian patients who live close to the border are being referred to Western Australia for treatment rather than Alice Springs.

The Australian Government is providing approximately $10 million over 5 years to 2011-12 in additional funding for renal services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients in rural and remote areas. This is a temporary measure to enhance the Northern Territory Government’s capacity to meet the demand for renal services.

Measures to increase dialysis capacity are being implemented in Alice Springs and additional infrastructure for renal dialyses services will be in place by April/May 2010.

Plans to expand Tennant Creek Dialysis Unit are currently underway but this is not expected to be operational until early 2011.

On 6 November 2009 the Federal Minister for Indigenous Health, Rural and Regional Health and Regional Services Delivery, the Hon Warren Snowden MP announced support in the form of a re-locatable facility with two chairs which can cater for eight patients, a temporary measure to enhance capacity.  This facility will be relocated to the Alice Springs Renal Unit.

During the tri-state agreement negotiations South Australian residents will need to access dialysis services in South Australia in the short-term due to the excess demand issues in Alice Springs.

SA Health has increased dialysis capacity in South Australia by opening a two-chair dialysis unit at Whyalla and expanding the dialysis unit at Port Augusta to twelve chairs. Further expansions are planned for the upper Spencer Gulf region and, possibly, Coober Pedy, in the longer-term.

SA Health is also considering the provision of dialysis services on the APY Lands, but that this proposal requires the involvement of Nganampa Health Council (NHC). There are a number of issues to be resolved with NHC for this service to be provided, including:

  • the appropriate location on the Lands of the service because of the significant distances between communities; 
  • the reliability and security of power and water services; and
  • most importantly, access to appropriate staffing levels to support complex dialysis services.

SA Health is also considering other options to improve circumstances for APY Lands dialysis patients in SA by increasing accommodation and social supports in Port Augusta and metropolitan Adelaide.

Western Australia’s Department of Health has also commenced discussions with the Northern Territory Department of Health and Families in order to progress joint planning around these strategies. 

Western Australia has initiated a number of strategies to increase renal services within the Goldfields region:

  • Appointment of a renal physician in Kalgoorlie (commenced July 2009)
  • Planning to establish a chronic kidney disease primary prevention and education service for the region through COAG funding (proposal currently under consideration)
  • Planning for increased dialysis capacity in Kalgoorlie hospital
  • Increasing self care renal replacement therapy (home haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis and transplants) from Kalgoorlie through to Warburton.

Costs and benefits of providing care (including co-locating renal services with primary health clinics) in priority communities

The Australian, Western Australian, South Australian and Northern Territory Governments support the expansion of community based, self-care options in priority communities, for example, renal ready rooms, mobile dialysis units, storage facilities.

The parties note however, that remote dialysis can only safely be offered to medically stable, self-managing dialysis patients. 

Western Australia’s Department of Health is in the process of developing a dialysis plan for country Western Australia which will identify the projected demand for dialysis over the next ten years and strategies to meet that demand in a way that is safe, sustainable and meets relevant standards, whilst responding to the needs of Indigenous people and providing care close to home wherever possible.

Self-care dialysis (home haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis) is already supported in a range of hospitals and Aboriginal Medical Service facilities in country Western Australia where the patient’s home environment is not suitable.  This is now in place in Fitzroy Crossing.  Other areas include: Roebourne, Kununura, Balgo, Meekatharra, Kalumburu and Wickham.

Western Australia has funded the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service Council for the Kimberley Renal Support Service which provides primary and secondary prevention and education to chronic kidney disease patients in order to prevent or delay the onset of end-stage kidney failure.  This service is also funded to provide additional support to patients and their carers in order to successfully maintain them on home dialysis.

Issue 3 – Juvenile Justice

“Given the social and budgetary costs that flow from the imprisonment of so many young Indigenous people, a new approach is needed. This might pair legislative provisions which aim to prevent criminal behaviour and divert juvenile offenders from the justice system with local programs that better engage young people. A nationally consistent approach could be developed jointly by Attorneys-General and Indigenous Ministers and agreed by COAG.” (pg 91 of report)

Draft Response

Overall Comment:

All jurisdictions are working together through the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General and other forums, to improve outcomes for Indigenous people in this area.

In November 2009 the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) endorsed the National Indigenous Law and Justice Framework (the Framework) which is a national policy approach to Indigenous justice issues.  The Framework is consistent with the approach suggested by the Co-ordinator General, namely a focus on crime prevention, diversion and support programs One of the Goals of the Framework is to reduce over-representation of Indigenous defendants, offenders and victims in the criminal justice system.  Sitting under the goal are objectives, strategies and actions which promote the use of preventative, diversionary and rehabilitative measures for Indigenous women, men and youth.  SCAG has also committed to developing justice ‘Closing the Gap’ targets for possible inclusion in future COAG reform packages.  The Ministerial Council with responsibility for juvenile justice matters is the Community and Disability Services Ministers’ Conference.  This group has been kept informed of the development and endorsement of the Framework.

Jurisdiction comments:

Queensland:

Queensland supports the comments of the Coordinator-General. The Queensland Government is currently developing a new Indigenous justice strategy that will align the Closing the Gap program and the National Indigenous Law and Justice Framework. This strategy will take into account existing efforts to address Indigenous disadvantage and increase the focus on the causes of involvement in the justice system.

New South Wales:

New South Wales strongly supports the Coordinator-General’s statement and supports the development of national proposals around Indigenous community safety including the National Indigenous Law and Justice Framework; pursuing the Community Safety National Partnership Agreement; and closely considering any outcomes arising from the Inquiry into the high level of involvement of Indigenous juveniles and young adults in the criminal justice system by the House Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs.  

Actions to implement any national approach should be jurisdiction specific, as envisaged by the Framework, given the variation between jurisdictions in:

  • the size and distribution of disadvantaged indigenous populations
  • the specific services available in particular geographic locations
  • criminal law frameworks and provisions.

South Australia:

South Australia experiences lower detention representation of Aboriginal children from the APY lands, as Aboriginal juvenile over-representation in South Australia relates to children in outer urban or southern regions of the state.  Current approaches on the APY Lands to the management of children and young people in contact with the justice system focus on community engagement and support, employing a community policing model. 

South Australia supports 'in principle' diversion in cases where this is appropriate.  However, in all cases, diversion should only be considered if suitable frameworks exist, are accessible and in situ for each individual being diverted.  Support for the operation of the Cross Border Justice Act (2009), to provide justice within the community of origin and provide community-based service and supports to children and young people, is also necessary.

Northern Territory:

Indigenous people are over represented in the NT criminal justice system in general with Indigenous youth making up over three-quarters of offenders under the age of 18 years. In 2009-2010 (to date), of the total 13,336 persons arrested or summonsed, 69.2% were of Indigenous background with 78.8% of offenders under the age of 18 being Indigenous.  The Northern Territory Government recognises that this issue requires a diverse response, with several Departments working cooperatively on a range of strategies.

A Youth Justice Strategy has established a framework for working with young people (up to 18 years old) who are involved in antisocial, criminal or disruptive behaviour in the Northern Territory.  Young people are encouraged to seek activities and pathways through youth camps and positive diversionary programs, while parents are encouraged to improve their parenting skills and confidence.

The experience of Northern Territory Police is that:

  • programs for young people at risk that are community owned and driven deliver significant positive outcomes.
  • programs that promote a positive self-image and community engagement lead to a reduction in youth related drug and alcohol use, property crime, violence and antisocial behaviour. 

The Northern Territory Police Service has had considerable success working with remote Community Youth Development Units which provide case management support to young offenders and work with youth at risk within a community development framework. 

The Northern Territory Department of Education and Training has flexible programs aiming to respond to the diverse needs of Indigenous children from dysfunctional backgrounds. Activities which provide opportunities to address such things as personal hygiene, working in a team, sharing with others, resolving conflict in non-violent ways, are prominent in many of the Department’s programs.  Many students avoid participating in normal school studies and eventually lack the confidence to attempt school work.  Working school lessons into non-traditional activities based on student interests can assist in building confidence.  Activities include art and media, vocational education training programs, physical and outdoor education and studying Indigenous cultures.

In additional to working to COAG targets and the National Indigenous Reform Agreement, the Northern Territory is also implementing its 2030 Strategic Plan which identifies targets for young people in the key themes of: education, society, economic sustainability, health and wellbeing, the environment, and knowledge, creativity and innovation.

Western Australia:

The over-representation of Indigenous young people in the justice system has been apparent for some years, and in general can be attributed to a multitude of systemic biases against Aboriginal people at all levels.  The cumulative effects of disadvantage on the individual and on the Aboriginal community as a collective have a powerful influence in driving people into contact with the criminal justice system.  These factors are outside the scope of any one department or agency, ranging through justice, welfare, education, health, employment and economic well-being, to name only a few.

Western Australia welcomes the opportunity to participate in the joint development of a nationally consistent approach through the Attorneys General and Indigenous Affairs Ministers.

In the interim, the Kimberley Interagency Working Group (KIWG) has convened a Working Group to identify options for addressing the issues relating to youth diversion; prevention and restorative justice.  The Working Group has commenced work on their Terms of Reference and identifying agency obligations and responsibilities and will meet to finalise these arrangements on 28 January 2010.  It should be noted that the working group is focussing on the issues apparent in the whole of the Kimberley region, and not just the four priority locations.

Within Western Australia, the Department of Corrective Services has worked closely with a number of other related departments to develop a Draft Strategic Framework for Youth Justice, under the auspices of a Youth Justice Steering Committee (YJSC).  The Framework is anticipated to be completed by the end of March 2010.

By having an overall state-based framework and a cross-agency steering committee in place, there is opportunity for more effective information sharing and application of appropriate resources to the needs of young people.  In doing this, the intention is to address rates of offending and re-offending for all young people at risk of contact with the system, in particular Aboriginal young people. 

In line with this, the Department is exploring a stronger case-management focus for all young people, endeavouring to make appropriate services available for that young person to address both their offending behaviour and the issues which can contribute to that offending behaviour. 

Australian Government:

The Australian Government will, through its auspicing of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General, drive a nationally consistent approach to juvenile justice issues, and will monitor the application of the National Indigenous Law and Justice Framework in the priority communities.

Issue 4 – Trades Training Centres

“Given the importance of trades as a strategy to keep secondary Indigenous students engaged at school and the explicit commitment to lift Indigenous attendance and school retention to close the gap - there is a case for accelerating the roll out of Trade Training Centres for the benefit of all 29 priority communities. The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations is considering options to facilitate such acceleration.” (pg 72 of report)

Draft Response

Jurisdiction comments:

Queensland:

Queensland supports further consideration of the proposal and integration of an accelerated roll out as part of the Local Implementation Planning process.

New South Wales:

New South Wales supports consideration of an accelerated roll out of Trade Training Centres in remote service locations. These centres will enhance the work that NSW is currently undertaking in the Region through the Mining Job Compact.  Aboriginal people in Wilcannia have been engaged in examining options for employment at the mines in Broken Hill and Cobar.

South Australia:

South Australia will consider opportunities to accelerate the roll-out of Trade Training Centres through Local Implementation Plans.  Training and employment initiatives will require partnership between the Commonwealth and state and territory governments.

A number of agencies are working actively to promote school retention and employment in the APY Lands.  For example, the Department for Families and Communities has the employment of Anangu as a priority.  The South Australian Department of Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology is working with the Department of Education and Children’s Services to secure DEEWR Trade Training Centre funds for a regional multi trade residential training facility on the APY Lands.   South Australia Health is examining strategies to support school retention and to promote career pathways into the health sector.  A key consideration is the development of models to suit diverse service sectors

Northern Territory:

A detailed proposal for progressing trade training in the Territory Growth Towns has been discussed with the Coordinator-General for Remote Indigenous Services.

Western Australia:

Access to the Trade Training in Schools program will be considered as part of the Local Implementation Planning process.

Australian Government:

Under the Trade Training Centres in Schools Program (the Program), secondary schools can apply for funding of between $500,000 and $1.5 million, and through the RSD NP, the Australian Government is working with State and Territory counterparts to give intensive support and accelerate applications from schools in the 29 Remote Service Delivery communities.

Program funding is determined through an annual competitive application process, with projects put forward by schools being assessed to determine the quality and long-term viability of their proposal, their need and capacity to benefit from a trade training centre and the value for money represented by the capital investment. (Full assessment criteria details are set out in the Trade Training Centres in Schools Program Guidelines).

While eight priority locations have already been approved for funding in Rounds One and Two of the program, the Australian Government recognises that opportunities exist for additional support to be given to schools in the 29 priority RSD locations to allow them to better access the Program.

In February 2010 the Prime Minister, the Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, announced the provision of additional flexibility to help Indigenous schools in remote communities to access the Program.  From Round Three, schools in remote locations:

  • can apply to the Program as a lead school if they only have enrolments to Year 9 or 10, provided they are not in proximity to a senior secondary school;
  • can deliver qualifications targeting the needs and education levels of remote areas, including pre-vocational, Certificate I or Certificate II qualifications if they can demonstrate they have a significant number of Indigenous students. These qualifications will be given the same funding priority as applications for AQF Certificate III or above qualifications; and
  • can apply for Program funding to build multi-purpose rooms that can be used for temporary teacher accommodation.

DEEWR is working with relevant education authorities to provide schools in RSD locations with specialised and intensive application assistance for Rounds Three and Four of the Program. Attention will be given to ensuring schools have appropriate partnerships in place with registered training organisations, local business and community support to ensure that proposals are of a high quality and are sustainable.