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Appendix 1: Chronology of events relating to the administration of Indigenous affairs, 1 July 2007 – 30 June 2008: Social Justice Report 2008

Social Justice Report 2008

Appendix 1: Chronology of events relating to the administration of
Indigenous affairs,
1 July 2007 – 30 June 2008

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Date
Event/ summary of issue
1 July 2007

The Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006
commenced.
The Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act
2006
(the CATSI Act) was passed by the Australian Parliament in October
2006. It began on 1 July 2007, replacing the Aboriginal Councils and
Associations Act 1976
.
Under the CATSI Act, laws governing Indigenous corporations have been
modernised while still retaining the special measures to meet the specific needs
of Indigenous peoples.[1]
8 August 2007

International Day of the World’s Indigenous People 2007.

On 23 December 1994, the United Nations General Assembly decided that the
International Day of the World’s Indigenous People shall be observed on 9
August every year during the International Decade of the World’s
Indigenous People (resolution 49/214).

Through the resolution that proclaimed the Second International Decade of
the World’s Indigenous People (2005-2014) (resolution 59/174, 20 December
2004), the General Assembly also decided to continue observing the International
Day of Indigenous People every year during the Second
Decade.[2]
13 August 2007

Report on the Inquiry into Indigenous Employment tabled in Parliament.
The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Affairs tabled its report of the inquiry into Indigenous
Employment entitled Indigenous Australians at Work: Successful initiatives in
Indigenous employment
.

The report contains 14 recommendations covering:
  • construction and maintenance programs;
  • tender requirements;
  • Indigenous employment by small business;
  • micro-finance;
  • funding for mentors;
  • education;
  • national Indigenous cadet scheme;
  • work experience;
  • public servants in regional and remote areas; and
  • private sector Indigenous
    employment.[3]
17 August 2007

Northern Territory Emergency Response legislation passes through
Parliament.

The following Bills (Commonwealth) passed through the Australian
Parliament:

  • Appropriation (Northern Territory National Emergency Response) (No. 1) 2007
    – 2008;
  • Appropriation (Northern Territory National Emergency Response) (No. 2) 2007
    – 2008;
  • Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Other Legislation
    Amendment (Northern Territory National Emergency Response and Other Measures)
    2007;
  • Northern Territory National Emergency Response 2007; and
  • Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Welfare Payment Reform)
    2007.
This Commonwealth legislation facilitated the Australian
Government’s Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) to child sexual
abuse in the Northern Territory
(NT).[4]

It also amended existing welfare legislation to provide new welfare
quarantining measures aimed at addressing child neglect and encouraging school
attendance in the Northern Territory as well as in other
states.[5]
21 August 2007

The Community Development Employment Program (CDEP) in the Northern
Territory will be abolished from September 2007.
The Australian Government announced that as part of the Northern Territory
Emergency Response the Community Development Employment Program (CDEP) in the
Northern Territory would progressively be abolished on a community by community
basis, and would be replaced with ‘real jobs, training and mainstream
employment programs’ from September
2007.[6]

The government announced that CDEP participants would be moved onto income
support to enable a single system of quarantining to apply to welfare payments.
The government stated that its aims were to stem the flow of cash going towards
alcohol and substance abuse, and ensure that money meant for children’s
welfare was used for that purpose.
28 August 2007

The Australian Government provides $14.6 million for Indigenous
environmental projects.
The Minister for the Environment and Water Resources announced that the
Australian Government will provide $14.6 million over three years to 10
Indigenous projects delivering environmental services in remote and regional
Australia.

This was the first payment of a four-year $47 million Working on
Country
programme announced in the Budget to create paid jobs for Indigenous
peoples looking after country. Under these initial contracts, Indigenous
Australians will work on priority environmental projects for the Australian
Government.[7]
29 August 2007

Australian Red Cross joins Corporate Leaders for Indigenous Employment
Project.
The Australian Red Cross today joined the Corporate Leaders for
Indigenous Employment
after signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with
the Australian Government.

The Australian Red Cross joined 80 of Australia’s other business
leaders who have committed to the Corporate Leaders for Indigenous Employment
Project.
[8]
30 August 2007

Historic agreement for 99 year lease in Northern Territory.
A 99-year lease agreement over Nguiu in the Tiwi Islands was agreed to by
the Tiwi Land Trust (on behalf of traditional owners of Nguiu) and the Executive
Director of Township Leasing (on behalf of the Commonwealth Government). It
followed a Memorandum of Understanding between the parties in May 2007.

The lease was granted under s 19A of the Aboriginal Land Rights
(Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Cth)
. The section was part of an amendment to
the Act introduced in August 2006. The term of the head lease is 99 years, to
run until August 2106.

Under the terms of the head lease, the Executive Director of Township
Leasing also has the power to grant sub-leases. Under this Agreement the
Australian Government agreed to provide:
  • $5 million to cover the first 15 years of the lease;
  • $1 million for health initiatives;
  • construction of 25 new houses within the next two years; and
  • the repair and maintenance of existing
    houses.[9]
31 August 2007

Official opening of the Australian Crime Commission Darwin
office.
The Minister for Justice and Customs officially opened the Darwin office of
the Australian Crime Commission (ACC).

The new office was established in response to an expansion of the
ACC’s national criminal intelligence role in the Northern Territory,
including the ACC Board approved National Indigenous Violence and Child Abuse
Intelligence Task Force.[10]
31 August 2007

$50 Million Investment for Indigenous boarding school
facilities.
The Australian Government announced a $50 million boost to enhance and
expand accommodation for Indigenous students.

The Minister for Education, Science and Training announced state specific
funding for non-government boarding schools as part of the Indigenous Boarding
Infrastructure Programme.[11]
4 September 2007

Training for Indigenous women through Shared Responsibility Agreement.
A Shared Responsibility Agreement was signed between the Australian
Government and the Women's Karadi Aboriginal Corporation to enable Indigenous
women in Tasmania to receive new training and skills to help prepare them to
enter the workforce.

The Return to Work program will aim to ensure that Indigenous women who
have never been employed or are re-entering the workforce will gain the required
skills and confidence to undertake paid employment. The Australian Government
has invested $64,000 to purchase ten laptop computers and provide pre-employment
training for the women.

Karadi is a long established women's organisation with strong links to the
broader community. It will nominate women to attend the course, provide a venue
for the training and provide ongoing support for the women in their transition
to the workforce.[12]
6 September 2007

Funding to improve telecommunications in remote Indigenous
communities.
The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts
announced 35 projects totalling $1.9 million under the $36.6 million Backing
Indigenous Ability
telecommunications program. The projects will assist
more than 130 remote Indigenous communities around Australia, like Warburton in
Western Australia, Milingimbi in the Northern Territory and Boigu Island in the
Torres Strait.

An important aim of the program is to enable communities to develop
cultural and social online content in their own language.

The program will also support a range of training, from the most basic to
nationally accredited courses, in 29 remote Indigenous communities across
Australia.

The Backing Indigenous Ability telecommunications program provides
assistance with internet access, videoconferencing, IT training and skills
development and Indigenous online content development. Applicants were able to
apply for one or more of the different program elements depending upon the needs
of their communities.[13]
10 September 2007

Release of the report of the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Indigenous
Education (Targeted Assistance) Amendment (Cape York Measures) Bill
2007
.
The Senate Standing Committee on Employment, Workplace Relations and
Education released its final report on the Indigenous Education (Targeted
Assistance) Amendment (Cape York Measures) Bill 2007 in which it recommended the
Bill be passed. The Bill passed into law on 28 September 2007.

The purpose of the law is to appropriate an additional $2 million over the
2008 program year to support the expansion of Making Up for Lost Time in
Literacy (MULTILIT) and the Student Education Trusts in the communities of Coen,
Hope Vale, Aurukun and Mossman Gorge in the Cape York region of
Queensland.

The additional funding will be used by the Cape York Institute for Policy
and Leadership (the Institute) to support the expansion of the MULTILIT
accelerated literacy program and Student Education Trusts. These measures will
provide approximately 800 indigenous students with additional support.

Additional funding of $8.1 million has also been approved for the years
2009-2012 and will be appropriated through subsequent legislation for the
2009-2012 Indigenous Education
Quadrennium.[14]
13 September 2007

United Nations adopts Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
Peoples.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly by an overwhelming majority.
143 Member States voted in favour, 11 abstained and four States –
Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States – voted against the
text.

A non-binding text, the Declaration sets out the individual and collective
rights of indigenous peoples, including their rights to culture, identity,
language, employment, health, education and other issues.

The Declaration emphasises the rights of indigenous peoples to maintain and
strengthen their own institutions, cultures and traditions and to pursue their
development in keeping with their own needs and aspirations.

It also prohibits discrimination against indigenous peoples and promotes
their full and effective participation in all matters that concern them, and
their right to remain distinct and to pursue their own visions of economic and
social development.

The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues estimates there are more than
370 million indigenous people in some 70 countries worldwide. Members of the
Forum said earlier this year that the Declaration creates no new rights and does
not place indigenous peoples in a special
category.[15]
14 September 2007

Northern Territory National Emergency Response Amendment (Alcohol) Act
2007(Cth) passes.
The Northern Territory National Emergency Response Amendment (Alcohol)
Act 2007
(Cth) passed into law.

The law made amendments to consolidate the alcohol measures in the Northern Territory Emergency Response Act 2007. The amendments:
  • change the 1,350ml trigger for seeking and recording details for takeaway
    alcohol sales to reduce the complexity of the provision;
  • make changes to clarify the storage of records of takeaway purchases;
  • provide certain exceptions to the alcohol offences in relation to tourism
    operations in parks and other areas if declared;
  • provide for the alcohol measures to be determined not to apply in a
    particular area if warranted, for example, where comprehensive and effective
    local management measures are implemented; and
  • make clear that no past or future Northern Territory legislation undermines
    the emergency response alcohol
    measures.[16]
15 September 2007

New alcohol restrictions to take effect in the Northern
Territory.
Alcohol bans came into effect in the Northern Territory as part of the
Australian Government's Emergency response to child abuse in Aboriginal
communities.

The Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
explained that alcohol is banned on Aboriginal land and community living areas,
in all town camps and other areas.

There will be penalties for anyone possessing, transporting or drinking
alcohol in these areas, and heavier penalties if people are found to be running
alcohol into these places and anyone who buys larger amounts of take away
alcohol will need to show identification and have their details recorded. This
will involve purchases of $100 or more, or if more than five litres of cask or
flagon wine is purchased.

Tourism operators in National Parks will be able to continue to offer
responsible alcohol consumption as part of their usual tourism activity. Special
arrangements will be put in place at
Uluru.[17]
18 September 2007

Funding for major Indigenous housing projects announced.
The Minister for Indigenous Affairs announced a further $514 million in
funding for Indigenous housing, accommodation and related services in the
Northern Territory. This commitment is on top of the $279 million in funding
already allocated to the Northern Territory by the Australian Government for
Indigenous housing and related services.

Funds will be used to repair and upgrade existing houses, and to construct
new houses, as well as creating training and employment opportunities for local
Indigenous communities.

The funding, under the new Australian Remote Indigenous Accommodation
Programme for use in the Northern Territory over the next four years, forms a
large part of the $1.6 billion commitment by the Australian Government for the
reform of Indigenous housing which was announced in the
Budget.[18]
18 September 2007

Additional funding for Northern Territory emergency response
measures.
The Australian Government announced that it will provide $740 million in
funding for several initiatives in 2007-08 and into future years, highlighting
the Government's long-term commitment to the Northern Territory Emergency
Response.

These measures support an agreement reached between the Australian and
Northern Territory Governments on housing, health, jobs and education for
Indigenous children and families in the NT.

The new measures are:
  • $18.5 million over two years from 2008-09 for 66 additional Australian
    Federal Police officers;
  • $514 million (additional funding) to repair and build housing in remote
    communities over the next four years;
  • $100 million over two years from 2008-09 for doctors, nurses, allied health
    professionals and specialist services;
  • $78.2 million over three years to create jobs in Australian Government
    service delivery; and
  • up to $30 million over three years to match on a dollar for dollar basis
    contributions by the NT Government to assist them to convert CDEP positions
    supporting NT and local government services into real jobs.
The funding was provided on the basis that the NT Government
agreed to certain conditions including a radical overhaul of the way it delivers
Commonwealth funded housing programs. The NT Government will ensure that
sufficient classrooms, equipment and teachers will be provided to cope with an
anticipated increase in school enrolments and attendance as welfare reform
measures are introduced.[19]
19 September 2007

$11 million to be spent on Indigenous boarding school upgrades.
The Australian Government announced that Indigenous students across the
Northern Territory and Queensland will benefit from more than $11 million in
boarding school upgrades.

The funding will be divided between three boarding schools with
longstanding requirements to repair, replace or expand their facilities to meet
the needs of Indigenous students.

The colleges will also provide transitional accommodation to support
students from remote communities to adjust to
boarding.[20]
20 September 2007

Galarrwuy Yunupingu secures agreement to negotiate 99 year lease on NT
Aboriginal Land.
Galarrwuy Yunupingu secured an agreement to negotiate a 99 year lease on
Northern Territory Aboriginal Land at the community of Gunyangara (Ski Beach) in
North East Arnhem Land.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Australian Government
and Galarrwuy Yunupingu on behalf of the Gumatj
clan.[21]
21 September 2007

Planning for Indigenous child care services.
The Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
launched the Australian Governments’ Indigenous Child Care Services Plan
at the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC)
conference in Adelaide.

The primary focus of the Indigenous Child Care Services Plan is to increase
the participation of Indigenous children and families in high quality,
culturally responsive children's services, including child care.

There is an accompanying summary document, Towards an Indigenous Child
Care Services Plan
, which was compiled following consultations about child
care needs with Indigenous families and communities throughout Australia, which
was also launched today.

The findings contained in the summary document were used to inform the
development of several measures announced in the 8 May 2007 Budget,
including:

  • The Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children - analysis of pathways of
    child development and impact of policy and program changes ($8.9 million).
  • Expanding Playgroup Services - strengthen the delivery and effectiveness of
    Intensive Support Playgroups in high cost locations ($13.8 million).
  • Improved Access to Early Childhood Services and Child Care - establish 20
    new Innovative Child Care Services Hubs in regional and remote communities with
    high Indigenous populations ($23.5 million).
Other recent initiatives to assist Indigenous families' access
child care were also informed by the findings of the consultations,
including:

  • A 20 per cent increase in base funding to Budget Based Funded (BBF) child
    care services, including Multifunctional Aboriginal Children's Services (MACS),
    Mobile Child Care services, JET Creches, Indigenous Playgroups and some Outside
    School Hours Care (OSHC) services (to a total of $45.5 million).
  • A one-off equipment grant of up to $20,000 in addition to base funding for
    these BBF services.
  • Existing child care services will receive extra financial support to improve
    the quality of their services and access mainstream funding ($23.5
    million).[22]
24 September 2007

National Indigenous Council (NIC) Report released.
The Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
received the latest report from the National Indigenous Council on its
activities and achievements from January – June
2007.[23]

In 2007 the Council prepared two policy papers: Enhancing Indigenous
Economic Independence
; and Accessing Services in My Community
(Mainstreaming)
.
25 September 2007

More than $1 million awarded to Indigenous Australians for
research.
The Australian Government announced that Indigenous Australian researchers
from five universities will share in $1.12 million over three years to undertake
projects in areas such as Indigenous education, violence prevention, climate
change and reconciliation through sport, under the Australian Government’s
Discovery Indigenous Researchers Development
scheme.[24]
26 September 2007

Australian Government funding for Indigenous communities in north west
Western Australia.
The Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
announced a multi million dollar package of assistance in response to the
reported incidence of child abuse in Indigenous communities in far north Western
Australia.

This package is in addition to $20 million provided to the WA Government
for three multifunction police facilities (at Burringurah, Looma and Wingellina)
and for police accommodation at Bidyadanga.

The key elements of the package are:
  • $7 million for a new Family Violence Service hub and outreach model which
    will deliver services including family violence counselling to women and
    children, early intervention and counselling for men and boys, referral services
    and outreach workers in communities;
  • Additional health checks in the East Kimberley, focusing initially on Halls
    Creek;
  • $857,000 to Warmun, Balgo and Kalumburu to run programs to educate
    communities on appropriate behaviours, and to support community safety and
    responsibility;
  • $808,000 for early childhood education services, and improved antenatal and
    postnatal health programs; and
  • Up to $1 million, in addition to a WA Government contribution, for a new
    Innovative Child Care Services Hub at Halls
    Creek.[25]
26 September 2007

New remote police stations in Western Australia.
The Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
announced a $20 million agreement to build new police facilities in four
Indigenous communities across Western Australia.

The Australian Government had previously contributed $1.9 million towards
the construction of police multifunction centres and police accommodation in
Western Australia, including contributing to police facilities in the Kimberley
at Balgo, Warmun, Kalumburu and Jigalong in the
Pilbara.[26]
1 October 2007

Housing and Welfare Reform Agreement for Yarrabah, QLD.
The Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs signed
an agreement with the Mayor of Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council, and the Chair
of the Yarrabah Community Justice Group, to provide $14 million to the north
Queensland Indigenous community for new housing and welfare reform measures.

The key elements of the agreement are:
  • A commitment to long term welfare reform in Yarrabah;
  • Housing upgrades to be provided to people who move to normal public housing
    tenancy arrangements, pay market rent, uphold tenancy conditions and look after
    their houses;
  • Families who commit to an income management scheme for payment of rent and
    general day to day management of income, and make sure their children attend
    school will be eligible for additional housing upgrades; and
  • Once the Queensland Government legislates land tenure changes to allow for
    private home ownership, funding will provided for new housing for home ownership
    within the community, with 40 new blocks to be developed. New houses are to be
    built on 20 of those blocks for rent and then purchase by residents, and the
    other 20 blocks available for sale for people to build their own
    homes.[27]
8 October 2007

$2.3 million for Indigenous environment projects.
The Australian Government announced that $2.3 million funding would be
committed to Indigenous Working on Country contracts. Some of the
activities funded through the contracts include combating weeds of national
significance, improving habitat for threatened and endangered flora, reducing
soil and water salinity and protecting important Aboriginal art
sites.[28]

More information on the Working on Country programme is available
online at: http://www.environment.gov.au/indigenous/workingoncountry/index.html
10 October 2007

Scitech to enhance Indigenous students’ learning
opportunities.
The Minister for Education, Science and Training announced a $350,000
science education program to support the work of Scitech Outreach programs with
Indigenous students.[29] The funding
will assist children in remote Aboriginal communities to participate in the
Western Australian resources boom through enhanced learning opportunities.

11 October 2007

Housing and Welfare Reform Agreement for Palm Island.
The Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
announced $14 million for a new housing and welfare strategy for
Queensland’s Indigenous community of Palm Island.

The agreement is similar to the Hope Vale and the Yarrabah agreements
signed in 2007.

The key elements of the agreement are:
  • a commitment to long term welfare reform;
  • normal public housing tenancy arrangements, including market rent for
    housing and stronger tenancy conditions;
  • families who commit to an income management scheme for payment of rent and
    general day to day management of income, and make sure their children attend
    school, will be eligible for housing upgrades, and;
  • up to 20 new homes will be built and a new 40 lot subdivision
    developed.[30]
18 October 2007

New Indigenous housing report released by the Australian Institute of
Health and Welfare.
A new report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
shows that Indigenous home ownership is increasing, and other areas of
Indigenous housing are also showing improvement.

Areas of concern that remain include:
  • Over one third households in Indigenous Community Housing were overcrowded
    in 2006.
  • 51 dwellings in Indigenous communities had no organised sewerage system and
    85 had no organised electricity supply.
  • In addition, 30% (6,674) of Indigenous Community Housing dwellings were in
    poor condition.
The report also highlights increased access to social housing.
The proportion of Indigenous households in public housing increased from 5.9% to
6.3%, and the proportion of Indigenous households in receipt of Commonwealth
Rent Assistance increased from 2.4% to 3.2%.

Since 2001 the number of Indigenous housing organisations has fallen from
about 600 to just fewer than 500 in 2006, partly due to rationalisations.

There were 166,671 Indigenous households in 2006, representing 2.3% of all
Australian households.[31]
19 October 2007

Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Amendment Regulations 2007
(No. 1) come into effect.
The Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Amendment Regulations 2007
(No. 1) (Cth) make provision for an increase in the amounts that may be payable
to organisations, institutions and individuals under section 14A of the Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Act 2000 (Cth) in order to
supplement the cost of delivering educational services to Indigenous students
for the period 1 January 2007 to 30 June 2009.

The Regulations are
available online at: http://www.frli.gov.au/ComLaw/Legislation/
LegislativeInstrument1.nsf/
0/F078EA56E517A175CA25737800018159/
$file/0717525A071005EV.pdf
.

24 November 2007

Change of Australian Government.
The Australian Labor Party won the Federal election with a national swing
of 5.7%. Kevin Rudd is the new Prime Minister of Australia.

29 November 2007

Prime Minister announces the new Cabinet and Ministry.
The Prime Minister announced his new Ministry. Jenny Macklin is appointed
as Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.
Robert McClelland is the
Attorney-General.[32]
14 December 2007

Oral Health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children
– report by Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released the report Oral
Health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Children which
reported levels of dental decay have increased among Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander children in recent years, particularly among those aged less
than seven years. The report shows that poor dental health, including dental
decay, is more common among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children than
other children, and that Indigenous children who are less well off and those in
rural and remote areas are most
affected.[33]
20 December 2007

Council of Australian Governments’ Meeting.
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) held its 20th meeting in
Melbourne. In addition to the Prime Minister, Premiers, Chief Ministers and the
President of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), Commonwealth
and State and Territory Treasurers also attended.

COAG agreed to a new model of cooperation underpinned by more effective
working arrangements. COAG identified seven areas for its 2008 work
agenda:
  • Health and Ageing;
  • Productivity Agenda – including education, skills, training and early
    childhood;
  • Climate Change and Water;
  • Infrastructure;
  • Business Regulation and Competition;
  • Housing; and
  • Indigenous Reform.
COAG established seven working groups each overseen by a
Commonwealth Minister. COAG also agreed to the terms of reference for each of
the groups.

To drive reforms, COAG agreed that it would meet four times in 2008.

COAG also agreed the 17 year gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and
non-Indigenous Australians must be closed.

COAG agreed to a partnership between all levels of government to work with
Indigenous communities to achieve the target of closing the gap on Indigenous
disadvantage. COAG committed to:

  • closing the life expectancy gap within a generation;
  • halving the mortality gap for children under five within a decade; and
  • halving the gap in reading, writing and numeracy within a
    decade.[34]
31 December 2007

National Indigenous Council’s term ends
The National Indigenous Council’s term expired on 31 December 2007.

On 15 January 2008, the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services
and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, announced the government’s decision
not to continue the National Indigenous Council. The Minister explained that the
government would undertake discussions with Indigenous peoples about the best
process to develop a new representative
body.[35]
20 January 2008

First Community Cabinet Meeting held in Canning Vale, Western Australia
The Australian Government held its first Community Cabinet meeting in
Canning Vale in Western Australia.

Community Cabinet meetings provide an opportunity for community members to
put forward their ideas on local and national issues. Four more Community
Cabinet meetings are planned before the end of July 2008:
  • Narangba, QLD - 2 March 2008;
  • Penrith, NSW - 15 April 2008;
  • Mackay, QLD - 29 June 2008; and
  • Yirrkala, NT - 26 July 2008.
Issues raised at Canning Vale included the housing affordability
crisis, human rights in China, the plight of Indigenous Australians, funding for
state schools and the difficulties faced by Australians who rely on the aged
pension.[36]
31 January 2008

Indigenous land use agreement signed over Ipswich.

Native title claimants the Jagera, Yuggera and Ugarapul people, and the
Ipswich City Council signed an Indigenous land use agreement that took two years
to negotiate. The agreement deals with future infrastructure development,
cultural heritage issues and community relations.

The entire Ipswich City Council region is covered by the group's native
title claim. The groups signed a memorandum of understanding in November 2006
that set out the framework for the ILUA
negotiations.[37]
31 January 2008

The Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provisions
released the thirteenth edition of the Report on Government Services.
The Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provisions
released the thirteenth edition of the Report on Government Services. The
Report examines the performance of all Australian governments providing
education, justice, emergency management, health, community services and housing
services. The services account for $120 billion in government expenditure -
almost 13 per cent of Australia's gross domestic product.

The report found a dramatic gap in education and health outcomes for
Indigenous communities compared to the rest of the population.

The report shows that where people live dictates their level of numeracy
and literacy skills, with marked differences between city and remote areas.
Those worst-affected are Indigenous students in remote areas, where only 27 per
cent reach the year seven benchmark for reading.

In health, the mortality rate for Indigenous peoples is twice as high as
that in the general population and the infant mortality rate is also markedly
higher than the rest of the community. The Council of Australian Governments
(COAG) has already indicated it is making these issues a
priority.[38]
1 February 2008

The 2006 National Reading, Writing and Numeracy Benchmark results
released
.
The Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth
Affairs released the 2006 National Reading, Writing and Numeracy Benchmark
results.

The results showed that the majority of Australian students in Years 3, 5
and 7 achieved the minimum benchmark standards in reading, writing and numeracy.
The levels of achievement amongst Indigenous students, literacy in boys, and
students living in very remote regions, remains significantly lower than the
overall standard.

The results for Indigenous students in year 7 numeracy for instance showed
that less than half, 48 per cent, met the benchmark in
2006.[39]

The 2006 national benchmark results report is available online at: http://www.mceetya.edu.au
13 February 2008

National Apology to Australia's Indigenous Peoples - Parliament House,
Canberra.

On 13 February 2008, the Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, on behalf
of the Australian Parliament, gave the Apology to Australia’s Indigenous
Stolen Generations for the past government policies and practices of forcibly
removing Indigenous children from their families.

The full text of the speech is available online at: http://www.pm.gov.au/media/Speech/2008/speech_0073.cfm

More than 100 members of the Stolen Generations were invited to travel to
Canberra as special guests of the Government to hear the National Apology.

The Government also asked the leaders of the Stolen Generations Alliance
and the National Sorry Day Committee to nominate Indigenous peoples who would
best represent their fellow survivors at this historic day in the House of
Representatives.

An additional number of Stolen Generation representatives attended with the
support of businesses and individual donations through Reconciliation
Australia.

Others among the invited guests included the widow of Sir Ronald Wilson,
Lady Wilson, and Mick Dodson. Mr Dodson and Sir Ronald co-chaired the inquiry
into the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their
families which resulted in the Bringing them home report.[40]

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Mr
Tom Calma was asked by the National Sorry Day Committee and the Stolen
Generations Alliance, the two national bodies that represent the Stolen
Generations and their families, to respond to the Parliament’s Apology and
to talk briefly about the importance of the event. 
In his response the Commissioner noted that through this one direct act,
‘Parliament has acknowledged the existence and the impacts of the past
policies and practices of forcibly removing Indigenous children from their
families. And by doing so, has paid respect to the Stolen Generations.  For
their suffering and their loss. For their resilience. And ultimately, for
their dignity’.[41]
17 February 2008

Permit system on Aboriginal land in Northern Territory.
The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous
Affairs announced that the permit system currently in place for use of major
roads to communities in the Northern Territory will continue.

For permits to be abolished the legislation requires the Minister to
determine by regulation that access on major roads no longer requires a permit.

In line with the Government’s pre-election policy, the Minister will
not be making this determination and permits will still be required to travel on
almost all roads through Aboriginal land in the NT.

Under the Northern Territory Emergency Response legislation, access to
common areas of major communities is allowed without a permit from 17 February,
2008.[42]
17 February 2008

$50 million allocated to fund programs for alcohol and substance abuse
in Indigenous communities.
The Minister for Health and Ageing announced the allocation of $50 million
to reduce alcohol and substance abuse and its impact on families, safety and
community wellbeing in remote Indigenous communities.

The announcement marks the implementation of the Government's commitment at
the December 2007 COAG meeting to commit $50 million nationwide over four years
for substance and alcohol rehabilitation and treatment services across
Australia, particularly in remote areas.

The allocations to each state are:
  • Queensland - up to $20 million;
  • Northern Territory - up to $8 million;
  • Western Australia - up to $8 million;
  • South Australia - $7 million;
  • NSW - up to $4 million; and
  • Victoria, Tasmania, ACT - up to $1 million
    each.[43]
19 February 2008

Indigenous recruitment identified as a priority in the Australian
defence force.
The Minister for Defence, Science and Personnel identified Indigenous
recruitment as a priority for the Australian Defence Force. The Minister said
that although Indigenous Australians make up 1.4 per cent of the Australian
workforce, only 0.6 per cent of Defence is
Aboriginal.[44]

19 February 2008

Roundtable on rural health.

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia convened a roundtable meeting
with health professionals and consumers at which the Australian Government
confirmed its attempts to improve the health of rural, regional and remote
communities during.

The Government's commitments included funding for new clinics, services and
health infrastructure in individual rural centres, and a new program to improve
the health of Indigenous
children.[45]
20 February 2008

Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Amendment (2008 Measures No.
1) Act 2008.
The Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Amendment (2008 Measures
No. 1) Act 2008
(Cth) which funds an additional 200 teachers in the Northern
Territory over the next four years, passes into law.

The Act amends the Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Act
2000
by appropriating additional funding of $7.162 million over the 2008
school year for the recruitment of 50 of these 200 additional teachers

Funding will be provided to NT education providers to recruit and employ
the additional teachers. NT education providers will be responsible for
deploying and housing the teachers employed through this
initiative.[46]
21 February 2008

Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Other
Legislation Amendment (Emergency Response Consolidation) Bill 2008 introduced.
As part of the Northern Territory Emergency Intervention amendments to
legislation have been introduced into federal Parliament to reduce the exposure
of children to pornographic material available on pay television in the Northern
Territory.

The Bill will amend the Broadcasting Services Act 1992, the Northern Territory National Emergency Response Act 2007 and the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976. It will act to
restrict potential broadcasting and transportation of pornography to certain
communities at the request of the community and after consultation with
them.

The Bill also proposes to reinstate the permit system but retain the
capacity of the Commonwealth Minister to permit selected individuals or classes
of individuals, such as journalists, to enter any specified Aboriginal
land.[47]

The Bill adopts an approach which is consistent with the special measures
provisions of the Racial Discrimination Act, rather than seeking to override
it.[48]

As of 30 June 2008 the Bill had not yet passed into law.
25 February 2008

Rollout of income management to Aboriginal town camps.
The Australian Government commenced quarantining welfare payments in town
camps in Darwin, Palmerston and Adelaide River and the Belyuen community as part
of its emergency intervention in the Northern Territory.

The measure expanded income management measures across the Northern
Territory, and means that a total of 6,400 Centrelink customers in 25
communities and associated outstations and 3 groups of town camps will have
welfare payments
quarantined.[49]
25 February 2008

Western Australian Coroner’s Inquiry handed down
In his inquiry into the deaths of 22 Kimberley men and women, the WA
coroner, Alastair Hope, recommended that:
  • State and Federal Governments assume greater accountability in the provision
    of health and housing through the nomination of one department to a
    ‘leadership role’;
  • in cases of child neglect, compulsory income management should be made
    available to officers from the state Department of Child Protection; and
  • limits should be placed upon the availability of full-strength alcohol for
    Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in certain
    communities.[50]
29 February 2008

Report on health spending ratios between Indigenous and non-Indigenous
Australians.

Per person spending on health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander peoples was 17% higher than for the non-Indigenous population in
2004-05, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of
Health and Welfare.

According to the report, Expenditures on Health for Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2004-05
, total expenditure on health for
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples was estimated at $2,304 million in
2004-05.

State and territory governments and the Australian Government funded almost
equal amounts of money for Indigenous health care (48% and 45% respectively) and
8% came from private sources, including out-of-pocket
payments.[51]

However, the level of per capita health expenditure required to meet the
health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is estimated to be
up to 3-4 times higher (depending on remoteness) than that for the
non-Indigenous population[52] due to
factors such as:
  • the significantly higher burden of disease and poorer health in the
    Indigenous population when compared to the non-Indigenous population;
  • the significant proportion of the Indigenous population that lives in remote
    areas where service delivery costs are significantly higher than in the urban
    areas where the majority of the non-Indigenous population live;
  • the (in general) lower incomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    peoples and households when compared to the non-Indigenous population, obliging
    them to rely more on government provided/funded services and so on and less on
    private health services and/or privately funded health
    services.[53]
4 March 2008

Australian Government commits $100,000 to address Machado Joseph Disease
(MJD) in the Groote Eylandt region.
The Australian Government committed $100,000 to address Machado Joseph
Disease (MJD) in the Groote Eylandt region through the Anindilyakwa Land
Council.

The disease is a disabling genetic condition which causes nerve
cells to die prematurely, causing very significant, progressive and permanent
physical disability within 10 years. It is relentless and death occurs between
six and 29 years of onset.

The funding will be used to engage a health
professional to undertake work examining the future implications for care of MJD
patients on Groote Eylandt.

The health professional will assess the
provision and delivery of genetic counselling, education and testing services.
An education campaign will also be developed for the general community and
service providers.[54]

5 March 2008

$4.6 million for Northern Territory youth projects.
$4.6 million allocated by the Commonwealth government to programs to curb
alcohol and drug abuse and anti-social behaviour among young people in Northern
Territory Aboriginal communities.

The 24 projects will teach young people vocational and life skills and
build pride and self confidence through healthy, safe activities and increased
participation in constructive community life.

Twenty-one of the projects are being funded through Youth Diversionary
Activities and five are funded through the Central Australia Petrol Sniffing
Strategy Unit (CAPSSU).

The funding is part of the $7.6 million committed to youth initiatives as
part of the Northern Territory Emergency
Response.[55]
7 March 2008

Funding for Indigenous arts organisations.
The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts today announced
funding of $1.3 million from the Indigenous Visual Arts Special Initiative to
provide 24 Indigenous art centres with infrastructure, training and marketing
support.

In 2007–08 special initiative funding will support 28 one-off
projects to build the sustainability of Indigenous arts organisations across a
range of areas. Projects funded through this initiative include:
  • A development program for Central Australian art centre managers (NT, SA and
    WA) to be delivered by Desart, the peak body for art centres in the region;
  • The construction of staff accommodation for Warakurna Artists in remote WA
    to allow this successful art centre to expand services to its artists; and
  • A survey and marketing project to be conducted by Arts Northern Rivers in
    northern NSW to boost the profile of Indigenous artists from this region.
The special initiative funding complements the National Arts and
Crafts Industry Support program and is in line with the findings of a recent
Senate Committee Report into the Indigenous visual art sector, Indigenous
Art—Securing the Future
.

This report acknowledged the significance of Australia’s Indigenous
visual arts and craft as one of the world’s great contemporary movements
in art.[56]

More information on the National Arts and Crafts Industry Support program
is available online at: www.arts.gov.au/indig
10 March 2008

Solar power stations for Indigenous communities.
The Australian and Northern Territory Governments announced that three
remote Indigenous communities, Alekerange, Ti Tree and Kalkarindji, are to be
powered from cleaner energy sources.

Two eight-dish, 280 kilowatt concentrating solar power stations will be
built at Ti Tree and Kalkarindji, and a 24-dish, 840 kilowatt power station will
be built at Alekerange.[57]
14 March 2008

Dare to Lead: Excellence in Leadership in Indigenous Education Awards
announced.
The Australian Minister for Education announced outstanding leadership
awards in Indigenous education for 16 schools from across Australia

The achievements of these schools include improving attendance for year 10
to year 12 students and increasing school enrolments and graduation rates of
Indigenous students.

The Dare to Lead: Excellence in Leadership in Indigenous Education
Awards
is a national project that helps to improve the educational outcomes
of Aboriginal students.[58]
14 March 2008

Commonwealth, State and Territory Housing Ministers meet in Melbourne
today.
The Australian Government's priority to tackle homelessness was a key item
of discussion at the first meeting of Commonwealth, State and Territory Housing
Ministers in Melbourne.

Other items discussed included:
  • Housing for Indigenous Australians;
  • The National Affordable Housing Agreement; and
  • The COAG Housing Working
    Group.[59]
17 March 2008

Release of Deaths in Custody in Australia: National Deaths in Custody
Program Annual Report 2006.
This report presents information on deaths in custody in Australian states
and territories for the 2006 calendar year, including comparisons by
jurisdiction and Indigenous status.

Information is also presented on deaths in custody in Australian states and
territories between 1980 and 2006 for prison custody and between 1990 and 2006
for police custody and custody-related operations.

The report found that in 2006 there were 54 deaths in custody (48 males and
five females), comprising 31 deaths in prison custody and 22 in police custody
and custody-related operations. One male died in juvenile detention. Eleven
deaths were Indigenous peoples and two of the seven hanging deaths were of
Indigenous peoples. Ten deaths occurred during motor vehicle pursuits (four of
these were Indigenous peoples) and two deaths resulted from police shootings
(both were non-Indigenous
people).[60]
18 - 20 March 2008

National Indigenous Health Equality Summit

The Close the Gap Steering Committee for Indigenous Health Equality
(Steering Committee) led by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social
Justice Commissioner convened the National Indigenous Health Equality
Summit
over 18 – 20 March 2008.

More than 100 representatives from Indigenous and mainstream health peak
bodies, non-government organisations, the reconciliation movement and Australian
Government representatives attended the Summit in Canberra.

At the Summit the Draft Close the Gap National Indigenous Health
Equality Targets
for: partnership; health status; primary health care and
other health services; and infrastructure (with social and cultural determinants
to be developed) were presented to the delegates for comments and feedback.
These were developed by the Steering Committee with the help of wide range of
health experts in the lead up to the Summit. After the Summit, the targets were
finalised by the expert members of the targets working groups and published in
July 2008.

The Australian Government announced two significant new policy
initiatives at the Indigenous Health Equality Summit. The Government will invest
$19 million over three years in a National Indigenous Health Workforce Training
Plan and $14.5 million over four years to tackle high smoking rates in
Indigenous communities. Supporting a strong Indigenous health workforce and
encouraging more Indigenous peoples to take up careers as health professionals
is critical to improving health services and increasing Indigenous peoples' life
expectancy.[61]

20 March 2008

Statement of Intent signed on Indigenous health.
The National Indigenous Health Equality Summit culminated with a
ceremony at the Great Hall in Parliament House and the signing of a Close the
Gap Indigenous Health Equality Summit Statement of Intent
(Statement of
Intent). The main signatories to this were the:
• Prime Minister;
• Leader of the Opposition;
• Minister for Health and Ageing;
• Minister for Families, Housing, Communities and Indigenous
Affairs;
• Presidents and Chairs of the four main Indigenous health peak
bodies:
o the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health
Organisation,
o the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association,
o the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses,
and
o the Australian Indigenous Dentists’ Association;
• Presidents and CEOs of the four main mainstream health peak
bodies;
o the Australian Medical Association,
o the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners,
o the Royal College of Australasian Physicians; and
o the Australian General Practice Network;
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner
of the Australian Human Rights Commission (then the Human Rights and Equal
Opportunity Commission).[62]

The body of the Statement says:

This is a Statement of Intent – between the Government of Australia
and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples of Australia, supported by
non-Indigenous Australians and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and
non-Indigenous health organizations – to work together to achieve equality
in health status and life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians by the year 2030. Commitments
were made:
  • To developing a comprehensive, long-term plan of action, that is targeted to
    need, evidence-based and capable of addressing the existing inequities in health
    services, in order to achieve equality of health status and life expectancy
    between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non- Indigenous
    Australians by 2030.
  • To ensuring primary health care services and health infrastructure for
    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples which are capable of bridging the
    gap in health standards by 2018.
  • To ensuring the full participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    peoples and their representative bodies in all aspects of addressing their
    health needs.
  • To working collectively to systematically address the social determinants
    that impact on achieving health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islander peoples.
  • To building on the evidence base and supporting what works in Aboriginal and
    Torres Strait Islander health, and relevant international experience.
  • To supporting and developing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    community-controlled health services in urban, rural and remote areas in order
    to achieve lasting improvements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health
    and wellbeing.
  • To achieving improved access to, and outcomes from, mainstream services for
    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  • To respect and promote the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    peoples, including by ensuring that health services are available, appropriate,
    accessible, affordable, and of good quality.
  • To measure, monitor, and report on our joint efforts, in accordance with
    benchmarks and targets, to ensure that we are progressively realising our shared
    ambitions.[63]
Also
at the National Indigenous Health Equality Summit, the government announced the
creation of the National Indigenous Health Equality Council (NIHEC) to progress
its close the gap commitments.

The NIHEC is intended to ‘provide national leadership in responding
to Government’s commitment to closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage
by providing advice to Government on working towards the provision of equitable
and sustainable health outcomes for Indigenous
Australians.’[64]
20 March 2008

Annual Social Justice and Native Title Reports tabled in
Parliament
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner
tabled the Social Justice Report 2007 and the Native Title Report 2007 in
the House of Representatives.

The reports, produced annually by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Social Justice Commissioner, consider the impact of government activity on the
exercise and enjoyment of Indigenous people’s human
rights.[65]

The Social Justice Report 2007 examines the human rights
implications of the Northern Territory Emergency Response introduced in
the Northern Territory in 2007, in response to the problems of family violence
and child abuse identified in the little Children Are Sacred Report.

The report outlines a Ten Point Action Plan for modifying the
Intervention so that it respects the human rights of Indigenous peoples, which
includes restoring all rights to procedural fairness and external merits review
under the Intervention legislation; and reinstating protections against racial
discrimination in the operation of the Intervention legislation, among others.

The report also draws attention to 19 examples of successful programs for
addressing family violence in Indigenous communities including programs in:
community education; healing; alcohol management; men’s groups; family
support and child protection; safe houses; and programs for offenders.

These case studies provide an opportunity to celebrate the successes and
offer some key lessons to build on such as, the importance of community
consultation and community capacity building, the value of taking a holistic
approach to deal with complex issues and the critical need to involve men and
empower women.

The Native Title Report 2007 examined the effectiveness of the
native title system and in light of the deficiencies identified recommended a
comprehensive review of the whole native title system focusing on how the system
may better deliver protection and recognition of native title.

The report also profiles some of the positive initiatives where Indigenous
peoples are using their land to pursue economic, social, cultural and
environmental outcomes e.g. Western Arnhem Land Fire Abatement project and the
Central Queensland ILUA template.
27 March 2008

Training to combat family violence on the ground in Indigenous
communities.
The Australian Human Rights Commission (then known as the Human Rights and
Equal Opportunity Commission) commenced human rights training for community
workers aiming to arrest family violence in Indigenous communities.

In 2007 the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department provided
funding to 9 Family Violence Prevention Legal Services (FVPLS) to employ 15
Community Legal Education (CLE) workers. The role of the CLE workers is to raise
awareness amongst Indigenous Australians about the standards of Australian law
that are relevant to family violence, and to clarify the relationship between
Australian law and customary law.

In June 2007 the Commission was funded by the Attorney-General’s
Department to develop and deliver an education module for these 15 Community
Legal Education workers. The workers came from FVPLS located in Geraldton,
Katherine, Kimberley, Port Augusta, Darwin, Alice Springs, Cape York, Forbes and
Melbourne.

The training program is underpinned by community development theory and
practice and the content of the training focuses on Australian law and customary
law as they are relevant to preventing violence in Indigenous communities.

This training will enable workers to get out and work directly with local
schools and health clinics to promote and explain the rights and
responsibilities they each have in combating family violence in a way that is
clear and culturally
appropriate.[66]
1 April 2008

Income management rollout continues across Northern Territory.
The Australian Government commenced quarantining welfare payments for an
additional 1,190 Centrelink customers in the Northern Territory communities of
Galiwinku, Atitjere, Engawala and Nguiu.

This latest round of income
management measures across the NT expands the initiative to cover more than
7,700 people across 29 communities, and town camps in and around Darwin,
Katherine and Alice Springs.

Income management is one part of the
Northern Territory Emergency response. Welfare recipients have 50 per cent of
their payments quarantined in an attempt to ensure income is spent on essential
items.

An initial survey of 10 community stores in remote NT communities
found that six stores have recorded an increase in turnover since
November.[67]

1 April 2008

New PBS listings for April 2008.
The Australian Government announced that it would provide an oral treatment
for dermatophyte infections (a type of fungal skin infection) to the Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander community through the PBS, with the listing of
terbinafine hydrochloride tablets (GenRx Terbinafine, Tamsil, Terbihexal, Zabel,
Lamisil).

The listing will be made through the Primary Health Care Access Program for
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, which aims to improve the
capacity of the PBS to meet their needs.

It will be available only where topical treatment has failed. This listing
is expected to benefit about 13,000 patients over the next five years, at a cost
of around $1.2 million to the
PBS.[68]
3 April 2008

Indigenous Nurse Home Visiting Program
The Australian Health Minister, visiting North Queensland, announced that
Wuchopperen Health Service in North Queensland has been selected as one of two
sites for the early roll-out of the Australian Government's nurse home visiting
program for Indigenous children.

The nurse home visit program is part of the Government's $260 million
commitment to closing the 17- year life expectancy gap between Indigenous and
non-Indigenous people within a generation, and improving the health of
Indigenous women and children. The commitment also has a goal of halving the
rate at which Indigenous children die before the age of five within a
decade.[69]
6 April 2008

$6 million to tackle family violence in Indigenous
communities.
The Australian Government announced a commitment of more than $6 million to
tackle the serious levels of violence and increase reporting of child abuse in
Indigenous communities.

A number of existing programs will receive a
funding boost to expand their scope and effectiveness. The Australian Government
will provide $2.95 million over three years to the Kids Living Safer
Lives
program. This program operates in the Cape York communities of Hope
Vale, Aurukun, Coen, Mossman Gorge, Lockhart River, Pormpuraaw and Kowanyama.

Another $1.7 million will be provided for safe houses for victims of
violence and abuse in the Northern Territory. Safe houses have already been
established in Elliot, Ali Curung and Borroloola and are about to be completed
in Pmara-Jutunta, Yuendumu, Hermannsburg and Finke. An additional 18 safe houses
will be established in other remote communities, including Wadeye and
Milikapiti.

$1.5 million will be provided for child protection workers
to identify children at risk of abuse. These workers will be placed in
organisations providing services including child care and drug and alcohol
rehabilitation.[70]

8 April 2008

Commencement of Footprints in Time - landmark study of Indigenous
children.
Australia's Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children, Footprints in
Time
will track the long-term development of 2,200 Indigenous children from
communities across Australia.

This landmark study will give researchers
the capacity to look in depth at the early childhood experiences of Indigenous
children and how these experiences influence their future.

The study will
provide policy makers with an evidence base to assist in the design and delivery
of program and policy interventions for Indigenous children in the early
years.

Collecting data from 2,200 children, starting with two age groups,
(6-18 months and 3½ to 4½ years) the study will trace how their
circumstances change over at least four years. The study will include children
from diverse locations.

The first wave of data collection is planned from
16 April to 30 September. This study is a key part of the Australian
Government's Indigenous Early Childhood
package.[71]

9 April 2008

Extension of the alcohol ban at Fitzroy Crossing.
The Australian Government announced that it will support the continuation
of the Indigenous community’s initiative to ban alcohol at Fitzroy
Crossing beyond its current expiry date of 23 May 2008.

There have been
improvements in health, education and safety since the ban was imposed by the
Western Australian director of liquor licensing in October at the request of
local women.

A study by the Notre Dame University has found that the
alcohol ban has led to a 50 per cent fall in the number of people seeking
treatment at the Fitzroy Crossing Emergency Department.

As well there has
been a 27 per cent reduction in alcohol related domestic violence, and a 14 per
cent increase in high school
attendance.[72]

9 April 2008

Boost for mental health services in Western Australia.

The Australian Government announced that it will fund a range of mental
health programs in Western Australia to tackle high levels of mental illness and
suicide in many remote Indigenous communities.

Nationally, the Australian
Government will provide $15.4 million through the National Respite Development
Fund. Of this, $5.3 million has been allocated to Western Australia and includes
establishing and expanding respite services for carers of people with severe
mental illness, psychiatric disability, or intellectual disability.

The
rollout of services in the Kimberley will be implemented in three stages
including:

  • community consultation with Indigenous peoples and communities;
  • establishment of services and training of staff; and
  • the delivery of respite
    services.[73]
10 April 2008

Safe housing for young Indigenous peoples.
Hostels to provide accommodation for up to 100 young people will be built
in four remote West Australian communities to give young Indigenous peoples
better education and training opportunities. The hostels will be constructed in
Halls Creek, Derby, Fitzroy Crossing and Broome over the next financial year
under a joint agreement between the Australian and West Australian
Governments.

The Australian Government has committed $10 million to fund the
construction with the West Australian Government taking responsibility for the
project management.

Each hostel will have the capacity to accommodate 24 young people needing
stable, affordable accommodation while they go to school or complete training
courses.

The new hostels would be modeled on the ‘Better Life’ Project
based in Halls Creek.[74]
12 April 2008

New housing project for Northern Territory Indigenous
communities.
A joint housing program between the Australian and Northern Territory
Governments will deliver construction, refurbishment and infrastructure
developments, as well as jobs in 73 Northern Territory Indigenous communities
and some urban areas.

The Australian Government will contribute $547
million over four years through the Northern Territory Government, and the
Territory Government will provide a further $100 million.

The program
will deliver:

  • around 750 new houses including new subdivisions;
  • over 230 new houses to replace houses to be demolished;
  • over 2,500 housing upgrades;
  • essential infrastructure to support new houses; and
  • improvements to living conditions in town camps.
A total
of $420 million for major works in 16 high need communities and more than $124
million for refurbishments in an additional 57 communities will be provided. A
further $103 million will be directed towards town camps, urban living areas and
a small number of existing housing
programs.[75]
14 April 2008

Follow-up health treatments begin for children identified in the
Northern Territory Emergency Response.
Five hundred children across the Northern Territory are expected to receive
Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) surgery through visiting surgeons.

With more
than 8500 child health checks completed, almost one third of the children seen
were found to have ear diseases and approximately one in 14 children required
specialist ENT services to help them treat hearing impairment.

Other
actions included:

  • 39 per cent of children were referred for follow-up primary health care,
    including treatment of skin conditions or ear infections, immunisation, and new
    blood tests for anaemia;
  • 28 per cent were referred for dental treatment;
  • 10 per cent were referred for paediatric services:
  • 8 per cent were in need of audiology and hearing services; and
  • 7 per cent were referred for ear, nose and throat specialist services.
The Australian Government has committed $183 million over the
next three years to the Department of Health and Ageing for the Northern
Territory Emergency Response – Improving Child and Family Health
measure.[76]
29 April 2008

Launch of the Health and Welfare of Australia’s Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008 report.
This report by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Australian
Institute of Health and Welfare provides comprehensive, accurate information on
the health and welfare of Indigenous Australians.

The Report shows:
  • the majority of Indigenous Australians die before reaching the age of 65
    years;
  • Indigenous children are over represented in the child protection system -
    the rate of Indigenous children on care and protection orders is over six times
    the rate of other children;
  • hospitalisation for kidney dialysis is 14 times the rate of non-Indigenous
    people;
  • more than 100,000 Indigenous peoples live in sub-standard, overcrowded
    housing;
  • 50 per cent of Indigenous adults are smokers and two thirds start smoking
    before they turn 18; and
  • 20 per cent of Indigenous peoples living in remote areas reported no usual
    daily intake of fruit while 15 per cent reported no usual daily intake of fresh
    vegetables.[77]
30 April 2008

Government timetable for Indigenous employment reforms
announced.
The Australian Government announced a timetable for Indigenous employment
reforms. Consultations on Indigenous employment services reforms will start
shortly and will form part of a broader Indigenous Economic Development Strategy
to be announced by the end of the year.

The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous
Affairs will write to all current CDEP providers advising them that up to a
further 12 months of funding will be available from 1 July 2008 to ensure people
are working while reforms are being progressively
introduced.[78]
30 April 2008

Report of the Children on APY Lands Commission
The Report of the Children on APY Lands Commission (‘Mullighan
Enquiry’) is presented to the South Australian Parliament.

2 May 2008

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report on Maternal Deaths in
Australia 2003-2005
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare today released its report on Maternal Deaths in Australia 2003-2005. While Australia's overall low
maternal death rate has fallen, the mortality rate among Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander women is still unacceptably high.

Nationally, 65 deaths were reported, compared to 84 over the previous
three-year period. This represents a maternal death rate of 8.4 per 100,000
women, one of the lowest maternal death rates in the world. But the rate for
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women was far higher - 21.5 deaths per
100,000 women; more than two and half times the non-Indigenous rate of
7.9.

The Government has allocated $261.4 million over five years to tackle
Indigenous maternal and infant health through New Directions - An equal start
in life for Indigenous Children
and is also developing a national maternity
services plan to support the coordination of maternity
services.[79]
13 May 2008

2008-09 Budget.
In support of its commitment to turn around Indigenous disadvantage the
Australian Government announced the allocation of $425.3 million in new funds in
the 2008-09 Budget. The funding is provided across eight portfolios, and falls
under three main funding strands.

The three strands of funding are: Closing the Gap for Indigenous
Australians; Closing the Gap in the Northern Territory; and Closing the Gap for
Indigenous Australians – Other Measures.

The Budget measures build on $580 million in major initiatives announced in
February for closing the gap in life expectancy, infant mortality, education and
employment. In addition, the Government redirected $222.5 million in funding to
address key priorities.[80]
18 May 2008

Discussion paper on Indigenous employment reforms.
A discussion paper to encourage debate and ideas on economic development
and jobs for Indigenous Australians was released by the Australian
Government.

The nationwide consultations will focus on how to reform two
existing employment and work-readiness programs - Community Development
Employment Program (CDEP) and the Indigenous Employment Program (IEP).

The discussion paper looks at how individuals, businesses, communities
and partnerships must be involved to lift Indigenous employment rates. The paper
also looks at how employers of Indigenous workers can be better supported,
building on the success of the Structure Training and Development Program and
Structured Training and Employment Projects Related Services programs.

The Indigenous Economic Development Strategy will be launched later in
2008 and will complement the Government's new employment services model to be
implemented from July
2009.[81]

20 May 2008

Regional Partnership Agreement for Groote Eylandt region.
Indigenous peoples in the Groote Eylandt region will benefit from a
Regional Partnership Agreement signed between the Australian Government, the
Northern Territory Government and the Anindilyakwa Land Council.

Under the Agreement the education and employment needs of the region will
be reviewed to identify how to improve education outcomes and employment
rates.[82]
20 May 2008

New substance abuse intelligence unit to be based in
Katherine.
The Australian Government announced that they would provide $2 million for
law and order activities under the Northern Territory Emergency Response for a
new Substance Abuse Intelligence Desk to be based in Katherine. The Minister for
Indigenous Affairs and Northern Territory Chief Minister said both governments
recognised the toll substance abuse has on Indigenous
communities.[83]
20 May 2008

First residential boarding facility on Tiwi Islands.
The first residential boarding facility on the Tiwi Islands was officially
opened at Pickertaramoor on Melville Island. Students had commenced classes at
Tiwi College in February 2008.

Three family group homes have been constructed at the Tiwi College,
providing accommodation for up to 36 students. The family group homes provide
students with accommodation from Tuesdays to Saturdays with full-time house
parents to ensure the students are fed, rested and prepared for class.

The Australian Government has committed $16 million to the Tiwi College, $2
million of which is for an extension to the college this year to increase
enrolment to 84 children. The boarding capacity will be increased to up to 48
students once the fourth home is
completed.[84]
29 May 2008

Indigenous Affairs Legislation Amendment Bill 2008 introduced into
Parliament.
The Indigenous Affairs Legislation Amendment Bill 2008 was introduced into
Parliament. The aim of the Bill is to allow for more flexible lease arrangements
in Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory.

Township leases under the NT Aboriginal Land Rights Act will be able
to be set from 40 to 99 years, rather than the current fixed 99 year
leases.

The Executive Director of Township Leasing, an independent statutory
officeholder set up under the Land Rights Act, currently holds township
leases.

The Executive Director will also be able to hold title to other types of
leases over Aboriginal-owned land in the Northern Territory, including over
community living areas and town camps.

A framework is also provided for payments to be negotiated for five year
leases acquired under the Emergency Response, which will minimise the prospect
of these matters needing to be resolved in the courts.

The Bill also enables 13 parks and reserves claimed under the Land
Rights Act
in the Northern Territory to become Aboriginal land. The parks
and reserves will be immediately leased back to the Northern Territory
Government so that they can continue to operate as national
parks.[85]

The Bill passed into law on 1 July 2008.
6 June 2008

Northern Territory Emergency Response Review Board
established.
The Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) Review Board was
established to conduct an independent and transparent review of the NTER to
assess what is working, whether the measures are effective and their impact to
date on individuals and communities. The Board will consult widely and seek
public submissions. 
  
An independent expert group will
support the Review Board. The group will be comprised of 11 experts drawn from
public policy, health, child welfare, legal and economic development fields.
 
The NTER Board will:
  • examine evidence and assess the overall progress of the NTER in improving
    the safety and wellbeing of children and laying the basis for a sustainable and
    better future for residents of remote communities in the Northern Territory
    (NT);
  • consider what is and isn’t working and whether the current suite of
    NTER measures will deliver the intended results, whether any unintended
    consequences have emerged and whether other measures should be developed;
    and
  • in relation to each NTER measure, make an assessment of its effects to date,
    and recommend any required changes to improve each measure and monitor
    performance.
  
The NTER Review Board and the Expert
Group will be supported by a secretariat which will provide project management
support.
 
The NTER Review Board is expected to provide the
Australian Government with a final report by 30 September
2008.[86]
 
11 June 2008

Regional Partnership Agreement for Western Cape York
Peninsula
.
The Minister for Employment Participation announced Australian Government
funding for the development and mentoring of Indigenous enterprises on the
Western Cape York Peninsula.

During a visit to Weipa today funding of nearly $700,000 was announced.
This will fund two senior positions at the Western Cape Chamber of Commerce over
the next two years.

The funding will allow the Chamber to recruit an Indigenous Economic
Development Officer and an Indigenous Business Mentor/ Trainer. These positions
will work with existing and emerging Indigenous businesses on the Western Cape
to develop their capability and
sustainability.[87]

16 June 2008

The Stolen Generation Compensation Bill 2008 Inquiry Report
released.
On 14 February 2008, the Stolen Generation Compensation Bill 2008, a
private Senator's bill, was introduced into the Senate. On 12 March 2008, the
Senate referred the Bill to the Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional
Affairs, for inquiry and report by 16 June 2008.

The Committee’s report found that the primary purpose of the Bill was
to address compensation for the stolen generations of Indigenous children in
Australia. The Bill proposed a compensation model for ex gratia payments to be
made to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons who were found to be
eligible for such payments under the
Bill.[88]

The Report contains four recommendations:
  1. The committee recommends that the Bill not proceed in its current form.
  2. The committee recommends that the Federal Government's stolen generation
    working group (comprising of stolen generation representatives from the National
    Sorry Day Committee and the Stolen Generations Alliance) be charged with the
    responsibility of monitoring the implementation of the recommendations of the Bringing them home report, and providing advice to government on the
    implementation of outstanding recommendations of that report by the end of
    2008.
  3. The committee recommends that the Federal Government's 'closing the gap'
    initiative be extended to establish a National Indigenous Healing Fund to
    provide health, housing, ageing, funding for funerals, and other family support
    services for members of the stolen generation as a matter of priority. The
    committee recommends that the National Indigenous Healing Fund be incorporated
    within the 'closing the gap' initiative as an additional and discrete element of
    focus and funding.
  4. The committee recommends that the terms and conditions of the National
    Indigenous Healing Fund be determined through the Council of Australian
    Governments (COAG), and that its processes and practical application be decided
    after consultation with the stolen generation working group (comprising of
    stolen generation representatives from the National Sorry Day Committee and the
    Stolen Generations
    Alliance).[89]
19 June 2008

Additional funding for Aboriginal Legal Services.
The Australian Government announced the allocation of more than $6.3
million in one-off funding for Aboriginal Legal Services (ALS) to help meet
extra demand for legal assistance.

The funding will provide:
  • $2.75 million for the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia;
  • $515,000 to Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW and ACT);
  • $800,000 to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service
    (Queensland South);
  • $895,000 for South Australia's Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement;
  • $140,000 for computer upgrades; and
  • $900,000 for the Expensive Indigenous Cases Fund which allows any legal
    service to apply for extra funds for expensive or high profile
    cases.[90]
21 June 2008

Northern Territory Emergency Response Taskforce’s Final report
On the first anniversary of the Northern Territory Emergency Response, the
Northern Territory Emergency Response Taskforce presents its Final Report to
Government. The report documents the activities of the Taskforce, reports on the
achievements of the Intervention over the previous 12 months, and makes a number
of recommendations for future services for Indigenous peoples in the Northern
Territory.

The Final Report of the Taskforce is available online at:
http://www.facsia.gov.au/nter/docs/reports/taskforce_report.htm
24 June 2008

Eight new family support services commence.
Eight new family support services have been launched to support Indigenous
families as part of a $16.6 million Australian Government commitment to give
Indigenous children a good start in life.

The first eight locations, from
a proposed 50 over the next four years, have been selected because they have a
large Indigenous population and are often highly disadvantaged as well.

The services-the Indigenous Parenting Support Services-will target
families with children aged up to eight years old with a focus on children under
the age of two. The Government will provide over $1.2 million to the eight
locations. A total of $153,000 per year will be allocated to each site, covering
the salaries of one full-time family support worker, one part-time worker and
other administration costs.

The sites and their service providers are:

  • Blacktown NSW - the Anglicare Diocese of Sydney;
  • Wellington NSW - Aboriginal Corporation Health Services (WACHS);
  • Central Melbourne, Victoria - the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency
    (VACCA);
  • South Brisbane, Qld - Kummara Association;
  • Port Adelaide, SA - Uniting Care Wesley Port Adelaide;
  • Banksia Grove, WA - Ngala Incorporated;
  • Launceston, Tasmania - the Tasmanian Aboriginal Child Care Association
    (TACCA); and
  • Gungahlin, ACT - The Smith
    Family.[91]
27 June 2008

National Policy Commission on Indigenous Housing convenes first
meeting.
The initial tasks of the National Policy Commission on Indigenous Housing
have included assessing remote Indigenous housing data to identify gaps,
assessing the capacity of existing government programs to address remote
Indigenous housing needs, and identifying tangible policy objectives for
government in both remote and urban and regional contexts.
2006 census data and 2006 Community Housing and Infrastructure Need Survey
data indicates that of the 22,000 Indigenous households in remote or very remote
Australia:
  • around 7,000 or over 30% of these households are overcrowded;
  • almost a third of the 15,000 houses managed by Indigenous Housing
    Organisations require repairs or replacement; and
  • almost 3,000 Indigenous peoples are
    homeless.[92]
27 June 2007

New evaluation reports on Indigenous Business Australia and Family
Violence Programs.
The Australian Government released two evaluation reports on Indigenous
Business Australia (IBA) and two Indigenous-specific family violence programs,
the Family Violence Partnership Program and the Family Violence Regional
Activities Program.

The IBA program evaluation examines the manner in which IBA seeks to create
wealth in Indigenous communities, support Indigenous businesses and increase the
rate of home ownership among Indigenous households. The evaluation highlights
the diversity of IBA's partnerships with Indigenous peoples, their communities
and the mainstream business community.

The family violence program evaluation report highlights the work that the
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs has
undertaken to address the family violence and notes that many improvements have
been made since the completion of the
evaluation.[93]

 

top | contents


[1] Office of the Registrar of
Indigenous Corporations, About the CATSI Act, http://www.oric.gov.au/Content.aspx?content=CATSI-Act/default.htm&menu=catsi&class=catsi&selected=About%20the%20CATSI%20Act (viewed 13 January 2009).
[2] UN
Web Services Section, United Nations Department of Public Information, International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, http://www.un.org/events/indigenous/2007/ (viewed 15 January 2009).
[3] House
Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Parliament
of Australia, Indigenous Australians at Work: Successful initiatives in
Indigenous employment
(2007). At http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/atsia/indigenousemployment/report.htm (viewed 15 January 2009).
[4] Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Status of Legislation. At http://www.facs.gov.au/internet/facsinternet.nsf/aboutfacs/legislation_status.htm (viewed 1 July 2008).
[5] For an
overview of the Northern Territory Emergency Response measures and an analysis
of their compliance with human rights principles see: Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social Justice Report 2007,
Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (2007) ch
3.
[6] Employment & Workplace
Relations Services for Australians, CDEP in the Northern Territory Emergency
Response Questions and Answers
, http://www.workplace.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/31071644-F73A-46BF-82D2-59046CF5057D/0/CDEPNTQuestionsandAnswers.pdf (viewed 15 January 2008).
[7] Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, ‘$14.6 million for
Indigenous environmental projects’ (Media Release, 28 August 2007). At http://www.scacc.com.au/UserFiles/File/Indigneous%20Env%20Projects.pdf (viewed 15 January 2009).
[8] Australian Red Cross, ‘Australian Red Cross joins corporate leaders for
indigenous employment’ (Media Release, 29 August 2007). At http://1.redcross.org.au/?fuseaction=NEWSROOM.archive&sub=507 (viewed 15 January 2009).
[9] Agreements, Treaties and Negotiated Settlements, Nguiu (Tiwi Islands) 99-Year
Lease
. At http://www.atns.net.au/agreement.asp?EntityID=4116 (viewed 15 January 2009).
[10] Minister for Justice and Customs, ‘Official opening of the Australian
Crime Commission Darwin office’ (Media Release, 31 August 2007). At http://www.crimecommission.gov.au/html/pg_media_minister_JC.html (viewed 1 August 2008).
[11] Minister for Education, Science and Training, ‘$50 Million Investment for
Indigenous Boarding School Facilities’ (Media Release, 31 August 2007). At http://www.dest.gov.au/ministers/media/bishop/2007/08/b001310807.asp (viewed 15 January 2009).
[12] Minister for Community Services and Minister for Employment and Workplace
Relations, ‘Boost to training for Indigenous women’ (Media Release,
4 September 2007). At http://www.familyassist.gov.au/internet/Minister5.nsf/content/indigenous_women_4sep07.htm,
(viewed 15 January 2009).
[13] Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, ‘Funding
to improve telecommunications in remote Indigenous communities’ (Media
Release, 6 September 2007). At http://www.minister.dcita.gov.au/coonan/media/media_releases/funding_to_improve_telecommunications_in_remote_indigenous_communities?SQ_DESIGN_NAME=printer_friendly (viewed 15 January 2009).
[14] Senate Employment, Workplace Relations and Education Committee, Parliament of
Australia, Report into Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Amendment
(Cape York Measures) Bill 2007 [Provisions]
(2007). At http://www.aph.gov.au/Senate/committee/eet_ctte/completed_inquiries/2004-07/indigenoused07/report/index.htm (viewed 15 January 2009).
[15] UN
News Centre, ‘United Nations adopts Declaration on Rights of Indigenous
Peoples’ (Media Release, 13 September 2007). At http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=23794&Cr=indigenous&Cr1(viewed
15 January 2008).
[16] Explanatory Memorandum, Northern Territory National Emergency Response Amendment
(Alcohol) Bill 2007 (Cth). At http://parlinfoweb.aph.gov.au/piweb/Repository/Legis/ems/Linked/11090707.pdf (viewed 19 January 2009).
[17] Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister
Assisting the Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs, ‘New alcohol
restrictions to take effect in NT’ (Media Release, 10 September 2007). At http://www.facsia.gov.au/internet/minister3.nsf/content/nter_alcohol_10sep07.htm (viewed 15 January 2009).
[18] Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister
Assisting the Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs, ‘Funding for major
Indigenous housing projects’ (Media Release, 18 September 2007). At http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/internet/minister3.nsf/content/housing_18sep07.htm (viewed 15 January 2009).
[19] Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister
Assisting the Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs, ‘Government delivers
long-term commitment to housing jobs, health and police as part of long term
commitment to NT’ (Media Release, 18 September 2007). At http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/internet/minister3.nsf/content/funding_18sep07.htm (viewed 15 January 2009).
[20] Minister for Education, Science and Training, ‘Indigenous Boarding School
upgrades’ (Media Release, 19 September 2007). At http://www.dest.gov.au/ministers/media/bishop/2007/09/b002190907.asp (viewed 15 January 2009).
[21] Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister
Assisting the Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs, ‘Land Rights pioneer
secures agreement to negotiate 99 year lease’ (Media Release, 20 September
2007). At http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/internet/minister3.nsf/content/land_rights_20sep07.htm (viewed 15 January 2009).
[22] Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister
Assisting the Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs, ‘Focused Planning for
Indigenous Child Care Services’ (Media Release, 21 September 2007). At http://www.facsia.gov.au/internet/minister3.nsf/content/focused_planning_21sep07.htm (viewed 15 January 2009).
[23] Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister
Assisting the Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs, ‘Minister Receives
NIC Report’ (Media Release, 24 September 2007). At http://www.facsia.gov.au/internet/minister3.nsf/content/nic_report_24sep07.htm (viewed 15 January 2009).
[24] Minister for Education, Science and Training, ‘More than $1 million
awarded to Indigenous Australians for research’ (Media Release, 25
September 2007). At http://www.dest.gov.au/ministers/media/bishop/2007/09/b003250907.asp (viewed 15 January 2009).
[25] Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister
Assisting the Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs, ‘Multi-million
Australian Government funding package for Indigenous communities in North West
WA’ (Media Release, 26 September 2007). At http://www.ofw.facsia.gov.au/internet/minister3.nsf/content/funding_package_26.htm (viewed 15 January 2009).
[26] Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister
Assisting the Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs, ‘New remote police
stations in Western Australia’ (Media Release, 26 September 2007). At http://www.facsia.gov.au/internet/minister3.nsf/content/remote_police_26sep07.htm (viewed 15 January 2009).
[27] Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister
Assisting the Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs, ‘Landmark Housing and
Welfare Reform Agreement for Yarrabah’ (Media Release, 1 October 2007). At http://www.facsia.gov.au/internet/minister3.nsf/content/yarrabah_01oct07.htm (viewed 15 January 2009).
[28] Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, ‘$2.3m boost for
Indigenous Environment Projects’ (Media Release, 8 October 2007). At http://indigenous.developmentgateway.org/News.10971+M5c9315d5ac2.0.html (viewed 15 January 2009).
[29] Minister for Education, Science and Training, ‘Scitech enhances indigenous
students learning opportunities’ (Media Release, 10 October 2007). At http://www.dest.gov.au/ministers/media/bishop/2007/10/b003101007.asp (viewed 15 January 2009).
[30] Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister
Assisting the Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs, ‘Howard Government
backs Palm Island reforms’ (Media Release, 11 October 2007). At http://www.facsia.gov.au/internet/minister3.nsf/content/palm_island_11oct07.htm (viewed 15 January 2009).
[31] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, ‘Improvements seen in
Indigenous housing but areas of concern remain’ (Media Release, 18 October
2007). At http://www.aihw.gov.au/mediacentre/2007/mr20071018.cfm (viewed 16 January 2009).
[32] Prime Minister, Announcement of Cabinet and Ministry (Press Conference,
29 November 2007). At http://www.alp.org.au/media/1107/pcpme290.php (viewed 16 January 2009).
[33] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, ‘Dental health of Indigenous
children worsens’ (Media Release, 14 December 2007). At http://www.aihw.gov.au/mediacentre/2007/mr20071214.cfm (viewed 16 January 2009).

[34] Council of Australian
Governments, Communique – 20 December 2007. At http://www.coag.gov.au/coag_meeting_outcomes/2007-12-20/cooag20071220.pdf (viewed 16 January 2009).
[35] Minister for Families, Housing, Communities and Indigenous Affairs,
‘National Indigenous Council’ (Media Release, 15 January 2008). At http://www.facs.gov.au/Internet/jennymacklin.nsf/content/nic_14jan08.htm (viewed 16 January 2009).
[36] Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Canning Vale Community Cabinet
Meeting
. At http://www.pmc.gov.au/community_cabinet/meetings/canningvale.cfm (viewed 16 January 2009).
[37] National Native Title Tribunal, ‘Indigenous land use agreement signed over
Ipswich’ (Media Release, 30 January 2008). At http://www.nntt.gov.au/News-and-Communications/Media-Releases/Pages/IndigenouslanduseagreementsignedoverIpswich.aspx (viewed 16 January 2009).
[38] Productivity Commission, ‘Report on Government Services 2008’ (Media
Release, 31 January 2008) At http://www.pc.gov.au/gsp/reports/rogs/2008/mediarelease (viewed 16 January 2009).
[39] Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and Social Inclusion,
‘2006 National Benchmark Results’ (Media Release, 1 February 2008).
At http://mediacentre.dewr.gov.au/mediacentre/Gillard/Releases/2006NationalBenchmarkResults.htm (viewed 16 January 2009).
[40] Prime Minister and Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and
Indigenous Affairs, ‘Stolen Generations invited to Parliament for the
National Apology’ (Media Release, 10 February 2008). At http://www.pm.gov.au/media/release/2008/media_release_0065.cfm (viewed 16 January 2009). [41] T Calma, Let
the healing begin - Response to government to the national apology to the Stolen
Generations
(Speech delivered at the Australian Parliament, Canberra, 13
February 2008). At http://humanrights.gov.au/about/media/speeches/social_justice/2008/20080213let_the_healing_begin.html (viewed 16 January 2009). [42] Minister for Families,
Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, ‘Permit system on
Aboriginal land in NT’ (Media Release, 17 February 2008). At http://www.jennymacklin.fahcsia.gov.au/internet/jennymacklin.nsf/content/permit_system_17feb08.htm (viewed 16 January 2009).
[43] Minister for Health and Ageing, ‘$50 million to tackle Indigenous alcohol
abuse’ (Media Release, 17 February 2008). At http://www.health.gov.au/internet/ministers/publishing.nsf/Content/mr-yr08-nr-nr019.htm?OpenDocument&yr=2008&mth=2 (viewed 16 January 2009).
[44] Minister for Defence, Science and Personnel, ‘Indigenous recruitment a
priority’ (Media Release, 19 February 2008). At http://www.minister.defence.gov.au/snowdontpl.cfm?CurrentId=7436 (viewed 16 January 2009).
[45] Minister for Health and Ageing, ‘Progress on rural health
improvements’ (Media Release, 19 February 2008). At http://www.health.gov.au/internet/ministers/publishing.nsf/Content/mr-yr08-nr-nr021.htm?OpenDocument&yr=2008&mth=2 (viewed 16 January 2009).
[46] Commonwealth, Parliamentary Debates, House of Representatives, 14
February 2008, p 316-317 (The Hon Julia Gillard MP, Minister for
Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and Social Inclusion). At http://www.aph.gov.au/Hansard/reps/dailys/dr140208.pdf (viewed 27 January 2009).
[47] K
Magarey & P Pyburne, Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous
Affairs and Other Legislation Amendment (Emergency Response Consolidation) Bill
2008
, Bills Digest No 82 2007-08, Department of Parliamentary Services
(2008), p 17. At http://www.aph.gov.au/library/Pubs/bd/2007-08/08bd082.pdf (viewed 13 January 2009).
[48] Calma, T., (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner), Pornography restrictions to further protect Aboriginal children in the
NT
, Media Release, 21 February 2008, available online at: http://www.hreoc.gov.au/about/media/media_releases/2008/18_08.html,
accessed 6 August 2008.
[49] Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs,
‘Rollout of Income Management to Aboriginal Town Camps in Darwin,
Palmerston and Adelaide River’ (Media Release, 25 February 2008). At http://www.jennymacklin.fahcsia.gov.au/Internet/jennymacklin.nsf/content/income_management_25feb08.htm (viewed 16 January 2009).
[50] D
Weber ‘WA Aborigines facing health crisis, says Coroner’, ABC
PM
, 25 February 2008. At http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2008/s2172280.htm (viewed 19 January 2009).
[51] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, ‘Health spending ratio between
Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians stays the same’ (Media Release,
29 February 2008). At http://www.aihw.gov.au/mediacentre/2008/mr20080229.cfm (viewed 16 January 2009).
[52] Commonwealth Grants Commission, Report on Indigenous Funding, (2001) p
127. At http://www.cgc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/2963/07_Chapter_6.pdf (viewed 13 January 2009).
[53] J
Deeble, J Shelton Agar and J Goss, Expenditures on Health
for

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2004–05,
Health and Welfare Expenditure Series Number 33, Australian Institute of Health
and Welfare (2008), p 1. At http://www.aihw.gov.au/publications/hwe/eohfatsip04-05/eohfatsip04-05.pdf (viewed 13 January 2009).
[54] Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs,
‘Addressing Machado Joseph Disease on Groote Eylandt’ (Media
Release, 4 March 2008). At http://www.jennymacklin.fahcsia.gov.au/internet/jennymacklin.nsf/content/groote_eylandt_04mar08.htm (viewed 16 January 2009).
[55] Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs,
‘$4.6 million for Northern Territory Youth Projects’ (Media Release,
5 March 2008). At http://www.jennymacklin.fahcsia.gov.au/Internet/jennymacklin.nsf/content/nt_youth_projects_05mar08.htm (viewed 16 January 2009).
[56] Minister for Environment, Heritage and the Arts, ‘Special funding
recognises the value of Indigenous arts organisations’ (Media Release, 7
March 2008). At http://www.environment.gov.au/minister/garrett/2008/pubs/mr20080307.pdf (viewed 16 January 2009).
[57] Minister for Environment, Heritage and the Arts, ‘Solar power stations for
Indigenous communities’ (Media Release, 10 March 2008). At http://www.environment.gov.au/minister/garrett/2008
/pubs/mr20080310a.pdf
(viewed 16 January
2009).
[58] Minister for
Education, ‘Dare to Lead - Making the Difference: 2008 Indigenous
Education Awards’ (Media Statement, 14 March 2008). At http://www.alp.org.
au/media/0308/msed141.php (viewed 16 January
2009).
[59] Minister for Housing
and Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs,
‘Homelessness Agenda Builds Momentum’ (Media Release, 14 March
2008). At http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/Internet/tanyaplibersek.nsf/content/homelessness_agenda_14mar08.htm (viewed 16 January 2009).
[60] Australian Institute of Criminology, Deaths in custody in Australia: National
Deaths in Custody Program annual report 2006
, Research and public policy
series, No 85 (2008). At http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/rpp/85/ (viewed 16 January 2009).
[61] Prime Minister, Minister for Health and Ageing, and Minister for Families,
Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, ‘Rudd government
tackles Indigenous smoking rates and health workforce in next down payments on
closing the gap’ (Media Release, 20 March 2008). At http://www.pm.gov.au/media/release/2008/media_release_0143.cfm,
(viewed 16 January 2009).
[62] Other signatories included Oxfam Australia, Australians for Native Title and
Reconciliation, Reconciliation Australia, Get Up!, Catherine Freeman Foundation;
Ian Thorpe’s Fountain for Youth; and the Australian Doctors Trained
Overseas Association.
[63]Close the Gap Indigenous Health Equality Summit Statement of Intent,
Canberra (20 March 2008). At http://humanrights.gov.au/social_justice/health/statement_intent.html (viewed 16 January 2009).
[64] Department of Health and Ageing, National Indigenous Health Equality Council
Terms of Reference
(2008). At http://www.nihec.gov.au/internet/nihec/publishing.nsf/Content/terms (viewed 16 January 2009).
[65] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, ‘Annual Social Justice and Native Title Reports tabled in Parliament today’
(Media Release, 20 March 2008). At http://www.hreoc.gov.au/about/media/media_releases/2008/30_08.html (viewed 16 January 2009).
[66] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner,Training to combat family violence on the ground in Indigenous
communities’ (Media Release, 27 March 2008). At http://www.humanrights.gov.au/about/media/media_releases/2008/32_08.html (viewed 16 January 2009).
[67] Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs,
‘Income Management Rollout Continues Across Northern Territory
Communities’ (Media Release, 1 April 2008). At http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/Internet/jennymacklin.nsf/content/income_management_1apr2008.htm (viewed 16 January 2009).
[68] Minister for Health and Ageing, ‘New PBS listings for April 2008’
(Media Release, 1 April 2008). At http://www.health.gov.au/internet/ministers/publishing.nsf/Content/mr-yr08-nr-nr037.htm?OpenDocument&yr=2008&mth=4 (viewed 16 January 2009).
[69] Minister for Health and Ageing, ‘Indigenous Nurse Home Visiting Program To
Commence’ (Media Release, 3 April 2008). At http://www.health.gov.au/internet/ministers/publishing.nsf/Content/mr-yr08-nr-nr039.htm?OpenDocument&yr=2008&mth=4 (viewed 16 January 2009).
[70] Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs,
‘$6 Million to Tackle Family Violence in Indigenous Communities’
(Media Release, 6 April 2008). At http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/internet/jennymacklin.nsf/content/family_violence_indig_06apr08.htm (viewed 16 January 2009).
[71] Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs,
‘First Footprints in Landmark Study of Indigenous Children’ (Media
Release, 8 April 2008). At http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/internet/jennymacklin.nsf/content/first_footprints_08apr08.htm,
(viewed 16 January 2009).
[72] Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs,
‘Extending the alcohol ban at Fitzroy Crossing’ (Media Release, 9
April 2008). At http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/internet/jennymacklin.nsf/content/alcohol_ban_fitzroy_09apr08.htm (viewed 16 January 2009).
[73] Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs,
‘Boost for mental health services in Western Australia’ (Media
Release, 9 April 2008). At http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/internet/jennymacklin.nsf/content/mental_health_9apr08.htm
(viewed
16 January 2009).
[74] Minister
for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister
for Housing and Works, Indigenous Affairs, Heritage and Land Information,
‘Safe housing for young Indigenous Australians’ (Media Release, 10
April 2008). At http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/internet/jennymacklin.nsf/content/indigenous_housing_10apr08.htm (viewed 16 January 2009).
[75] Minister for Families,
Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Northern Territory Chief
Minister, and Minister for Defence Science and Personnel ‘Landmark housing
project for NT Indigenous communities’ (Media Release, 12 April 2008). At http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/internet/jennymacklin.nsf/content/landmark_housing_12aprl08.htm
(viewed
16 January 2009).
[76] Minister
for Health and Ageing, ‘NT Indigenous kids health blitz begins’
(Media Release, 14 April 2008). At http://www.health.gov.au/internet/ministers/publishing.nsf/Content/mr-yr08-nr-nr053.htm?OpenDocument&yr=2008&mth=4 (viewed 16 January 2009).
[77] Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
peoples, 2008
(Speech delivered at the launch of the AIHW/ABS Report, 29 April 2008). At http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/internet/jennymacklin.nsf/content/health_welfare_29apr08.htm(viewed
16 January 2009).
[78] Minister
for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister
for Employment Participation, ‘Government timetable for Indigenous
employment reforms announced’ (Media Release, 2 May 2008). At http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/internet/jennymacklin.nsf/content/gov_timetable_30apr08.htm,
(viewed 16 January 2009).
[79] Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and
Minister for Health and Ageing, ‘Maternal deaths high for Indigenous
women’ (Media Release, 30 April 2008). At http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/Internet/jennymacklin.nsf/content/maternal_deaths_2may08.htm (viewed 16 January
2009).

[80] Department of
Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Closing The
Gap
(2008). At http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/budget/ministerial_statement/part1.htm (viewed 16 January 2009). Full details of the Indigenous Budget 2008-09 can be
found online at: http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/budget/ministerial_statement/appendix2.htm (viewed 16 January 2009).
[81] Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and
Minister for Employment Participation, ‘Discussion paper on Indigenous
employment reforms’ (Media Release, 18 May 2008). At
http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/internet/jennymacklin.nsf/content/dis_paper_indig_19may08.htm (viewed 16 January 2009).
[82] Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs,
Northern Territory Chief Minister, and Minister for Defence Science and
Personnel, ‘Historic Agreement for Groote Eylandt region’ (Media
Release, 20 May 2008). At http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/internet/jennymacklin.nsf/content/groote_eylandt_20may08.htm,
(viewed 16 January 2009).
[83] Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs,
Northern Territory Chief Minister, and Minister for Defence Science and
Personnel,New Substance Abuse Intelligence Desk and Dog
Operations Unit’ (Media Release, 20 May 2008). At http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/internet/jennymacklin.nsf/content/nt_said_20may08.htm (viewed 16 January 2009).
[84] Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs,
Deputy Chief Minister of the NT, and Minister for Defence Science and Personnel,
‘First residential boarding facility on Tiwi Islands’ (Media
Release, 20 May 2008). At http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/internet/jennymacklin.nsf/content/tiwi_islands_20may08.htm (viewed 16 January 2009).
[85] Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs,
‘Greater flexibility in NT leases’ (Media Release, 29 May 2008). At http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/internet/jennymacklin.nsf/content/nt_lease_29may08.htm
(viewed
16 January 2009).
[86] Minister
for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, ‘NT
Emergency Response Review Board’ (Media Release, 6 June 2008). At
http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/internet/jennymacklin.nsf/content/nt_emergency_reponse_06jun08.htm (viewed 16 January 2009).
[87] Minister for Employment Participation, ‘Regional Partnership Agreement for
Indigenous business growth’ (Media Release, 11 June 2008). At http://mediacentre.dewr.gov.au/mediacentre/oconnor/releases/regionalpartnershipagreementforindigenousbusinessgrowth.htm (viewed 16 January 2009).
[88] Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Parliament of
Australia, Stolen Generations Compensation Bill 2008 Report, ch 1, s 1.3.
At http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/legcon_ctte/stolen_generation_compenation/report/c01.htm (viewed 16 January 2009).
[89] Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Parliament of
Australia, Stolen Generations Compensation Bill 2008 Report, ch 3. At http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/legcon_ctte/stolen_generation_compenation/report/b02.htm (viewed 16 January 2009).
[90] Minister for Home Affairs, ‘Additional funding for Aboriginal Legal
Services’ (Media Statement, 19 June 2008). At http://www.alp.org.au/media/0608/msha190.php (viewed 16 January 2009).
[91] Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs,
‘New service for Indigenous families gets underway’ (Media Release,
24 June 2008). At
http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/internet/jennymacklin.nsf/content/indigenous_families_24june08.htm (viewed 16 January 2009).
[92] Prime Minister and Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and
Indigenous Affairs, ‘National Policy Commission on Indigenous Housing
Convenes for First Meeting’ (Media Release, 27 June 2008). At http://www.pm.gov.au/media/Release/2008/media_release_0332.cfm (viewed 16 January 2009).
[93] Minister for Finance and Deregulation, ‘New evaluation reports Indigenous
Business Australia and Family Violence Programs’ (Media Release, 27 June
2008). At
http://www.financeminister.gov.au/media/2008/mr_222008.html (viewed 16 January 2009).