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Social Justice Report 2001: Chapter 3: Indigenous governance and community capacity-building

Social Justice Report 2001

Chapter 3: Indigenous
governance and community capacity-building


and capacity-building – addressing Indigenous economic marginalisation

initiatives for building Indigenous capacity and governance

studies of governance and capacity building initiatives

Mutitjulu Community Participation and Partnership Agreement

gateway for participation and administration

block funding and acquittal package


under the Social Security (Administrative) Act 1999



of the model to other communities

Indigenous Training Centre

and capacity-building – Future challenges


Last year’s
Social Justice Report noted that to date there has been insufficient
attention by governments to processes which ensure greater Indigenous
participation and control over service design and delivery as part
of an overall strategy to redress Indigenous disadvantage and economic
marginalisation. I observed that:

The development
of governance structures and regional autonomy provides the potential
for a successful meeting place to integrate the various strands
of reconciliation. In particular, it is able to tie together the
aims of promoting recognition of Indigenous rights, with the related
aims of overcoming disadvantage and achieving economic independence.[1]

Over the past
year, Reconciliation Australia and the Council of Australian Governments
have included strategies in these areas as part of their frameworks
for progressing reconciliation. Government initiatives have also been
introduced as a result of the Indigenous Community Capacity Building
Roundtable held in October 2000 and as part of the welfare reform
package in the 2001 federal budget.

This chapter
considers the importance of, and recent developments in, Indigenous
capacity-building and governance. Capacity-building relates to ‘the
abilities, skills, understandings, values, relationships, behaviours,
motivations, resources and conditions that enable individuals, organisations,
sectors and social systems to carry out functions and achieve their
development objectives over time’. [2] Governance
concerns ‘the structures and processes for decision making…
[and] is generally understood to encompass stewardship, leadership,
direction, control authority and accountability’.[3]

There are many
familiar elements in current proposals for capacity-building and governance
– such as the need for increased Indigenous participation in
decision-making, better coordination and less duplication of services,
and greater regional and local involvement – that have previously
been put forward at the Indigenous policy-making table in other contexts.
This chapter examines some of the necessary requirements for capacity-building
to be effective in reversing the disadvantaged experienced by many
Indigenous communities today and considers a range of recent initiatives
to develop or enhance Indigenous governance and capacity.

and capacity-building – addressing Indigenous economic marginalisation

The Social
Justice Report 2000
put forward a human rights framework for achieving
meaningful reconciliation.4 This framework has the following integrated

  • An unqualified
    national commitment to redressing Indigenous disadvantage through
    the adoption of a long term strategy which progressively reduces
    the level of disadvantage and ensures whole of government and cross-governmental
  • The facilitation
    of adequate, nationally consistent data collection to guide decision
    making and reporting, with appropriate monitoring and evaluation
  • The agreement
    of benchmarks and targeted outcomes through negotiation with Indigenous
    peoples and organisations, state, territory and local governments
    and service delivery organisations, with clear timeframes for achieving
    longer term and short term goals;
  • National leadership
    to facilitate inter-governmental cooperation and coordination;
  • The development
    of greater partnership approaches to ensure the full and effective
    participation of Indigenous peoples in the design and delivery of
    services; and
  • The adequate
    protection of human rights, including through constitutional means,
    and negotiations on mechanisms to overcome the structural inequalities
    caused by the systemic racism and lack of recognition of Indigenous
    cultures in the past. [5]

Central to this
approach is the commitment of governments to long-term processes to
redress Indigenous marginalisation and acknowledgement of the necessity
for a changed relationship between Indigenous people and the mainstream
society. As the previous chapter noted, anything less than this will
not be able to bring about lasting change to the state of economic
marginalisation currently experienced by Indigenous people.

The necessity
for such a changed relationship underpinned the approach the Royal
Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, which saw the disempowerment
of Indigenous people through governmental control as the main barrier
to the equal enjoyment of rights by Indigenous people. The Royal Commission
made recommendations for longer term, more flexible forms of funding
arrangements which would ensure increased Indigenous participation.
In particular, it recommended that Commonwealth, State and Territory
governments introduce triennial block grant funding for Indigenous
organizations, and that ‘wherever possible this funding be allocated
through a single source with one set of audit and financial requirements
but with the maximum devolution of power to the communities and organizations
to determine the priorities for the allocation of such funds’.

government modes of service delivery to Indigenous people to date
have operated, no doubt unintentionally, to constrain Indigenous social
and economic development. As ATSIC have noted:

the debate
in Australia has been confined to improving the prevailing ‘directed
community services model’. This model aims to provide services
to Indigenous people as a category of disadvantaged Australians.
Most funding is at the discretion, as well as the direction, of
Commonwealth, State and Territory government agencies…
Few Indigenous people can exercise any substantive jurisdictional
responsibilities over matters of the most direct concern to them.
They are almost totally dependent on government funding arrangements
designed to deliver programs and services based on non-Indigenous
models of governance. Commonwealth, state and local governments
do not share any of their substantial jurisdictional responsibilities,
few are prepared even to consider negotiations with Indigenous peoples.


Such a ‘community
service model’ is devoid of any connection to economic development:

funding arrangements provide little encouragement to Indigenous
economic development since the resourcing of Indigenous organisations
does not increase with increases in economic activity in their local
area. Without such a linkage, the idea of development is reduced
to one of ‘community development’ devoid of any economic
dimension. Service delivery itself brings few economic benefits
and little stimulus to Indigenous economic advancement
. [9]

Similarly, it
does not promote effective Indigenous participation:

The idea
of self-determination is intimately linked with that of a political
community, or people, having a right and ability to determine its
own priorities and design its own instruments of communal regulation
and provision. It is not furthered by the present system of highly
externally directed arrangements for funding Indigenous organisations
in Australia, nor service delivery by non-government organisations.
Self-determination requires that there should be at least some aspects
within the funding arrangements that allow Indigenous incorporated
bodies to determine their own priorities and strategies, and recognise
them as political communities of peoples with their own governance
arrangements. It has often been argued, following this line of reasoning,
that current arrangements in Indigenous affairs only amount to community
self-management of individual programs, rather than self-determination

As I noted in
last year’s report, Indigenous self-determination is not ‘merely
an end in itself’ but ‘has at its end the process of social
and economic equality’. [11] It involves the
‘right to demand full democratic partnership’ in society,
by which Indigenous peoples ‘negotiate freely their status and
representation in the State in which they live… This does not
mean the assimilation of Indigenous individuals as citizens like all
others, but the recognition and incorporation of distinct peoples
in the fabric of the State, on agreed terms’. [12]
A ‘full democratic partnership’ means effective participation
and partnership in any decision-making processes that affect Indigenous
people – not on the basis of ‘sameness’, but in such
a way that recognises the unique status of Indigenous peoples, and
which respects and gives appropriate expression to their distinctive
cultures within societal structures.

Building community
capacity provides a potential vehicle for the renewal of societal
structures and the political recognition and representation of Indigenous
peoples’ status. The development of effective community capacity
and governance arrangements may give rise to the creation of regional
arrangements that link local community control with state level decision-making.
[13] This does not necessarily entail the creation
of another level of government, although this may be a possible option
in areas where existing arrangements are found to be inadequate for
the provision of services and political representation. [14]

The current approach
of governments does not yet place sufficient importance on these factors.
It operates within a short term timeframe and without consideration
being given to the aspirations, priorities or empowerment of Indigenous
people. It has generally resulted in uncoordinated funding arrangements
between government departments and levels of government, and led to
what last year’s Social Justice Report termed as a process
that manages – rather than seeks to overcome – the level
of Indigenous disadvantage and inequality in Australian society. This
is now being combined with a mutual obligation approach to welfare
reform and welfare dependency as discussed in the previous chapter,
which possesses some highly individualistic and ahistorical elements.
It is yet to become clear as to whether the emphases on a broader
network of obligations and social partnerships promoted through the
McClure Report will provide the grounds for equitable and sufficient
reform of the current welfare system and employment situation for
Indigenous Australians.

As ATSIC explain
in highlighting the key directions necessary for change for Indigenous

The range
of social, economic and cultural issues confronting Indigenous communities
and peoples requires both general and specific responses in facilitating
change. The wider the involvement of all the Indigenous people in
developing their capacities to determine the nature, pace and objectives
of change, the more likely it will be that the changes will be effective
and sustainable. While there can be no certainty that outcomes will
be achieved in every instance, it is certain that effective facilitation
will lead to useful learning for the participants, and make a clear
break with the ‘Welfarist’ approach to Indigenous community
. [15]

The necessity
of this approach has also been highlighted by the Commonwealth Grants
Commission in its review of Indigenous funding need. The purpose of
the Commission’s inquiry was to establish a method to ‘determine
the needs of groups of indigenous Australians relative to one another’.
[16] The Commission identified seven key principles
for aligning Indigenous funding closer with the level of need as follows:

(i) the full
and effective participation of Indigenous people in decisions affecting
funding distribution and service and service delivery;
(ii) a focus on outcomes;
(iii) ensuring a long term perspective to the design and implementation
of programs and services, thus providing a secure context for setting
(iv) ensuring genuine collaborative processes with the involvement
of government and non-government funders and services deliverers,
to maximise opportunities for pooling of funds, as well as multi-jurisdictional
and cross-functional approaches to service delivery;
(v) recognition of the critical importance of effective access to
mainstream programs and services, and clear actions to identify
and address barriers to access;
(vi) improving the collection and availability of data to support
informed decision making, monitoring of achievements and program
evaluation; and
(vii) recognising the importance of capacity building within Indigenous
communities. [17]

They also identified
the key areas for action to implement these principles, given current
funding arrangements as to:

  • Identify
    and address the barriers to access that Indigenous people face in
    using mainstream programs;
  • Establish
    funding arrangements that reflect the long term and wide ranging
    nature of Indigenous need;
  • Establish
    a defined role for Indigenous people in decision making on the allocation
    of funds and service delivery at the Commonwealth, state and local
  • Take steps
    to improve the capacity (of Indigenous people and communities) to
    manage; and
  • Collect better
    data. [18]

The Commission
stated that, ‘we see a practical reason why Indigenous people
must be involved in deciding how funds should be allocated to meet
their needs – the need for judgement’. [19]
The report emphasised the necessity of ‘value judgements’,
particularly by Indigenous people but also by experienced service
providers, in defining indicators of need, determining effective outcomes
and ‘how equity is to be achieved’. [20]

the Commission identified the following features for enabling effective
participation by Indigenous people at the community level in aligning
resources to meet needs: full participation in identifying needs and
in decision-making about funding for provision of services; resourcing
participation in those discussions; control of service provision;
and the ability to form productive collaborative arrangements with
the main providers of services. [21]

The Commission
stated specifically on the importance of developing Indigenous community
capacity that:

The relationship
between capacity building and the achievement of service outcomes
needs to be recognised in funding decisions. The success of programs
will be compromised if funding is not provided to invest in community
capacity building… building community capacity, especially
developing the capacity of Indigenous organizations and communities
to manage service delivery, is a crucial step in ensuring that Indigenous
people play a central role in decision-making and more effective
use of funds.

ATSIC have similarly
argued that:

It is only
if the members of the community can influence, if not determine,
the use of resources available to them that they are likely to be
used in accord with the preferences of recipients. Only if it accords
with those preferences will those resources give the maximum benefits
to the recipients
. [23]

The relationship
between capacity building and achieving service outcomes needs to
be recognised and acted upon – building capacity can assist Indigenous
organizations to be more effective in identifying needs and appropriate
funding, and in participating in collaborative decision-making arrangements.
The Commonwealth Grants Commission argues that developing effective
community capacity is of equal importance to meeting infrastructure
needs and that communities lacking this kind of capacity will need
a higher initial investment of resources to ‘provide a framework
for the effective delivery of services and sustainable outcomes’.
[24] An investment over time to build this capacity
is crucial.

This will be
easier for some communities than for others. The Commonwealth Grants
Commission noted, for example, the following factors as critical for
improving the capacity of Indigenous communities to manage:

  • level of
    social cohesion;
  • strength of
  • provision
    of relevant education and training in areas such as corporate governance,
    management and information collection and use;
  • transfer
    of positions in service delivery from external sources to communities
    over time;
  • building economic
    and social self-reliance within communities through use of CDEP
    to foster small business and build up communities; and
  • fostering
    home ownership to consolidate commitment to community’s future.

These factors
reinforce the requirement for a longer term commitment to governance
and capacity building processes in order to address Indigenous economic

initiatives for building Indigenous capacity and governance

There have been
a range of positive developments in relation to building Indigenous
capacity and governance recently. There is increasing understanding
among Commonwealth government departments that single portfolio or
program-based interventions are insufficient to address problems facing
Indigenous communities. Many are increasingly accepting the necessity
‘to address governance issues for Indigenous communities and
organizations as a priority, and [that] this should be a key factor
in shaping a model of capacity building’. [26]

There are some
existing mainstream programs which are able to be utilised to strengthen
Indigenous community capacity. These include the Department of Family
and Community Services’ (DFACS) Family and Community Networks
Initiative for developing the capacity of families and communities
to respond to local issues through strengthening family and community
networks, improving access to information and delivering local-based
initiatives. DFACS also provides support for community-based initiatives
through its Stronger Families and Communities Strategy. The Department
of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business has allocated
$10 million over four years under its Community Business Partnership
for business and the community to work together to increase opportunities
for people with disabilities, mature age people, Indigenous people
and parents. [27]

Indigenous support
for community capacity-building has also been given in the October
2000 Indigenous Families and Communities Roundtable’s communiqué,
which identified the following principles:

  • Flexibility
    in programme administration;
  • Coordinated,
    whole of government responses;
  • Collaborations
    between business, churches, Indigenous organizations, other non-government
    bodies and the broader community;
  • Building upon
    existing strengths and assets within families and communities;
  • The empowerment
    of individuals and communities in leadership and management; and
  • Encouraging
    self-reliance and sustainable economic and social development. [28]

As discussed
in the previous chapter, the 2001-02 Budget also allocated $32 million
from July 2001 for trials in around 100 communities of Community Participation
Agreements in regional and remote areas.
Reconciliation Australia has also identified as a key priority in
its Strategic plan support for developing Indigenous community capacity:

Stable Indigenous
organisations that are accountable to their communities, and responsive
to their needs and values, form the critical foundations for community
and family well-being. Such institutions also provide the essential
mechanisms through which leadership is exercised in dealing with
governments, their various agencies, and the private sector.
In Australia there has been limited sustained attention given to
issues of governance and capacity-building in Indigenous communities
through their local and regional representative organisations. Conversely,
the issue of Indigenous governance, capacity building and devolution
of service delivery has been a central policy focus in Canada and
the United States for a number of years. This overseas experience
has confirmed that successfully addressing community dysfunction
and improving socio-economic outcomes is directly linked to:

  • communities
    having genuine decision-making power;
  • exercising
    that power through effective institutions; and
  • governing
    institutions acquiring legitimacy with the people whose future
    is at stake. [29]

Reconciliation Australia have committed to a national conference to
examine current and future Indigenous governance issues, including
the ‘current legislative and corporate framework, leadership
and capacity building, and best practice in Australia and overseas’.
[30] Following on from this, Reconciliation Australia
plan to ‘highlight and promote best practice in Indigenous governance
through the provision of appropriate training, education and capacity
building’ in ‘partnership with relevant institutions and
consistent with conference outcomes’. [31]

In its communiqué
of November 2000, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) also
committed ‘to an approach based on partnerships and shared responsibilities
with Indigenous communities, programme flexibility and coordination
between government agencies, with a focus on local communities and
outcomes’. [32] This approach forms the basis
of its reconciliation framework under which relevant Commonwealth/State
Ministerial Councils are to develop actions plans for improving social
and economic outcomes for Indigenous people within a 12-month period.
COAG is to take a leading role in implementing this reconciliation
framework, periodically reviewing and reporting back to the Prime
Minister on progress made.

As noted in the
introductory chapter of this report, this communiqué follows
on from COAG’s previous national commitment to improved service
delivery outcomes for Indigenous people from 1992, as well as from
the commitments of governments to the recommendations of the Royal
Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and numerous other reports
and inquiries.

As the lead agency
on capacity building within the COAG framework for advancing reconciliation,
ATSIC is to drive the process of obtaining acceptance of agreed core
principles across government, in partnership with key agencies and
jurisdictions. Together with the Department of the Prime Minister
and Cabinet (PM&C) it ‘may promote a Commonwealth methodology
around community capacity building which focuses on the development
of one central administrative process across Commonwealth agencies
for the movement of resources to communities and regions’. [33]

These initiatives
are important in moving towards changing the relationship between
Indigenous communities and governments, and for re-empowering communities
to take control of their circumstances. The commitments to this process
to date, however, remain short-term and minimal in terms of funding
support. While these initiatives are to be welcomed, they only hint
at the potential for reconfiguring and transforming the relationship
of Indigenous communities with the mainstream society. Indigenous
community capacity and governance mechanisms could be furthered through
facilitating more effective forms of financial and administrative

For example,
the CGC recommended that fundamental improvements could be made through
a move to an outcomes-based approach to current Indigenous funding
and arrangements. A focus on ‘outcomes’ takes into account
what has been achieved in terms of the inputs invested in meeting
needs: that is, the resources given to service providers to provide
services or facilities, and the outputs these service providers achieve
with their given levels of input, [34] whereas ‘need’
merely indicates the difference in relative status between particular
groups or individuals – specifically, ‘the difference between
an existing situation and an acceptable one’. [35]

An outcomes-based
approach to the distribution of funds is in keeping with the principle
of substantive equality as it has the capacity to take into account
different variables such as the impact of geographic, economic, and
demographic variables on mainstream programs across the regions, and
the varying levels of Commonwealth, State and Territory involvement
in service provision. It is also able to take into account the investments
made over periods of time, so that assets less easily calculable,
such as investments in organisational capacity and people over a long
period, are not jeopardised. More importantly, the CGC’s recognition
of the necessity of value judgements in determining outcomes, and
the role of Indigenous people at the level of decision-making, provides
an opportunity to increase their participation.

Other recent
perspectives link the need for greater participation and community
capacity with the development of Indigenous self-governance arrangements
that re-define the current financial and administrative relationship
between government and Indigenous communities.

Indigenous Development and Self-Determination’, a Scoping Paper
prepared for ATSIC in September 2000 by the Australia Institute links
political recognition with the achievement of proper autonomy and
self-sufficiency for Indigenous peoples:

Under current
financial arrangements Indigenous organisations have neither the
means nor the incentive to develop the economic base of their communities.
Sustainable development is a long-term process that requires assured
funding over a number of years. This is not available without some
kind of entitlement. It requires political support from their communities
that very few of the current organisations can get because they
have no defined jurisdictional responsibilities (other than those
stated in their constitutions
. [36]

The paper argues
that aspects of a new order of Indigenous governance could include:

  • Replacement
    of discretionary tied grants with more flexible and varied funding
  • A diversity
    of governance arrangements to be developed over time, including
    the potential to develop governance arrangements with new jurisdictional
    responsibilities (e.g. in relation to a land base) or within existing
    governmental structures; [37] and
  • Allocation
    of rights and responsibilities for a broad range of functions and
    decisions, including political, cultural, social and economic. [38]

Indigenous jurisdiction
is ‘likely to extend to matters that are internal to the group,
integral to its distinct culture, and essential to its operation as
a political and cultural community’. [39] Some
of the areas that could be covered by these governance arrangements

  • Establishment
    of governing structures, elections and membership;
  • Maintenance
    of Indigenous languages, culture and religion;
  • Child welfare,
    education, health and social services;
  • Administration
    and enforcement of Indigenous laws;
  • Land and resource
    management, including zoning, service fees, land tenure and access;
    development of own-source revenue opportunities;
  • Management
    of public works, infrastructure, housing, local transport; and
  • Licensing,
    regulation and operation of businesses located on Indigenous lands.

The Scoping Paper
advocates that existing processes of intergovernmental financial transfers
be extended to facilitate these governance arrangements. An Indigenous
order of governance would mean that:

organisations would be dealt with differently by Commonwealth, State
and Territory, and local governments in a number of ways… negotiated
with as equals, rather than simply directed to work within pre-established
program and service delivery guidelines. They would be accorded
their jurisdiction and some reasonably durable and guaranteed source
of finance for exercising that jurisdiction.

Noel Pearson
has also made arguments for government payments to be made to communities:
‘Government transfers are valuable and necessary resources, but
the welfare nature of these transfers has to be changed in order to
make it a useful and productive resource’. [42]
The issue for Pearson is the way in which welfare is delivered to
Indigenous communities: in the past, ‘welfare in the negative
sense’ has been delivered to individuals or to community organizations
to deliver to individuals, undercutting Indigenous patterns of sharing
and obligations and creating a ‘money for nothing’ mentality.
[43] Pearson argues that Aboriginal communities
do not receive their ‘fair share of the country’s resources’
and in fact need more in order to facilitate a level of development
that will lead to sustainable economic participation. Pearson’s
notion of a ‘regional interface’ between government, Indigenous
communities and other stakeholders would provide a means of restructuring
this relationship and enable Indigenous communities to exercise greater
self-determination in receiving and directing government funds through
reciprocity-based programs.

All of these
approaches are geared towards increasing Indigenous participation
in the management of their affairs and economic self-sufficiency,
goals that at a glance would appear to be in keeping with the current
government’s policy emphases on self-reliance, practical reconciliation
and mutual obligation. However, they extend this agenda in a number
of ways. The individualistic focus of much contemporary welfare reform
policy is challenged through the development of structures based on
distinct Indigenous groupings to interface with government. These
structures project a specific relationship with government and other
stakeholders in which there is scope to determine the reciprocal roles
and obligations of all parties involved. Self-determination through
the creation of structures and processes that give recognition to
distinct values and features of Indigenous cultures and societies
is also a necessary dimension of these arrangements.

As discussed
in Chapter 2, the McClure Report which has in part been endorsed by
the Coalition government promotes a reformed participation support
system that possesses some features directed towards expanding social
obligations and partnerships across all levels of the community. The
Community Participation Agreement (CPA) initiative introduced as part
of the Budget 2001’s welfare reform package is to provide a specific
opportunity for remote Indigenous communities to develop their own
definitions and applications of mutual obligation.

The two case
studies presented in the following section, one of which is part of
the CPA initiative, investigate the potential for Indigenous people
to build capacity and develop governance arrangements in ways that
adequately and appropriately give expression to their participation
and self-determination within current social, economic and policy

studies of governance and capacity building initiatives

There are currently
in place a number of processes where Indigenous communities and organisations
have sought to create a new order of governance and autonomy. These
include the ATSIC Murdi Paaki Regional Council Plan in New South Wales,
which makes use of a coalition of community working parties to improve
participation in regional planning and service delivery processes,
and the Cape York Peninsula Partnerships Plan, which has built on
Noel Pearson’s proposal for a regional interface through developing
partnership arrangements between the Cape York communities, the State
Government and business leaders to address disadvantage through better
integration of planning processes and identification of new operating
practices. Both these models are precursors to the development of
Indigenous governance structures.

These models,
and others such as the ATSIC Miwatj Regional Council approach, were
discussed in Chapter 4 of last year’s Social Justice Report.
This year’s report focuses on the Mutitjulu Community Participation
and Partnership Agreement and Yenbena Indigenous Training Centre as
examples of initiatives that seek to build capacity at a community
level and increase Indigenous participation in and control over decision-making

Modelling is
taking place with the Mutitjulu Community Council and residents (Anangu
people) located near Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park as part of the
Commonwealth’s Community Participation Agreement (CPA) initiative
being pioneered in the Budget 2001 package. This process seeks to
provide opportunities for increased participation by community and
other partners in building capacity as well as the basis for development
of more effective funding and administrative mechanisms and potentially
future governance arrangements.

The Yenbena Indigenous
Training Centre is an initiative of the Yorta Yorta Nations Aboriginal
Corporation in northern Victoria. It is an example of a community-directed
capacity-building arrangement that seeks to combine employment and
training initiatives with self-determination in response to a lack
of effective whole-of-government approaches at State and Commonwealth

Both models illustrate
the potential, as well as the complexity, of new approaches to Indigenous
service delivery and governance.

Mutitjulu Community Participation and Partnership Agreement

Earlier this
year ATSIC commissioned a consultancy to undertake research with a
view to developing a Community Participation Agreement for the Mutitjulu
Community Council and residents. This Agreement will be the first
of its kind, ‘a litmus test for the Commonwealth’s new welfare
policy approach’ and ‘a demonstration project for government
in respect to its ability to provide a comprehensive approach to delivering
the necessary support and funding, and to establish a practical partnership
with the community’. [44]

The Mutitjulu
Community Participation and Partnership Agreement Report (herein the
‘Report’) was also a response to concerns expressed over
several years by the community to ATSIC, Centrelink, DEWRSB, Parks
Australia and other agencies in regard to welfare reform and service
delivery issues. [45] The Report identified lack
of coordination planning and service delivery by government, intergenerational
welfare dependency and the existence of a multiplicity of governance
structures as key factors in the erosion of the community’s social,
economic and cultural capital.

The Report also
noted the community’s substantial local economic, enterprise
and employment opportunities, due to its location with thriving local
tourism and arts industries; major (potential) employment and infrastructure
benefits deriving from its joint management arrangement with Parks
Australia and the world-heritage Park listing of Uluru-Kata Tjuta
National Park; good institutional support, service delivery coverage
and significant access to resources in the form of advisors, local
service agencies, access to training providers, an adult education
building, an Indigenous Job Network, and an Indigenous high school.

Despite the economic
potential of their location, the Report observes that the Anangu ‘seem
to have remained marginal to many of the developments taking place
on their lands’. [47] Sixty per cent of the
community’s population are working age and over sixty-four per
cent are currently reliant on welfare. Those most consistently employed
have a history of working on pastoral stations, and work now as consultants
and casual rangers for the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Some employment
is offered through Parks Australia, the Mutitjulu Employment Program,
the Council and community agencies, although largely on a casual basis.
Only one tour operator out of the operators and retail businesses
operating from the resort employs Anangu people. The young people
are largely unemployed or only employed on an intermittent casual
basis, and tend to be reliant on older people and welfare payments
for cash and resources.

Other flows of
money – referred to as the ‘money line’ – provide
additional resources in the form of rent and gate funds, and traditional
owners receive further distributions and royalties. While the money
line ensures that the community is not cash poor, these flows of money
are unevenly distributed, sporadic and poorly targeted and act as
a further disincentive against seeking employment or getting off welfare.
High levels of educational disadvantage, health problems, incarceration
of young males, and social dysfunction also make maximum participation
in employment difficult. Participation through community governance
structures and decision-making processes is further undermined by
other corporate structures, the roles, functions and powers of which
are ill-defined and, on occasion, lack accountability to the community.

It is recognised
that there are no easy solutions to the problems facing the community,
and the Report suggests that a 5-10 year commitment is necessary for
the community Participation Program model to make any inroads on the
current situation. This would involve ‘a planned transition to
community control and management, within the existing legislative
framework, and in a real partnership between the Mutitjulu Community
Council, the Federal Government and other key stakeholders’.
[49] The model put forward is to cover all social
security recipients at Mutitjulu and its key objectives are:

  • A one-in
    all-in approach to participation;
  • Recognising,
    through the development of a participation framework, the contribution
    of groups within the community;
  • Identifying
    innovative approaches to money management within the community and
    encouraging improved budgeting and financial responsibility;
  • Exploring
    alternative approaches to service delivery arrangements;
  • Building
    the organisational and management capacity of the community; and
  • Exploring
    opportunities of more effective partnering with the business sector
    and non government sector. [50]

Through its strategic
framework the model also relies upon and promotes the principles of
cultural relevance; individual entitlement rights; equitable access;
community development; administrative workability; financial accountability
and efficiency; and enhanced service delivery and outcomes for individuals
and their families. [51]

Since the Report
was finalised, a draft operational plan, participation program and
activities have been developed for the Mutitjulu community and a Regional
Project Coordinator has commenced to assist in the coordination requirements
for the project and consolidate communication protocols between Community,
departmental and other partners. A Commonwealth Reference Group has
been established, consisting of representatives from key agencies
including ATSIC, Department of Family and Community Services, Department
of Reconciliation and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs,
Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business,
and Environment Australia. The Reference Group has made an undertaking
to progress the development of the Mutitjulu Community Participation
and Partnership Agreement through some of the key principles and goals
of the Report.

This Reference
Group provides a forum for addressing action areas identified in the
COAG framework for advancing reconciliation as well as advancing the
development of specific Community Participation Agreement projects.
It has been proposed that a Heads of Agreement be negotiated between
the Community Council and relevant federal government departments
which will address such components as a delegation under the Social
Security Act 1999
for the Community Council to deliver income
support payments; the ‘one-in all-in’ participation model;
block funding; evaluation and monitoring; coordination at different
levels; and a time-frame.

Issues to be
addressed in the short-term include: development of participation
activities with local agencies and stakeholders; assessment of staffing
and facilities needed for Participation Program; establishment of
a Regional Transaction Centre; provision of an ATM machine and assessment
of community banking needs; establishment of an advisory committee;
development of local Partnership Protocols for relationships between
community and Commonwealth departments; design of Individual Participation
Agreements and a Community Service Agreement; and the development
of National and Regional Frameworks for facilitating the Agreement.
ATSIC has also proposed the establishment of a Commonwealth Taskforce
to progress development of Mutitjulu’s Community Participation
Agreement under the direction of the Reference Group.

Some aspects
of the proposed Mutitjulu CPA model, such as the ‘one-in all-in’
participation approach and customising of compliance measures, suggest
a degree of public policy innovation in Indigenous governance and
capacity-building. However, a number of its propositions are by no
means new and have been floated previously in contexts linked with
a rights or self-determination agenda rather than an emphasis on increased
participation and welfare reform as the context of change. These include
the Council’s brokering role; consolidated block funding and
acquittal package; the use of partnerships, national and local; and
improvements to community financial services. [52]

gateway for participation and administration

One of the Report’s
recommendations is that the Mutitjulu Community Council should act
as the ‘employer, broker and negotiator’ for implementation
and management of the Agreement. On behalf of the Council, Participation
Program staff would formulate and implement Council policies and guidelines,
and undertake administration of the Program, including delivery of
a menu of participation activities. This would mean upgrading the
Council’s current hardware, software and office infrastructure
to establish an electronically-based community financial and administrative
system tailored to the operation of the Program and capable of linking
all individual participation and income data which is in turn linked
to Centrelink’s database.

The Program would
also be able to provide entitlements on a weekly basis to encourage
better management of savings and expenditure. Community administration
of the Agreement would be able to respond to some of the problems
associated with Centrelink assessments of entitlement levels such
as increased breach rates, termination of payments, incurred debt,
and high levels of frustration with complex forms and Centrelink correspondence
reported among Indigenous social security recipients. [53]

The community
gateway would thus assist in addressing some of the specific issues
affecting remote Indigenous welfare recipients (especially those surrounding
‘breaching’) and deliver greater equity to participants.
The brokering role envisaged for the Council also increases the scope
for effective participation, greater community control and self-determination
in the future. This concept has similarities with the recommendations
of the Commonwealth Grants Commission in its Indigenous funding report
that Indigenous people play a significant decision-making role in
funding for mainstream services and that funding be pooled from different
sources to achieve more effective outcomes for Indigenous people.
It is also consistent with Noel Pearson’s model of a regional
interface between the Cape York Aboriginal communities and state and
Commonwealth departments and agencies that would:

… provide
the forum to negotiate how programs will be actioned and the respective
roles of government agencies, regional organisations and local people….
the principle is partnership between the resource providers and
our community – with the aim to maximise action, initiative
and responsibility on the ground and to limit the role of government
to providing resources and expertise.

As in Pearson’s
model, the Mutitjulu community gateway is reliant on sustained collaboration
and support from other agencies, particularly in the initial stages
of developing the community’s administrative capacity to implement
the program. The respective roles of government and the community
in progressing a gateway or interface raise some complex issues in
relation to self-determination. David Martin has commented recently
on the difficulties inherent in implementing Pearson’s model
as follows:

While government
may not have the moral authority with Aboriginal people to effect
change, as Pearson suggests, it is arguable that it does have a
moral responsibility to ensure that principles of social justice,
equity, and accountability are adhered to in the utilisation of
the resources it provides to address Indigenous socio-economic disadvantage.
This, and the fractured nature of the contemporary Indigenous polity,
suggest that government may need to be involved as ‘partners’
at a far more intimate and hands-on level than Pearson envisages,
including assisting with the development of new Indigenous governance
institutions and facilitating capacity-building within those institutional

The timeframe
given for the Mutitjulu CPA supports Martin’s conjecture about
the comprehensive level of government involvement required for the
facilitation of new models of Indigenous governance. But while contemporary
governments have a duty of care in assisting Indigenous people to
develop autonomy, this must be exercised in accordance with Indigenous
aspirations and self-determination. Ownership of any new governance
models, whether developed through CPA or other initiatives, and the
authority to implement them, must be ascertained from the Indigenous
constituents to whom the models relate. [56]

the relationship of Indigenous kinship and authority structures to
the processes and structures of these models should be taken into
account in order to avoid further erosion of social cohesion in Indigenous
societies and cultures. Martin has made the following observation
about the damage inflicted on Aboriginal social control mechanisms
through external interventions, such as the imposition of various
administrative regimes on Indigenous people:

… the
ever increasing interventions of external forces continue to rupture
and subordinate the internal mechanisms of social control, and of
socialisation, and the consequent chaotic circumstances require
ever more staff to deal with it, so perpetrating the cycle.


In contemplating
new models of governance and capacity-building, it is important that
some of the more fundamental issues concerning the respective roles
and authority of Indigenous, government and other partners are re-visited,
or in time these new models may run the risk of becoming yet another
case of a failed Indigenous policy initiative and a further source
of ‘blaming the victim’.

As Diane Smith
has observed in regard to the capacity of national departmental coordination
to support initiatives such as CPAs:

coordination has been an oft-stated government policy objective
that has worn thin from overuse and under-implementation. One has
to question whether it is a real possibility, or whether is it merely
serves as a convenient placebo for lack of capacity to deliver on
the part of government and its departments. These Agreements will
constitute a challenge to the capacity of ATSIC, DFACS, Centrelink
and DEWRSB, in particular, to formulate the coherent enabling policy
and consolidated program platform that are needed.

block funding and acquittal package

Related to the
community gateway concept is the Report’s argument that the model
needs to be based on the pooling of resources from multi-jurisdictional
and cross-functional areas of government, through a consolidated budgetary
package providing one incoming financial stream to the community.
This package would comprise the recurrent block release of Centrelink
entitlement funding for Mutitjulu recipients, and a consolidated block
of cross-departmental program funding. [59] ATSIC
would have a role in making a comprehensive audit of program funding
and negotiating the package.

As noted above,
there have been a series of recommendations for more flexible and
longer-term funding arrangements such as block funding through a single
source, triennial funding, and pooled funding from the reports of
the Royal Commission onwards. At present, a cash-out approach to Centrelink
allowances similar to that of the Aboriginal Coordinated Health Care
Trials (where pooled funding is to be directed towards client need
regardless of program or institutional boundaries) is being investigated
with a view to further exploration of block and pooled funding.

The acceptance
and implementation of proposals such as these which seek to provide
more effective funding arrangements for Indigenous communities and
organizations is a pre-requisite for furthering Indigenous self-determination
and self-management. It could also be linked to increasing Indigenous
peoples’ capacity to direct and manage jurisdictional responsibilities,
and to raise revenue in the future. As ATSIC’s Scoping Paper
on resourcing Indigenous governance notes, the present directed community
services model has done little to increase Indigenous autonomy as
‘the resourcing of Indigenous organisations does not increase
with increases in economic activity in their local area. Without such
a linkage, the idea of development is reduced to one of “community
development” devoid of any economic dimension’. [60]

Diane Smith has
noted that there is some bureaucratic concern about the potential
program costs associated with implementing Community Participation
Agreements. However, as discussed in Chapter 2, any increases in the
costs of measures for redressing Indigenous disadvantaged need to
be assessed in terms of ‘the progressive reduction and eventual
elimination of the social costs accrued to Indigenous disadvantage’.
[61] Smith comments that given the likely increases
in costs within the next decade for both government and Indigenous
peoples in meeting Indigenous health, social and economic needs, ‘the
potential costs associated with enabling Indigenous welfare recipients
to engage in purposeful participation, education and training, and
community economic development under the Agreement framework arguably
represent a longer-term cost saving in welfare, health and other program
areas’. [62]


The proposed
Community Participation and Partnership Agreement relies upon participation
as its key concept rather than mutual obligation or reciprocity. Participation
is defined as:

the mobilisation
of individuals, their families and representative community organizations
to take an active responsibility for the planning and delivery of
welfare services and income support payments, with the specific
object of improving their well-being
. [63]

This definition
is in keeping with the McClure Report’s more expansive conception
of mutual obligation as being underpinned by a network of obligations
across the spectrum of the community. The McClure Report also observed
the need for any application of this principle to Indigenous communities
to be culturally relevant, responsive to individual circumstances,
and developed through consultation at the local level. [64]
As discussed in Chapter 2, there is already a precedent for Indigenous
Australians’ participation in a form of mutual obligation through
the CDEP Scheme.

as defined within the Mutitjulu model includes people’s participation
in everyday cultural, social and economic activities in the community,
at individual, family and community levels, including regional family
and community networks. Participation activities are to be meaningful
and flexible, and potentially the Program could facilitate a range
of activities geared towards greater participation, community and
capacity-building, including coordinated vocational and life-skills
training; intensive individualised assistance and participation; development
of a skilled and job-ready labour pool; and support for individual
and family financial management. [65]

The ‘all-in
one-in’ participation model put forward in the Report includes
both active participation and tailored assistance to certain categories
of participants. All able-bodied adults under 49 years and in receipt
of unemployment payments for more than six months are to undertake
some form of participation. Parenting requirements are to be subjected
to a range of progressive requirements, and it is possible that Disabled
Pensioners might also be included in the Program. This is with a view
to accommodating petrol sniffers, who make up around 10 per cent of
Disabled Pensions recipients, as there is ‘a strong view expressed
at Mutitjulu that disabled people, especially petrol sniffers, could
greatly benefit from inclusion within the Program, including both
participation and assistance tailored to their particular circumstances
and capacities’. [66] The tailored assistance
strategy component enables those in receipt of social security incomes:

on the basis
of age, disability, frailty, ill-health or caring duties, or who
are already undertaking voluntary responsibilities … [to] be
provided with tailored assistance to support them undertaking existing

This will give
recognition to the contributions that they are already making to personal,
family and community well-being. In addition, participation is being
defined by this model:

… not
only as a practical contribution, via a range of locally-defined
activities, in exchange for income support (that is, as an obligation),
but also as a form of local-decision-making, policy formulation
and service delivery: that is, participation is seen to be about
community management of welfare. It is likely that every remote
community considering the possible development of an Agreement,
will take a similarly wide view of what constitutes participation.


under the Social Security (Administrative) Act 1999

one-in’ participation within the Program would require negotiation
of an Individual Participation Agreement (IPA) with each person which
is then signed by the participant and Council delegate. Currently
under sections 605(1) and 544(1) of the Social Security (Administrative)
Act 1999 (SSA) all Newstart and Youth Allowance customers must be
informed of the requirement to enter a Preparing-for-Work Agreement.
Mutitjulu residents would be required to enter an IPA through the
community Program. The ATSIC Report recommended that the Community
Council be:

given a
delegation, under the Social Security (Administrative) Act 1999,
to directly deliver agreed welfare services and income support payments
to all persons receiving or eligible for them…. [which] will
need to include authority to negotiate, approve, monitor and enforce
Individual Participation Agreements, and to impose community stages
of breaching and appeal linked to Centrelink procedures … [and]
would need to proceed via a newly created community position of
Participation Program Manager who would be employed and directly
responsible to the Council.

Such a delegation
could be made under s234(1) of the SSA, and would be consistent with
the 1991 amendments to the Act, which ‘state that in its administration,
the Secretary is to have regard to, among other things, “the
need to be responsive to Aboriginality and to cultural and linguistic
diversity”’. [70] The Report argues that
the CPA initiative presents a more responsive policy approach to meeting
the needs of the Mutitjulu community and will be most effective if
supported by the existing legislation.

In addition,
the ‘all-in one-in’ model requires Centrelink to lift the
‘remote community exemption’. This exemption ‘removes
the requirement to impose any activity testing on Anangu social security
recipients resident at Mutitjulu and elsewhere’, to offset the
specific difficulties faced by remote communities in complying with
requirements for receipt of Centrelink allowances. [71]
As it stands, the remote community exemption presents a form of ‘reasonable
differentiation’, which is the CERD Committee’s term for
differential practices or treatment adapted to the circumstances of
a particular racial group that are not able to be characterised as
‘special measures’ but do not constitute racial discrimination.
[72] Removing the remote community exemption will
mean that compliance measures (in this instance, developed in conjunction
with the community) can be applied by the Community Council via its
delegate in ways that are relevant and responsive to local circumstances.
The implementation of compliance measures authorised by the community
would be facilitated by the proposed delegation to be made under s234(1)
of the SSA.

In some respects,
the coercive aspect of the model – the requirement to fulfil
certain participation activities in exchange for social security entitlements
– follows the precedent set by the CDEP scheme as a form of income
support with reciprocation. Like the CDEP scheme, the CPA initiative
has developed from a similar context, in response to requests for
alternatives to ‘sit-down’ money by a remote community.
The Report suggests that the community’s leaders and elders will
use breaching as a means of putting the brakes on the excesses of
welfare dependency, and for potentially reinstating more appropriate
values and lines of authority. [73] In comparison
to the CDEP Scheme, the CPA initiative presents an increased level
of coerciveness with its requirement that all able-bodied social security
participants below the age of 50 subscribe to the Program, though
with very different requirements set out for the various categories
and ages of welfare recipients. This coerciveness is to be offset
by the initiative’s adaptive elements: the emphasis on ‘participation’
as a community value, the sensitivity to the specific, local circumstances
of participants, and the customising of active participation and tailored
assistance to certain groups within the community.

The establishment
of equitable participation and ownership by the community is imperative
to the ethical success of this initiative, as well as the development
of a compliance system that is genuinely responsive to the community’s
circumstances. There is scope for this to occur within the proposed
model. As the Report states:

… the
people at Mutitjulu desire to participate not only in a program of
activities, but in the choice of activities, in benefits of the program,
in the implementation and planning of the program, in decision-making
about program objectives and guidelines, and in monitoring and evaluating

An equitable
community process that ensures individual rights and entitlements
could be implemented through such features as: ongoing community consultation
and education about the program; flexibility to apply measures according
to individual circumstances; [75] personalised support
and dispute resolution in response to non-compliance; reporting of
all approved breaches approved to the Community Council and to Centrelink;
and the right to appeal through community-based mechanisms to the
Council delegate, and beyond the Council to Centrelink, the Administrative
Appeals Tribunal or an independent arbitrator.

The development
of this initiative with a view to establishing strong community governance
structures in the future is emphasised. [76] In
addition, any surplus income acquired as a result of breaching processes
might be retained in a community fund and directed towards such purposes
as community development and family well-being.


The use of breaching
as a means of increasing participation should be handled with sensitivity
as its effectiveness is still being contested. In the interests of
establishing equity there need to be clear commitments (at the very
least) from other national and local ‘partners’ to ensure
their compliance with the model and support for Anangu aspirations,
to make good the Report’s claim that ‘[a]s equal partners
with the community, government and local agencies are in fact seen
as being another class of participants’. [77]

Other contextual
factors that require attention are the difficulty of sustaining a
unified, whole-of-community approach, given the heterogeneity and
mobility of the Mutitjulu community residents, and the need for separate
initiatives to target other (if inter-related) problems beyond the
scope of the model such as family breakdown and substance abuse.

To date the practice
of breaching has a track record for further disenfranchising already
disadvantaged groups such as Indigenous people and youth. [78]
However, the customising of compliance measures to suit the culture
and circumstances of individual Indigenous communities through the
CPA initiative presents an opportunity for achieving improved outcomes
in terms of participation and reduced breaching rates. The transfer
of authority for compliance management to the local level also has
‘a potential role to play in devolving jurisdictional areas of
welfare service delivery and policy to community management, in a
collaborative partnership between communities and government.’


Equitable participation
by all partners should be further reinforced by ensuring that the
model is applied to meet assessable goals and objectives over a prescribed
time-frame. The Report puts forward fifteen goals indicative of the
outcomes the community wishes to achieve through participation in
training, employment and other participation activities consistent
with their social, cultural, and economic circumstances and values.
While some of these goals, such as reforming community governance
and capacity-building, can be linked to a long-term vision for the
community, it is important that any projected outcomes be assessed
against a prescribed time-frame for achieving equity for the group.

Otherwise, the
model stands to repeat the more negative aspects of the CDEP scheme
as a ‘lifetime destination’ without achieving any further
degree of self-determination, self-management, community development
or governance. There would need to be clarity about what form of commitment
various partners are prepared to make, particularly in regard to the
implementation of the model over a period of time and the level of
resources required, and careful monitoring of all partners’ participation
as well as the flexibility to make any necessary re-adjustments to
the model.

There also needs
to be a commitment from government beyond the 4-year funding period
of Budget 2001’s welfare reform package to ensure the effectiveness
of the initiative, such as the 5-10 year period proposed by the Report,
which observes that:

The recent
government announcement that ATSIC will undertake the development
of some 100 Community Participation Agreements has been made in
the absence of any underlying program support for the initiative.
The mooted Agreements will require a range of service and program
support that is currently distributed across different departments
and agencies. Immediate coordination and planning is needed at the
national level...

of the model to other communities

A further issue
raised by the model is that of its transferability to other contexts.
Certain elements of the Mutitjulu model such as the changes to the
SSA and government policy have broader implications for other potentially
participating communities. In the interests of achieving effective
participation, it is essential that flexibility in design of CPAs
be promoted and that no one model should become prescriptive or definitive.
While some remote Indigenous communities share similar economic opportunities
to the Mutitjulu community, there are other communities that may require
even greater support from government in order to achieve worthwhile

ATSIC has stated
that this constitutes a challenge at the level of planning for specific
community initiatives:

In developing
plans, there needs to be an understanding of the physical, political,
economic and social environment relevant to the plan, and an assessment
at every stage of the capacity of the ‘individual’ and
‘community’ to participate/own the plan. That is, a capacity
building plan has to be defined with sustainable goals laid out
within realistic and acceptable time frames.

might also be given to adapting the CPA initiative for other areas,
such as rural and urban, in the way that the CDEP Scheme has been
translated to contexts other than the remote area where it had its
origins. There are also prospective linkages with other initiatives
such as the Queensland government’s Ten Year Partnership with
Indigenous communities, the Family Income Management trials developed
with Noel Pearson and other capacity building initiatives supported
through the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy, as well as
potential for communication with others involved in the evolution
of other similar models and agreements. Another appropriate linkage
would be for ATSIC to consider the CPA initiative in conjunction with
any Indigenous governance arrangements emerging through its work on
regional autonomy.

One of the most
positive aspects of the Mutitjulu model is the potential level of
choice it presents as an adaptation of a government policy initiative
in which Indigenous people are able to some degree to direct policies
and programs to achieve specific outcomes that will effect change
to their circumstances. The Agreement model adapts and capitalises
on elements of the government’s approach to welfare reform such
as increasing participation at the community level and ‘facilitating
direct involvement by community-based providers in “a key role
in the whole gamut” of “policy advice, programme design,
programme implementation and service delivery”’ to offer
specific, culturally and locationally-sensitive and flexible solutions
to the Anangu’s welfare and employment issues. [82]

While each community
participating in the CPA initiative will want to tailor Agreements
to suit their own local circumstances, they will inevitably also have
to address the same core issues with respect to welfare reform concerning
administrative and funding frameworks, and procedural arrangements.
It is likely that some of the same overarching solutions being considered
by the Mutitjulu Community will be relevant and transferable.

One concern this
approach raises is whether the dominant public policy paradigm of
welfare reform with its values of mutual obligation and self-reliance
might inevitably overshadow the cultural and traditional values held
by the community including the degree of self-determination ascribed
to the notion of participation. In addition, if the CPA initiative
is really to be of value to Indigenous communities, measures should
be taken to ensure that it does not repeat or embed the longstanding
difficulties accompanying the community services model and that instead,
equitable participation by all partners is guaranteed, and strategies
for progressing effective forms of capacity-building and governance
over the long term that further Indigenous self-determination are

Whatever the
future level of success of the CPA initiative, Indigenous people should
not be restricted to one model as a means of pursuing greater autonomy
and control over their affairs. Other initiatives for furthering Indigenous
capacity and governance, including those based in native title, should
also be encouraged.

Indigenous Training Centre

Yenbena Indigenous
Training Centre is located at Barmah near Echuca in northern Victoria.
It provides an example of best practice in relation to increased and
targeted employment and training outcomes for Indigenous people, community
participation and capacity-building. [83]

Yenbena is an
initiative of the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation (YYNAC),
the Australian National Training Authority (ANTA) and the Victorian
Aboriginal Education Association Incorporated (VAEAI). It is informed
by the commitment of the Yorta Yorta people to self-determination
at the local level, which they have also pursued through a native
title application over their country.

The Yorta Yorta
Aboriginal Community has in excess of 4,000 people, and their determination
area covers 2,000-3,000 square kilometres of crown land from both
New South Wales and Victoria in the mid-Murray region. The area ‘represent[s]
less than 10 per cent of what Yorta Yorta consider is theirs by tradition….
[it is] a patchwork quilt of public lands and waters within their
traditional territorial boundaries’. [84] The
traditional rights to country encompassed by Yorta Yorta native title
comprise ‘rights to possession, occupation, use and enjoyment
of the determination area, the waters, and natural resources’.

On 18 December
1998 Olney J determined that native title did not exist in relation
to the lands and waters in the determination area, against which the
Yorta Yorta filed an appeal five weeks later. The Appeal was dismissed
by a two to one majority of the Full Court of the Federal Court on
8 February 2001. Special leave to appeal to the High Court was granted
on 14 December 2001. This sequence of events has not deterred the
Yorta Yorta Aboriginal community from seeking to exercise their traditional
rights and culture, most recently through local arrangements in relation
to employment and training in addition to their native title application.

Yenbena Indigenous
Training Centre, which has been in operation since March 2001, has
been established by YYNAC through drawing on a mixture of Commonwealth
and State funds to provide targeted and culturally appropriate training
to Indigenous young people. Essentially this initiative seeks to ‘fill
the gaps’ where the Commonwealth is not providing appropriate
funding or programs to meet Indigenous employment needs.

The view of the
Yorta Yorta Aboriginal community was that Commonwealth programs such
as Work for the Dole and CDEP do not at present provide adequate skilling
and mentoring for successful transition from mutual obligation-type
activities to employment. Some frustration was expressed with the
tendency of CDEP to obscure rather than genuinely address Indigenous
unemployment need.

As an alternative,
the community sought funding from the Community Jobs Program, a Victorian
government Employment and Skills Policy initiative, with a view to
tailoring a training program to meet their own needs. The program
is aimed at ‘breaking down the employment barriers that prevent
people from gaining employment, particularly in communities that are
disadvantaged and/or are in areas of high unemployment’. [86]
It funds not-for-profit incorporated community-based organizations,
local governments, federal/state government agencies, statutory authorities
and regional development organizations to employ local jobseekers
on community projects.

Projects are
to employ 12 or more jobseekers aged 15 years and above, and must
provide community benefit. Training is to be delivered by a Registered
Training Organisation (RTO) and sponsor organization. Sponsor organizations
must ‘ensure that prospective participants have been unemployed
for more than 6 months during the last 12 months or are unemployed
and are “at risk” of long-term unemployment’. [87]
It is not necessary for unemployed participants to be registered with
a Job Network provider or to be receiving assistance from Centrelink,
although those who are receiving Job Search Training or Intensive
Assistance from a Job Network provider are eligible for the Program.
Grant funds are to be used as a contribution towards wage and associated
costs of participants and supervisor/s, with sponsor organizations
covering further costs through covered through contributions or other
means. [88] Support is available for 2-3 years development
of the program.

Yenbena was registered
as an RTO with YYNAC as a sponsor organization under the State Training
Board of Victoria. [89] Registration involves proving
that the sponsor organization is capable of delivering training, including
meeting a minimum performance standard, ensuring payment of participants
under the appropriate award and receipt of relevant benefits and allowances,
and compliance with all legislative requirements. The organization
must also purchase nationally-recognised training courses, some of
which are state-owned (such as Certificate I in Koorie Education and
Certification III in Aboriginal Site Conservation).

Currently the
Training Centre offers the following courses within a twelve-month
period: Coorong Tongala (Koorie Education), Business (Office Administration),
Business Administration, Community Work, Horticulture, Agriculture,
Site Conservation, Horticulture, and Assessment and Workplace Training.
The courses were purchased in response to the needs for training and
mentoring identified by the Yorta Yorta Aboriginal community, and
as a result of targeting the local resources available for providing
employment and training opportunities. For example, business administration
courses were introduced to cater for identified needs for training
in administration, information technology and literacy skills in local
organizations; site conservation was linked to an agreement with VicRoads
for the Yorta Yorta to monitor country during VicRoads works.

All training
modules are linked to placements and each employee has a pathway in
which future jobs are identified. [90] The program
also provides an opportunity for those who may have had some work
experience (such as casual office work in a community organization)
to receive formal accreditation for their skills.

Yenbena is more
like a flexible learning centre than a training centre, and it makes
use of community venues and non-institutional atmospheres. Only specific
training (mainly administrative) takes place within the Centre itself;
most time is spent in placements. It uses a work-based learning model
with ‘hands-on’ training that links groups to different
community organizations. Groups are small (no greater than 4 participants)
which offers increased opportunities for mentoring and participation.

The flexibility
of the program enables the Yorta Yorta Aboriginal community to integrate
cultural knowledge with training for participants without having to
create a separate opportunity. For example, courses (such as communication
skills, business administration and community work) can be customised
to suit the local context and provide culturally-specific training.
All staff, students and mentors at Yenbena are Indigenous, and training
seeks to draw on community support networks and values. Integral values
are the importance of working and training as part of a community,
and learning as a ‘natural way of life’. Elders also play
a significant role through participating as trainers and mentors.

Yenbena training
arrangements operate on a trust basis, and are underpinned by the
community’s support for the younger generation’s participation
and development. ‘Breaching’ and other forms of compliance
are not applied - while the majority of participants have been previously
unemployed or are school leavers, none are in receipt of a social
security allowance - and the community does not have any plans to
develop measures to ensure participation. Fees for participants are
currently waived, so youth who are asset- and skills-poor are not
financially burdened.

To date, 8 out
of 12 participants have found employment, one as a ranger for Parks
Victoria. Although participants are able to seek outside employment,
it is envisaged that skills learnt will be invested back into the
community – for example, through employment within existing organisations
and arrangements or through future enterprises.

One of the perceived
advantages of the Community Jobs Program is its adaptability and the
opportunity this provides to empower people to look after their own
community. The Program encourages the development of projects linked
to other infrastructure related initiatives funded by the State or
Federal Government, [91] and it is envisaged that
future courses will be developed that build linkages with other enterprises
in the area such as aquaculture, hospitality and tourism. The idea
is that Yenbena will enable YYNAC to ‘care for the mob’
by developing an economic base, and become an incubator for getting
into small business and enterprises along family lines, and in doing
so, provide a model for other Indigenous groups. Existing properties
owned by YYNAC may also be utilised for training and business enterprises
as well as non-profit community activities such as retreats for elders
and youths.

Some of the impetus
for establishing the training program came from an agreement between
VicRoads, Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative and the Yorta Yorta Nation
Aboriginal Corporation (the ‘Murchison East Deviation Project
Agreement – Cultural Heritage and Environment’) that relates
specifically to cultural heritage management and the monitoring of
country where road works are taking place. This Agreement acknowledges
the Yorta Yorta peoples’ ‘right to protect Yorta Yorta Cultural
Heritage, their affinity with and relationship to the land, and their
interest in the protection of the Environment’. [92]
The agreement also provides finances for monitoring services: under
the Agreement YYNAC is to appoint a suitable number of representatives
to act as monitors for the project, and fees are payable to YYNAC
‘for all consultation, monitoring and work of relevance to the
Agreement, carried out for and on behalf of it by any and each of
its representatives’, as well as administration fees. [93]
This provides a training and employment pathway for Yorta Yorta people
through its linkage to Certificate III in the Aboriginal Site Conservation
offered by Yenbena Training Centre. It also creates an opportunity
for elders in the community to pass on their cultural knowledge to
a younger generation.

The VicRoads
Agreement includes weekly meetings between VicRoads and YYNAC, and
the delivery of cultural awareness training by YYNAC to relevant VicRoads
employees and contractors. There is a further arrangement between
YYNAC and Rumbalara Football and Netball Club (Rumbalara Aboriginal
Cooperative) for the Club facilities to be used to support training
and lease a vehicle. This arrangement was initially supported by Koori
Economic Employment training Agency (KEETA) and seeded with funds
from DEWRSB’s Structured Training and Employment Projects (‘STEP’)
initiative which provides ‘flexible financial assistance for
projects [between private sector employers and Indigenous communities]
that offer structured training for 5 or more people [94]
over a 12-month period - in this instance, support for providing equipment,
clothing, mentoring and evaluation.

YYNAC hope that
the VicRoads Agreement will set a precedent for other Indigenous people,
agencies and stakeholders for making agreements about Indigenous interests
in Victoria, and in doing so, create further employment pathways.
[95] While the current Victorian government has
advocated a ‘whole-of-government’ approach to Aboriginal
affairs, including cultural heritage, the Yorta Yorta community claim
that it has had little impact, that the majority of government departments
are yet to participate in this approach and that agreements are currently
a more effective way of responding to developments.

The Agreement
also provides a vehicle for recognition of the Yorta Yorta Aboriginal
community’s traditional rights and interests in the area. This
initiative is grounded in their native title application, which has
been a rallying point for the Yorta Yorta in the area – one comment
made by elders in reference to the development of the community’s
employment and training initiatives was ‘without native title,
we may not have been there’.

The VicRoads
Agreement and the Training Centre both come under the jurisdiction
of the Yorta Yorta Council of Elders. The Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal
Corporation is a prescribed body corporate as defined in the Native
Title Act 1993
and its regulations, which was established in November
1998 under the Aboriginal Councils and Associations Act 1976.
Within the Corporation, the Council of Elders comprising representatives
from the sixteen traditional Yorta Yorta family groupings plays a
key role in decision-making processes, particularly those relating
to native title rights and interests. A separate Governing Committee
based on the same representational lines is responsible for the Corporation’s
administrative functions and reports to the Council of Elders. Both
the Council of Elders and the Governing Committee are able to appoint
subcommittees relating to the management of specific issues –
the Yenbena Training Centre, for example, has a subcommittee of elders,
community representatives and specialists that reports jointly to
the Governing Committee and the Council of Elders.

The local Aboriginal
community organisations of Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative in the
Shepparton district and Njernda Aboriginal Corporation in the Echuca
district are responsible for the protection of cultural heritage matters
within their districts. Both these organisations have acknowledged
the Yorta Yorta Council of Elders as having the traditional role in
speaking for country and respect all decisions made by the Council
of Elders. This arrangement links the section of the Commonwealth
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984
(Section 21 Part IIA) relevant to cultural heritage in Victoria to
the traditional interests in country represented in YYNAC. While this
Act ‘acknowledges Aboriginal people in Victoria as the rightful
owners of their culture and heritage and consequently provides legislative
entitlement to their full control and management of decisions affecting
this heritage’, [96] the areas and bodies designated
for protection of cultural heritage do not necessarily operate in
accordance with traditional affiliations. [97]

YYNAC has been
able, however, to protect the traditional interests of the Yorta Yorta
peoples it represents and create further employment opportunities
through the administrative arrangements it has developed as a prescribed
body corporate and through the development of protocols with the local
Aboriginal Cooperatives.

employment and training arrangements are a response to current shortfalls
in coordination of Commonwealth and State agencies and services, and
the lack of definite employment pathways provided by existing Commonwealth
programs. It is also a model that draws consciously on Noel Pearson’s
philosophy of reciprocity – the Yorta Yorta Aboriginal community
are supportive of his articulation of community participation and
self-determination - and is geared towards the development of social
entrepreneurship and venture philanthropy in the near future.

Moreover, the
grounding of Yenbena in the Yorta Yorta Aboriginal community’s
traditional interests in country and self-determination provides an
integral source of identity and cohesion for this initiative. While
this initiative is creative, self-directing and enterprising, its
deployment of a patchwork of funding to achieve its goals reflects
the (time and energy intensive) predicament of many Indigenous organisations
and communities in doing the rounds of government and other funding

Indigenous groups
and communities should be free to pursue self-determination and self-government
through the governance arrangements they find most appropriate to
their circumstances. They should not be limited to whatever policy
prescriptions for ‘self-determination’, ‘self-reliance’
or ‘participation’ are in vogue but be able to determine
what forms of representation, structures and processes are suitable
to their particular group’s needs and distinct characteristics.
However, as noted earlier in this chapter, there is a role for government
to play in resourcing the development of any new Indigenous governance
arrangements including a case for the centralised transfer of resources
to communities and regions by Commonwealth agencies for the purposes
of community development and increased governance. The conditions
for receipt of any transfer of resources should in turn be responsive
to the needs and aspirations of specific Indigenous groups for self-sufficiency
and self-determination. In the Canadian context the transfer of resources
has been linked to the recognition of native title rights and Indigenous
self-government. In the face of growing interest within the Australian
context in the potential for increased Indigenous governance and capacity-building,
it is important not to lose sight of the place of the exercise of
traditional rights and culture and the need for any new governance
arrangements to be accompanied by recognition of the jurisdictional
responsibilities, distinct rights and status of Indigenous peoples.

and capacity-building – Future challenges

The need for
effective remedies and participation by Indigenous people in addressing
longstanding disadvantage through such means as capacity-building
and self-governance is justly receiving greater attention. Consideration
of these strategies, particularly as part of the reconciliation process,
requires that further recognition and commitment be given to the long-term
nature of these processes, through the adoption ‘on a whole of
government basis, [of] long-term policies that identify overcoming
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage as a national priority’.

Substantial long-term
commitments that provide a framework for progressing some of the outstanding
issues facing Indigenous people, as well as providing recognition
to the distinct position and status of Indigenous peoples have been
largely absent from the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous
peoples. Their implementation is long overdue.

between Indigenous and other stakeholders have become an accepted
part of government policy for promoting better outcomes in service
delivery. However, in order for there to be substantial progress in
the ‘reconciliation relationship’, these arrangements need
to be equitable in so far as they recognise and respond adequately
and progressively to the historically-derived disadvantage experienced
by Indigenous peoples.

If welfare reform
is to provide greater opportunities for Indigenous participation,
then government must take the need for reform of existing funding
and administrative arrangements seriously. It must recognise the part
the current community services model has played in generating Indigenous
welfare dependency and move beyond this to find ways of developing
and resourcing Indigenous capacity-building and governance arrangements
that will provide an adequate basis for economic development and self-sufficiency.
In doing so, it must also take up the challenge of facilitating rather
than repressing the recognition of the specific characteristics and
aspirations of Indigenous cultures and societies in Australia. As
ATSIC’s Rights Framework states:

constructed grounded governance mechanisms will facilitate credible
decision making processes that will withstand scrutiny and consolidate
the authority of the individual, family and community in matters
of significance. They will also reflect a cohesive approach amongst
members of particular groups in matters of mutual interest without
compromising our right to self-determination. Further, such governance
mechanisms will assist in the development of processes and structures
that enable self-government arrangements and promote regional autonomy
in decision making processes and service delivery.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples assert our right to
self-determine the governance structures of our communities

1 Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social
Justice Report 2000
, HREOC, Sydney, 2000, (Herein Social Justice
Report 2000
), p107.

‘Discussion paper on ATSIC’s approach to community capacity
building’, unpublished paper, ATSIC, Canberra, 2001, p1.

ATSIC, ‘Regional autonomy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
communities – Discussion paper’, ATSIC, Canberra, September
1999, p22.

4 Social
Justice Report 2000,
Chapter 4.

For full recommendations, see ibid, pp130-132,

Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, National Report
– Volume 4
, AGPS, Canberra, 1991, p21. Other Reports that
have raised similar concerns: Attorney-General’s Department
Review 1995; Review of the Aboriginal Councils and Associations Act
Final Report 1995
; Report of the Special Auditor 1996, Reports
of the Auditor-General; Review of financial accountability requirements
of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Councils, ATSIC Report on Greater
Regional Autonomy
. For some discussion see ATSIC, Resourcing
Indigenous development and self-determination – a scoping paper
ATSIC, Canberra, 2000, Appendix 2 – ‘Some recent reports
dealing with Indigenous funding issues’.

7 ibid,

ibid, p22.

9 ibid.

10 ibid,

Social Justice Report 2000
, p28.

Daes, E, Discrimination against Indigenous people – Explanatory
note concerning the draft declaration on the rights of Indigenous
, UN Doc E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/26/Add.1, 19 July 1993, para

For further discussion, see Social Justice Report 2000, pp112-21.

Resourcing Indigenous development and self-determination –
a scoping paper, op.cit
, pv.

ATSIC, Directions for change, ATSIC, Canberra, 2001, p9.

Commonwealth Grants Commission (CGC), Report on Indigenous funding
, CGC, Canberra 2001 (Herein CGC, Report on Indigenous
), pxii.

ibid, p90.

18 ibid.

ibid, p89.



22 ibid,

Resourcing Indigenous development and self-determination –
a scoping paper, op.cit
, pvi.

CGC, Report on Indigenous funding, p95.

25 ibid.

‘Discussion paper on ATSIC’s approach to community capacity
building’, op.cit
, pp1-2.

Vanstone, the Hon A, and Abbott, the Hon T, ‘The Prime Minister’s
community business partnership – Working together’, Australians
working together – Helping people to move forward, Fact Sheet
(20 December 2001).

‘Discussion paper on ATSIC’s approach to community capacity
building’, op.cit,

Reconciliation Australia, Strategic plan 2001-2003, Reconciliation
Australia, Canberra 2001, para 1.4.

ibid. The conference, Understanding and implementing good
governance for Indigenous communities and regions
, will be convened
by Reconciliation Australia, ATSIC and the National Institute for
Governance at the University of Canberra in April 2002.

31 ibid.

COAG, Communiqué November 2000, p5.
(11 December 2001).

‘Discussion paper on ATSIC’s approach to community capacity
building’, op.cit, pp4-5.

34 CGC,
Report on Indigenous funding, p10.


Resourcing Indigenous development and self-determination –
a scoping paper, op.cit
, p14.

37 An
example of the former is the proposals developed by the Combined Aboriginal
Nations of Central Australia for governance on their own land base;
of the latter, the establishment of the shire of Ngaanyatjarraku in
Western Australia.

ATSIC, Resourcing Indigenous development and self-determination
– a scoping paper, op.cit
, ppv-vi.

39 ibid,

40 ibid,

ibid, pvi.

Pearson, N, Our right to take responsibility: Discussion paper,
Noel Pearson and Associates, Cairns, 1999, p57.

43 ibid,

44 Smith,
D, The Mutitjulu community participation and partnership agreement,
unpublished material
, CAEPR, Canberra, 2001, p1.

45 ibid.


, p10.

48 ibid,


ATSIC, ‘Discussion paper on ATSIC’s approach to community
capacity building’, op.cit, p5.

Smith, D, op.cit, p2.

52 A
number of the Community Participation and Partnership Agreement’s
components, such as increased community control through the community
gateway; education, employment and training options; partnerships
with local stakeholders; and the consolidated block funding and acquittal
package are similar to the issues negotiated in other agreements,
often in the context of native title. See, for example, Craig, D,
and Jull, P, ‘Regional agreements – Options for Australian
Indigenous peoples’, in ATSIC, ATSIC regional agreements seminar,
Cairns, 29-31 May 1995, ATSIC, Canberra, 1995,
pp118-38; ATSIC,
Recognition, rights and reform: Report to government on native
title social justice measures
, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra,
1995, p57, which discusses the Commonwealth’s government’s
potential role in facilitating regional agreements as part of a social
justice package, and the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, National
strategy for achieving economic independence
, ‘The actions
we can take’, 2000/7/ pg4.htm
November 2001). For research into the need for improved financial
management options for Indigenous people, see Westbury, N, ‘Myth-making
and the delivery of banking and financial services to Indigenous Australians
in regional and remote Australia’, in Morphy, F, and Sanders,
W, The Indigenous welfare economy and the CDEP scheme, research
monograph no.20, CAEPR, Canberra, 2001, pp81-93, and McDonnell, S,
and Westbury, N, ‘Giving credit where it’s due: A study
of the delivery of banking and financial services to Indigenous Australians
in rural and remote Australia’, discussion paper no.218, CAEPR,
Canberra, 2001.

53 Smith,
D, op.cit, p39.

Pearson, P, op.cit, p74. See also Murdi Paaki Regional Council
plan’s use of community working parties, as discussed in Social
Justice Report 2000
, pp116-17.

Martin, D, ‘Is welfare dependency “welfare poison”?
An assessment of Noel Pearson’s proposals for Aboriginal welfare
reform’, discussion paper no. 213/2001, CAEPR, Canberra, 2001,

56 A
potential vehicle for ongoing ownership and evaluation of Mutitjulu
CPA could be the provided by the establishment of a community process
‘in conjunction with ATSIC and Centrelink, to monitor the process
and evaluate the range of outcomes from a Community Participation
Agreement.’ Smith, D, op.cit, p70.

57 Martin,
cited in Atkinson, J, ‘Violence against Aboriginal women: Reconstitution
of community law – way forward’ (August-September 2001)
5(11) Indigenous Law Bulletin, p20.

Smith, D, ‘Community Participation Agreements: A model for welfare
reform from community-based research’, CAEPR discussion paper
No.223/2001, CAEPR, Canberra, 2001, p38.

59 Smith,
D, The Mutitjulu community participation and partnership agreement,

ATSIC, Resourcing Indigenous development and self-determination
– a scoping paper, op.cit
, piv.

61 Social
Justice Report 2000
, p26.

62 Smith,
D, ‘Community Participation Agreements’, op.cit,

63 Smith,
D, The Mutitjulu community participation and partnership agreement,

McClure, P, (Chair), Participation Support for a more equitable
society: Final report of the reference group on welfare reform,

Department of Family and Community Services, Canberra, July 2000,

65 ibid,

66 ibid,


68 Smith,
D, ‘Community Participation Agreements’, op.cit,

69 ibid,


71 ibid,
p33. See Sanders, W, Unemployment payments, the Activity Test and
Indigenous Australians: Understanding breach rates,
research monograph
no. 15/1999, CAEPR, Canberra, 1999.

72 In
its general recommendation XXIV the CERD Committee observes ‘that
a differentiation of treatment will not constitute discrimination
if the criteria for such differentiation, judged against the objectives
and purposes of the Convention are legitimate.’ Cited in Race
Discrimination Commissioner, The CDEP Scheme and racial discrimination,
Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 1997, p41.

An earlier report on the Mutitjulu community comments: ‘There
is a sadness and helplessness experienced by many of the older generation…
which has grown in response to a perceived inability to influence
and take control of the future of the community and provide something
better for the next generation.’ Durnan, B, and Wynter Hill Consulting
Team, ‘The red plan. A training and employment plan for the Mutitjulu
Community Council, Uluru,’ unpublished report to the Community
Council Mutitjulu, 1997, quoted in Smith, D, The Mutitjulu community
participation and partnership agreement, op.cit
, p19.

74 ibid, p25.

75 The
Report states: ‘from no compliance requirements for the aged
and disabled, through to full monitoring of compliance for others.’
ibid, p56.


Smith, D, The Mutitjulu community participation and partnership
agreement, op.cit
, p25.

See discussion in Chapter 2. For further information, see ACOSS, ‘Breaching
the safety net: the harsh impact of social security penalties’
ACOSS Info 305
(14 December 2001).

79 Smith,
D, ‘Community Participation Agreements’, op.cit,

ibid, p67.

ibid, p3.

ibid, p27.

Material for this section was provided through discussions and consultation
with representatives from Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation,
VicRoads and Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative.

84 Arnold
Bloch Leibler, ‘Briefing paper on the Yorta Yorta native title
determination application’, unpublished paper, para 2.

85 ibid,
para 4.

Department of Education, Employment and Training (DEET), State Government
Victoria, Community Jobs Program Guidelines, July 2001, para
1.1. The Program targets Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders as
a long-term unemployed group.

87 ibid,
para 3.6.

88 ibid,
para 7.1, 7.2.

89 The
Yenbena building itself has been funded through Australian National
Training Authority and Victorian DEET Projects and Programs.

CJP requires that: ‘Work experience provided to the project participants
is to be integrated with the provision of accredited skill development
and linked to ongoing employment opportunities.’ DEET, op.cit,
para 1.12.

ibid, para 1.11.

Murchison East Deviation Cultural Heritage and Environmental Agreement,
between VicRoads and Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation, unpublished,
3 May 2001, preamble.

ibid, para 24.1.

Indigenous Employment Policy,
(29/10/01), pp2-3.

To date, YYNAC has made three other agreements with Gas Corp, Goulburn
Murray Waters and Murray Goulburn Dairy. They recently participated
as a member of the Murray and Lower Darling Indigenous Nations Confederation
in an All of Nations Agreement with the Department of Waters, NSW,
and the Murray Darling Basin Commission, signing off on plans for
water and resource management. The Murray and Lower Darling Indigenous
Nations Confederation permits individual Indigenous groups to determine
their own activities in their particular area.

96 Finalyson,
J, ‘Indigenous heritage protection, native title and regional
agreements: the changing environment’, discussion paper no. 145/1997,
CAEPR, Canberra, 1997, p5.

97 While
the National Native Title Tribunal does not recognise YYNAC as holding
native title interests on trust for the Yorta Yorta peoples due to
the current status of the Yorta Yorta native title application, the
corporation continues to receive future act notifications from time
to time through means other than from the Tribunal.

98 Recommendation
1 of last year’s Social Justice Report 2000, p130.

‘Our rights: our lives: our way: ATSIC rights framework’,
National Policy Office, Canberra, June 2001, p16.