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Murdi Paaki COAG agreement signed.

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Philip Ruddock Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs

Andrew Refshauge Deputy Premier

Minister for Education and Training Minister for Aboriginal Affairs

Brendan Nelson Minister for Education, Science and Training

Sam Jeffries

Chairman, Murdi Paaki Regional Council

IPS 065/2003

A ‘Shared Responsibility’ agreement has been signed for the Murdi Paaki region in western New South Wales under a new approach being adopted by Australian governments and Indigenous communities to improve the outcomes for Indigenous people from government expenditure.

The Australian and NSW Governments and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) Murdi Paaki Regional Council have agreed to work in partnership to address key priorities identified in discussions with community representatives late last year. These priorities focus on:

● improving the health and well being of children and young people;

● improving educational attainment and school retention;

● helping families to raise healthy children; and

● strengthening community and regional governance structures.

The signing of the agreement marks the commencement of the Murdi Paaki region as a trial site for the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) whole of government approach to doing business with Indigenous communities. Several other sites across Australia have already been announced.

At the Australian Government level the trials are coordinated by Indigenous Affairs Minister Philip Ruddock. Other Australian Government ministers are assigned individual responsibility for each trial site.

"The key to this new initiative is that neither governments nor Indigenous communities can do it all on their own - we must work together and share responsibility to improve outcomes for Indigenous people," Mr Ruddock said.

"I am very pleased that the Murdi Paaki region has agreed to be involved in the COAG initiative, and particularly pleased that we now have another of what I hope will be many ‘shared responsibility’ agreements in place."

NSW Deputy Premier, Andrew Refshauge, said the NSW Government had been working in the Murdi Paaki region, with a strong focus on supporting families.

"By working together at all levels of Government and with the ATSIC Regional Council, it is possible to improve the lives of many Indigenous people," Mr Refshauge said.

"Better health and education for young people has enormous flow-on effects - not just for individuals but for entire communities."

Brendan Nelson, the Minister for Education, Science and Training, and his department will lead the Australian Government effort in Murdi Paaki.

Dr Nelson said Murdi Paaki has a large Indigenous population and the trial will attempt to build on a series of positive initiatives already undertaken by Indigenous communities across the region.

"The Murdi Paaki region has strong and committed Indigenous leadership," Dr Nelson said. "With the support of government, the local community will have a genuine opportunity to work towards improving the health, well being and educational outcomes of the region’s Indigenous families."

Sam Jeffries, Chairman of the Murdi Paaki Regional Council, welcomed the COAG initiative and the opportunities it could provide for Indigenous people in the region.

"This is something we have been seeking for a long time," Mr Jeffries said. "Indigenous people here know what the needs of the community are and what should be done about them but we need support from government to get good, sustainable results.

"This COAG partnership provides an excellent opportunity to start to get it right."

A copy of the Murdi Paaki agreement is available from, or

01 September 2003

Contact: Mr Ruddock’s office: Jeremy Chitty 0418 971 042

Mr Refshauge’s office: Lisa McLean 0402 313 078

Dr Nelson’s office: Yaron Finkelstein 0414 927 663

Mr Jeffries: 0428 235 590


Between the

Murdi Paaki Regional Council


Commonwealth of Australia through the Department of Education, Science and Training

and the

State of New South Wales through the Department of Education and Training




This is a Shared Responsibility Agreement (Agreement) between the Murdi Paaki Regional Council, the Commonwealth Government and NSW Government (the Governments).

This Agreement is made in a spirit of partnership, and: • recognises and respects each of the parties’ rights and responsibilities; and • provides a basis for cooperation and partnership between the community representatives and governments.


In making this Agreement the Murdi Paaki Regional Council and the Governments have agreed to work together to:

• establish partnerships and share responsibility for achieving measurable and sustainable improvements for Indigenous people living in the Region; • support and strengthen local governance, decision making and accountability of all parties; and

• learn from a shared approach - identify what works and what doesn’t and apply lessons to future approaches both at the community level and more broadly.


For the purposes of this agreement:

• at the Murdi Paaki Regional level - the Murdi Paaki Regional Council (the Council) is acknowledged as the peak regional body and primary point of Indigenous community contact; and

• the Murdi Paaki Community Working Parties (Working Parties) are acknowledged as the peak community bodies and primary points of Indigenous community contact in each community across the region

The Council and the Governments recognise the need to ensure that the views of the wider Indigenous community and other Indigenous peak bodies within the region are taken into account.


Following from community consultations across the region the Council and the Governments agree that the key regional priorities for this agreement fall into four broad categories: • Improving the health and well being of children and young people;

• Improving educational attainment and school retention; • Helping families to raise healthy children; and • Strengthening community and regional governance structures.

Agreed regional priorities and outcomes between the Council and the Governments are detailed in this agreement and the attachment to the agreement.



Within Regional Priorities, specific priorities and agreed outcomes for each community in the region will be detailed in separate Shared Responsibility Agreements between the Community Working Parties and the Governments.


The attachment to this agreement outlines how the Council, the Commonwealth and New South Wales will support the Community Working Parties. It:

� contains information about how the Council and the governments agree to implement and manage their respective responsibilities; � details agreed benchmarks and short and longer term outcomes from that support; and � establishes specific feedback and monitoring mechanisms.

These may be added to or changed at any time to reflect agreed new or revised priorities and outcomes.


The Council and the Governments agree to monitor and evaluate progress against agreed benchmarks and milestones as well as agree to make performance information available for national evaluations.


Data collected during, or as part of, an activity carried out under this agreement will be made available to both the Governments and the Council.


As part of this agreement the Council and the Governments will agree on a simple process for settling any disagreements/disputes or misunderstandings that may arise.


Progress with activities undertaken as part of this agreement will be reviewed after six months and again at regular intervals as agreed by the Council and the Governments, and directed by COAG.


This Agreement will come into effect from the date of signing by all parties and shall continue in force until the parties agree to terminate the Agreement or prepare another document that replaces this Agreement.

The Governments and the Council may agree in writing at any time to change the contents of this Agreement.

If either government or the Council wishes to withdraw from the agreement at least 3 months notice must be given to the other party or parties.


This Agreement was made on the day of 2003.

Signed for and on behalf of the MURDI PAAKI REGIONAL COUNCIL by )

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Mr Sam Jeffries Chairperson.

Signed for and on behalf of the COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA by

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Dr Jeff Harmer Secretary Department of Education, Science and Training

Signed for and on behalf of the GOVERNMENT OF NSW by

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Ms Jan McClelland Director General Department of Education and Training


The Local Project Shared Responsibilities Monitoring

Description The Murdi Paaki Regional Council will: To provide secretariat and administrative support for the sixteen Murdi Paaki Community Working Parties (CWPs). Rationale To ensure that Community Working Parties are able to operate effectively as representatives of Indigenous

communities within the Murdi Paaki Region.

Refresh the membership of the CWPs to ensure they are as representative as possible of the wider Indigenous community.

Provide support to members in relation to good administrative and governance practices and negotiation skills.

Ensure 16 CDEP places are available for the secretariat support positions for the CWPs - to be filled by Indigenous people from the Region.

Short term outcomes State Government will: Benchmarks Within 6 months; -the 16 secretariat support people will be in place with workplans developed for their CWP and outlining their own development needs.

-membership of at least 6 CWPs refreshed with administrative and governance support to members underway

Ensure that the 16 CDEP participants who are carrying out the secretariat support positions are able to access appropriate accredited training

For CWP support person:

-Certificate completed

-remained in employment for 12 months.

For CWP:

-records kept for meetings and follow up action undertaken.

Longer term outcomes Commonwealth Government will: Reporting arrangements Within 2 years:

-all support people will have completed accredited training

-all CWP membership refreshed with effective administrative and governance support.

Provide top up funding support for the secretariat support positions for the CWPs Council and Government reps will discuss regularly. Lead Secretary (DEST) and Lead

Director General (DET) and Council agree to discuss if there are any difficulties. Government reps and Council may discuss at any time.