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ATSIC Review: an opportunity for recognition and reform.

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission

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ATSIC REVIEW: an opportunity for recognition and reform


The long awaited public announcement by the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Mr Ruddock, on the external review into the role and functions of ATSIC should be welcomed as an opportunity for reform by all informed Indigenous peoples, particularly those in the elected and administrative arms of the Commission.

Minister Ruddock has kept the ATSIC Board fully informed of his intentions regarding the scope of the review since it was originally announced as part of the Coalition’s election commitments.

He has made it clear he sees the review as an opportunity to strengthen ATSIC’s role as a key policy advisor to the Governnment and its agencies. We must ensure that the review also reaffirms the primary role of ATSIC to create a path for self determination for Indigenous peoples.

The Minister sees it as a forward looking assessment on how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can best be represented in the process of the development of Commonwealth policies and programmes to assist them and ATSIC’s role in this regard.

We have accepted his intentions in this regard and have been advocating for much needed reform in the delivery of services to our people.

The ATSIC Board sees the review as a perfect opportunity to look forward and also address the systemic ignorance in some areas of government, mainstream media and in the wider community about what ATSIC was established to do and what it was not.

To date ATSIC has served two masters. The challenge will be to balance ATSIC’s service delivery role with its fundamental charter to progress recognition of our inherent rights.

We welcome the composition of the review panel and the opportunity the review will present to inform the wider public debate in this regard.

The Board look forward to working closely with the review team in its deliberations and to any recommendations which will improve our ability, and the ability of all government agencies, to deliver better outcomes for our people.

Geoff Clark ATSIC Chairman.


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