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Notice given 15 November 2006

2766  Senator Crossin: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs—

(1) Can a departmental organisational chart for the Northern Territory be provided.


 (2) How many vacant positions are there in each Northern Territory Indigenous Coordination Centre (ICC) and can a breakdown by position name (for example, Solution Broker) and level be provided.

(3) What cross-cultural induction is provided for new departmental staff in the Northern Territory.

(4) Is this for all new staff; if so: (a) when; and (b) how often, is it provided.

(5) How many departmental officers in the Northern Territory are acting in positions (at Administrative Service Officer level 6 or above) above their substantive levels.

(6) Can details be provided of the actual operating budgets for each of the ICCs in the Northern Territory.

(7) Can a list be provided of all shared responsibility agreements (SRA) now agreed to and signed off in the Northern Territory.

(8) Why is the website with SRA details not kept up to date.

(9) What is the average time taken from starting SRA negotiations to sign off.

(10) (a) Can updated information be provided for an SRA administered by Nhulunbuy ICC (the education, arts and nutrition project at the Dhuruputjpi homeland community (DHC)), signed on 31 August 2005 which was to provide a building renovation to house a School of the Air and art centre with $80 000 in funding from the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination (OIPC) and to provide a tractor and tools for gardens with $50 000 in funding from the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations; (b) has this project progressed at all; and (c) what has been the outcome to date after 14 months.

(11) (a) In relation to paragraph (10) how much money has been released; (b) to whom has the money been released; and (c) is the DHC an incorporated organisation able to receive Commonwealth funds; if not, why were direct negotiations held with them on the above SRA.

(12) (a) Who costs this type of project which required some building work; and (b) does the ICC engage expert advice to cost such projects.

(13) Does OIPC intend to make this sort of direct negotiation with family groups the usual model; if so, how is the need for releasing funds only to incorporated organisations met.

(14) (a) If the Minister or department negotiates with a family group and then has to get another incorporated organisation to accept the funding and carriage of the project, is this a fit and proper way to organise projects; and (b) how does this affect risk management.

(15) (a) What happens if the initial funding estimate and agreed amount is insufficient; and (b) does the signatory incorporated organisation have to find the rest of the funds.

(16) In the case of the DHC, has the community complied with its communication part of the agreement and provided regular written reports.

(17) Was any consideration given to the fact that Indigenous people traditionally rely on verbal communication, not written, when this agreement was negotiated.

(18) Given that in the communications feedback mechanisms it was agreed that the ICC would visit regularly, how many visits have been made to the DHC since the agreement was signed.


 (19) For the year 2006 to date, can a list be provided of all visits made by officers from each of the Northern Territory ICC’s broken down by: (a) office; (b) community visited; (c) who visited and what department they represented; (d) length of visit; and (e) date(s).

(20) How many of these visits incorporated the whole of government approach espoused by the Government and included officers from across departments or even across levels of Government (that is, included both federal and Northern Territory government officers).

(21) Given that the review of Indigenous housing, The Best way Forward: Delivering housing and infrastructure to Indigenous Australians was due to be completed by the end of September 2006, can a copy of the final report be provided.

(22) (a) If vital negotiations are continuing, such as at Galiwinku and Nguiu, how do the department’s officers identify who is really a traditional owner; and (b) on whose expertise and word do they rely.

2767  Senator Crossin: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs—With reference to the agreement being negotiated at Galiwinku Community in the Northern Territory announced in a press release by the Minister on 19 June 2006:

(1) (a) Who has visited Galiwinku to discuss this plan since the announcement; (b) on what dates; and (c) how long was each visit.

(2) (a) With whom have they met (for example, traditional owners, ordinary people, the Galiwinku Community Council) ; (b) where have these meetings been held; and (c) how have they been advertised in the community.

(3) (a) How many traditional owners have been positively identified; and (b) by whom.

(4) Does the Northern Land Council have a role; if so, what is it.

(5) (a) Who explained the legalities and technicalities of a 99 year lease; and (b) how did they explain the legal terminology.

(6) How has the Government ensured that the people of the community understand the plan and the overall concept of the 99 year lease (for example, what interpreters have been used).

(7) Is it correct that 30 November 2006 is the deadline for the people of the community to make their decision on the 99 year lease.

(8) (a) What absolute safeguards will there be to ensure that the Indigenous people do not lose control of their land; and (b) if they agree to a 99 year lease, how will they be able to terminate that lease, or a sub-lease.

(9) (a) Is it correct that in signing a head lease, there is no absolute requirement to ensure that the land owner fully understands it and that unless there is fraud committed, once signed, a lease stands; and (b) is this an unfair loophole.

(10) (a) After 99 years, what guarantee is there of the land reverting back to Indigenous control and in an undamaged useable state if business has operated on it.

(11) Is there any way that a guaranteed minimum of any leased land can be sub-leased only to Indigenous people.


 (12) What home loan terms and conditions have been negotiated with Indigenous Business Australia for the people of the community, many of whom are and will remain on the Community Development Employment Program or social security.

(13) What happens to the 50 extra houses if the community decides not to sign a 99 year lease.

(14) What happens to other services such as the health centre.

2768  Senator Crossin: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations—With reference to the Outback Stores Initiative announced by the Government on 14 August 2006:

(1) (a) Since the announcement was made, how many community stores have come under this program; (b) can a list be provided of those stores; and (c) given that the program is voluntary are all those stores, now under the program, voluntary participants.

(2) What is the criteria by which stores are judged to be eligible to join the program.

(3) How much of the $48 million allocated to the program over 4 years has: (a) been disbursed; (b) to whom; and (c) under which broader funding program; (for example, a health program or under Indigenous Business Australia).

(4) (a) Can a breakdown be provided of the funding that has been spent on the program to date (for example, on new stores, supplies, transport or other requirements); and (b) is there a breakdown for the proposed use of the $48 million over the 4 years.

(5) (a) How often has the Board of Outback Stores met; and (b) where have these meetings been held.

(6) (a) How many community stores have been visited by board members, or their delegates; and (b) can a list of the visits be provided.

(7) Given that the Minister said that the expertise of both Woolworths and Coles will be available to offer invaluable support and technical assistance without commercial interest in the stores, if one of these major food chains is supplying community stores, who bears the loss if for any reason a store is subsequently unable to pay for those supplies.

(8) (a) Where do the funds come from to meet any board expenses; (b) who provides secretariat support to the board; and (c) of what does that support comprise.

(9) In what way do Woolworths and Coles provide support and technical assistance to the stores.

(10) Given that one of the reasons given for the need for this program is concerns over poor financial management in community stores, how many stores, that are now coming under the program, had their management replaced or changed.

(11) (a) Is the community store at Beswick Community (Wugularr) in the Northern Territory one of those in this program; and (b) can the Minister confirm or deny that this store has made a very substantial loss which the community are now being asked to repay.