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Wednesday, 8 February 2017
Page: 288

Senator DODSON (Western Australia) (14:04): I rise to ask further supplementary question, Mr President. When will the government abandon the idea that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people need to be managed, and start working with communities, leaders and organisations?

Senator SCULLION (Northern TerritoryMinister for Indigenous Affairs and Leader of The Nationals in the Senate) (14:05): Senator Dodson, that is exactly what happened here. When the ANAO made their recommendation, they said: 'Well, you weren't given the right information. You didn't get enough information, Minister, as you said last night.' They did not take into consideration the other information we had in making these decisions. That information came from communities, came from the people receiving the services, came from the organisations that represented those communities. If the ANAO had come and seen me and said, 'What were the other issues you had to actually make those determinations?' we would have said, 'Because of the change in our approach of working with communities instead of doing something to communities.' So yes, this is a fundamental change about how governments have done things for decades and decades. I can assure you this is the best way to do things with communities, by ensuring that they have a bigger input into this process than the administrative processes of Canberra.