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Indigenous affairs: a quick guide to key internet links

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Indigenous affairs: a quick guide to key internet links Jade Koekoe and James Haughton Social Policy Section

This Quick Guide provides links to:

• a listing of Australian Government Indigenous affairs policies and programs

• the Council of Australian Government (COAG) key agreements under ‘Closing the Gap’

• key documents on the proposed Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

• other recent high-profile reports and publications on Indigenous issues

• statistics and funding

• a map of ‘Aboriginal Australia’

• directories of Indigenous organisations and businesses

• key organisations outside Government departments

• state, territory and local government websites and

• overseas websites.

Australian Government policies and programs Until 2013 Indigenous policy and programs were delivered by a range of government departments including, but not limited to, the Departments of Health, Social Services (formerly Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs—FaHCSIA) and Education (formerly Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations—DEEWR). Primary responsibility for Australian Government Indigenous affairs policy and program delivery is now held by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C), overseen by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Indigenous Affairs. The Prime Minister is also advised by the Indigenous Advisory Council.

Within the Closing the Gap framework (discussed below), the Coalition Government’s key priorities in Indigenous Affairs have been stated as school attendance and education, employment, and the rule of law ensuring community safety, especially for women and children.

With the exception of Indigenous health programs delivered by the Department of Health, Australian Government programs in Indigenous affairs are mostly organised under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS). Of PM&C’s 4 year, $8.6 billion Indigenous Affairs budget, $4.9 billion is allocated under the IAS, and $3.7 billion is allocated through National Partnership Agreements (discussed below), and other Special Accounts and Special Appropriations. For more information on government programs, see the website.

The IAS divides policies, programs and grants into 5 broad streams:

• Jobs, Land and Economy

• Children and Schooling

• Safety and Wellbeing

• Culture and Capability

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• Remote Australia Strategies.

For information on program spending and contracting by the IAS, PM&C hosts a database of grants and a list of all organisations receiving grants.

For ease of use, this Quick Guide groups Indigenous-related programs which remain in other departments, such as the Department of Infrastructure’s Remote Aerodrome Inspection Program, under these topic headings (with the exception of Health programs and National Partnerships).

Jobs, Land and Economy This includes programs addressing Employment, Land and Economic Development

• Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy

• Indigenous Procurement Policy

• Emissions Reduction Fund—while not specifically Indigenous, Indigenous communities have been significant beneficiaries of the fund by using traditional fire management as ‘carbon farming’

• Green Army and the National Landcare Programme—while not specifically Indigenous, Indigenous communities have used Green Army and Landcare programs for a variety of projects

• Employment Parity Initiative

• Vocational Training and Employment Centres (VTECs)

• Community Development Programme (CDP)—a Government Bill to change and extend the CDP program was before the Senate at the dissolution of the 44th Parliament

• Remote Indigenous Housing Loan programme

• Tourism Australia Aboriginal Tourism.

Children and Schooling

• Education (PM&C)

• Children and Schooling Programme

• Remote School Attendance Strategy (RSAS)

• Flexible Literacy for Remote Primary Schools Programme—this program is chiefly targeted at Indigenous primary students and uses phonics-based Direct Instruction methods

• National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Strategy

• Stronger Communities for Children—this partly-Indigenous-focused program provided the conceptual basis of the Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory NPA.

Safety and Wellbeing

• Community Safety—includes reducing violence especially violence against women and children, night patrols, reducing alcohol abuse and substance misuse and promoting social and emotional wellbeing

• Cashless Debit Card Trial

• Health and Wellbeing—part of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy

• Low Aromatic Fuel

• Link-Up—service for members of the Stolen Generations seeking to reunite with family and culture

• National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children 2009-2020

• National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022

• Women's Safety Package.

Culture and Capability

• Culture and Capability—includes Constitutional recognition and reconciliation, NAIDOC week, protecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage, Indigenous interpreter programs, Indigenous broadcasting, and strengthening Indigenous organisational and community capabilities

• Constitutional Recognition

• Indigenous Language and Arts

• Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support.

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Remote Australia Strategies This includes a wide variety of programs targeted at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote and very remote Australia.

• Housing

• Environment

• Outback Stores are funded by the Australian Government to provide food security in remote communities

• Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA)

• Remote Air Services Subsidy Scheme (RASS)

• Remote Airstrip Upgrade Programme (RAU)

• Remote Aerodrome Inspection Programme (RAI)

• Our North, Our Future: White Paper on Developing Northern Australia

• Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs)

• Indigenous Rangers and Specialised Indigenous Rangers (the latter focus upon the Great Barrier Reef)

• The Australian Government National Environmental Science Programme has a significant Indigenous component

• Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Programme.


• Closing the Gap

• Health and Wellbeing—part of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy

• Greater Northern Australia Regional Training Network (GNARTN)

• Indigenous Australians' Health Programme

• Child and Maternal Health

• National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023.

COAG ‘Closing the Gap’ framework The ‘Closing the Gap’ campaign aims to close the health and life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation.

The COAG Reform Council Indigenous Reform Agenda is implemented though a National Indigenous Reform Agreement created in 2009, which sets ‘Closing the Gap’ targets and the partnership between all levels of government to address Indigenous disadvantage.

A number of National Partnership Agreements (NPAs) were created as a part of ‘Closing the Gap’, specifying Commonwealth, state and territory government actions to achieve the targets. Some of these are still current and others have concluded. The Abbott Government expressed a preference for bilateral project agreements with the states and territories rather than multi-jurisdictional NPAs, so some of the concluded NPAs have been replaced with Project Agreements or other programs.

Current National Partnerships about Indigenous issues include:

• Improving Trachoma Control Services for Indigenous Australians - NSW, SA, WA & NT

• Renal Infrastructure in the Northern Territory

• Torres Strait health protection strategy (extended to 2020 in the 2016-17 budget)

• Rheumatic Fever Strategy - QLD, WA and NT and SA (extended to 2017 in the 2016-17 budget)

• Universal Access to Early Childhood Education (implements the early childhood education target)

• Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory—this NPA is being replaced with a National Partnership Agreement on Northern Territory Remote Aboriginal Investment (NTRAI)

• Primary Health Care Centres in the Remote Northern Territory

• Remote Indigenous Housing

• Homelessness (not exclusively Indigenous, but homelessness is a disproportionately Indigenous problem)

• Management of the former Rum Jungle mine site (Stage 2) (extended to 2017 in the 2016-17 Budget).

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Publications tracking progress towards meeting the Closing the Gap targets include:

• The Prime Minister’s annual report (Closing the Gap: Prime Minister’s Report, 2016) and previous reports

• The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Closing the Gap page

• The Productivity Commission’s biennial report (Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Indicators 2014) and previous reports

• The Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee annual report, Close the Gap: progress and priorities 2016 and previous reports (hosted by the Human Rights Commission).

Constitutional recognition The Coalition, Labor, the Greens, and the Nick Xenophon Team have all expressed support for recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the constitution, and opinion polls show broad public support. Debate continues on what form this recognition should take, and when a referendum should be held to make the proposed change. The Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition have agreed to be guided by the advice of the Referendum Council on how to progress the referendum.

Key documents on constitutional recognition include:

• The recommendations on constitutional recognition in the final report of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation in 2000

• The 2012 expert panel report Recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the Constitution

• The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Recognition Act 2013 (see the Parliamentary Library Bills Digest for discussion)

• The 2015 final report of the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

• Reconciliation Australia’s 2016 Federal Election Statement.

Current internet resources on constitutional recognition:

• Constitutional Recognition at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

• Recognise, the campaign for constitutional recognition run by Reconciliation Australia.

Some other recent reports and publications on Indigenous issues • COAG Investigation into Indigenous Land Administration and Use

• Senate Committee on Finance and Public Administration Inquiry into the IAS tendering processes

• Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights 2016 Review of Stronger Futures measures

• House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Inquiry into the harmful use of alcohol in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

• The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner’s Social Justice and Native Title Reports

• The State of Reconciliation in Australia report by Reconciliation Australia

• The Indigenous Jobs and Training Review (the ‘Forrest Review’)

• The Empowered Communities Design Report (Commonwealth supported as a 2013 election commitment)

• The Redfern Statement issued by a number of peak Indigenous organisations during the 2016 election

• A number of evaluation reports released by government on recent Indigenous programs.

Statistics and funding • Australian Bureau of Statistics Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander statistics and feature articles

• Australian Medical Association Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Report Cards

• Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet Summary of Australian Indigenous Health

• Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Indigenous Australians pages

• Parliamentary Library Commonwealth Indigenous-specific expenditure 1968-2012

• Productivity Commission reports: Indigenous Expenditure Report; Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage; Report on Government Services: Indigenous Compendium and National Agreement Performance Reporting.

Map • AIATSIS’s 1994 David Horton ‘Aboriginal Australia’ map.

Indigenous affairs: a quick guide to key internet links 5

Directories of organisations and businesses • Aboriginal corporation search facility at Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations

• Online Indigenous Business and Community Services Directory Black Pages

• Supply Nation lists business-to-business Indigenous-owned suppliers to government and corporate Australia.

Key organisations outside Government departments Statutory and Parliamentary

• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner — Australian Human Rights Commission

• Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) including the Indigenous Home Ownership program

• Reconciliation Australia and the campaign Recognise—promotes reconciliation, including through Constitutional Recognition and Reconciliation Action Plans

• House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs

• Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA).

Land related

• Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC)

• National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT)

• Native Title Corporations — Prescribed Bodies Corporate representing native title holders

• Native Title Representative Bodies and Service Providers — representing people seeking native title.

Land Councils

Peak body land councils are listed here; many areas also have Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs)

• Northern Land Council (NLC)

• Central Land Council (CLC)

• Tiwi Land Council

• Anindilyakwa Land Council—represents the Aboriginal people of the Groote Eylandt archipelago, NT

• NSW Aboriginal Land Council

• Kimberley Land Council (KLC) (WA)

• South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (Noongar, WA)

• Goldfields Land and Sea Council (WA)

• Ngaanyatjarra Council (WA and Central Australia)

• Cape York Land Council

• North Queensland Land Council (also covers Central Queensland)

• Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) (South Australia)

• Tasmanian Aboriginal Land and Sea Council

• Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations.

Non-Government and Academic

• National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples (NCAFP)

• Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS)

• Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR) at the Australian National University

• Desert Knowledge Australia

• Change the Record—campaigns to reduce rates of Indigenous imprisonment and death in custody

• National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (NACCHO)

• National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Association

• Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC)

• Cape York Partnership—including Cape York Welfare Reform, Cape York Institute, et cetera.

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• Empowered Communities

• The Koori Mail—National Indigenous newspaper.

State, territory and local government Indigenous affairs websites • Australian Capital Territory: Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs

• New South Wales: Office of Communities—Aboriginal Affairs

• Northern Territory: all departments but see especially Department of Community Services

• Queensland: Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships

• South Australia: Department of State Development, Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Division

• Tasmania: Office of Aboriginal Affairs

• Victoria: Aboriginal Affairs Victoria

• Western Australia: Department of Aboriginal Affairs

• Australian Local Government Association - Indigenous Issues.

Overseas websites International • Center for World Indigenous Studies

• Aboriginal Law and Legislation (last updated in 1998, many historical documents)

• International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs—links to many international organisations and programs

• UNESCO’s Indigenous Peoples page

• United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

• United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

• UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

- Australian Human Rights Commission resource page on the Declaration

- Australia’s statement endorsing the Declaration (2009) by the Minister for Indigenous Affairs

- Australia’s statement endorsing the Declaration (2009) by the Attorney-General

• ILO Convention No.169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples (Convention Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries) (1989)—not ratified by Australia.

Specific countries • Canada—Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development; Nunavut

• United States—Bureau of Indian Affairs; Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development

• New Zealand—Te Puni Kokiri - Ministry of Maori Development; Waitangi Tribunal.

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