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Minister welcomes important step in cooperation with States.

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Senator Amanda Vanstone

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs

Minister welcomes important step in cooperation with States

vIPS 24/05

Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Amanda Vanstone, today applauded a decision by the NSW Government to place their officials in Australian Government Indigenous Coordination Centres (ICCs).

‘This is a great example of building on the new spirit of cooperation between State/Territory governments and the Australian Government in Indigenous Affairs,’ the Minister said.

‘From this month, the NSW Department of Aboriginal Affairs (DAA) will place staff in ICCs at Bourke, Coffs Harbour, Wagga and Tamworth as part of a regional representation program in areas where the NSW DAA does not have a local office.

‘The Australian Government established 30 ICCs across the country last year in order to make it easier and simpler for Indigenous Australians to deal with government.

‘With officers from the main Australian Government departments working under one roof, Indigenous communities can access services through one team working together, rather than having to shop around between government departments.

‘Having NSW State Government officers working out of the same premises will greatly improve coordination and service delivery. This takes the one-stop shop principle of ICC’s to an even higher level.’

Senator Vanstone said that the level of government cooperation between national and State/Territory governments was without precedent.

‘The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has taken the lead and shown that Indigenous Affairs can truly be a bipartisan issue,’ the Minister said.

‘We are formalising this new sprit of cooperation through comprehensive bilateral agreements to improve service delivery.’

The Minister said that a bilateral agreement had already been signed between the Prime Minister and Chief Minister of the Northern Territory and

that others are being negotiated.

‘I expect that a formal bilateral agreement will be signed with the NSW government in the near future,’ Senator Vanstone said.

1 July 2005

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