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Spence holds positive talks with North Queensland ATSIC representatives.

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission

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Spence holds positive talks with North Queensland ATSIC representatives


Joint statement by Judy Spence, Queensland Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy, and Commissioner Lionel Quartermaine

The Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy Judy Spence today welcomed a commitment from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) North Queensland Commissioners to work closely with the Beattie Government to provide improved services to Indigenous people in North Queensland.

Ms Spence today met ATSIC Commissioners Lionel Quartermaine and Robbie Salee and ATSIC Regional Council Chairs Eddie Woodley and Steve Hirvonen, to discuss closer cooperation between the State Government and ATSIC.

Ms Spence said elected ATSIC representatives had a great capacity to contribute to government decision-making and enhanced service delivery by reflecting the needs and views of their respective communities.

“The Beattie Government acknowledges the critical role of elected representatives from Indigenous communities and that is why we signed an historic agreement with ATSIC in July last year,” she said.

“The Commitment to Partnership is designed to reduce duplication, improve service delivery and overcome rigid bureaucratic structures that can exclude local participation.

“We have to work closely with communities and their representatives to improve the health, education, living standards and wealth of Indigenous people and I welcome the commitment to cooperation that the Commissioners and Chairs have given.”

ATSIC North Queensland Commissioner, Lionel Quartermaine, said it was time that ATSIC and the Queensland Government improved their ability to work together.

“The Beattie Government has demonstrated its bona-fides on a number of issues recently, but there is substantial room for better coordination between the services that they provide and those provided by ATSIC and other Commonwealth agencies,” he said.

“ATSIC is determined to get the best possible outcomes for our people and that will not happen without improved communication, negotiation and collaboration between the two principal agencies providing services to Indigenous North Queenslanders.

“If the work of ATSIC and the Queensland Government doesn’t reflect the aspirations and priorities

of our communities, then we will all have failed.

“Despite what some people think there are limited funds available to deal with Indigenous disadvantage and if we are going to make the best of these limited funds, then communication and coordination are critical.”

Media contacts: 3224 7081 (Minister’s Office); 0409 658 177 (Commissioner Quartermaine’s Office)