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Annual Report 2010-2011

Published: December, 2011

Output 4.2 Advocacy and Representation

The Central Land Council has a statutory responsibility to ascertain, express and represent the wishes and the opinion of Aboriginal people living in the CLC area, and to protect the interests of Aboriginal people living in the area.

To fulfil this responsibility the CLC identifies significant legislative and policy matters, consults with traditional owners and Aboriginal people to ascertain their views and establishes positions on significant policy issues through the Council and Executive. From this basis the CLC is able to represent with a high degree of authority Aboriginal views and aspirations on issues and to engage with all levels of government and with other stakeholders to ensure that Aboriginal interests are taken into account.

Performance 

The CLC made the following submissions to the Australian Government on policy matters:

  • Submission to the Australian Government on the CLC’s alternative community leasing scheme
  • Discussion paper on the CDEP scheme and the need for a new scheme in conjunction with Aboriginal Peak Organisations of the Northern Territory
  • (APO NT)
  • Input to the policy outline for new income management arrangements in conjunction with Aboriginal Peak Organisations of the Northern Territory
  • Submission on the NTER measures in conjunction with Aboriginal Peak Organisations of the Northern Territory
  • Submission of a proposal regarding a social change model in Tennant Creek in conjunction with Julalikari Council and the Council of Elders and Respected People
  • Input to the ACCAN submission on the ACMA review of the Telecommunications Industry.

The CLC also made continued representations to the Northern Territory Government on policy matters, including:

  • Submission to the NT Government’s review of local government electoral arrangements
  • Input and advice to the NT Minister for Indigenous Affairs on the NT Government’s outstations policy
  • Submission to the review of the Alice Springs Liquor Supply Plan
  • Submission to the NT  Government’s Enough is Enough alcohol reform package
  • Submission to the NT  Government’s proposed Native Vegetation Management Bill and proposed amendments to the Pastoral Land Act
  • Submission to the NT  Government’s review of the tenure arrangements and the legislative framework for Community Living Areas.

Commentary on Performance   

Leasing  (NT)  

See output 3.1 for a more detailed account of this issue.

Aboriginal Peak Organisations (NT)   

The Aboriginal Peak Organisations of the Northern Territory (APO NT) was formed in October 2010, and includes the Central Land Council, the Northern Land Council, the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the Northern Territory, the Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service, and the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency. APO NT brings these key Aboriginal organisations together over key policy areas, in particular the future direction of government policy after the expiration of the NTER measures in 2012.

Employment and CDEP  

As a member of APO NT the CLC finalised a policy paper on employment issues and on the need for a new Community Employment and Enterprise Development Scheme (CEEDS). This paper was provided to the Minister in December 2010 and APO NT representatives met with the Minister in early 2011. In June 2011 APO NT convened a forum to discuss CDEP and the possibility of a new scheme with Aboriginal CDEP providers and senior FaHCSIA and DEEWR officials.

Welfare Reform 

In the previous financial year, the CLC, in conjunction with the medical service Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, convened a public forum and forum of interested agencies and Aboriginal people in Alice Springs to consider the efficacy of the Cape York Family Responsibility Commission (FRC) model with respect to Central Australia. This work has progressed considerably during this financial year.
The CLC has been working closely with Julalikari Council and the Council of Elders and Respected People (CERP) in Tennant Creek to consider the applicability of a social change/welfare reform model to Tennant Creek. This has resulted in a joint proposal to FaHCSIA seeking support for a 12-month feasibility project to properly work with the
community to consider a range
of social change and welfare reform options. The CLC has worked to progress this proposal with FaHCSIA.

Local Government Arrangements   

In 2008 the Council passed a resolution to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Central Desert Shire and the MacDonnell Shire which were endorsed by the Council in July 2010. The MOUs are intended to clarify the roles and responsibilities of each organisation and the operation of the Local Government Act and the Land Rights Act.
The CLC also provided a submission to the NT Government’s review of local government electoral arrangements.

Small Communities and Outstations    

The CLC is extremely concerned about the impact of the COAG National Partnership Agreement on Remote Service Delivery, which, together with the SIHIP, effectively allocates the majority of resources to defined ‘priority communities’. Together with the NT Government’s Working Futures announcement on its outstations policy these developments signal a bleak future for small communities and outstations. There is very little new funding available for small communities, and no new funding for outstations.
The CLC has been working with the Centre for Appropriate Technology (CAT) to explore the complex policy dilemmas confronting the sparsely settled desert region.
The CLC also continued to provide advice to the Northern Territory Minister for Indigenous Affairs on the Northern Territory Government’s outstations policy review and development, including inviting the Northern Territory Minister to address the CLC Council meeting at Utopia in November 2010.
On the ground the CLC provided advocacy and other assistance during the reporting period on the infrastructure and essential needs of a number of outstations on Aboriginal land and community living areas in the region.

Governance  

This financial year the CLC was fortunate to secure funding for an additional position and project costs from the ABA to support the Community Governance Project. The project aims to find ways to build effective and legitimate decision-making processes in communities and initially plans to work with the Lajamanu community.
The CLC presented the project to the Office of the Coordinator General for Remote Indigenous Services’ Governance Working Group and held three community consultation meetings in Lajamanu to obtain consent and support for the project. The project is guided by the Governance Advisory Committee (GAC), comprising representatives of FaHCSIA, the Regional Operations Centre, the Northern Territory Government, the Office of the Coordinator General for Remote Indigenous Services, and Reconciliation Australia. The Local Government Association of the NT declined an invitation to participate on the GAC.
The CLC also presented to the Central Desert and MacDonnell Shires on the aims and proposed methodology of the project.
The CLC successfully recruited for the project coordinator position in April 2011, and work during this period included commencement of community engagement, refinement of project planning, methodology and reporting, and recruitment of external mentors.

Substance Misuse   

In late 2010 the NT Government put out a proposed five-point plan to address alcohol-related issues across the Northern Territory. The measures, now passed into law, will:

  • Ban problems drinkers from takeaway alcohol and encourage and/or mandate treatment
  • Expand the ID system so as to apply to all takeaway outlets in the Northern Territory
  • Invest further in alcohol treatment and rehabilitation
  • Promote awareness and education on alcohol issues
  • Create a new SMART Court and Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) Tribunal.

The CLC’s submission on the proposed measures broadly supported them and made
recommendations on how they could be improved.
The CLC also made a submission to the review of the Alice Springs Liquor Supply Plan.
The CLC also attended meetings for Alice Springs Alcohol Reference Panel and People’s Alcohol Action Coalition (PAAC) and developed a research brief on the impacts of existing wet canteens on remote communities in the Northern Territory.

Telecommunications

The CLC continues to support a research project undertaken in collaboration with CAT and the Institute of Social Research at Swinburne University which compares and evaluates home internet usage and community internet centres in remote communities. The project will investigate the determinants for home internet usage for remote Aboriginal people.
The CLC also provided input to the ACCAN submission on the Australian Government’s review of the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.