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New Year to bring change at the top of the Central Land Council

Posted: Tue, December 04, 2018

Joe Martin Jard

Joe Martin-Jard will become the Central Land Council’s first chief executive officer in the New Year, taking over from retiring CLC director David Ross.

In a unanimous decision, the CLC executive decided to appoint Mr Martin-Jard, a senior federal public servant who was born and raised in the Northern Territory.

The Alice Springs based regional manager in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet will become only the fourth administrative head of the CLC in more than four decades.

“We are very happy that Mr Martin-Jard has accepted our offer. He has a good sense of humour, shares our values and is someone we can all work with,” said CLC chair Francis Kelly.

“He’s got what it takes to succeed in one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs in Aboriginal affairs.”

Mr Martin-Jard’s most recent focus as a public servant has been on Aboriginal employment, economic development and community services.

He also brings experience from the private and non-government sectors to the new role, having held leadership positions in Darwin’s Danila Dilba Health Service and the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the NT and managed a Top End labour hire company.

CLC constituents in the Barkly remember Mr Martin-Jard as ATSIC’s regional manager in Tennant Creek, where he oversaw major housing and infrastructure projects between 2001 and 2004 that created jobs and business opportunities for locals.

Of Kamilaroi descent, he holds tertiary qualifications in international and public sector management.

The appointment concludes a national search for a successor for Mr Ross, who has led the land council since 1989, interrupted by a few years as ATSIC commissioner and executive chair of the Indigenous Land Corporation.

Mr Kelly thanked Mr Ross for his four decades of excellent and dedicated service.

“Rossy has done so much for the CLC - we can’t really thank him enough. We will all miss him but he really deserves a break,” he said.

“He is not just an outstanding director, he is also our longest serving employee.”

Mr Ross started at the CLC in 1979, in a position then called council clerk, and went on to play a significant role in national Aboriginal policy, particularly in relation to land rights and native title.

Mr Kelly said two recent highlights of his leadership were the expansion of the CLC’s successful Aboriginal ranger and community development programs.

“Rossy enjoys enormous respect across the nation, as well as the trust and confidence of his team. The elected members and the staff look forward to carrying on his legacy by supporting his successor,” he said.

Mr Martin-Jard will commence in early February.

A handover period between the CEO and the director will ensure a smooth transition during a time when the CLC’s constituents will also elect a new council.

4 December 2018

MEDIA CONTACT: Elke Wiesmann | 0417 877 579 or 08 8951 6217| media@clc.org.au


 

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Win for remote Aboriginal education at the Indigenous Governance Awards

Posted: Sat, November 24, 2018


The Central Land Council celebrates its very first Indigenous Governance Award winner - the Warlpiri Education and Training Trust.
The WETT advisory committee last night won the non-incorporated organisations category of the award for its outstanding bilingual and bicultural education and lifelong learning programs in the Northern Territory’s Tanami Desert.
The committee advises the WETT about how to invest gold mining royalties in community driven initiatives supporting the education and training priorities of four remote communities.
Fiona Gibson, a retired teacher from Nyirrpi community and a founding member of the committee, has helped to plan and monitor some of the CLC’s most successful community development programs since 2005.
Ms Gibson accepted the award on behalf of her colleagues.
“We are very proud of what we have achieved working together and of our young people who are now working with us on the WETT advisory committee,” she said.
“They are keeping education strong in our communities.”
Accepting the award with Ms Gibson was Cynthia Wheeler, the new chair of the WETT advisory committee who works at the Yuendumu school.
From a new generation of educators, Ms Wheeler personifies the achievements of the committee’s succession planning.
“Our message for everyone is that education is the key,” Ms Wheeler told the award night crowd in Melbourne.
“Our vision is for Yapa [Warlpiri speakers] to be strong in their knowledge of culture, country and language and to stand up for our communities.
“Our voices will be heard. We will have the same opportunities as everyone else. Our children will be confident, knowledgeable, disciplined, healthy and respected. They will have good roles and jobs, as will the generations to come.”
Both women thanked the traditional owners of Newmont’s Granites gold mine and paid tribute to CLC director David Ross, one of the WETT’s first and most enthusiastic supporters.
The trust kicked off the CLC’s community development program through which dozens of Aboriginal groups in Central Australia have invested a total of around $100 million from their various land use agreements in projects they drive.
One of these groups, from the remote Alekarenge community, was highly commended at tonight’s awards ceremony.
The WETT started when Ms Gibson and her teacher colleagues from Lajamanu, Yuendumu and Willowra asked Mr Ross to help them invest royalty payments in projects to improve education and training outcomes in their communities.
Since then, the trust spent almost $32 million on projects such as community learning centres, school excursions, early childhood and youth leadership programs, bilingual education resources and a Yapa curriculum.
For more information about the WETT go to www.clc.org.au/files/pdf/WETT-Brochure-2018-Central-Land-Council.pdf.

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Bilby Blitz raises questions about threatened species’ main predator

Posted: Mon, November 05, 2018

Bilby Blitz raises questions about threatened species’ main predator

Results from the first national Bilby Blitz are in and the news is mostly good.

Indigenous rangers found signs of bilbies where they expected them to be surviving and there appear to be reasonable numbers of them.

“This suggests there are healthy breeding populations in these last refuges, which are mostly on Aboriginal land,” said the manager of the Central Land Council’s land management section, Peter Donohoe.

The cross border blitz, around the Easter period, collected base line data about the last remaining bilby habitats.

“Indigenous rangers from 11 groups in the Northern Territory and Western Australia found bilby tracks, scats and burrows in 58 of the 249 areas they surveyed with the new tri-lingual Tracks app.”

“The app allowed the rangers to record it in a standardised way in two of their first languages, allowing the results to be compared with future surveys.”

The 249 two hectare areas, known as track plots, which were scoured by rangers for signs of the threatened marsupial, were in places where bilbies were expected to be found, where they had been recorded in the past, or where there was the greatest chance of finding them.

The rangers found signs of new bilby populations at Kiwirrkurra in WA and the northern Tanami in the NT.

The only area where the rangers didn’t find any bilby signs even though some had been sighted there recently, was east of Barrow Creek.

“The rangers found old burrows but no fresh evidence, so more surveys will be needed,” Mr Donohoe said.

They also recorded signs of the bilby’s main predators, cats and foxes.

The findings are raising questions about which feral animal poses a greater threat to bilbies. 

“Rangers found cat signs in 111 of the 249 track plots, including where many signs of bilbies were also found,” Mr Donohoe said.

“This means that bilbies can survive living side by side with cats, but we don’t know how many cats is too many.”

Rangers found evidence of foxes in only 50 of the track plots, however, where there were foxes there were fewer or no signs of bilbies, particularly in areas without recent bilby records.

“We found more evidence of bilbies in the areas where there were cats,” he said.

“Perhaps that means that foxes have a greater impact on bilby numbers than cats and that a single fox is one too many.”

“We need to do more research about the dynamics of feral hunters, their relation with the dingo, and their combined impacts on the bilby.”

The base line data from the surveys will inform the Commonwealth’s soon-to-be released bilby recovery plan.

“It’s the first time a Commonwealth threatened species recovery plan has been developed with the assistance of an Aboriginal subcommittee and rangers on that committee have had substantial input,” Mr Donohoe said.

 He said the Bilby Blitz data will help land managers and ecologists to detect local changes in biodiversity, as well as monitor broader impacts of feral species and climate change across Australia’s desert regions.

“They will also help our rangers to better manage the country for bilbies through the use of fire and the control of feral animals,” he said.

Additional surveys the rangers carried out since the Bilby Blitz have already borne fruit.

“Recently they captured a male bilby on a sensor camera north of Tennant Creek,” Mr Donohoe said.

“There were also signs of what rangers believe were two females. That’s excellent news.”

The rangers recorded these latest sightings on the Tracks app in Warumungu.

The app, which was designed by the CLC and the CSIRO, has also been translated into Warlpiri.

It is part of a comprehensive threatened species data collection, storage and management system linked to the CSIRO’s Atlas of Living Australia.

As the last bilby refuges today are on Aboriginal land between Central Australia and the Indian Ocean, Aboriginal ranger groups are vital for the survival of the species.

The federal government funded the Bilby Blitz through the Indigenous Desert Alliance.

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Community development champions compete for governance award

Posted: Mon, October 15, 2018

Professor Mick Dodson and his fellow Indigenous Governance Awards judges are visiting Northern Territory communities this week to meet two Aboriginal groups that are investing millions of dollars of royalty and lease income in community development projects.
Award finalists, the Warlpiri Education and Training Trust (WETT) advisory committee and Alekarenge’s community lease money working group, are competing in the non-incorporated governance category with Tangentyere’s Strong Families for Children project in Arlparra.
All three finalists in this category of the national awards are from central Australia, perhaps because the judges value organisations that embed culture at the heart of everything they do.
“We are looking for organisations and initiatives that have the ability to draw upon traditional governance models to effectively respond to contemporary challenges,” Professor Dodson said.
“As judges we recognise that these projects have been at the response of community need, which has enabled consideration of longer term strategies for change.”
Two groups have been recognised for the great work they’re doing in their communities with the support of the Central Land Council’s community development team.
The WETT has supported lifelong learning projects for Yapa for more than a decade.
In 2017-18 alone, the trust invested almost $6.7 million in 14 new community-driven education and training projects in Yuendumu, Lajamanu, Willowra and Nyirrpi.
That’s on top of 21 ongoing projects ranging from community learning centres and early childhood activities to youth diversion and leadership training.
“We have worked for a long time for WETT, all the educators working hard together to make good decisions for the communities and the programs,” Barbara Napanangka Martin, from Yuendumu, said.
Ms Martin is one of the experienced teachers on the WETT committee that monitors the projects and advises the Kurra Aboriginal Corporation on how to invest royalties from the Granites mine in the Tanami.
She plans to tell the judges about the committee’s succession planning and the five new members under the age of 35 who joined the committee following community elections in 2018.
“We are teaching younger committee members who can learn to be strong,” she said.
Since 2012, Alekarenge invested almost $800,000 of its community lease income in youth media, driver training and school holiday initiatives, as well as sports facility upgrades.
A community working group uniting traditional owners and residents from four language groups and all ages committed a further $265,000 for new projects.
Group member Graham Beasley said winning the award would help Alekarenge.
“The prize money would go into our community projects, doing things for our children and their futures.”
The winner will be announced later this year.
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Coniston Massacre families gather to tell the truth

Posted: Thu, August 23, 2018

Families affected by the Coniston Massacre from around Australia have tonight gathered at a meeting of the Central Land Council outside Yuendumu, getting ready to remember the innocent men, women and children killed during a series of massacres in 1928.
 
Early tomorrow morning they will travel to the remote outstation of Yurrkuru (Brooks Soak), approximately three hours north west of Alice Springs, to commemorate with songs, dances, speeches and prayers the 90th anniversary of the killings.
 
Yurrkuru is the site of the murder of the dingo trapper Fred Brooks which triggered the revenge parties led by Police Constable George Murray between August and October 1928 that have become known as the Coniston Massacre.
 
The families of an estimated 100 murder victims are planning to speak at the event, alongside members of Constable Murray’s family and political leaders such as Senator Patrick Dodson and NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner.
 
“We expect up to 400 people to join us for a chance to share the truth about our colonial past with the families of the victims and the murderers,” said Central Land Council chair Francis Kelly.
 
“We want everyone to know that these massacres didn’t happen during some distant past but 10 years after the end of the First World War,” Mr Kelly said.
 
“We remember those who lost their lives in that war every year, in every town around Australia. We have a special public holiday for it and lots of memorials everywhere,” he said.
 
“What about our fallen loved ones?”
 
Their families unveiled a plaque at Yurrkuru in 2003 and plan to call for annual events commemorating the massacres and for interpretive signs at the many massacre locations.
 
They also want all school children to be taught about the frontier wars.
 
Mr Kelly, one of the creators of the documentary Coniston which will be shown at the CLC meeting tonight, said he is particularly pleased to welcome students from surrounding Aboriginal communities to the commemoration.
 
“Until all Australians know about the crimes committed against our families we can’t move forward as one mob, one country,” he said.
 
“Other countries with murderous pasts have managed to come together by speaking the truth. If they can do it, why can’t we?”
 
Truth telling, along with agreement making and an Aboriginal voice to parliament, is a theme of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
 
23 August 2018
 
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Native title to be recognised on Henbury Station

Posted: Tue, June 19, 2018

Photo: Henbury Station. Photo: Gross Collection 2635, Courtesy Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.

Traditional owners of Henbury Station, south of Alice Springs, will celebrate the recognition of their native title rights on a pastoral property that they have long wanted to buy.

Justice John Reeves will hand down a non-exclusive native title consent determination over an area of more than 5000 square kilometres to six land holding groups during a Federal Court sitting at Three Mile waterhole on Henbury tomorrow at 11am.

“We been fighting for a long time for the station,” said native title holder and former Central Land Council chair, Bruce Breaden. “I’ve been pushing really hard all the time to get country back, not only for my family but for all Aboriginal people.”

“The determination recognises the rights of the native title holders to hunt and gather on the land and waters and to conduct cultural activities and ceremonies,” said Francine McCarthy, the CLC’s manager of native title.\

“It gives them the right to negotiate exploration and mining agreements, but unlike on Aboriginal land, they have no veto right.”

Mr Breaden said the process of applying for native title has still been worthwhile.

“We know native title is not strong like land rights, but it gives us a chance to have a say. We have sacred sites all over Henbury. Native title research was a chance to look around country and show the younger ones.

The native title holders belong to the Inteyere [IN-dia-ra], Twenge [TU-nga], Ipmengkere [IB-ma-nga-ra], Murtikutjara [MU-ti-kut-ja-ra], Aniltika [AN-il-ti-ka] and Nthyareye [‘DA-rie] groups.

Some of the old people still speak Pertame [PUR-dum], an endangered language they are working to revive, while some speak Western Arrernte [A-ran-da] and Matuntara Luritja [MA-toon-da-ra LOU-ri-tja].

Their elders and ancestors were born, lived and worked on Henbury Station since the late 1800s and many are buried there.

They have fought unsuccessfully for more than 40 years for the return of their country.

Following an Australian Government assisted purchase in 2011 the lease transferred to the RM Williams Agricultural Holdings for the purpose of carbon farming.

The CLC helped the traditional owners to negotiate with the company for a staged return of the land and to source funding for a dedicated Aboriginal ranger group to manage the land.

However, when RM Williams was placed in receivership in June 2013 the traditional owners, in collaboration with the Indigenous Land Corporation, submitted expressions of interest to purchase the property.

Their plans were dealt a bitter blow when Henbury was sold to Ashley and Neville Anderson, Ted and Sheri Fogarty and David Rohan, a consortium of established Central Australian pastoral interests.

“The ILC was helping but we didn’t have enough money. We will push it again next time. Working on country is good for Aboriginal people,” said Mr Breaden.

The CLC lodged the native title application in 2016.

Henbury, which will continue to operate as a cattle station, is home to the world’s oldest river, the Finke (Lhere Pirnte, pronounced LA-ra PIN-ta) and meteorite craters (Tatyeye Kepmwere, pronounced TAT-ja KA-pa-ra).

The determination area surrounds several outstations on Aboriginal land that are connected by an old stock route.

The Twenge [TU-nga] Aboriginal Corporation will hold the native title rights and interests for the determination area.\

19 June 2018

MEDIA CONTACT: Elke Wiesmann | 0417 877 579 | media@clc.org.au

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Anmatyerr native title holders celebrate determination over Pine Hill Station

Posted: Mon, June 18, 2018

Native title holders are celebrating the recognition of their rights on the western side of Pine Hill Station, north of Alice Springs.

Five Anmatyerr-speaking land holding groups will join Justice John Reeves tomorrow at Arden’s Soak Bore on Pine Hill Station at 11 am for a special sitting of the Federal Court, as he hands down a consent determination over an area of more than 1500 square kilometres.

The determination complements an earlier native title declaration over the east of the pastoral lease.

Many native title holders from the Alherramp [AL-er-ramp], Arempey [ERR-am-pie], Lyelyepwenty [LEEL-a-punge], Ngwenyenp [NGOON-ya-pa] and Tywerl [CHU-la] groups grew up and worked on the station.

“I worked for a long time on Pine Hill. I branded bullocks and broke horses,” said Leslie Stafford Pwerrerl.

Peter Cole Peltharr said old people told them “the right stories”.

“Old Bruce Campbell, he was a cook who told us stories about country and I now pass on those stories to young people,” Mr Cole said.

The native title holders hunt, visit rock holes and practice ceremony on the station, often in the company of the Central Land Council’s Anmatyerr rangers in Ti Tree.

“We feel good when we go to country,” said Amy Campbell Peltharr.

“When the CLC rangers come to help us we go to places we did not go to for a long time.”

“I teach young people about important places and to do ceremony the right way,” Mr Stafford said.

“I sometimes go to Pine Hill and take young girls to show them how to get bush tucker and medicine,” Daisy Campbell Peltharr added.

“I like to camp out at Pine Hill and look for bean tree seeds with my younger sister.”

Francine McCarthy, the CLC’s manager of native title, said the determination recognises these rights under Australian law.

“It also gives the native title holders the right to negotiate about mining and exploration proposals, but not to veto them,” Ms McCarthy said.

She said some of the native title holders want to return to Anyungyunba [AN- oon-ung-un-pa] outstation, across the river from the Pine Hill homestead.

“From tomorrow, native title will be recognised over the whole station,” she said.

“The determination for the eastern side of Pine Hill was made in August 2009 and a small portion was included in the Nolan Bore native title determination in 2017.”

That application was filed in response to plans of the Pine Hill Pastoral Company to grow grapes on the property.

The NT government bought the lease in 2000 to secure horticultural development over the Ti Tree Basin and the lease was then sold back to the pastoralist in 2008.

The CLC filed the Pine Hill (west) application in September 2016.

The applicants’ prescribed body corporate, the Pine Hill West Aboriginal Corporation, will hold the native title rights.

18 June 2018

MEDIA CONTACT: Elke Wiesmann | 0417 877 579 | media@clc.org.au

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Loss of former CLC chair Kumanjayi Granites mourned

Posted: Mon, June 18, 2018

The members and staff of the Central Land Council mourn the passing of Kumanjayi Granites who chaired the CLC from 1994 until 1996.

Kumanjayi is remembered as a senior law man, pastor and education champion.

“Mr Granites knew the value of a well-rounded bilingual and bicultural education,” said Central Land Council director David Ross.

As a young man he trained as a teacher. He completed a Bachelor of Education and later undertook post-graduate studies.

Kumanjayi was an ATSIC councillor and served on the Yuendumu Community Council, including as its president.

Until close to his death last night, he worked as an interpreter, mentor and mediator in his home community of Yuendumu, three hours north-west of Alice Springs.

He was born there in approximately 1950 and raised in the community by parents from the Mount Doreen and Granites areas.

Kumanjayi was widely related to families across Central Australia.

In the CLC’s oral history collection, Every Hill Got a Story, he spoke about his grandfather from the Lake Mackay area and connections on his mother’s side towards Alekarenge and Willowra.

In his time as the CLC chair, Kumanjayi focussed on the repatriation of sacred objects.

“In 1994, he travelled with inaugural CLC chair Wenten Rubuntja to Sydney to collect sacred objects bought overseas by a businessman to bring them back home to their rightful owners,” Mr Ross said.

During a CLC symposium on the return of sacred objects in 1995, an effort to persuade museums around the country to return these objects, he spoke about the urgency of this unfinished business. Around the same time Kumanjayi began to make a name for himself as an artist. His works are held by public and private collections throughout Australia.

18 June 2018

MEDIA CONTACT: Elke Wiesmann | 0417 877 579 | media@clc.org.au

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Barunga agreement

Posted: Fri, June 08, 2018

Joint media release by the Land Councils and the NT Government Statement

The Northern Territory’s four Land Councils and the Northern Territory Government have today signed an historic Memorandum of Understanding (the “Barunga Agreement”), paving the way for consultations to begin with Aboriginal people about a Treaty. A joint meeting of the four Land Councils at Barunga this week voted to empower their Chairmen to sign the MOU.

This is a momentous day in the history of the Territory, a chance to reset the relationship between the Territory’s First Nations and the Government,” Northern Land Council Chairman Samuel Bush-Blanansi said. “We’ve got big journey ahead of us. The MOU gives us high hopes about the future and I hope the Government stays true to spirit of the MOU.”

Central Land Council Chairman FrancisJupurrurla Kelly said: “I hope a treaty will settle us down together and bring us self-determination. Today we bounced the ball but we don’t want to stay the only players in this game. The next steps must be led by Aboriginal people across the Territory so that everyone can run with the ball and have their say.”

Anindilyakwa Land Council Chairman Tony Wurramarrba said: “We celebrate the highly significant step that has been achieved today and will work with the Northern Territory Government and other Land Councils to continue the important work required to achieve the goal of a Northern Territory Treaty.”
Tiwi Land Council Gibson Farmer Illortaminni said: “We’ve got to be careful and understand each other about what we want, because we don’t want to have the same problems we’ve had in the past. The MoU is a good start, but we’ve got a long way to go. The Government needs to be honest and transparent.”

Chief Minister Michael Gunner, who signed on behalf of the Government, said: “This is the first day of a new course for the Northern Territory. The MoU we have signed today commits us to a new path of lasting reconciliation that will heal the past and allow for a cooperative, unified future for all. “

A Territory where everyone understands our history, our role in a modern society and our united and joint future will be an important achievement for all Territorians.”

The Territory Labor Government promised soon after the election in 2016 to advance a Treaty, and the MoU is the result of intensive discussions and negotiations between the Land Councils and the Government.

Significantly, the MoU was signed on the first day of the Barunga Sport and Cultural Festival – the 30th anniversary of the presentation of the Barunga Statement to Prime Minister Bob Hawke, who went on to promise a Treaty between the Commonwealth and Australia’s Indigenous peoples, but has remained undelivered.

Under the terms of the MOU NT Government will appoint an independent Treaty Commissioner who will lead the consultations with Aboriginal people and organisations across the Territory, and develop a framework for Treaty negotiations. The Commissioner will be an Aboriginal person with strong connections to the Territory, and expressions of interest will be called for the position.

The Land Councils and the Northern Territory Government will make their extensive regional staffing networks available to the Treaty Commission to organise consultations in communities.

The MoU prescribes that all Territorians should ultimately benefit from any Treaty, which must provide for substantive outcomes. It’s founded on the agreement that there has been “deep injustice done to Aboriginal people, including violent dispossession, the regression of their languages and cultures and the forcible removal of children from their families, which have left a legacy of trauma and loss that needs to be addressed and healed”.

“The process will begin with an open slate. We will start with nothing on or off the table,” Mr Gunner said.

The MoU acknowledges that there is a range of Aboriginal interests in the Territory, and that all Aboriginal people must have the opportunity to be fully engaged. It further acknowledges that non-Aboriginal people “need to be brought along in this process.”
The document leaves open the possibility of multiple treaties, and lays out a timetable for the work of the Treaty Commissioner.

Read the agreement

Link to the NT Government website

More photos

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Native title determination over Andado and New Crown stations

Posted: Tue, May 22, 2018

Native title holders of two pastoral properties in the south of the Northern Territory will celebrate a native title consent determination at a special sitting of the Federal Court this week.

Justice Charlesworth will hand down a non-exclusive native title consent determination over the Andado and New Crown stations, an area of almost 20,000 square kilometres, on Thursday 24 May.

The Southern and Eastern Arrernte native title holders will celebrate the determination 10.30 am with a ceremony in the community of Aputula (Finke).

Artist and native title holder Marlene Doolan, who has lived at Aputula most of her life, will present the Central Land Council with a painting depicting connection to country, dreamings and bush foods.

“I learnt my knowledge from the old ladies who passed it down to me,” Ms Doola

n said.“My job is to teach the younger generations today to keep the culture strong.”

The native title holders belong to four family groups connected to country in the determination area: Andado, Pmere Ulperre [MUR ra OOL pura], New Crown and Therreyererte [THER errta].

Their families lived and worked on the stations from the 1890s until the 1970s and have proved that they have a continuing connection with their country.

Francine McCarthy, the Central Land Council’s manager of native title, said the determi

nation recognises native title rights, such as the rights to hunt and gather on the land and waters and to conduct cultural activities and ceremonies, as well as the right to negotiate agreements about exploration and mining.

“Both stations are subject to minerals authorities held by Tri-Star,” Ms McCarthy said.

Native title holders instructed the CLC to negotiate an agreement with the company, in response to its oil and gas exploration activities in the region, as well as proposed minerals exploration.

The CLC lodged the native title claim in 2013.

In 2016, only days before the Northern Territory election, the mines department announced it would grant the company mineral authorities for the purpose of coal exploration which would lower Tri Star’s exploration costs and improve its security of tenure.

The CLC lost an appeal against the expedited procedure in the National Native Title Tribunal and the current NT government granted the minerals authority in November 2017.

The company can start exploration without an agreement with the native title holders.

“Native title holders are trying to negotiate an agreement with the company but, unlike land rights, native title does not give them the right to veto exploration or mining,” Ms McCarthy said.

If exploration was successful and the company wanted to develop a mine it would have to apply for a mineral lease.

The Andado and New Crown leaseholders will continue to run the properties as cattle stations while the Tyatykwenhe [DUD ja corner] Aboriginal Corporation will hold the native title rights and interests for the determination area.

23 May 2018

MEDIA CONTACT: Elke Wiesmann | 0417 877 579 | media@clc.org.au

 

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Maryvale native title determination triggers difficult memories

Posted: Tue, May 22, 2018

When native title holders celebrate the native title determination over the Maryvale cattle station south of Alice Springs tomorrow, they will remember their families who lived and worked there for 80 years.

At a special sitting of the Federal Court on Maryvale, Justice Charlesworth will hand down a consent determination over an area of 3,244 square kilometres.

The ceremony will take place on the banks of the Hugh River, 3.6km from the community of Titjikala, south of Alice Springs on 23 May at 11 am.

The native title holders’ from the Imarnte, Titjikala and Idracowra land holding groups speak Southern Arrernte, also known as Pertame [PUR-dum], and many of them live in Titjikala, an community living area excised from the pastoral lease and not included in the claim.

The native title holders will be celebrating the recognition of their right to hunt and gather on the station, to protect their sacred sites and conduct cultural activities and ceremonies.

“This determination will also give them the right to negotiate about exploration and mining activities on their land, for example the salt mine and hazardous waste storage facility in the determination area,” said Francine McCarthy, the Central Land Council’s manager of native title.

The native title holders are currently negotiating an agreement with the operator, Tellus.

The European history of the determination area dates back to the 1890s, when pastoralists established what was then called Mount Burrell station.

“The area includes a site where, in the 1860s, the party of explorer John McDouall Stuart shot at three armed Aboriginal men who allegedly threatened the expedition,” Ms McCarthy said.

“TGH Strehlow and other anthropologists recorded frequent violence between the Mount Burrell pastoralists and the Aboriginal land owners who resented their intrusion and kidnapping of local women.”

The Rodinga Aboriginal Corporation will hold the native title rights and interests for the determination area while Maryvale Station will continue to operate as a cattle station.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

MEDIA CONTACT: Elke Wiesmann | 0417 877 579 | media@clc.org.au

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Discriminatory remote work scheme improved but onerous work hrs & harsh penalties will drive poverty

Posted: Fri, May 11, 2018


Discriminatory remote work scheme improved but onerous work hours and harsh penalties will drive poverty

 
The need for fair pay for work in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities has finally been acknowledged by the Federal Government but Budget measures outlined for its remote work for the dole scheme fall well-short of realising this in practice.
 
The Aboriginal Peak Organisations NT (APO NT) and the Human Rights Law Centre cautiously welcomed some changes to the Community Development Program (CDP), but expressed deep concern about the Government’s piecemeal approach and its decision to continue with onerous obligations while introducing a harsher penalty system in remote communities.
 
John Paterson, spokesperson for APO NT, said that for three years Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations have been dealing with the devastation wrought by the Government’s program.
 
"The hard work of APO NT and other Aboriginal organisations and CDP providers has started to pay-off, with the Minister for Indigenous Affairs recognising that paid work with proper entitlements is the key to lifting families out of poverty, stimulating social enterprise and creating meaningful employment opportunities," said Mr Paterson.
 
Mr Paterson welcomed the announcement of 6000 subsidised jobs with proper work entitlements and improvements to the way that people’s work capacity is assessed but said the Government should be adopting the Aboriginal-led model already developed by APO NT.
 
"We are pleased that there will be subsidies for 6000 jobs and an improved assessment process to ensure vulnerable people are not forced to participate beyond their capabilities.
 
However, the Government has engaged in a cherry-picking exercise rather than wholeheartedly adopting the positive Aboriginal community-driven model developed by APO NT, which will limit the benefits possible on the ground," said Mr Paterson.
 
The Budget measures include a reduction in work requirements from 25 to 20 hours, but people in remote communities, 83 per cent of whom are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, will still have to work around 270 hours more each year than people in urban areas.
 
Adrianne Walters, senior lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre, said that it was mindboggling that after three years, a racist and inflexible work hours requirement will continue to be imposed on remote communities, albeit in slightly modified form.
 
"Equal pay for equal work is a core tenet of Australian society. The Federal Government must eliminate the blatantly discriminatory requirement which sees people in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities forced to work more hours for the same basic Centrelink payment as people in cities," said Ms Walters.
 
Both organisations have also warned that the new compliance measures announced in the Budget will undermine the potential for positive outcomes.
 
"The inclusion of more onerous compliance measures is likely to drive up poverty and disengagement. The Government’s own data indicates that people subject to the remote CDP scheme are already at least 20 times more likely to be financially penalised," said Mr Paterson.
 
"Unfair financial penalties have already seen parents struggling to put food on the table for their kids. The Government appears satisfied to dump a new harsh one-size-fits-all penalty system on remote communities, but still discriminate against them in terms of work hours," said Ms Walters.
 
Further information
The Aboriginal Peak Organisations NT has worked with other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations to develop an alternative model for fair work and strong resilient communities. The model focuses on waged work, fair participation obligations, access to support services and Aboriginal-led institutional arrangements.
 
Key aspects of the alternative model that are missing from Minister Scullion’s CDPreforms include:
 
  • Flexibility and community governance structures so that jobs and community projects meet the needs of communities and remote employers.
  • An approach to participation obligations that allows local organisations to tailor arrangements to their own communities, with a focus on support and incentives, rather than heavy-handed compliance and financial penalties.
  • Work activity obligations that are no greater than those that apply to people in the urban Jobactive program.
  • 1500 paid jobs with training for people under 25, giving disengaged young people a reason to re-engage and a pathway to future employment.
  • An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led agency to manage the scheme instead of the current non-Indigenous led Canberra-based model.
  • A reduction in pointless and excessive administration requirements, which is a hallmark of the current program and consumes valuable funding.
For interviews or further information please call: Michelle Bennett, Human Rights Law Centre, 0419 100 519
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Land councils and NT agree on a memorandum of understanding for a treaty

Posted: Thu, April 05, 2018

A historic meeting between the Northern Territory Government and the Territory’s four land councils has agreed to establish a working group to develop a memorandum of understanding about how a treaty between the government and the NT’s Aboriginal people should progress.
The MoU will cover the principles, consultation process and roadmap leading to a treaty. It will be developed in time for signing at the Barunga Festival on Friday June 8th.

Representatives of the land councils met in Alice Springs with Chief Minister Michael Gunner and Aboriginal MLAs Selena Uibo and Chansey Paech. It was the first ever meeting between a Territory government and all four land councils to begin a treaty process.

Mr Gunner thanked the land councils for their “constructive engagement and advice” and for having taken the lead in proposing the working group. The land councils want traditional owners and communities to be front and centre during the treaty negotiations. Other Aboriginal organisations will be engaged once the MoU has been drafted.

Mr Gunner made a commitment following the NT election in August 2016 to open discussions about a treaty. He then established an Aboriginal Affairs sub-committee of Cabinet, whose priorities included advancing a treaty.

Mr Gunner told the meeting with land councils that he favoured the appointment of an independent commissioner to lead the advancement of a treaty, following the examples of Victoria and South Australia.

This year’s Barunga festival will mark the 30th anniversary of the presentation of the Barunga Statement to Prime Minister Bob Hawke, who promised a treaty with Aboriginal people. The Barunga Statement is now on display in Parliament House, Canberra.

Download the media release

CONTACTS:
CLC - Elke Wiesmann 0417 877 579
NLC - Martha Tattersall 0427 031 382

 

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Aboriginal teachers’ book shares lessons from remote community classrooms

Posted: Wed, March 21, 2018

Seven Aboriginal teachers from remote central Australian communities have documented their education journeys in We Always Stay, to be launched tomorrow at the Central Land Council.

The teachers, all women, have all worked in their community schools for more than 30 years and beat significant odds in order to qualify in their profession.

They co-wrote the book with Lisa Hall from the Batchelor Institute to raise awareness of the achievements of Aboriginal teachers, the barriers they face and to encourage aspiring teachers to follow in their footsteps.

“I hope people can hear my story and how people helped me, all the community people… how my family helped me,” said Fiona Gibson who has taught at Nyirrpi, a small community five hours northwest of Alice Springs.

“Then community people can see it for themselves and start thinking ‘we might ask to study’ because our community needs more Yapa [Aboriginal] teachers.”

Linda Anderson, from Papunya, said “I think it is really important to have Anangu [Aboriginal] teachers in our classrooms because they know the culture from the inside”.

Ms Anderson’s career exemplifies how, with the right support, bi-lingual and bi-cultural local teachers can make an enormous contribution to both their communities and their non-Aboriginal colleagues, who rarely stay long out bush.

“Kardiya [non-Aboriginal] teachers are just visitors. We are the ones who will always be here, teaching our kids,” said Barbara Martin from Yuendumu.

Ms Martin and three of her co-authors are members of the CLC’s Warlpiri Education and Training Trust (WETT), a community development program which funded the book from gold mining royalties.

CLC director David Ross, an early champion of the WETT, will launch We Always Stay on Thursday, 22nd March from 4:30 – 6pm at the CLC’s North Stuart highway office in Alice Springs.

We Always Stay is available from www.batchelorpress.com for $35.

21 March 2018

Download the PDF

Media inquiries: kevin.arthur@batchelor.edu.au or 0419 030 912; elke.wiesmann@clc.org.au or 0417 877 579.
 

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Aboriginal rangers launch the first national Bilby Blitz

Posted: Mon, March 19, 2018

This Easter Aboriginal rangers will fan out across millions of hectares between the deserts of Central Australia and the Indian Ocean for the first cross border surveys of the endangered Greater Bilby (Macrotis lagotis)

Twenty ranger groups from the Northern Territory and Western Australia are combining their local knowledge and tracking skills with digital technology to conduct hundreds of base line bilby surveys by recording tracks, scats, diggings and burrows on Aboriginal land during March and April.

The data will update and expand our existing knowledge about the bilby’s distribution and inform the national bilby recovery plan – the first national threatened species plan developed with significant input from Aboriginal land managers.

Tomorrow at 10 am the Central Land Council rangers and other staff will join Australia’s Threatened Species Commissioner Dr. Sally Box at Hamilton Downs near Alice Springs to launch the Bilby Blitz at their annual ranger camp.

“A century ago bilbies roamed across most of Australia,” said ranger co-ordinator Josie Grant from the Central Land Council.

“Feral cats, foxes, cattle, donkeys, rabbits, camels and changed fire regimes have pushed bilbies to the edge of extinction. Today their last refuge is the land we manage and we’re really their last hope.

We’re protecting them through cool season burning and eradicating feral animals and weeds but because we’re all looking after huge areas of country we need a better handle on where our efforts will make the greatest difference.”

Ms Grant is on the indigenous subcommittee of the Commonwealth’s bilby recovery team, the first such indigenous advisory committee at a national level.

The rangers’ main weapon in the Bilby Blitz is the bilingual Tracks app, a mobile threatened species app in English and Warlpiri developed by the CLC as part of a comprehensive data collection, storage and management system linked to the CSIRO’s Atlas of Living Australia.

“Our Warlpiri rangers love the app,” said Ms Grant who grew up in the Tennant Creek region and speaks Warlmanpa and Warrumungu.

“The rest of us use the English version and can’t wait until we can afford to develop it in our first languages as well.”

The app, which can be downloaded from the Google Play store, collects the rangers’ tracking data in a standardised way, allowing the results to be analysed across time and sites and to be compared with future surveys.

This will enable land managers and conservationists to detect local changes in biodiversity, as well as monitor broader impacts of feral species and climate change across Australia’s desert regions.

“The Bilby Blitz is a ground breaking threatened species program for a culturally significant animal, a two-way ecological case study that demonstrates the critical role Aboriginal people play in protecting our country,” said CLC director David Ross.

“Seeing the Commonwealth develop the bilby recovery plan with Aboriginal land managers in the driver’s seat gives us real hope that there’s the political will to also resource and implement this plan,” Mr Ross said.

“However, our rangers will not wait to find out but get on with their vital conservation work regardless.”

The CLC is hosting the Bilby Blitz on behalf of the Indigenous Desert Alliance, with one-off funding from the federal environment department.

Its 12 ranger teams will be joined by rangers from the Kimberley Land Council, Kanyirninpa Jukurpa, Central Desert Native Title Services, the Ngaanyatjarra Council and other land management groups.

19 March 2018

Download the fact sheet

More photos

MEDIA CONTACT: Elke Wiesmann | 0417 877 579 or 0406 327 668| media@clc.org.au

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New Aboriginal ranger team to fight threats to Katiti Petermann IPA

Posted: Tue, March 13, 2018

Mutitjulu elders are today launching a new Central Land Council ranger group to manage the vast Katiti Petermann Indigenous Protected Area surrounding the Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park.

Central Land Council chair Francis Kelly says Mutitjulu’s Tjakura rangers – the CLC’s 12th ranger group - are taking their name from the Pitjantjatjara/Yangkunytjatjara word for the threatened great desert skink.

“They are proud to wear the logo with the tjakura on their uniforms because that’s what our rangers are so good at: looking after endangered plants and animals the proper way, under the guidance of their elders.

They don’t just keep country healthy, they also keep people’s culture and knowledge of country strong,” Mr Kelly says.

The Tjakura rangers’ logo is based on a concept design by senior Mutitjulu artist Malya Teamay, who will unveil it at the launch, following a ceremony at 10.30 at the community’s ranger office.

The new group will share the protection of the five million hectare IPA with the CLC’s Kaltukatjara rangers from the remote border community of Docker River, a rough three hour drive west of Mutitjulu.

“I’m so happy my team of six will finally be joined by seven new colleagues from Muti,” said Kaltukatjara ranger co-ordinator Benji Kenny.

“We really needed these reinforcements because it’s been a daunting job to look after an IPA of more than 50,000 square kilometres, an area larger than Denmark or Switzerland, on our own.

“By comparison, the Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park inside the IPA covers only just over 1,300 square kilometres and employs more than a dozen non-Aboriginal rangers, plus another dozen non-ranger staff.”

The IPA is an international hot spot for mammal extinctions, with 18 mammals vanishing from the area since European settlement.

Anangu [pronounced AR-nangu] traditional owners still remember animals such as kantilypa (pig-footed bandicoot), tawalpa (crescent nail-tailed wallaby), lesser bilby, and walilya (desert bandicoot) which died out during the lives of today’s elders.

Feral cats and foxes and changes in traditional fire regimes after Anangu were moved into settlements drive these extinctions.

The Tjakura rangers will help to look after more than 22 surviving native mammal species, 88 reptile species and 147 bird species found on the IPA, including threatened species such as the murtja (brush-tailed mulgara), waru (black-footed rock-wallaby) and the princess parrot.

“We use traditional knowledge and skills such as cat tracking and cool season patch burning and combine them with modern tools such as aerial incendiary machines and digital tracking apps to manage these treats,” Mr Kenny said.

“Having two ranger groups look after the IPA means that we’ll be able to double our efforts and involve more community members on a casual basis, for example to hire more locals to do controlled burns during the upcoming fire season.”

Unique to Australia, IPAs are areas of Aboriginal land traditional owners voluntarily declare and manage as part of Australia’s National Reserve System funded by the federal environment department.

The federal government’s IPA and Working on Country programs provide scarce opportunities for ongoing paid employment for Aboriginal people in remote communities and are highly sought after.

The skills CLC rangers gain through structured accredited training boost their employment prospects in other sectors as well as improve their mental health and wellbeing.

The federal government has delivered on the promise to fund the group, which Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion made in 2015, shortly after Anangu traditional owners declared the country around Uluru Australia’s 70th IPA.

13 March 2018

Download the PDF

MEDIA CONTACT: Elke Wiesmann | 0417 877 579 | media@clc.org.au

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CLC backs further extension of Tennant Creek grog restrictions

Posted: Sun, March 11, 2018

The Central Land Council is backing the residents of Tennant Creek and the Director-General of Licensing on the extension of the emergency alcohol restrictions in the town.

“We support the decision of the Director-General, Cindy Bravos, to keep the current grog restrictions in place and urge that they remain in place until more permanent restrictions have been implemented,” said Central Land Council director David Ross.

“Calls for hard decisions to curb the level of alcohol consumption in Tennant Creek go back decades and it should not take a media storm for government to act.”

Back in February 2009, NT Chief Justice Trevor Riley made sentencing remarks that sound depressingly familiar today:

“The courts regularly hear evidence of alcohol being consumed in Tennant Creek in quantities beyond comprehension. It seems that the excessive consumption of alcohol continues for so long as alcohol is available. People drink until they can drink no more and then get up the next day and start all over again. The frequency with which drunken violence occurs is unacceptable and the level of violence is likewise completely unacceptable.

For the good of the town, for the good of the victims, for the good of the offenders and for the good of the innocent children of Tennant Creek, it seems to me obvious that a system must be devised to limit the amount of alcohol made available to the people whose lives are being devastated in this way and to educate and rehabilitate those already abusing alcohol. The people of the Northern Territory cannot sit on their hands and allow what is occurring in Tennant Creek to continue. I accept that it is a complex issue but it is an issue that must be addressed and must be addressed sooner rather than later. Hard decisions must be taken.”

Mr Ross said he takes concerns about next week’s annual general meeting of the Tennant Region Aboriginal Corporation (TRAC) seriously but they are a diversion from the essential issues facing the town.

“Aboriginal corporations are legally obliged to hold AGMs in a timely manner and we have been working with corporation directors and the federal government to minimise any adverse impacts,” Mr Ross said.

“There is no distribution of cash at these meetings, as has been claimed.”

“The Director-General of Licencing and NT Police have been invited to meet with the TRAC directors following the AGM to discuss the impact of liquor restrictions on the wider community,” he said.

Mr Ross said the small team at the CLC’s Aboriginal Association Management Centre must facilitate almost 100 Aboriginal corporation AGMs a year within a statutory time frame.

“We schedule meetings when they have the smallest possible impact on school attendance,” he said.

“We draw on independent analysis of NT Education Department statistics showing where and when a meeting may have harmful impacts,” he said.

Mr Ross said the CLC has also long supported traditional owners to invest their income in community development programs. 

“While the amount of money going towards these community driven projects is steadily increasing governments could offer incentives to encourage more traditional owners to take up this option.”

Friday, 9 March 2018

Elke Wiesmann | 0417 877 579 | media@clc.org.au

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APO NT: Aboriginal Housing Forum 2018

Posted: Fri, March 09, 2018

Good Housing Starts with Community Control
From the Aboriginal delegates at the Northern Territory Aboriginal Housing Forum

9 March 2018


Aboriginal delegates at the Northern Territory Aboriginal Housing Forum have welcomed the Chief Minister’s support for the development of an Aboriginal community-controlled peak housing body for the NT.

Around 190 delegates travelled to Darwin for the NT Aboriginal Housing Forum from across the Territory and the nation, including from many remote areas, to discuss the issues of Aboriginal housing in the NT.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner addressed the Forum on Thursday 8 March in what was seen as a positive and productive dialogue.

Co-chair of Aboriginal Housing NT (AHNT) Barbara Shaw said: “The support from the Chief Minister Michael Gunner means we are now one step closer to establishing an Aboriginal community controlled peak housing body, however this will require adequate funding and support.”

Delegates are also seeking clarity from the Australian Government on what will happen to funding from 1 July 2018, when the Commonwealth National Partnership Agreement on Remote Housing (NPARIH) is set to cease. The Forum called on the Australian Government to shoulder its responsibility to funding remote Aboriginal housing on a needs basis. The Commonwealth appears to be walking away from commitments made by successive Commonwealth governments over the past 40 years.

“Without resolution, remote and regional Aboriginal communities face significant risk of uncertain housing service provision,” Ms Shaw said.

The Forum recognised the inequity in current policies relating to remote and regional Aboriginal communities, homelands, outstations and town camps, and called for consistency in funding that recognises these different community contexts.

The Northern Territory is unique in its demographics with more than 30% of its population being Aboriginal, 80% of whom live in remote areas. Aboriginal families account for 100% of remote tenancies and 50% of urban tenancies.

“With a young and fast growing population, we urgently need to address the intergenerational housing inequity that successive governments have failed to address,” said Ms Shaw.

“We know that housing is fundamental to the health and wellbeing of our families and communities and to outcomes in education, employment and community sustainability,” said Ms Shaw.

“The shift to a public housing model has seen reduced control and loss of Aboriginal employment and no improvement in achieving the Closing the Gap targets.

“We want to see the NT Government work collaboratively with AHNT and Aboriginal Peak Organisations Northern Territory (APO NT) to develop regional and local housing models, with a plan to return control of all housing functions in a staged approach to Aboriginal community-controlled organisations.”

For Media Comment
Brionee Noonan:  0488 006 680
For a PDF version of the communique see here and for a PDF version of the media release here.
 

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APO NT: Aboriginal voices finally heard on CDP failure

Posted: Fri, December 15, 2017

The Aboriginal Peak Organisations NT (APO NT)[1] today welcomed the release of the Senate inquiry report into the Community Development Program (CDP), which found that ‘CDP cannot and should not continue in its current form’[2].

John Paterson, from APO NT said “the inquiry heard the voices of Indigenous CDP participants, their organisations and other concerned Australians and revealed the deep-seated flaws with this top-down, punitive and discriminatory program. Finally, our concerns have been heard.”

“APO NT has put considerable effort into developing an alternative to the CDP (APO NT alternative to CDP).   We are extremely pleased that the committee has recognized this Indigenous-led work and drawn on many key elements of the APO NT proposal.  In particular, the inquiry found:

  • The committee is broadly supportive of an effective program for remote jobseekers that provides the opportunity for job placement and community development.

  • there should be a move away from the compliance and penalty model towards the provision of a basic income with a wage-like structure to incentivise participation.

  • a jobseeker program must create and sustain real local jobs.

  • A new program needs to be developed which moves away from a centralised, top-down administration in which communities are told what to do and move towards a model where the local communities are empowered to make decisions that are best for them[3].

It also explicitly recommends that any reform process give consideration to the APO NT model.”

“It is extremely disappointing that the Minister for Indigenous Affairs has already labelled the report misleading and partisan.  On the contrary, it provides valuable evidence and recommendations that should inform the CDP reform process,” said Mr Paterson.

The Government committed to consulting with remote communities in May 2017 and just hours before the release of the senate inquiry report the Minister finally released a Discussion Paper outlining very broad reform models for CDP.

“The consultation process announced by the Minister does not answer our calls for a transparent, independent review process conducted in partnership with Indigenous people.  The review process is being conducted by the department that currently administers the program, does not appear to include any external oversight or the creation of a high level reform committee to guide and inform the process, and is being undertaken during the wet season and hot summer months when cultural business occurs in many communities,” said Mr Paterson.

“CDP affects the lives of around 29,000 Indigenous people and has caused immense harm. We will continue to work hard to shape the development of a new program to replace CDP that is non-discriminatory, ensures access to the social security safety net, empowers local communities, creates jobs with proper entitlements, and drives development in remote communities.  In the meantime, as recommended by the Senate committee, there must be immediate reform of the compliance and penalty regime of the CDP.”

Media contact:

John Paterson (Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT), APO NT Spokesperson: 0418 904 727

KEY FACTS ABOUT THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT SCHEME

The CDP is the main program of job related assistance for unemployed people in remote areas of Australia.  It is the equivalent of jobactive (formerly JSA) and Disability Employment Services in the rest of the country.

The CDP has around 35,000 participants, around 83% of whom are identified as Indigenous.

People with full time work capacity who are 18-49 years old must Work for the Dole, 25 hours per week, 5 days per week, at least 46 weeks per year (1150 hours per year).  Under jobactive Work for the Dole only starts after 12 months, and then for 390-650 hours per year.

Despite having a caseload less than a twentieth  the size of jobactive, more penalties are applied to CDP participants than to jobactive participants.

In the 21 months from the start of CDP on 1 July 2015 to the end of March 2017, 299,055 financial penalties were applied to CDP participants. Over the same period, 237,333 financial penalties were applied to jobactive participants.

 

[1] APO NT is an alliance of five peak Aboriginal bodies, the Northern Land Council (NLC), Central Land Council (CLC), North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA), Central Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (CAALAS) and the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT (AMSANT).

[2] Finance and Public Administration References Committee 2017, Appropriateness and effectiveness of the objectives, design, implementation and evaluation of the Community Development program (CDP), p.104

[3] Finance and Public Administration References Committee 2017, Appropriateness and effectiveness of the objectives, design, implementation and evaluation of the Community Development program (CDP), p.104-105

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Media Statement

Posted: Thu, December 14, 2017

 

Ned Hargraves has a long and unfortunate history of threatening and aggressive confrontation documented over many years and he has been repeatedly banned from Regional Council, CLC & community meetings since at least 2011 due to his violent and disruptive behaviour. 

In 2012 the CLC even offered (in writing) to assist him to seek counselling at the Men’s Health service at Congress to deal with his anger management issues but he sadly did not take up the offer.

On 7 December, Mr Hargraves attempted to enter a meeting of traditional owners at the CLC office with a camera person in tow.  His country was not being discussed and the traditional owners present requested that he not be let in as they knew, given past behaviour, that he was attempting to disrupt the meeting. 

Although he was advised that the meeting did not involve him and asked to leave, Mr Hargraves staged a scene, entered the meeting despite being asked to leave and ultimately only left when police were called.

His obvious attempts to set-up a confrontation for media purposes are shown up by the facts. 

Mr Hargraves left the CLC premises with Police after CLC staff called them due to his violent disruption of the meeting. 

Police were advised of his actions.   

He has posted a heavily edited, self-serving and defamatory video – the CLC completely rejects his assertions and calls on him to make an immediate apology to the traditional owners at Yuendumu whose meeting he attempted to disrupt and the staff and contractors engaged by the CLC.

 

14 December 2017

Francis Jupurrurla Kelly

In the name of the Chairman

Download the PDF

 

Contact: Marie Rancon, 0488 984 885, media@clc.org.au

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What’s community development? International aid organisations to get answers from the bush

Posted: Tue, November 21, 2017

Community development champions from remote Central Australian communities are showing Australia’s international aid sector how they are investing their own money to drive their own priorities.

Graham Beasley, Peter Corbett, Derek Walker and Sabrina Kelly from Alekarenge will tell the annual learning forum of the Australian Council for International Development on Wednesday, 22 November, how they invest their community lease income to address youth issues in their community.

They will follow Fiona Gibson, Sharon Anderson, Hamilton Morris, and Helen Morton from the Warlpiri Education and Training Trust who will share the story of WETT’s first 10 years and what they are planning for the next decade.

All presenters are members of Aboriginal groups driving their own development with their own income and the support of the Central Land Council’s community development program.

Part of ACFID’s ‘community of practice’ for Aboriginal programs, the CLC has helped to organise the sold-out forum from 21-23 November at the Mercure in Alice Springs.

Dr Danielle Campbell, who managed the CLC’s community development team and now heads up the NLC’s new equivalent program, will share the stage with keynote speaker Senator Patrick Dodson and others on Wednesday morning for a panel discussion themed “What is Community Development”?

21 November 2017
 

Contact: Elke Wiesmann, 0417 877 579, media@clc.org.au

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Between a rock and a hard place no more: Anangu close Uluru climb at last

Posted: Wed, November 01, 2017

The Central Land Council welcomes the long overdue decision by the Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park board of management to close the climb to the summit of Uluru for good.

“The CLC congratulates the board on righting a historic wrong,” said CLC director David Ross.

“This decision has been a very long time coming and our thoughts are with the elders who have longed for this day but are no longer with us to celebrate it.”

After agonising about people climbing the sacred site since the 1930s, its Anangu traditional owners recently reaffirmed their long-standing desire to close the climb during consultations by the CLC.

“Some people, in tourism and government for example, might have been saying we need to keep it open but it’s not their law that lies in this land,” said CLC executive member Sammy Wilson, who also chairs the jointly managed park’s board and runs a small tourism business.

“It is an extremely important place, not a playground or theme park like Disneyland. We want you to come, hear us and learn. We’ve been thinking about this for a very long time,” Mr Wilson said.

Mr Wilson takes visitors to his family’s homeland near the park to watch the sunset and they often ask him why Anangu don’t close the climb.

“Why this decision wasn’t made decades ago is a fair question,” Mr Ross said.

“Anangu have genuinely struggled to accommodate many powerful competing interests and have faced massive pressure.”

Mr Wilson said the traditional owners have been in a difficult position and are glad their wishes have prevailed at last.

“Over the years Anangu have felt a sense of intimidation, as if someone is holding a gun to our heads to keep it open. Please don’t hold us to ransom. This decision is for both Anangu and non-Anangu to feel proud about,” he said.

Mr Ross said while Anangu board members agreed to delay the date of the climb’s actual closure for another two years the balance of power is slowly shifting.

“Today’s decision to close the climb was unthinkable only 10 years ago.”

Mr Ross said if fledgling Anangu tourism plans, especially in the vast Indigenous Protected Area surrounding the national park, receive the assistance they need to get off the ground nobody will miss the climb.

“There is so much else besides that in the culture here,” said Mr Wilson “If we have the right support to take tourists outside [the park] it will benefit everyone.

We have a lot to offer in this country. So instead of tourists feeling disappointed … they can experience the homelands with Anangu and really enjoy the fact that they learnt so much more about culture.”

1 November 2017

Read Sammy Wilson’s full speech here.

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Failure guaranteed if you don’t involve us, say Aboriginal organisations

Posted: Fri, October 20, 2017

The Australian Government must step out from behind closed doors and involve Indigenous people in a transparent process for reforming the discriminatory remote ‘work for the dole’ scheme, the Aboriginal Peak Organisations NT (APO NT)  urged today. 


The Government committed to reviewing the program, called the ‘Community Development Program’ (CDP) and consulting with remote communities in May 2017.


John Paterson, from APO NT said “We have been calling on the Minister for Indigenous Affairs to clarify and formalise the Community Development Program reform process since last December.  Every request is met with silence,” said Mr Paterson.


“The Prime Minister and Minister for Indigenous Affairs never tire of talking about how they want to do things with us, not to us. That they want new ways of working with Aboriginal people. Yet here is a program that affects the lives of 29,000 Indigenous people and has caused immense harm, and we still can't get confirmation of a process that includes us,” said Mr Paterson. 


Australia’s  election to the world’s leading human rights body, the UN Human Rights Council, this week relied on a pledge to support the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples ‘in both word and deed’. The Declaration requires the Government to work in partnership with Aboriginal people and respect the right to self-determination.


“The Australian Government said to the world that it would tackle Indigenous disadvantage in partnership with our people.  Meanwhile the Government’s racially discriminatory program results in Aboriginal people receiving more penalties than other Australians, and hurts our communities,” said Mr Paterson.


“If the Government is serious about the promises it made to get elected to the Council, the Minister for Indigenous Affairs will immediately announce an independent and transparent reform process involving a partnership with Aboriginal people,” added Mr Paterson.


APO NT launched a positive alternative to CDP in Canberra last month (APO NT alternative to CDP). 

Our model would create 10,500 part time jobs to be filled by people in remote communities who currently get less than the minimum wage to do work they should be employed and paid properly to do. 

Our model would create new jobs and enterprises, strengthen communities and get rid of pointless administration. It has incentives to encourage people into work, training and other activities, rather than punishing people who are already struggling.


David Ross from APO NT, said, “Thirty-three organisations from around Australia have endorsed our new model.  We have done the work, we want to talk, and we want a program that will actually deliver positive outcomes on the ground.”


“The Australian Government appears to be unable to put the rhetoric of collaboration into practice.  What do all these commitments mean if they don't deliver a seat at the table on this fundamental issue?  Let’s not repeat the mistakes of the past and impose a top-down program from Canberra that is guaranteed to fail in remote Australia,” Mr Ross concluded.

19 October 2017

 

Contact:


John Paterson (Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT), APO NT Spokesperson: 0418 904 727
David Ross (Central Land Council), APO NT Spokesperson: 0417 877 579

 

KEY FACTS ABOUT THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT SCHEME


The CDP is the main program of job related assistance for unemployed people in remote areas of Australia.  It is the equivalent of jobactive (formerly JSA) and Disability Employment Services in the rest of the country.
The CDP has around 35,000 participants, around 83% of whom are identified as Indigenous.
People with full time work capacity who are 18-49 years old must Work for the Dole, 25 hours per week, 5 days per week, at least 46 weeks per year (1150 hours per year).  Under jobactive Work for the Dole only starts after 12 months, and then for 390-650 hours per year.
Despite having a caseload less than a 20th the size of jobactive, more penalties are applied to CDP participants than to jobactive participants.
In the 21 months from the start of CDP on 1 July 2015 to the end of March 2017, 299,055 financial penalties were applied to CDP participants. Over the same period, 237,333 financial penalties were applied to jobactive participants.

Download the pdf version

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Emily Gap custodians launch Anthwerrke interactive tour for visitors

Posted: Mon, September 25, 2017

Traditional owners of Anthwerrke (Emily Gap) have invested their rent income from the Yeperenye/Emily and Jessie Gaps Nature Park in an interactive visitor experience at the sacred site near Alice Springs.
 
They will launch the interactive tour with CLC chair Francis Kelly, the Member for Namatjira Chansey Paech and guests at Anthwerrke on 26 September at 10:30am.
 
Anthwerrke [UN-door-kwa] is the home of a significant dreaming, the place where the three caterpillar songlines Yeperenye [Yep-ah-RIN-ya], Ntyarlke [N-CHAYL-ka] and Utnerrengatye [OOT-ner-ung-utch] intersect.
 
The Anthwerrke interactive tour app features the traditional owners welcoming all to country and talking about the significance of the site.
 
“Without a knowledgeable guide by your side you may be able to appreciate the beauty of Anthwerrke but you would miss out on its stories and leave this special place none the wiser,” said Mr Paech.
 
“This interactive tour is like having a friend walk through the site with you and explain the hidden meaning of its natural features, its plants, animals and cultural history.
 
No interpretive sign can pass on this knowledge the way the traditional owners can.”
 
“It’s a special place for Arrernte people from this area”, said Lynette Ellis, a traditional owner and working group member.
 
“You’ve got a lot of tourists going to the West Macs but not that many come east.
 
Those that do come to Emily Gap don’t have much information. Now they’ve got us telling them the stories about this place.”
 
The app-based experience, a project driven by the traditional owners and supported by the CLC, was four years in the making and cost some $34,000 to develop and maintain.
 
It is worth every cent, according to Ms Ellis.
 
“With more people coming to Emily Gap, later there might be more opportunities for cultural experiences with the traditional owners, or they could work on the park as rangers or tour guides,” she said.
 
The working group’s next project is a walking and bicycle track between Emily and Jessie Gaps.
 
“Our NT parks rent money community development program is one of the most positive outcomes from the joint management of the 16 parks and reserves in our region,” said CLC director David Ross.
 
“In 2010 CLC members decided to use 100 per cent of this income stream for community development and last financial year traditional owners invested more than a million dollars of their park rent income in projects they drive.”
 
Visitors can download the app free of charge from http://sitesandtrails.com.au/ or the app store by searching for Sites and Trails NT. Once downloaded they can search for the Anthwerrke Interactive Experience or navigate there via the Locations list.
 
25 September 2017
 
MEDIA CONTACT: Marie Rançon | 0488 984 885 | media@clc.org.au
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CLC delegates want a say about an Indigenous voice to parliament

Posted: Wed, September 20, 2017

Central Land Council delegates have endorsed the historic Uluru Statement and demanded an active role in designing the ‘voice to parliament’ ahead of a referendum on constitutional reform.

Meeting at Brumby Plains, a remote outstation four hours north-west of Kalkaringi, more than 70 elected CLC delegates discussed the double-edged sword that is the ‘races power’ of the Australian constitution.

It has delivered them land rights but also the failed Intervention.

The delegates released the Brumby Plains Statement, saying they need to be part of designing an Aboriginal body advising the Australian Parliament in order to ensure it represents remote community residents and acts as a powerful voice against racially discriminatory laws:

“We, the members of the Central Land Council are sovereign people drawing our strength and laws from country.  We sing for country, we dance for country and our laws and systems of governance are still strong.

The Australian constitution must recognise us as First Nations of Australia. Nothing will be lost, instead Australia will gain 65,000 years of culture and history. 

We endorse the Uluru Statement, which calls for constitutional protection for a voice to Parliament, supports treaty making and truth telling.

We have long called for Aboriginal self-determination and Aboriginal self-government, and greater control over our own communities. Local treaty negotiations should be protected by a national treaty framework.

In the NT we have benefited from the Commonwealth ‘races power’ through the enactment of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act.

We have also experienced the worst of the ‘races power’ with the imposition of the racist NT Intervention. The Australian Parliament should not pass racially discriminatory laws that harm our people. 

We want to be part of designing the voice to parliament to ensure it represents people from the bush, and to ensure it is powerful.

This work should be progressed before we go ahead with a referendum.

A successful referendum requires the support of non-Indigenous people, and we invite all Australians to join us on this journey to achieve constitutional reform.”

20 September 2017

Images from the Brumby Plains council meeting are at https://photos.app.goo.gl/tRnHgd5toUeKcTmd2

Elke Wiesmann | 0417 877 579 | media@clc.org.au

Download the PDF

 

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APO NT: Aboriginal organisations call to replace discriminatory Work for the Dole scheme

Posted: Fri, September 08, 2017

J. Patterson, G. Kearney, D. Ross, J. Douglas, M. Harvey, J. McSkimming and S. Tipuamantumirri attending rally before CDP Inquiry.

MEDIA RELEASE

Who: John Paterson, CEO, Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT (APO NT), David Ross, Director, Central Land Council (APO NT), Rod Little, Co-Chair, National Congress, David Thompson, CEO, Jobs Australia, Ged Kearney, President, Australian Council of Trade Unions, Maria Harvey, CEO, Tiwi Islands Training & Employment Board, Dickie Bedford, CEO

The Australian Government should replace its racially discriminatory remote ‘work for the dole’ program with an Aboriginal-led model for fair work and strong communities.

In a report to be launched in Canberra, the Aboriginal Peak Organisations NT (APO NT) will call for the Government to afford people in remote communities with respect, opportunity and the same workplace rights that other Australians take for granted.

John Paterson from APO NT, said, “For too long the Australian Government has not listened. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in remote communities want to take up the reins and drive job creation and community development initiatives. It’s time for the Government to work with us.”

“The current Community Development Program keeps people in the welfare system and excessive penalties are devastating remote communities. Remote communities need a program that sees people employed on decent pay and conditions, to work on projects the community needs,” said Mr Paterson.

The report calls for a new model – the Remote Development and Employment Scheme. The Scheme would create 10,500 part time jobs to be filled by people who are currently receiving below minimum wage social security payments to do work they should be employed to do.

David Ross from APO NT, said, “The new model will see new opportunities for jobs, enterprise and community development and get rid of pointless administration. Critically, the Scheme provides incentives to encourage people into work, training and other activities, rather than punishing people already struggling to comply.”

The Remote Development and Employment Scheme would support young people with paid traineeships. Remote Job Centres would guide people into meaningful jobs, and work with communities to build opportunities for enterprise and long term jobs. People who still require the support of the social security system would have obligations no more onerous than those that apply to people in non-remote areas.

APO NT’s new model has been supported by over 30 organisations, including remote community Aboriginal-controlled service providers.

Further quotes about the report:

Dickie Bedford, CEO, Marra Worra Worra: “Under the CDP communities have lost control, and people feel that it is just the Government telling them what to do. The APO NT model would allow us to employ our own people, with rules that are set to meet our conditions and the aspirations of our communities.”

Maria Harvey, CEO, Tiwi Islands Training and Education Board: “Under CDP, instead of working to get people skilled up to get better jobs, we spend our time on administration so that people can be penalised by Centrelink. A lot of work for the dole projects in remote constitute duties that other people are paid wages for in any other part of the country. The APO NT Model will give a platform for this real job creation to occur. Under the APO NT model our focus would go back to working with the community and individuals to get more people into employment.”

Rod Little, Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples: “Congress is encouraged that this model has been developed by people and organisations working on the ground with job seekers.
It aims to ensure success with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people clearly directing the program based on evidence and learning, and focused on achieving long-term results.
We urge the Government to support this program to enhance skills and community capacity building, and eliminate harm caused by unemployment and poverty.”

Ged Kearney, President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions: "The CDP is a racially discriminatory program which is having a devastating impact on jobs in remote communities. Workers in remote communities need jobs which are paid a wage, not unpaid positions in a punitive program which overwhelmingly applies to Indigenous Australians.
The ACTU, through the FNWA, stands with workers in remote communities for the duration of this campaign. We want to see this program scrapped, we want to change the rules for workers in remote communities. We cannot tolerate one rule for people in the cities and another for First Nations workers.”

David Thompson AM, CEO of Jobs Australia: “The Community Development Programme is causing unnecessary financial hardship, exacerbating poverty and doing more harm than good in remote Australia. It has not made significant inroads in providing long-term solutions to joblessness. Indigenous people in CDP are much more likely to get a financial penalty than get a job.”

Adrianne Walters, Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre: “The Government’s Community Development Program requires people in remote communities to work up to 500 or 760 hours more over a year than people in non-remote areas without any extra payment. It is a program applied overwhelmingly against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This is a racially discriminatory government program that is displacing waged work and must be abandoned.”

Cassandra Goldie, CEO of the Australian Council of Social Service: “The Government must work with Aboriginal people and repair the safety net for remote communities. We have heard story after story of people being penalised, unable to access Centrelink, and ending up without any income support. It is the Government is failing in its duty to ensure that basic social protections are available to those who need them.”

The launch coincides with Senate hearings about the Government’s current Community Development Program, work for the dole program.

A summary of APO NT’s Report can be found here.

Download the PDF

Media contact:

John Paterson, APO NT: 0418 486 310
David Ross, APO NT: 0417 899 950
Rod Little, National Congress: 0419 146 871
David Thompson, Jobs Australia: 0419 527 753
Cassandra Goldie: 0419 626 155
Ged Kearney, ACTU: 0400 764 200
Maria Harvey, TITEB: 0439 373 383
Dickie Bedford, Marra Worra Worra: 0458 019 672
Michelle Bennett, HRLC: 0419 100 519

Photo above: John Patterson AMSANT Chair, Ged Kearney President ACTU, David Ross, Josie Douglas, Maria Harvey, Jackie McSkimming and Sophia Tipuamantumirri from Tiwi Islands attending rally before CDP Inquiry.

 

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Phillip Creek native title determination to trigger memories

Posted: Tue, August 01, 2017

Phillip Creek native title determination to trigger memories

A native title determination over Phillip Creek Station in the Northern Territory will trigger memories for many Warumungu and Warlmanpa language speakers this week.

On Thursday, 3 August, Justice Mortimer will hand down a consent determination over an area of approximately 3,800 square kilometres during a special sitting of the Federal Court on the cattle station 55 kilometres north of Tennant Creek.

“Some of us worked or grew up on Phillip Creek Station, or our families told stories of what life was like working and living on the station in the early days,” said Norman Frank, one of the native title holders.

“As a young man, my father worked there, doing station work and looking after country,” Mr Frank said.

The nine landholding groups with traditional attachment to the claim area are the Kankawarla [GAN-ga-war-la], Jajjinyarra [DJA-djin-ar-ra], Patta [BA-ta], Pirrtangu [BIR-tang-oo], Purrurtu [BUR-rur-doo], Wapurru [WA-bur-roo], Yurtuminyi [JOOR-tu-mi-nee], Kanturrpa [GAN-tur-pa] and Linga [LIN-ga] groups.

The native title holders will travel from across the Territory to start the ceremony at 10.30am at Purrumpuru [BOOM-bu-roo] Waterhole, one of a number of significant waterholes in the claim area.

One of them is the manager of the Central Land Council’s native title unit, Francine McCarthy.

“The determination recognises our rights to hunt and gather on the land and waters and to conduct cultural activities and ceremonies,” said Ms McCarthy.

“It will also give us the right to negotiate about exploration, mining and tourism activities on our land while the lessee will continue to operate the lease as a cattle station,” she said.

A good relationship with the pastoral lessee has enabled the native title holders to continue to visit their country and look after it.    

Between 1995 and 1998, the CLC negotiated approval for three community living areas on the station for native title holders and their families.

These excisions are not part of the native title determination area.

When Phillip Creek Station was placed on the market, in the early 2000s, the native title holders were not successful in purchasing it.

 

1 August 2017

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Traditional owners rejoice at NT government’s ban of mining in Watarrka National Park

Posted: Thu, June 01, 2017

The traditional owners of the iconic Watarrka (Kings Canyon) National Park are overjoyed that their country is now officially off limits for mining and fracking.

 As they found out at a meeting with the Central Land Council in the jointly managed park today, the NT government has declared a mineral and petroleum reserve over the entire park.

 The declaration under the Petroleum Act reserves the park from the grant of an exploration permit or license.

 “The reserves will provide significant levels of protection to the park that will exclude any future mineral or energy exploration and extraction,” the Department of Mines and Energy wrote to the Environmental Defenders Office in a letter dated 30 May.

 The EDO had helped the traditional owners to take their campaign against mining in the park to Canberra in November 2015, where they applied for emergency protection under federal heritage laws after previous Territory governments ignored their appeals for years.

 CLC Director David Ross congratulated the custodians on their victory.

 “It just goes to show what can be achieved with a persistent, patient and united campaign,” Mr Ross said.

 “The CLC told the Martin government 15 years ago that traditional owners were opposed to mining on their land.

 It’s great to see that the Gunner government is fair dinkum about correcting the mistakes of the past.”

 In 2012 traditional owners of the Watarrka Park Land Trust were notified of a proposed grant of two Exploration Permit Applications over the entire park.

 They unanimously opposed the grant of those applications and sought to protect the park from any future mining or oil and gas activities, whether exploration or production.

 The CLC and the EDO opposed the applications and campaigned for secure ongoing protection of Watarrka.

 While this pressure swayed the Giles government to refuse the grant of the EPAs it ignored the custodians’ requests for ongoing protection.

 The park continues to be subject to an application for protection under the federal Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act and is being assessed for National Heritage Listing.

 

 1 June 2017

Contact: Elke Wiesmann, 0417 877 579, elke.wiesmann@clc.org.au.

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Custodians seek prosecution and grog ban over sacred site desecration at Karlu Karlu

Posted: Mon, May 08, 2017

Traditional owners of Karlu Karlu (the Devils Marbles) in the Northern Territory are calling for the prosecution of those responsible for the recent desecration of their sacred site and for visitors to respect their longstanding wish not to drink alcohol anywhere at the site.

The Central Land Council has asked the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority to take legal action under the NT Sacred Sites Act against the individuals who defecated on the site and circulated a video of the desecration that was published by numerous news web sites and papers around the country.

The traditional owners told CLC chair Francis Kelly during a site visit that they feel deeply distressed and upset about the incident and believe it has demeaned their culture. 

 “They are feeling very hurt and angry,” said Mr Kelly.

 “One elder said: ‘When I see that video it is not only him shitting on our site but shitting on our culture.  We see that and we think that he sees our culture as shit.  In the old days he would have been speared in the leg’.”

 The incident has opened old wounds for some of the traditional owners.

 “Why do they hate us?” asked Sonny Curtis. 

 “Everybody knows we are strongly saying we would like to share our country. It’s here for everyone, all of us to enjoy. But somehow they want it all, don’t want us to have any say at all.”

 Mr Curtis reiterated the traditional owners’ well-documented desire for an alcohol ban at Karlu Karlu because they believe that drinking promotes disrespectful and unsafe behaviour.

 “There shouldn’t be any grog. The best thing would be for people not to have grog at all when they are at a sacred site. Just enjoy the scenery, not drink grog because we all know grog brings lots of trouble.”

 Traditional owners have requested signage at Karlu Karlu that informs visitors of their wish.

 They also called on the company that brought the perpetrators of the desecration to the Tennant Creek region to apologise to them both publicly and privately.

 They plan to raise the matter directly with AAPA at the CLC meeting in Tennant Creek this week.

 The maximum penalty for individuals who desecrate a sacred site is $61,600 or two years jail.

 

8 May 2017

 

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First native title determination in the Northern Territory’s South

Posted: Wed, May 03, 2017

 

 

 

Yangkunytjatjara and Matutjara language speakers will tomorrow celebrate the first native title determination in the south of the Northern Territory.

 

At a special sitting of the Federal Court, Justice Reeves will hand down a consent determination over an area of approximately 12,500 square kilometres at the border with South Australia.

 

The area, which includes some of the region’s most spectacular landscapes, comprises the pastoral leases of Victory Downs, Mt Cavenagh, Mulga Park and Umbeara.

 

They will continue to operate as cattle stations.

 

The native title holders are associated with significant places such as Ananta (Umbeara), Kalka (Old Kulgera Station, now part of Umbeara), Watju (Mt Cavenagh), Wapirrka (Victory Downs) and Warnkula (Mulga Park).

 

They are travelling from South Australia, Western Australia and the Territory to the ceremony at Victory Downs, which starts at 10:30 AM on Thursday, 4 May.

 

Central Land Council chair Francis Kelly is joining them for the celebrations.

 

“I am very happy for the families and look forward to congratulating them all,” Mr Kelly said.

 

He said the determinations recognise the rights to hunt and gather on the land and waters and to conduct cultural activities and ceremonies.  

 

“It will also give the native title holders the right to negotiate about exploration, mining and tourism activities on their land,” he said.

 

The claim area was the first native title application the CLC lodged in the south of its region and is the second-largest area in its region to have native tile recognised.

 

2017 is shaping up to be a big year in native title for the CLC, with three consent determinations handed down in April and another two expected before the end of the year.

 

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

 

 

 

 

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Native title over Mt Riddock, Aileron and Nolan Bore to be declared

Posted: Tue, April 04, 2017

Native title holders of two pastoral properties and an area including a mineral lease north of Alice Springs will celebrate native title consent determinations at special sittings of the Federal Court.
 
Justice Griffiths will hand down two non-exclusive native title consent determinations on Aileron Station on 5 April and one at the Harts Range Racecourse on 6 April.
 
At the sitting at Harts Range Racecourse he will hand down a determination of native title over the whole of Mt Riddock Station, an area of approximately 2,700 square kilometres. 
 
The determinations of native title over the Aileron Perpetual Pastoral Lease (PPL) and the area including the mineral lease known as Nolan Bore will be held at Pretty Camp Dam on Aileron Station.
 
They relate to an area of approximately 4,210 square kilometres. 
 
Central Land Council chair Francis Kelly said the determinations recognise native title rights, such as the rights to hunt and gather on the land and waters and to conduct cultural activities and ceremonies.  
 
“It will also give the native title holders the right to negotiate about exploration and mining activities,” Mr Kelly said.
 
The native title determinations will also recognise their rights to negotiate about exploration and mining activities on their land.
 
These rights will co-exist with those of the Mt Riddock and Aileron lease holders, who will continue to run the properties as cattle stations.
 
The Aileron native title holders are of the Alhankerr [al-HUNG-kera], Atwel/Alkwepetye [a-TOOL-a/al-KOOP-pitch], Ilkewarn [ill-ka-WART-na], Kwaty [quot-JA], Mpweringke [m-PURR-ring-ka], Ntyerlkem/Urapentye [n-JERL-kema/yuara-pen-JA] and Tywerl [JEW-la] land holding groups.
 
Nolan Bore native title holders belong to the Kwaty [quot-JA] and Tywerl [JEW-la] land holding groups, while the Mt Riddock native title holders belong to the Atwele [a-TOOL-a], IIrrelerre [ira-LEER-ra], Ulpmerre [UPL-mer-ra] and Wartharre [WARA-tara] land holding groups.
 
The Irretyepwenty Ywentent Pwert [air-rich-a-PUNJ yun-TINT a-PUTA] Aboriginal Corporation will hold the native title rights and interests for Aileron PPL while the Kwaty [quot-JA] Aboriginal Corporation holding will hold the native title rights and interests for Nolan Bore.
 
The Tywele [JEW-la] Aboriginal Corporation will hold the native title rights and interests for Mt Riddock PPL.
 
4 April 2017
 
 
MEDIA CONTACT: Elke Wiesmann | 0417 877 579 | media@clc.org.au
 
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Constitutional Reform: Central Australian Aboriginal meeting calls for substantive change

Posted: Mon, April 03, 2017

A meeting of around 100 Central Australian Aboriginal delegates at Ross River, east of Alice Springs, yesterday elected 10 representatives to argue for substantive constitutional change on a national stage.

The three-day meeting chose Richard James, Barbara Shaw, Geoffrey Shannon, Owen Torres, Valda Shannon, Pat Brahim, Jody Kopp, Rachel Perkins, Natasha Abbott and Damien Williams to represent the region’s priorities for meaningful constitutional reform at the national convention at Uluru on 24-26 May.

The meeting supported a statement of acknowledgement in the constitution, dealing with the race power in a way that prevents discriminatory law making, a representative voice to parliament, prohibition of racial discrimination and treaty.

“I was so pleased to see everyone grab this opportunity with both hands and get involved,” said Central and Council director David Ross.

“It was one of those great moments where everything fell into place and everyone, young and old, participated. The interpreters at the meeting did a great job of translating complex legal ideas.”

Mr Ross said the meeting was respectful with everyone having an opportunity to voice his or her opinions.

“Having male and female co-chairs and local facilitators helped to make everyone comfortable,” he said.

Barbara Shaw, the general manager of Anyinginyi Health in Tennant Creek, chaired the meeting with Mr Ross.

She said the meeting elected mostly young and middle aged people to seek consensus at Uluru on a referendum question to put to all Australian voters.

“I was quite overjoyed that we had a number of young people who had the confidence to stand up and make comment. They want to learn more. They were really engaged and really excited to be part of this journey,” Ms Shaw said.

“One of the things that were quite moving was that we had a lot of people who were starting to get the fire back in the belly,” she said.

“They were saying ‘this is the first time we were able to get together from all around the country to talk about an issue that is important to all of us’.”

The 10 delegates plan to meet in the coming weeks in order to prepare for the Uluru convention.

 The Referendum Council last year asked the CLC to help organise both the Ross River and the Uluru gatherings, following the CLC’s request in 2015 to former Prime Minister Tony Abbott for an Aboriginal-only meeting in its region.

 One of 12 so-called First Nations Regional Dialogues across the country, the Ross River meeting was a chance for Central Australians to debate their preferences for constitutional reform.

CLC delegates last November helped to draw up a list of 100 invitees, including traditional owners, Aboriginal organisations and individual women and men.

The CLC’s Dr Josie Douglas and Francine McCarthy facilitated workshops along with Peter Renehan, Mischa Cartwright and Graham Dowling.

3 April 2017

MEDIA CONTACT: Elke Wiesmann | 0417 877 579 | media@clc.org.au

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Aboriginal Peak Organisations welcome Senate inquiry into Community Development Program

Posted: Thu, March 23, 2017

The Northern Territory’s Aboriginal Peak Organisations (APO NT) welcome the referral of a broad ranging inquiry into the controversial Community Development Program (CDP), to the Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee.
 
”This inquiry is welcome and absolutely necessary because Aboriginal people in the bush are bearing the brunt of a punitive program that is failing to achieve outcomes,” said APO NT spokesperson David Ross, the Director of the Central Land Council.
 
“Our remote communities are feeling the combined impact of the program’s onerous work-for-the-dole requirements and the loss of local authority very painfully.” 
 
Independent analysis of government data shows that penalties applied to CDP participants have more than quadrupled since the government introduced the program, and continue to rise.
 
Despite having only one twentieth of the caseload of the mainstream jobactive system, the CDP now accounts for more penalties than jobactive and punishes some of Australia’s poorest people. 
 
“These penalties mean that a growing number of families can’t put food on the table and pay rent and electricity, and the pressure on those with stable incomes is mounting daily,” Mr Ross said. 
 
He said the social security system fails to protect the most vulnerable because it does not appropriately assess them and does not allow job service providers to use their discretion when dealing with absences, and because participants out bush are finding it even tougher than mainstream job seekers to access the services of the Department of Human Services.
 
“Improving economic and social opportunity in remote communities is challenging,” he said.
 
“However the CDP does great harm to our communities while generating little opportunity.” 
 
Mr Ross said the inquiry provides an opportunity to examine the appropriateness and effectiveness of the objectives, design, implementation and evaluation of the CDP in detail, and help generate ideas for reform. 
 
APO NT has written to Minister Scullion seeking a collaborative process for review and improvement of the program.
 
“We are ready to engage in constructive dialogue with the Minister,” Mr Ross said. 
 
“It is imperative that decisions about ongoing reform and delivery of the program are made in collaboration with Aboriginal communities.  
 
”Ultimately, we are all looking for the same outcomes: increased work participation, new employment opportunities and local control over service design and delivery.”
 
APO NT wants remote employment service to
  •  
  • establish a program framework giving communities greater control over the design and implementation of employment services in their own location;
  • provide positive rewards for engagement, rather than punishment; and
  • focus attention and resources on long-term economic and social development goals.
  • “Getting the policy settings right is complex and we want to work with the government to achieve positive reform,” Mr Ross said.
“We are particularly pleased that the inquiry does not have to report until September because it is critical that the committee is able to travel to remote communities to hear directly from CDP participants about their experiences.”
 
22 March 2017
 
For media enquiries please contact: elke.wiesmann@clc.org.au, 0417 877 579 
 
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Township leasing our way: Mutitjulu celebrates its community-driven model

Posted: Thu, March 16, 2017

The Mutitjulu community near Uluru today signs off on an innovative township lease that will put traditional owners and residents firmly in control of their future.

“This is a profoundly important settlement between residents and traditional owners - a negotiation about future roles and responsibilities for land use in a community that we hope will be widely emulated,” said Central Land Council director David Ross.

“We have worked with Mutitjulu since 2010 to devise this community-driven leasing model because ceding control over the community to a Commonwealth officer was never going to fly with our constituents,” Mr Ross said.

“Our model keeps decision making in local Aboriginal hands, but also acknowledges the need to build community capacity and strong governance.

It allows for innovation and change in decision making processes under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act.”

Today’s 4pm signing ceremony in the centre of the remote community in the jointly managed Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park follows the ratification of the sublease by the park’s Board of Management.

Last December, traditional owners and the CLC agreed to grant a sublease until 2084, when the head lease of Parks Australia expires.

Initially held by the Commonwealth’s Executive Director Township Leasing (EDTL), the sublease must eventually transfer to a yet-to-be-established community corporation. 

This will happen when the CLC is satisfied that the new corporation has the capacity to manage the sublease.

If the corporation runs into trouble, it can be transferred back to the EDTL.

“From today, the EDTL must consult with a committee of residents and traditional owners before making any land use decisions in Mutitjulu,” Mr Ross said.

For the first time, organisations such as the clinic, the school, the store, or a community housing provider will be given legal permission to occupy premises in Mutitjulu and start to pay rent. 

“These rent payments will fund community-driven projects similar to the Mutitjulu pool and the many other successful projects pioneered by our community development program,” he said.

There will be no rent payments to individuals and Parks Australia will not charge rent for the sublease.

Mr Ross said when the CLC first proposed its community leasing model, in 2010, the Commonwealth resoundingly rejected it.

“We persevered because traditional owners consistently opposed the Commonwealth’s township leasing model, and we are very pleased Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion has accepted our model at long last,” he said.

“We also welcome the additional benefits the Commonwealth has agreed to make available upon signing of the sublease, such as the $10 million investment in community housing, modest accommodation for visiting traditional owners, and $2 million for a community business centre.”

Over the next two years, the EDTL and the community consultative committee must agree on a development master plan for Mutitjulu, a process in which the CLC will remain closely involved.

The Mutitjulu Community Aboriginal Corporation (MCAC) requested a sublease six years ago because it wanted to create the certainty the community needs in order to develop with confidence.

Mutitjulu’s location inside a national park leased by the traditional owners to the Commonwealth made the negotiations particularly complex and time consuming.

16 March 2017

MEDIA CONTACT: Elke Wiesmann | 0417 877 579 | Images available at http://bit.ly/2mpRuKO

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Township leasing our way: CLC approves community driven model for Mutitjulu

Posted: Thu, December 08, 2016

The Central Land Council has given the green light for an innovative township lease that puts traditional owners and residents of the Mutitjulu community next to Uluru firmly in control of their future.

Traditional owners consented to the sublease last month and the CLC’s 11-member Executive yesterday formally agreed to the grant of a sublease until 2084 over the community in the Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park. 

Initially the sublease will be held by the Australian Government’s Executive Director of Township Leasing (EDTL) who must consult with a committee of residents and traditional owners before making any land use decisions in Mutitjulu. 

Once traditional owners and residents have built their capacity and established a new corporation the sublease will be transferred. 

The EDTL must transfer the sublease to a new community corporation when the CLC is satisfied that the corporation has the capacity to manage the sublease.

This can happen at any time, and the sublease can be transferred back to the EDTL if the corporation runs into trouble.

For the first time, organisations such as the clinic, the school, the store, or a community housing provider will be given legal permission to occupy premises in Mutitjulu and start to pay rent. 

These rent payments will fund community driven projects similar to the Mutitjulu pool and many other projects pioneered by the CLC’s successful community development program.

Rent payments will not be distributed to individuals and Parks Australia will not charge rent for the sublease.

“The CLC has worked with Mutitjulu since 2010 to devise this alternative community leasing model because the Australian Government’s model that involved ceding control over the community to the EDTL was never going to fly with our constituents,” CLC director David Ross said.

“Our community driven model keeps decision making in Aboriginal hands and at the local level, but also acknowledges the need to build community capacity and strong governance.

The model allows for innovation and change in decision making processes under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act.

It’s been a profoundly important settlement between residents and traditional owners - a negotiation about future roles and responsibilities for land use in a community. And while Mutitjulu’s situation is unique we hope our model will be widely emulated.”

Mr Ross said when the CLC first proposed a community leasing model, in 2010, the Commonwealth resoundingly rejected it.

“Traditional owners consistently opposed the Commonwealth’s township leasing model, so we persevered. We are very pleased Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion has accepted our model,” he said.

“We also welcome the additional benefits the Commonwealth has agreed to make available upon signing of the sublease, such as the $10 million investment in community housing, modest accommodation for visiting traditional owners, and $2 million for a community business centre.

Mutitiulu has been missing out on investment and we hope this is the start of strong new future.

I congratulate the traditional owners and residents for their commitment to working through these complex issues and reaching an agreement on how to move forward.”

The CLC expects the sublease to be signed in 2017, once final arrangements are settled and it has been ratified by the jointly managed national park’s Board of Management.

Within two years of signing, the EDTL and the community consultative committee must agree on a master plan guiding the future development of Mutitjulu.

The CLC, which will remain closely involved in the process, has worked on this proposal for six years, following the request by the Mutitjulu Community Aboriginal Corporation (MCAC) of a sublease.

MCAC made the request in order to bring some certainty to the land tenure so the community could develop with confidence.

The complex and time consuming negotiations affected a lot of parties due to Mutitjulu’s location inside the national park which the traditional owners had leased to the Commonwealth for 99 years when it was handed back to them in 1985.

8 December 2016          

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First Aboriginal carbon business in the CLC region wins contract for savannah burning

Posted: Wed, December 07, 2016

The success of the Karlantijpa North Kurrawarra Nyura Mala Aboriginal Corporation at the fourth Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) auction will create seasonal jobs and help to mitigate climate change.

The new corporation of traditional owners of the Karlantijpa North Aboriginal Land Trust, near Elliott in the Northern Territory, has won a contract with the Commonwealth’s clean energy regulator to earn carbon credits in exchange for strategic burning of savannah country.

The Central Land Council is helping the custodians to develop their carbon business, the first such Aboriginal enterprise in its region, and to carry out financially sustainable fire management that meets safety, cultural and environmental needs.

“This early win is so encouraging for this emerging enterprise,” said CLC director David Ross.

“It allows Aboriginal people to burn their country in a controlled manner early in the dry season in order to reduce massive amounts of greenhouse gasses that large and dangerous wildfires later in the year would otherwise cause.”

This abatement is measured and sold to the Commonwealth who uses it to meet its international emissions reduction commitments.

“The corporation will be able to claim its dry season burn from April this year and expects to earn its first carbon credits next July,” Mr Ross said.

The carbon credits will pay for annual fire management of a 3000 square kilometre portion of the land trust, including seasonal employment of locals.

“When burning starts again, next dry season, a dozen Aboriginal people will be hired to work with our rangers from Daguragu and Tennant Creek, but the benefits don’t stop there,” he said.

“If our successful ranger program is any guide, there will be wider social and environmental outcomes, such as improved biodiversity and reinvigorated cultural traditions.

More sustained employment outcomes would be possible if the Commonwealth funded a ranger group at Elliott or Marlinja.”

The CLC has visited the area with the traditional owners for the past three years to burn country, carry out biological surveys, monitor weeds and visit significant sites.

Before it started to work with traditional owners the rarely visited remote area experienced frequent out-of-control bushfires late in the dry season that also affected neighbouring pastoral properties.

The CLC rangers will help the corporation to carry out burning activities on a cost recovery basis for the next five years. Other CLC staff will co-ordinate the project on behalf of the corporation while building its governance capacity.

The traditional owners jumped at the chance to set up a business when a new methodology for savannah burning made the northernmost area of their land trust eligible to bid at the ERF auction.

7 December 2016

                                                                                              

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CLC to help organise Central Australian constitutional recognition referendum debates

Posted: Thu, December 01, 2016

The Central Land Council has made sure local Aboriginal people will get a chance to have their say about the referendum on the constitutional recognition of indigenous people at a regional meeting near Alice Springs, as well as a national convention at Uluru.

Central Australia’s so-called First Nations Regional Dialogue will go ahead 31 March - 2 April at Ross River, east of Alice Springs, following a decision by the CLC members to help organise both gatherings.

One of 12 meetings across the country, the Ross River meeting will be a chance for participants to debate what the referendum question should cover.

The CLC wrote to former Prime Minister Tony Abbott in 2015, asking for an Aboriginal-only meeting in its region.

CLC delegates agreed to a request by the Referendum Council for the CLC to provide facilitation and logistical support for the meeting and helped to draw up a list of 100 invitees.

“Traditional owners, Aboriginal organisations and individuals all need to be represented,” said CLC director David Ross.

“The Referendum Council also wants us to facilitate a mix of ages, genders and regions.”

Mr Ross and Barbara Shaw, the general manager of Anyinginyi Health in Tennant Creek, agreed to chair the meeting while the CLC’s Dr Josie Douglas and Francine McCarthy will facilitate workshops along with Karl Hampton, Misha Cartwright and Joe Carter.

“The workshops are an opportunity for participants to deliberate on their preferences for recognition but they are not expected to make a final decision,” Mr Ross said.

Each regional dialogue meeting will be asked to send five participants to the national convention at Uluru in April 2017.

The convention will consider the referendum proposal and seek consensus on the question to be put to all Australian voters.

The proposal follows meetings of indigenous leaders in Broome, Thursday Island and Melbourne in the middle of the year which decided how to run the regional dialogues and the national convention and advised politicians not to rush the process.

CLC and NLC delegates passed the following resolution at their joint meeting at Kalkaringi in August 2016:

“We reaffirm our commitment to the principles set out in the 1988 Barunga and 1998 Kalkaringi Statements.

Constitutional reform must deliver meaningful and enduring benefits for our peoples. We are prepared to examine models for constitutional recognition that deliver such benefits.

Indigenous constitutional forums must be held in the NT involving Aboriginal people in the bush.

Any progress towards constitutional recognition must not endanger our rights to negotiate treaties to finally achieve self-determination.”


30 November 2016

MEDIA CONTACT: Elke Wiesmann | 0417 877 579 | media@clc.org.au

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Digital innovation from the Tanami Desert puts indigenous land managers across the globe in control

Posted: Mon, November 21, 2016

The management plan for the vast Southern Tanami Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) is no longer a closed book to the Aboriginal people responsible for looking after the vast and fragile country near the border of the Northern Territory and West Australia.

Frustrated with the wordy and complex IPA management plan, the Warlpiri speakers of the Tanami Desert have replaced it with an innovative and engaging digital storybook that puts them in charge by literally speaking their language.

The interactive web application at www.walyaku.org.au requires neither literacy nor English skills because it replaces the text with short videos, audio and animation in Warlpiri, allowing viewers to move through the management plan by following voice navigation prompts and icons.

“We searched the globe for something traditional owners could understand and own but we could not find anything remotely like it, so they came up with their own digital plan that’s exciting, entertaining and a world first,” says CLC director David Ross.

“The digital storybook overcomes the digital divide between our communities and mainstream Australia because it doesn’t even require an internet connection. Who said innovation and agility are only for cities?”

The product of more than two years of research, trial and error, the storybook can also be accessed through a desktop application in community learning centres and home computers, as well as through USB sticks for TVs and game consoles.

“And because so many locals were involved in filming, directing, editing, translating, designing and scripting the storybook it has built community pride and ownership before it’s even launched,” Mr Ross says.

The storybook’s creators will present it at the Natural Resource Management Conference in Darwin on 23 November, followed by launches in the remote communities of Yuendumu, Nyirrpi and Willowra from 28 November.

The CLC will evaluate the project to see if it inspires people in the Tanami, especially young people, to become more involved in ranger group activities such as seasonal burning, feral animal management and the protection of threatened species before rolling it out to other groups.

“Already, people in Lajamanu have put aside a quarter of a million dollars of their compensation money from the Granites Mine to create another digital storybook for the Northern Tanami IPA. We expect the idea will take off from here because it fulfills a real need,” says Mr Ross.

“We have dozens of jointly managed national parks in the NT alone, all of them with plans for ‘two-way management’ that most owners of these parks can’t understand.”

Traditional owners are also taking their innovation to the world, with indigenous land managers everywhere welcome to adapt a free digital storybook template to their needs.

The world’s largest gold miner, Newmont, co-funded the project because it recognised the global potential of the digital storybook.

“Traditional owners are already thinking of how their concept can be further developed and taken to the world,” says Mr Ross. “I hope the storybook will become a valuable tool for empowering indigenous people everywhere, no matter how remotely they live.”

 

21 November 2016

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Photos for Media use

MEDIA CONTACT: Elke Wiesmann | 0417 877 579 | media@clc.org.au                                                                                                  

                                                

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CLC says phase out ‘cops at shops’ policy and provide extra support for families affected by grog

Posted: Fri, November 11, 2016

CLC delegate Rayleen Silverton spoke up during council’s alcohol policy discussion at Ross River.

The Central Land Council supports the reintroduction of the Banned Drinkers Register (BDR) and calls for additional support for families affected by the Northern Territory’s extreme rate of alcohol consumption.
 
Meeting at Ross River, east of Alice Springs, the CLC delegates called for the racially discriminatory Temporary Beat Locations (TBL) policy to be removed but accepted that it needs to be phased out.
 
In their discussion with the People’s Alcohol Action Coalition CLC delegates voiced their expectation that the police resources freed up by the abolition of the TBL will be redirected to tackling the illicit grog trade.
 
The delegates passed the following resolution:
 
“The Central Land Council acknowledges the devastating effects of alcohol on Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal families and communities.
 
Alcoholism is a disease, not a criminal offence.
 
Alcohol policy should treat all people the same and not discriminate.
 
The CLC calls for
  • the TBL to be phased out, and for police to deal only with alcohol issues, not other offences or warrants on the temporary beat;
  • the BDR to be reintroduced in a way that targets problem drinkers and those with alcohol-related offences;
  • more support and rehabilitation services for individuals and families living in town and remote communities who are struggling with alcohol issues;
  • more education for young women and their families about the impact of alcohol and the risk of foetal alcohol spectrum disorder; and
  • greater transparency about and access to the process of seeking a permit or exemption for a dry area.”
10 November 2016
 
For interviews with CLC delegates call Elke Wiesmann, 0417 877 579, media@clc.org.au
 
 
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Hetti Perkins’ art pick celebrates 40 years of land rights

Posted: Thu, September 01, 2016

Dianne Ungukalpi Golding’s work Helicopter chasing camels celebrates Aboriginal rangers.

Hetti Perkins’ art pick celebrates 40 years of land rights Art lovers from around the world are in for a special treat as curator Hetti Perkins arrives in Alice Springs this weekend to judge the overall winner of the $15,000 Vincent Lingiari Art Award.
 
The choice of the eldest daughter of the Central Land Council’s first chair, Charlie Perkins, will be revealed on Wednesday 7th September at Tangentyere Artists Gallery in Alice Springs, at the opening of the Our Land Our Life Our Future exhibition.
 
Ms Perkins will choose from a shortlist of 23 art works – paintings, installations, sculptures and collaborative works – created by central Australian Aboriginal artists to celebrate the 40th anniversary of land rights.
 
“The range and quality of works produced for this exhibition indicates the significance of this landmark event in Australia’s history. It is an honour to be part of this celebration and I am excited to see the works displayed at Tangentyere Artists,” said Ms Perkins.
 
“The breadth of themes and mediums reflects the wonderful diversity of Aboriginal artistic traditions and shows how this cultural bedrock has been so brilliantly interpreted for our contemporary world.
 
Choosing a winning work from an exhibition of works that are of equally exceptional merit is never going to be easy,” she said.
 
“I’ll be looking for a work that best captures the moment – the zeitgeist – of Aboriginal experience today in response to the theme of Our Land Our Life Our Future.
 
While there can only be one winner, the exhibition is certainly a ‘win’ for art lovers as all of these incredible works will be available for sale – a not to be missed opportunity!”
 
Vincent Lingiari’s son Timmy Vincent is travelling from Kalkaringi to announce the winner.
 
South Australian artist David Frank, who won the Central Land Council Delegates’ Choice Award for his painting Our Future at Kalkaringi earlier this month, will also travel to the opening from his home community of Indulkana. His work depicts the famous scene of Gough Whitlam pouring red dirt into Vincent Lingiari’s palm.
 
In June Aboriginal artists from Central Australia submitted one work for each of the 40 years of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act (NT) 1976, the high water mark of Aboriginal rights in Australia.
 
Our Land Our Life Our Future will run for a month and provide Aboriginal workers from Desart member art centres with the chance to gain on the job training and experience in all aspects of curatorial practice.
 
The exhibition, made possible by the support of Peter Kittle Motor Company, Newmont Australia and the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, kicks off the busy Desert Mob weekend.
 
1 September 2016
 

 

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NT land councils call for Indigenous led Northern development

Posted: Wed, August 24, 2016

NLC Chair Sammy Bush-Blanasi and CLC Chair Francis Kelly

The Northern Territory’s two big land councils have called on whoever wins this week’s NT election to support Aboriginal peoples to drive the development of their lands and waters.
 
At a historic meeting of the delegates of the Central and Northern land councils at Kalkaringi the delegates passed the following resolution:
 
“We express our disappointment in the White Paper on Developing Northern Australia and its lack of support for the planning and implementation of Indigenous led developments.
 
We call on the States, Territory and Commonwealth Governments to work with Indigenous peak organisations to establish a comprehensive planning and implementation strategy focused on delivering economic, ecological and social/cultural benefits to Indigenous people in northern Australia.
 
Northern Australia holds some of the most important tropical savannah, rainforest and desert landscapes left on earth. Indigenous people are intrinsically entwined in the future of the north and want to play a significant role in its future.
 
We call on separate resources to be made available to Aboriginal peak organisations to develop the strategy.
 
Indigenous people are the majority landowners and make up a majority of the population of northern Australia outside of the urban centres.”
 
24 August 2016
 
CLC: Elke Wiesmann | 0417-877579; media@clc.org.au
NLC: Murray McLaughlin | 0429-153363; media@nlc.org.au

 

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Constitutional recognition must deliver benefits and enable treaties

Posted: Wed, August 17, 2016

CLC and NLC delegates at the joint land council meeting

A historic meeting of the delegates of the Central and Northern land councils at Kalkaringi today agreed on a shared position on constitutional recognition.

The delegates passed the following resolution:

“We reaffirm our commitment to the principles set out in the 1988 Barunga and 1998 Kalkaringi Statements.

Constitutional reform must deliver meaningful and enduring benefits for our peoples.

We are prepared to examine models for constitutional recognition that deliver such benefits.

Indigenous constitutional forums must be held in the NT involving Aboriginal people in the bush.

Any progress towards constitutional recognition must not endanger our rights to negotiate treaties to finally achieve self-determination.”

 

CLC: Elke Wiesmann | 0417-877579; media@clc.org.au

NLC: Murray McLaughlin | 0429-153363; media@nlc.org.au

For images of the joint meeting go to https://goo.gl/photos/qvrpsbmJfgeH6VdR8

 

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Joint land council meeting asserts Aboriginal control over ABA funds

Posted: Wed, August 17, 2016

CLC and NLC delegates

An historic meeting at Kalkaringi of the Northern and Central land councils has demanded that the Federal Government hand control of the Aboriginals Benefit Account to Aboriginal people themselves.

ABA funds are generated by mining on Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory.

The joint meeting of land councils decided to urgently develop a model for self-control.

 "The Minister for Indigenous Affairs should have no role in the dispersement of ABA monies," said CLC chair Francis Kelly and his NLC counterpart, Samuel Bush-Blanasi.

They also rejected changes proposed by the Minister, Senator Nigel Scullion, to reduce Aboriginal representation on the ABA advisory committee.

"Senator Scullion wants to appoint two independent experts to the advisory committee without any consultation," the chairmen said.

"Our meeting today also called for resources to help remote community organisations apply for ABA funds to drive their own development."

The land council delegates plan to question the Minister about his proposed changes tomorrow (Thursday).

 

CLC: Elke Wiesmann | 0417-877579; media@clc.org.au

NLC: Murray McLaughlin |0429-153363; media@nlc.org.au

For images of the joint meeting go to https://goo.gl/photos/qvrpsbmJfgeH6VdR8

 

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CLC delegates pick their favourite from Vincent Lingiari Art Award entries

Posted: Wed, August 17, 2016

David Frank’s artwork

South Australian artist David Frank has won the Central Land Council Delegates’ Choice Award for his painting Our Future at the CLC meeting at Kalkaringi today, ahead of a historic joint meeting of Northern Territory land councils tomorrow and on Thursday.

Mr Frank is a ngangkari (traditional healer) and former South Australian Police employee who has worked on cattle stations before taking up painting at Indulkana community’s Iwantja Arts Centre.

The $2,000 prize he won today is part of the Vincent Lingiari Art Award which marks 40 years of land rights and 50 years since the Wave Hill Walk Off that kicked off the national campaign for Aboriginal land rights in 1966.

Our Future depicts the famous scene of Gough Whitlam pouring red dirt into Vincent Lingiari’s palm.

“We, too have been stockmen, many of us,” Mr Frank said. “When we were young we worked hard on cattle stations for rations. Lingiari helped to start the land rights story.”

His painting was one of 23 collaborative works and individual creations in a range of media shortlisted by judges Brenda Croft and Stephen Gilchrist.

Aboriginal artists from Central Australia submitted one work for each of the 40 years of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act (NT) 1976, the high water mark of Aboriginal rights in this country.

“Mr Frank’s painting captured the hearts and minds of our elected members,” said CLC chair Francis Kelly, who announced the Delegates Choice Award winner with Mr Lingiari’s son, Timmy Vincent.

“Now we have to be a little bit patient to find out who will win the main $15,000 Vincent Lingiari Art Award prize.”

Curator Hetti Perkins will choose the overall winner on 7th September at Tangentyere Artists Gallery in Alice Springs, at the opening of the Our Land Our Life Our Future exhibition, a collaboration between the CLC and Desart.

“The exhibition is an inspired way to celebrate 40 years of land rights,” said Ms Perkins, the eldest daughter of the CLC’s first chair, Charlie Perkins.

“Our artists express the enduring bond between community, culture and country that is central to our identity as the First Peoples of this land.

In bringing together the work of artists from across Central Australia, CLC and Desart will emphatically show that this is Aboriginal land – always was, always will be.”

“We chose the Tangentyere Artists Gallery for the exhibition to honour the important role town campers played in the early days of land rights,” said CLC director David Ross.

Our Land Our Life Our Future will run for a month and is an opportunity for Aboriginal workers from Desart member art centres to gain on the job training and experience in all aspects of curatorial practice.

Financial support from the Peter Kittle Motor Company, Newmont Australia and the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund made the land rights anniversary art award and the exhibition possible.

16 August 2016

 

Contact: Elke Wiesmann 0417 877 579, Media@clc.org.au.

For images go to https://goo.gl/photos/Ymr2oNDpXd5U4Lx46

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APO NT: Opportunity for a fresh start on the Royal Commission

Posted: Tue, August 02, 2016

 

Northern Territory Aboriginal peak organisations today welcomed the announcement that Commissioner Brian Martin is stepping down from his role on the Royal Commission into youth detention in the Northern Territory.

“This is an opportunity for a fresh start on the process of forming this Commission”, spokesperson John Paterson said.

“We would like to thank the Commissioner for his courageous and difficult decision.

“We appreciate these past few days must have been a stressful time for him and his family and we commend his action in the face of the controversy that has surrounded the issue.

“We welcome his acknowledgement that his decision has been made foremost in the best interests of our children who are the subject of this inquiry.

“We wish to make it clear that his stepping down in no way reflects on his standing or capacity and we acknowledge his distinguished legal career.

“We again call on the Prime Minister and the Attorney General to consult with us on any further appointments to the Royal Commission”, spokesperson Donna Ah Chee said.

“The Commission should only be headed by somebody who is truly independent with no prior professional relationships in the NT.

“We are asking for a former High Court judge or someone of similar standing to be appointed.

“The Government must consult with us if this process is to be regarded as credible and if we are to have confidence in this Royal Commission and its deliberations.

“It is also essential that we have strong Aboriginal Co-Commissioners – Aboriginal people with standing and knowledge of the Aboriginal community in the NT – to ensure that it a culturally safe and inclusive process. We are calling for two Aboriginal Co-Commissioners, a male and female.

“This is an important opportunity to get this right and work with us rather than to us”, Mr Paterson concluded.

1 August 2016

CONTACTS: John Paterson  0418 904 727; Donna Ah Chee  0418 859 416; David Cooper  0418 486 310

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Royal Commission compromised from the start

Posted: Fri, July 29, 2016

 
Three Northern Territory Aboriginal peak organisations say they are bitterly disappointed that the Prime Minister has ignored their request to be consulted about the terms of reference for the Royal Commission into child protection and youth detention in the Northern Territory, and utterly reject his choice of former NT Chief Justice Brian Martin as the Royal Commissioner.
The organisations are the Northern and Central Land Councils and the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT (AMSANT). On Tuesday, a wider group (APONT - Aboriginal Peak Organisations Northern Territory) wrote to Prime Minister Turnbull, seeking an opportunity to comment on the terms of reference and urged him to ensure that the Royal Commission be led by an “independent” expert and include Aboriginal representation from the NT. That wider group included two Aboriginal legal aid agencies, Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service (CAALAS) and North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) which are both unable to comment on today’s announcement of the Royal Commission appointment, because they will likely be representing parties before the Commission.
"Prime Minister Turnbull has comprehensively failed us,” said AMSANT Chief Executive John Paterson on behalf of the three organisations. "Yet again the Commonwealth Government has refused to consult with Aboriginal people, in spite of Mr Turnbull’s commitment, now hollow, to 'do things with Aboriginal people, not to us’. "We are hurt and furious because, yet again, we have been ignored - this time on the most important matter of the safety of our children. “Weare also deeply disturbed that NT Chief Minister Adam Giles was party to developing the terms of reference and selecting the Royal Commissioner,” Mr Paterson said.
The Aboriginal organisations have challenged the statement by the Prime Minister and his Attorney General that the Royal Commission is independent of government. “The appointment of Brian Martin does not satisfy any threshold of independence. On the facts and on perception, the appointment is unacceptable,” said AMSANT Deputy Chair Olga Havnen. “Only a few weeks ago Brian Martin delivered to the NT Government a report about the establishment of a regime to investigate corruption, at the instigation of the now disgraced and former NT Corrections Minister, John Elferink. Mr Martin accepted that commission and was paid for it, so how can Mr Turnbull boast his independence from government?
“There are many other eminent former judges around the country who would qualify as truly independent, but the Prime Minister clearly did not canvas that field. "This appointment is wrong for all manner of reasons, and Aboriginal people in the Territory will not have confidence in the appointment of Brian Martin. As Chief Justice, he sat at the apex of the NT’s justice system. He presided over all judicial officers who sentenced young Aboriginal offenders to detention, and he knew them all; he himself sentenced juveniles to detention.
“Worse,although Mr Martin retired as NT Chief Justice in 2010, he was later that same year appointed as an
additional judge of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory and he continues to hold that appointment. “Finally, we are further upset that the terms of reference are not cast widely enough to include the wider NT youth justice system, rather than a narrow focus on youth detention, and that they do not specify an examination of the huge over-representation of Aboriginal youth in detention.
“Not only does the Northern Territory justice system lock up more juveniles than any other jurisdiction, more than 90 per cent of those detainees are Aboriginal.
“Mr Turnbull has let us down badly," Ms Havnen said.
 
28 July 2016
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Royal Commission: ‘do it with us, not to us’ NT Aboriginal organisations write to PM

Posted: Wed, July 27, 2016

The Northern Territory’s main Aboriginal land councils, medical and legal services have written to the Prime Minister, urging him to keep the Royal Commission into juvenile justice at arms’ length from the Giles government because it is part of the problem under investigation.

The coalition of peak NT Aboriginal organisations also asked the PM to honour his word and do things with rather than to Aboriginal people by involving them in the development of the commission’s terms of reference.

“We urge you to ensure that Aboriginal people and organisations are fully engaged in the
process and that it is one that is entirely independent of the Northern Territory Government,” the letter states.

The coalition, which represents the vast majority of Aboriginal people in the Territory, yesterday led calls on the Australian Parliament to dismiss the Northern Territory Government over the abuse of children in detention.

“We do not make this call lightly but any government that enacts policies designed to harm children and enables a culture of brutalisation and cover-ups, surrenders its right to govern,” the organisations write.

“In relation to the Royal Commission we would also like to make these specific requests of you:
1. Ensure that the Northern Territory Government has no role in the development or oversight of
the Royal Commission, including the provision of funding or developing the terms of reference.
We can have no confidence in the Northern Territory Government, given not only its protracted inaction in relation to the matters raised, but also the manner in which the public has
been actively misled in relation to events.

2. The Aboriginal Peak Organisations of the Northern Territory (APO NT) be given an opportunity to
comment on the draft Terms of Reference.

3. That the Royal Commission be chaired by an independent expert and must have Aboriginal
representation from the NT.

4. The terms of reference must necessarily be broader than the incidents exposed in the Four
Corners program. It is vital that it considers issues closely related to the treatment of young
people in detention, including:
• legislation and policies that underpin the treatment of young people in detention,
  including the use of force and isolation;
• the over-representation of Aboriginal young people in detention, especially on remand;
• the role of the Department of Children and Families in caring for Aboriginal young
  people who come in contact with the criminal justice system;
• the need for specialist approaches to the policing of young people;
• the availability of trauma support and counselling for Aboriginal young people in the
  community;
• examine all previous enquiries relating to youth justice in the NT for cover ups and
   uncover why the recommendations were not implemented; and
• not limit how far into the past the Commission can inquire.

5. It is imperative that Aboriginal organisations are properly funded to provide support to people in
connection with the Royal Commission, including legal representation and counselling.

The letter thanks the PM for his leadership in recognising the national importance of these issues.

The APO NT letter is signed by David Ross and Joe Morrison on behalf of the Central and Northern land councils, Priscilla Collins and Eileen van Iersel on behalf of the NT Aboriginal Legal Services NAAJA and CAALAS and John Paterson on behalf of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the NT, AMSANT.

27 July 2016

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Native title on Mt Denison and Narwietooma stations celebrated

Posted: Mon, June 20, 2016

Narwietooma traditional owners

Native title holders of two pastoral properties near Alice Springs have celebrated native title consent determinations at special sittings of the Federal Court at two remote central Australian outstations.
 
Justice Rangiah handed down two non-exclusive native title consent determinations at Cockatoo Creek and M’Bunghara outstations last week.
 
At a sitting at Cockatoo Creek east of Yuendumu on 16 June he handed down a determination of native title over the whole of Mt Denison Station, more than 2,700 square kilometres.
 
The determination at M’Bunghara outstation, one day earlier, was in relation to an area covering the whole of Narwietooma Station, almost 2,600 square kilometres, and a portion of the Dashwood Creek where the claimants proved exclusive possession.
 
CLC chair Francis Kelly said he hopes the Mt Denison determination will improve the relationship between the traditional owners and the pastoral lease holders.
 
“It will make it easier to share the country,” he said.
 
Mr Kelly said the court’s determinations recognise the groups’ rights to hunt, gather and fish, as well as to conduct cultural activities and ceremonies on their land.
 
“It also gives them the right to negotiate about exploration and mining.”
 
These rights will co-exist with the Mt Denison and Narwietooma pastoral leases, which will continue to be run as cattle stations.
 
The Mt Denison native title holders belong to the Rrkwer [YURR-koo-roo]/Mamp [Mamp]/Arrwek [YARR-oo-koo], Yinjirrpikurlangu [Yin-JEER-pick-er-lung], Janyinpartinya [Jan-YIN-part-in-ya], Yanarilyi [Yan-yar-ILL-yee] and Ngarliyikirlangu [NAR-li-ker-lung] landholding groups.
 
Their native title rights and interests will be held by their Registered Native Title Body Corporate, the Mt Denison Aboriginal Corporation.
 
The Narwietooma native title holders are Western Arrernte and Anmatyerr [un-MAT-jara] speakers and belong to the Imperlknge [Ee-MALK-na], Urlatherrke [Ula-TER-ka], Parerrule [Pare-RU-la], Yaperlpe [Ja-PAL-pa], Urlampe [Oo-LAM-ba], Lwekerreye [Loo-KA-ria] and Ilewerr [Iloo-AA-ra] landholding groups and people who have rights and interests in the area of land known as Kwerlerrethe [KOO-lara-ta].
 
The Wala Aboriginal Corporation, whose members are the common law native title holders, will become the Registered Native Title Body Corporate that holds their rights and interests.
 
20 June 2016
 
Contact: Elke Wiesmann, elke.wiesmann@clc.org.au / 0417 877 579
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Another piece of Simpson puzzle to be returned to traditional owners

Posted: Fri, June 03, 2016

Simpson desert country handed back to traditional owners in 2011

Eastern Arrernte traditional owners will receive Aboriginal freehold title to a missing piece of the vast Simpson Desert land claim on Monday, June 6.
 
The grant concludes one of the largest and longest running land claims in the CLC region, 36 years after it was first lodged.
 
The title to the 110,000 hectare area, also known as NT Portion 4208, will be granted to the Atnetye (pronounced at-NIT-cha) Aboriginal Land Trust in a handback ceremony at Keringke Arts in Santa Teresa community at 11.30 am.
 
Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion and the Federal Member for Lingiari Warren Snowdon will attend the ceremony.
 
Many of the traditional owners of the area, from the Uleperte (pronounced oo-la-PUR-ta) and Uleralkwe (pronounced oo-la-RALK-wa) estate groups, live at Santa Teresa, Alice Springs and along the Plenty Highway.
 
Former Aboriginal Land Commissioner Howard Olney gave his report on the Simpson Desert Land Claim Stage IV in 2009.
 
Although NT Portion 4208 had not previously been recommended for grant he suggested that, given his findings of traditional ownership of the Uleperte estate and the subsequent location of an important sacred site, that the Australian government consider granting that land to the traditional owners.
It was not included in the title to 18,000 square kilometres of the Simpson Desert returned by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard in 2011.
 
Following representations from the CLC, Senator Scullion advised in May 2014 that NT Portion 4208 would be included in a schedule to the Aboriginal Land Rights Act and handed back to the traditional owners.
 
“There’s plenty of sacred sites there and we still have plenty of ceremony and pass the knowledge on,” the late former CLC chair Lindsay Bookie said during the 2011 Simpson Desert handback ceremony.
 
“Our culture has stayed really strong and we know all the places and all the stories and songs.”
 
Mr Bookie was one of the claimants who gave evidence about their cultural and spiritual links to country in hearings held in the Simpson Desert but not a traditional owner of the land to be handed back on Monday.
 
He said even though the Simpson Desert was remote, people were still strongly connected to their country.
 
“The traditional owners already look after that country but now it’s ours we can control visitors’ behaviour a bit better because they will have to have a permit.
 
We want them to keep our country clean and not chuck their rubbish around like some travellers have done,” Mr Bookie said.
 
“They’ve got to look after the country, we’ve all got to do it.”
 
3 June 2016
 
Contact: Elke Wiesmann 0417 877 579, Media@clc.org.au
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CLC welcomes Labor’s promise to invest in indigenous ranger jobs

Posted: Fri, May 27, 2016

The Central Land Council has welcomed opposition leader Bill Shorten’s promise to double the number of indigenous ranger jobs if Labor wins the federal election.  
 
“Today’s announcement backs one of Australia's biggest Aboriginal success stories,” said CLC director David Ross.
 
“It’s a sound investment in our future generations, our shared environment and a long overdue example of politicians listening to Aboriginal people when they tell them what’s working.”
 
“Voters in remote communities no doubt would like to hear whether the Prime Minster also has more jobs and growth to offer them than working for the dole,” Mr Ross said.
 
He said the CLC is examining the detail of the announcement to determine whether it means ranger jobs in the southern half of the Northern Territory will increase from currently 100 to 200 if Labor wins the election.
 
“We hope that it will allow us to respond to increasing community demand and environmental need for more ranger jobs and double the number of CLC ranger groups in our region from currently 10 to 20 groups within the next three years.”
 
“There’s never been a more exciting time to be a ranger or a school kid in a remote community,” said Benjamin Kenny, co-ordinator of the CLC’s Kaltukatjara rangers in Docker River near the Northern Territory/Western Australian border.
 
Mr Kenny flew to Canberra late last year to lobby politicians for more ranger group funding.
 
His team of only six rangers operates on the smell of an oily rag to manage threats such as feral animals, weeds and fire across the five million hectare Katiti Petermann Indigenous Protected Area.
 
Australia’s newest IPA completely surrounds and dwarfs Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park.
 
“The men and women in our group are really happy about the announcement because it means more of their families can get proper jobs and training looking after country, together with our elders and children.”
 
“Most of our kids want to be rangers when they grow up. That helps to keep them at school but until now their chances of landing a ranger job have been very limited because there are so few of those jobs,” he said.
 
Mr Kenny said the CLC’s ranger program is so popular because it has been developed with Aboriginal people and combines the latest science with Aboriginal ecological knowledge.
 
“Our ancestors have worked on this country for thousands of years to protect it and look after it.
 
They were rangers before our time and everything that we are doing today is the same as what our ancestors have done.”
 
The CLC has called on Mr Turnbull to match Mr Shorten’s promise.
 
27 May 2016
 
Contact: Elke Wiesmann | 0417 877 579 | media@clc.org.au
 
Related story : ABC Lateline story broadcast on 26/05/2016
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Central Land Council Ranger Camp 2016

Posted: Wed, May 04, 2016

Join us at the Central Land Council Ranger Camp 10 - 12 May 2016 at Blue Bush Station near Tennant Creekand find out why the budget was a missed opportunity to invest in success* by doubling indigenous ranger funding.
 
Being a CLC ranger is one of the most sought after careers in remote Central Australia and a big reason why many kids do attend school.
 
The camp is a great chance to talk to a hundred Aboriginal rangers from across the southern half of the Northern Territory and beyond as they wrangle cyber trackers, chain saws and chemicals.
It’s the main professional development and networking event for the men and women who make up the CLC’s 10 ranger groups.
Please put the camp in your news diaries and let us know if you need assistance with transport.
 
For more information please contact Marie Rancon, (08) 8951 6215, 0488 984 885, media@clc.org.au.
 
* “It is important that we listen to Aboriginal people when they tell us what is working.”
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Closing the Gap Speech 2016
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CLC congratulates NT communities on their successful campaign against a nuclear waste dump

Posted: Fri, April 29, 2016

Nuclear waste dump Titjikala consultation

Central Land Council chair Francis Kelly has congratulated the closest neighbours of the shortlisted site for a national nuclear waste storage facility near Alice Springs on their successful campaign opposing the proposal.
 
The residents of the remote communities of Oak Valley, Walkabout Bore, Titjikala and Santa Teresa are learning today that the Arid Gold Date Farm has been excluded from the federal government’s shortlist.
 
“They have worked hard to have their voices heard and are breathing a big sigh of relief,” said Mr Kelly.
 
“Earlier this year the CLC met with all three communities’ traditional owners, government representatives and conservation groups to make sure the residents had all the information they needed to make up their minds.
 
The communities decided to oppose the nuclear waste dump and we’ve supported them all the way.
 
My heart goes out to the Adnyamathanha traditional owners whose country is left in the race now.”
 
Mr Kelly expressed surprise that the federal government claims ‘broad levels of community support’ for the Barndioota site near Hawker in the Flinders Ranges.
 
The site which was nominated by a former Liberal Party politician is adjacent to the Yappala Indigenous Protected Area.
 
“What about the people who must look after that country?” he asked. “They have also spoken up strongly against a nuclear waste dump.
 
Nobody asked them before their country was nominated. They are in the same boat as our mob was and they must really be in shock today.”
 
Mr Kelly said the CLC has consistently advocated for a site selection process based on science and true community consent, not on politics.
 
 
29 April 2016
 
Contact: Elke Wiesmann 0417 877 579, media@clc.org.au
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CLC confirms leadership duo, condemns top-down ABA ‘reform’

Posted: Wed, April 20, 2016

Central Land Council delegates today re-elected Francis Kelly and Sammy Butcher as chair and deputy chair respectively and condemned proposed changes to the ABA Advisory Committee.
 
Mr Kelly, a film maker from Yuendumu, beat his closest rival for the position of chair, Sid Anderson from Papunya, by 53 to 31 votes.
 
Papunya musician Sammy Butcher was re-elected deputy chair with 47 votes, while runner-up Michael Liddle received 38 votes at the CLC meeting at Yulara Pulka near Uluru.
 
“I’m very grateful to the delegates for allowing me to finish the job I began in 2014,” Mr Kelly said.
 
I’m looking forward to working closely with the CLC executive and the staff, especially Mr David Ross, our director.”
 
The newly elected nine-member Executive Committee are Ngarla Kunoth-Monks, Norbert Patrick, Teddy Long, Sid Anderson, Michael Liddle, Leo Petrick, Jasper Haines, Sammy Wilson and Owen Torres.
 
Elected delegates from 75 remote communities and outstations across the south of the Northern Territory also elected members for the Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA) Advisory Committee.
 
They elected five members even though the federal Indigenous Affairs Minister plans to cut two of the CLC’s ABA Advisory Committee members from November 2016, and add two hand-picked experts.
 
The delegates condemned the plan as an erosion of Aboriginal control over the expenditure of the royalties-equivalent-funded ABA community grants program.
 
“The minister already has the final say and often overrules our advice. It’s time he handed responsibility for Aboriginal money back to the elected representatives of Aboriginal people,” said Mr Kelly, a former ABA Advisory Committee member.
 
“Aboriginal voters in the Territory will not stand for more top-down control over income they want to use to strengthen their communities. It should be our priorities that count, not the governments’.”
 
Council, which has reserved two of the five ABA Advisory Committee positions for female delegates, elected Valerie Martin, Barbara Shaw, Phillip Wilyuka, Harry Nelson and Kelvin Morrison.
 
ABA Advisory Committee members and CLC delegates serve three year terms.
 
The CLC election was carried out by the Australian Electoral Commission.
 
20 April 2016
 
High resolution images are available here.
 
Contact: Elke Wiesmann 0417 877 579, media@clc.org.au
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CLC delegates to elect new leadership team

Posted: Mon, April 18, 2016

Elected delegates from 75 remote communities and outstations across the south of the Northern Territory are travelling to Uluru today to vote for a new Central Land Council chair, deputy chair and Executive Committee.
 
The 90 delegates will also elect five members of the Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA) Advisory Committee, which advises the Indigenous Affairs Minister on the expenditure of the royalties equivalent-funded community grants program.
 
Council has reserved two of the five positions for female delegates.
 
ABA Advisory Committee members and CLC delegates serve three year terms, with delegate elections for the current term of council concluding last week.
 
The leadership elections at Yulara Pulka outstation on Wednesday, 20 April, overseen by the Australian Electoral Commission, will use a preferential voting system.
 
Ahead of the vote, the new delegates will take part in an all-day induction at the Ayers Rock Resort on Tuesday, 19 April.
 
The session aims to help delegates to familiarise themselves with their responsibilities of determining the CLC policy and strategic direction, as well as with new legislation.
 
“The day is only the first step in the CLC’s ongoing governance capacity development program,” said CLC director David Ross.
 
“Our policy staff has teamed up with a locally experienced governance expert to design and deliver a program that meets the unique needs of our elected members and builds on their strengths.”
 
Council meets three times per year in different locations across the CLC region, while the Executive meets between Council meetings.
 
Delegates and Executive members also attend regional meetings in remote communities throughout the year.
 
18 April 2016
 
High resolution images will available later on Wednesday, 20 April here
Download the CLC’s governance manual (.pdf) 
 
Contact: Elke Wiesmann 0417 877 579, media@clc.org.au
 
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Recognition at last of native title on two Northern Territory pastoral properties

Posted: Wed, April 06, 2016

Neutral Junction Station

Traditional landowners of two adjoining pastoral stations north of Alice Springs will celebrate a native title consent determination tomorrow.
 
Justice Reeves will hand down a non-exclusive native title consent determination at a special sitting of the Federal Court on the Hanson River on Stirling Station, approximately 260 km north of Alice Springs.
 
The almost 15,000 square kilometre determination area covers the whole of Stirling Station and the southern and eastern portions of Neutral Junction Station.
 
The north-western portion of Neutral Junction Station around the Crawford Range was the subject of a previous native title determination in July 2011.
 
The traditional owners are Anmatyerr and Kaytetye speakers from 13 different landholding groups - Akalperre, Amakweng, Alapanp, Arlwekarr, Arlpawe, Arnerre, Arnmanapwenty, Errene/Warlekerlange, Errweltye, Kwerrkepentye, Rtwerrpe, Tyarre Tyarre and Wake.
 
From tomorrow, the members of these groups will hold native title rights over the determination area and govern how rights and interests in land are acquired and held within the area.
 
The CLC originally filed their native title application in July 2011, in response to mining exploration license applications (future acts).
 
“The traditional owners were concerned about the protection of sites and wanted to have a say over exploration on their country,” said CLC director David Ross.
 
“The court’s determination will recognise the groups’ traditional rights to hunt, gather and fish, as well as to conduct cultural activities and ceremonies on their land.
 
It will also secure their right to negotiate over any future acts, such as exploration and mining.”
 
Mr Ross said these rights will co-exist with the pastoral leases, which will continue to be run as cattle stations.
 
The Eynewantheyne Aboriginal Corporation will become the Registered Native Title Body Corporate that holds the native title rights and interests on behalf of its members.
 
6 April 2016
 
Contact: Elke Wiesmann, elke.wiesmann@clc.org.au / 0417 877 579
 
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Vincent Lingiari Art Award celebrates 40 years of land rights

Posted: Thu, March 17, 2016

David Ross and Philip Watkins hope artists will be inspired by land rights veterans who contributed to the paintings surrounding the Barunga Statement

Desart and the Central Land Council have joined forces to award a lucrative new Aboriginal art prize celebrating this year’s twin land rights anniversaries.

The Vincent Lingiari Art Award marks 40 years since the passage of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act (ALRA) and 50 years since the Wave Hill Walk Off.

The $15,000 award celebrates the shared history of land rights and the Aboriginal art movement which evolved at the same time and draw strength from the same sources.

“The land rights struggle and the Aboriginal art movement share the same roots,” said Desart’s Executive Officer Philip Watkins.

“Aboriginal art, as an expression of identity and culture derived from country, is one of the social, cultural and economic success stories to have emerged on Aboriginal land in the last four decades.”

“What better way to celebrate this year’s big land rights anniversaries than to honour the visual artists who best express the history, contemporary relevance and the possibilities land rights offer to coming generations?” said CLC director David Ross.

Mr Ross said art and land rights have both empowered Aboriginal people.

“Central Australian artists and their families have used art works as evidence in numerous land claims,” he said. “Artists have played a major role in the fight for land rights and continue to do so.”

A panel of Aboriginal art industry luminaries will chose the winning art work, to be announced at a the launch of the Our Land - Our Life - Our Future Exhibition at Alice Springs’ Tangentyere Artists Gallery.

The exhibition will be open from the 7 September until the 28 October 2016.

“I am so pleased that judges of the calibre of curator Hetti Perkins, the daughter of the CLC’s first chair Charlie Perkins, have agreed to be involved,” Mr Ross said.

Aboriginal artists and art centres in the CLC region are eligible to enter works on any medium and are encouraged to produce collaborative works.

Desart member centres and individual Aboriginal artists close to the CLC region with strong links to Aboriginal land in that region will also be eligible.

A $2,000 Delegates’ Choice Award will also be up for grabs.

It will be chosen by CLC members at their council meeting at Kalkaringi, leading into the town’s Freedom Day Festival weekend on 20-21 August.

The council meeting and the festival will celebrate 50 years since Vincent Lingiari led Aboriginal station workers and their families off Wave Hill Station in 1966, in a protest against poor wages and conditions.

The Wave Hill Walk Off is one of the key events that led to the passage of ALRA by the Australian Parliament in 1976.

Mr Watkins said the Vincent Lingiari Art Award winner will be invited to talk about their work at this year’s Desert Mob Symposium.

He said the exhibition at Tangentyere Artists Gallery will provide opportunity for Aboriginal art workers to participate in the presentation of the exhibition and grow their practical experience and knowledge in all aspects of curatorial practice”.

 
17 March 2016
 
Media contacts: Philip Watkins, eo@desart.com.au, 0403 193 266 and Elke Wiesmann,
elke.wiesmann@clc.org.au, 0417 877 579.
 
 
An artists’ brief and terms of entry are available from Desart, a not for profit peak industry body for over 40
central Australian Aboriginal art centres, on 8953 4736.
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Business as usual remote housing strategy won’t Close the Gap

Posted: Wed, February 10, 2016

Francesca Williams and Mark Alice live in one of 70 Santa Teresa households who have lodged legal action against the NT Government

The Central Land Council has called on the NT government to urgently tackle the critical shortage and mismanagement of housing in remote communities by closing the gaps in its draft housing strategy.

 

The CLC’s submission comes as the majority of tenants in the remote community of Santa Teresa take unprecedented legal action against the NT government over long delays in urgent housing repairs.

 

The submission states that the strategy pays little attention to the financial arrangements that underpin remote housing now, let alone the investment required in the future, and fails to articulate a clear reform agenda.

 

“Without decent housing the gap will widen,” said CLC director David Ross.

 

“It’s therefore deeply concerning that the draft strategy lacks financial analysis and information about how we will house the rapidly rising number of people in remote communities in the very near future.”

 

Over the next 20-30 years the Territory’s Aboriginal population is forecast to increase dramatically while the NT’s dependence on the Commonwealth purse for housing supply and management is not expected to decline.

 

Mr Ross said the mass legal action by Santa Teresa residents is unheard of and highlights the sheer desperation felt in most remote communities.

 

“The situation in Santa Teresa is replicated right across the Territory and won’t be fixed without a radical shakeup of the NT’s failed housing system,” he said.

 

“Instead of putting forward ideas for the reform of remote housing services and service delivery the strategy reflects a business as usual approach that will continue to fail remote communities.”

 

“It’s great that the strategy acknowledges that housing issues in remote communities require different solutions,” he said. “But where are the government’s solutions?”

 

The CLC’s submission contains recommendations and ideas aimed at closing the gaps in the strategy, increasing its focus on remote communities and shifting towards a more diverse housing sector that includes capable community based housing providers.

 

“The government has put out a call for action. The actions Aboriginal people have told us they want to see would spell an end to government as the sole provider of public housing in remote communities,” said Mr Ross.

 

“Our constituents want a diverse community housing sector comparable to that in the rest of the country, but with an emphasis on Aboriginal participation and ownership of the community housing providers.”

 

10 February 2016

 

The CLC’s submission is at http://www.clc.org.au/publications/content/clc-submission-nt-housing-strategy1/

 

Contact: Elke Wiesmann, elke.wiesmann@clc.org.au , 0417 877 579

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Town camp tenancy contract and failed NT housing system both need review

Posted: Wed, January 20, 2016

The Central Land Council has called on the NT government to review its decision to strip the CAAHC of its tenancy services contract and award it to a commercial provider with a poor reputation in remote communities. 

“This decision reflects an NT housing system that continues to fail the people who need it most,” said CLC director David Ross.

“The government must make its reasons transparent and get real about developing Aboriginal businesses and jobs.”

Mr Ross said the NT government boasts about its contracting policy of awarding 70% of small construction, repairs and maintenance contracts in remote communities to local Aboriginal businesses by next year while it applies different standards to town camps.

“To our constituents it looks as if the government doesn’t give a hoot about their community managed Aboriginal housing organisation that has built up significant expertise and relationships over the past five years,” said Mr Ross.

“The loss of this major contract could spell the end of CAAHC and will hurt our constituents and the wider community.”

“CAAHC has worked hard to sustain tenancies, reduce property damage, prevent evictions, avoid homelessness and increase social cohesion.”

Mr Ross said while difficult to measure, these social outcomes would have provided great value to CLC constituents and the Alice Springs community.

“Not taking them into account in a price-based tender process means the community will pay a higher social price in years to come.”

He said the track record of the winning tenderer, a non-Aboriginal business without experience in town camps, made the NT government’s decision even harder to understand.

“The CLC has received nothing but poor feedback about Zodiac Business Services from remote community tenants, with complaints ranging from Zodiac staff being rude to tenants, entering their houses without knocking to failing to attend to even the most basic repair and maintenance issues,” he said.

“The government needs to come clean with voters about how and why it has chosen this organisation over CAAHC.”

While the CLC welcomes the awarding of the property services contract for town camps to Tangentyere Constructions Mr Ross said it is silly to split property and tenancy management.

“A responsive social housing model needs to incorporate both. The NT public housing system ensures that no matter who wins the contract they are so constrained by the housing department that it is very difficult to deliver a decent service,” he said.

“The whole failed system needs to be overhauled so community housing providers are not only supported and win contracts but have the flexibility and independence to run a quality service.”

The CLC is a member of CAAHC and supports the creation of community controlled housing organisations adhering to national standards.

 

20 Jan, 2016

Contact: Emma Sleath, emma.sleath@clc.org.au / 0488 984 885

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Tjuwanpa Rangers celebrate their 10th birthday

Posted: Mon, November 30, 2015

Tjuwanpa ranger team at their Ntaria office

On Tuesday December 1, the Tjuwanpa Rangers will mark a decade of working on country with an open day and ceremony at the ranger office at Ntaria (Hermannsburg).
 
All are invited to join past and present rangers, traditional owners, government representatives and staff from the wide range of agencies associated with the group over last 10 years. 
 
One of the longest running ranger groups in the CLC's Ranger Program, the Tjuwanpa Rangers operate on Western Arrernte country.  
 
Under the guidance of traditional owners, they undertake a range of land management activities at the Finke Gorge and West MacDonnell National Parks for the NT Parks and Wildlife Commission, as well as work on the 3,800 square kilometers of Aboriginal land around Ntaria.
 
Often operating in extreme conditions, the rangers perform controlled burns, wildlife surveys, infrastructure improvements, maintenance of significant sites and work to reduce the impact of weeds and feral animals. 
 
They also support a number of activities run by the Ntaria school such as a Junior Ranger program and country camps.
 
The program has bounced back from a major blow following the scrapping of CDEP in 2007 which saw the rangers back on the dole just a week after winning an NT Landcare Award.
 
Tjuwanpa Ranger Co-ordinator Craig LeRossignol said the group owes a lot to the original rangers.
 
“I think today’s success is built on their efforts,” he said. 
 
“Many are still employed on the community and are traditional owners themselves, we draw on their help and expertise.” 
 
Director of the Central Land Council, David Ross, said the group remains a strong example of the benefits of indigenous ranger groups 
 
“The Tjuwanpa Rangers have been critical players in demonstrating the opportunities that joint management is able to provide,” he said.
 
“The commitment and dedication of the rangers themselves and their successive co-ordinators has seen them rise to all that’s been put in front of them.”
 
“The whole community should be proud.”
 
The Central Land Council gratefully acknowledges the foundational funding received from the NT Government and the Indigenous Land Corporation, continuing funding from the Federal Government’s Working on Country initiative and support from the Tjuwanpa Outstation Resource Centre.
 
When: Tuesday 1st December, 9.30am
 
Where: Tjuwanpa Ranger Office (aprox 130kms west of Alice Springs, continue along Larapinta Drive, past the turn off to Ntaria, cross Finke River and take the immediate first turn on your right)
 
30 November, 2015
 
Contact: Emma Sleath, emma.sleath@clc.org.au / 0488 984 885
 
 
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Land Councils urge Senate support for positive Land Rights Act amendments

Posted: Thu, November 26, 2015

The Northern and Central Land Councils have welcomed the Federal Government’s willingness to negotiate significant amendments to the provisions of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act which allow some of the land councils’ functions to be delegated to Aboriginal corporations.

The amendments are expected to be debated in the Senate tomorrow (Thursday 26 November), having passed through the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Ahead of the Senate’s consideration, the Northern Territory’s two biggest land councils have advised Senators that the amendments are supported and will ensure that any potential delegation to an Aboriginal corporation is undertaken with traditional owner consent, land council co-operation and due caution.

In March last year, the two land councils successfully lobbied against regulations proposed by Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion which were required in order to facilitate the delegation-of-functions provision. 

“Northern and Central Land Council members are pleased with the government’s change of heart and thank the non-government Senators who last year contributed to this positive outcome by blocking the flawed regulations,” said CLC Director David Ross and NLC Chief Executive Joe Morrison in a joint statement.

“The amendments before the Senate tomorrow are a victory for common sense and for Aboriginal property rights and aspirations across the Northern Territory.”

Minister Scullion wanted to reintroduce the flawed regulations along the same lines, but this year agreed to consider alternative submissions from the Territory’s land councils.

These negotiations have taken place over the last eight months and have reached a successful conclusion.

As a result, the amendments now to be debated by the Senate correct a significant flaw in the 2006 ALRA amendment process, and will ensure that any potential delegation to an Aboriginal corporation happens with traditional owner consent, land council cooperation and due caution. 

Wednesday, 25 November 2016

ATTACHED:  Land Councils’ Brief to Senators

 

 

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Australia owes traditional owners for their successful campaign to protect Watarrka

Posted: Wed, November 25, 2015

The CLC is delighted for the traditional owners of Watarrka (Kings Canyon) National Park, whose three year campaign to save the national icon from mining ended with a well-deserved victory yesterday evening.

"Australia owes you a big debt of gratitude for allowing future generations to continue to enjoy your beautiful country," CLC Director David Ross told them.

Mr Ross said the CLC supported the custodians' decision to engage the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) to make yesterday's emergency application under federal heritage laws.

The application was their last ditch attempt to protect their country, after numerous appeals to the NT government had been ignored. 

“The EDO should be thanked for their efforts to help them to protect this special place,” Mr Ross said.

In one of those great Northern Territory co-incidences, the NT Mining Minister chose the day they took their battle against Palatine Energy's oil and gas mining application to Canberra to finally reject the application.

"After years of unsuccessful advocacy on behalf of the traditional owners we were as surprised at the announcement as the company and, evidently, the NT Chief Minister himself," said Mr Ross.

"Only two days ago, when Mr Giles could have responded to our call to explain what his new oil and gas mining policy meant for Watarrka, he instead made false claims to the ABC of divisions among the traditional owner group."

Mr Ross said the CLC would enthusiastically participate in the consultations about the new policy and called on the government to finalise the policy before the next election.

"On face value it looks like a big step in the right direction, but as we all know, the devil is in the detail," he said.

"Clearly all of our national parks should be off limits for exploration and mining, and we look forward to having that confirmed as soon as possible.

25 November 2015

Contact: Emma Sleath 0488 984 885, emma.sleath@clc.org.au

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Watarrka mining: NT Chief Minister’s divide-and-rule manoeuvre won’t fool anyone

Posted: Tue, November 24, 2015

On the eve of today's emergency application to federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt for protection of the national park from oil and gas exploration and mining Mr Giles made unsubstantiated claims of divisions among the traditional owners.

 

He said he would seek the advice of the NT's Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA).

 

CLC Director David Ross said the senior traditional owners of Watarrka have made it very clear for a long time that they oppose any mining exploration anywhere in the park and have been very firm and united in their opposition.

 

"This group does not always see eye to eye but at no point in the past three years has any traditional owner come forward at a joint management meeting or any other valid traditional owner meeting about Watarrka who has expressed a different view about exploration and mining in the park."

 

"Mr Giles can talk to AAPA all he likes. He should know that it has no responsibility to seek the consent of traditional owners on development proposals in Watarrka and could only consult with custodians about protecting sacred sites," said Mr Ross.

 

"It's the CLC that represents Aboriginal people under the NT Parks Act and has a duty under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act to express the wishes of Aboriginal people in the region more broadly."

 

"It's time for Mr Giles to put up or shut up."

 

"He needs to come clean to voters: does he respect the joint management process and the decision of the senior traditional owners of Watarrka to oppose mining exploration in the national park?

 

Or is he going to continue to ignore the collective authority of the traditional owner representatives on the joint management committee because he and his government don't like the consistent and united stand they have taken?"

 

Mr Ross said the traditional owners and the CLC have tried very hard to engage the government on this issue.

 

"Today's emergency application for federal heritage protection of the park shows that traditional owners don't trust the Giles government,” he said.

 

24 November 2015

 

Contact: Elke Wiesmann, 0417 877 579, elke.wiesmann@clc.org.au

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Watarrka National Park is the first test of new NT oil and gas policy

Posted: Mon, November 23, 2015

The Central Land Council congratulates the traditional owners for taking their long battle against oil, gas and mining operations in their park to Canberra on Tuesday, 24 November, where they are lodging an emergency application with Commonwealth Environment Minister Greg Hunt.

CLC Director David Ross has called on Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles to urgently clarify whether exploration and mining in Watarrka (Kings Canyon) National Park would be allowed under the NT’s new oil and gas policy.

“The Chief Minister’s announcement about tighter regulation of onshore oil and gas development, while short on detail, seems to imply a welcome reversal of the government’s refusal to prohibit oil and gas exploration in the iconic park,” Mr Ross said.

“The traditional owners of the park have long voiced their strong and consistent opposition to the granting of exploration licenses to Palatine Energy covering the whole of the park.”

“After asking the NT government to rule out exploration there since 2012 they have just won the support of NT opposition leader Michael Gunner,” he said.

Mr Gunner has given a firm undertaking at the CLC meeting at Utopia not to allow mining in Watarrka against the wishes of the traditional owners.

“For three years their concerns have fallen on deaf ears with Mr Giles. Here’s a chance for him to match his opponent’s clear commitment,” Mr Ross said.

Today’s heritage application asks Minister Hunt to intervene to protect the park, which is vulnerable to exploration and mining under current NT law.

Mr Hunt supports Mr Giles’ intention to make ‘areas of ecological value’ and ‘areas of cultural significance’ off limits for oil and gas exploration.

Watarrka National Park qualifies on both counts, according to the NT government’s own plan of management. The plan identifies the park as an ‘internationally significant conservation area’ and a ‘living cultural landscape’.

A decision to exempt the park from exploration and mining will be the first test of the strength of the Chief Minister’s commitment to the policies he has announced.

“After three years of stonewalling it’s time he made a decision on the future of the park,” Mr Ross said.

“The CLC and traditional owners of the park will accept nothing less than a decision to protect the park for future generations by prohibiting exploration or mining within its boundaries.”

23 November 2015

Contact: Elke Wiesmann, 0417 877 579, elke.wiesmann@clc.org.au.

Download the PDF version

 

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CLC to consult neighbours of shortlisted nuclear waste site

Posted: Wed, November 18, 2015

 

Aboriginal communities near the Northern Territory site shortlisted for a proposed nuclear waste storage facility are getting a chance to have their say in early December.

 

Two remote communities and three outstations on the Mpwelarre [pronounced mbWAlara] Aboriginal Land Trust are the closest neighbours of the site.

 

The shortest route between the site, the railway line and the Stuart Highway, the Hugh River Stock Route, runs through the land trust.

 

"The CLC has a legal duty under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act to consult with communities affected by the proposal and plans to hold meetings at Titjikala and at Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Theresa) in the second week of December," said CLC Director David Ross.

 

"We are preparing information materials while seeking details about the proposal, the process and the mooted $10 million compensation package for local projects."

 

Mr Ross said the CLC had already met with some of the affected residents, officials from the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation.

 

It appears from these discussions that the proposal will involve the storage of low level as well as the more concerning medium level nuclear waste.

 

"Our constituents would have expected the owner of the Aridgold date farm to do the neighbourly thing and speak with them before he volunteered his property," he said.

 

"The surprise nomination is a cruel blow to the LeRossignol family who have worked hard for 28 years to build a reputation for a clean and green horticulture and bush foods operation at Oak Valley outstation, less than 13 km from the site."

 

Mr Ross said while neighbouring traditional owners and Aboriginal residents had no right to veto the proposed nuclear waste facility the CLC would ensure their questions were answered and their views were heard.

 

"It's all very well for Mr Micklem to want to sell his property. His neighbours are not going anywhere and they’re the ones who’ll have to live with the consequences of his decisions."

 

The CLC will make a submission outlining the views of Aboriginal people in affected communities and outstations to the department before its March 2016 deadline.

 

18 November 2015

 

Contact: Elke Wiesmann, 0417 877 579, elke.wiesmann@clc.org.au.

 

 

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Expressions of interest open for a new nature-based tourism lodge in Central Australia

Posted: Thu, November 05, 2015

 

 

06 November 2015

 

Expressions of interest open for a new nature-based tourism lodge in Central Australia

A nature-based tourism lodge overlooking the spectacular Palm Valley catchment in remote Central Australia could soon become a reality under a new plan by the NT Government and Traditional Owners.

“An Expression of Interest to develop a parcel of land known as Lhilpa or ‘Red Mallee’, 140 kilometres west of Alice Springs will be released at the North Australia Investment Forum in Darwin next week,” Chief Minister Adam Giles said.

“The site poses an exciting opportunity for the Centre that will help attract more visitors to the Territory and provide a substantial economic boost for the region.

“This is a golden opportunity not to be missed.”

The 190,000 square metre parcel of land sits adjacent to the majestic West MacDonnell Ranges and is perched on top of a ridge that provides breath-taking views over the catchment area.

The site has the potential to be turned into a spectacular resort with potential concepts ranging from the highest-calibre similar to Longitude 131 at Uluru to a more accessible but still exclusive offering.

“The area will have year-round access with recent figures showing an 18 percent growth in holiday visitors to Central Australia last financial year creating new demand for more nature-based accommodation experiences in the Centre,” Mr Giles said.

“The proposed resort would be environmentally responsible and a nature-based development while still delivering exceptional standards of comfort and style.

“It would also be located on the culturally significant country of the Western Arrente Traditional Owners who look forward to welcoming more visitors to their land and sharing their stories.

“Traditional Owners are looking for a development which respects the country on which it is situated.”

David Ross, Director of the Central Land Council said he congratulated the Traditional Owners on taking the initiative to develop tourism enterprises on Aboriginal freehold land.

“I hope that this process will deliver quality expressions of interest from businesses with the capacity to partner with them on equal terms. I also hope it will put to rest the myth that land tenure is a barrier to economic development,” Mr Ross said.

“The traditional owners of Lhilpa expect to play an active role in the planning and implementation of this project.”

The proposed development is being facilitated by the Northern Territory Government and the Central Land Council, to achieve the aspirations of Traditional Owners for tourism development on their land.

“The selection process for a preferred developer will follow NT Government procurement best practice, however the final decision on a selected proponent and final concept vests in the traditional owners through the Ntaria Aboriginal Land Trust,” Mr Giles said.

The EOI closes on 31 January 2016. For more information or to lodge an expression of interest, contact Rob Williamson at Savills email: rwilliamson@savills.com.au or telephone 08 8237 5026.

For further information go to: http://www.tourismnt.com.au/

Media Contacts:

Chief Minister - Scott Whitby 0438 531 583

Central Land Council – Elke Wiesmann 0417 877 579, elke.wiesmann@clc.org.au

 

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Uluru handback anniversary marks 10 years of CLC community development achievements

Posted: Sun, October 25, 2015

When the Anangu traditional owners of the Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park commemorate 30 years since the handback of their land, it is not the only anniversary they are celebrating.

 

They are also marking a decade of achieving impressive development outcomes in communities across the south-west of the Northern Territory and the north of South Australia, using their rent money from the jointly managed park.

 

In 2005 Mutitjulu witnessed the birth of what has become the CLC’s innovative and very successful community development program,” said CLC Director, David Ross.

 

It started in this park and today leads the country when it comes to Aboriginal development from the ground up.”

 

The traditional owners of the park have invited Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the media to attend a presentation about the Uluru Rent Money (URM)Project on Monday morning at the Mutitjulu pool.

 

They built the pool with complementary funding from the Aboriginals Benefit Account and are operating it with their own money.

 

The pool is certainly the best known of the many successful initiatives of the URM Project, one of six major projects making up the CLC’s community development program,” Mr Ross said.

 

Among other great outcomes, it has helped to lift primary school attendance thanks to the community’s ‘yes pool – yes school’ policy.”

 

Traditional owners of the park want to show off the projects they planned and funded in dozens of other remote communities and homelands where they live, not just in Mutitjulu.”

 

He said the URM project has achieved a broad range of social, cultural and economic outcomes.

 

Anangu have prioritised initiatives ranging from support for dialysis patients to community stores, church and recreation hall renovations and youth diversionary activities.

 

Independent evaluation and monitoring of the URM Project found that it has also reinforced Anangu confidence in their ability to make decisions and influence development outcomes.

 

It has built their governance capacity to effectively manage the millions of dollars they have invested in their own development initiatives.

 

Since 2005 the URM Project has allocated $8 million to 80 initiatives of which 65 are complete. Anangu have funded others, such as the pool, on an ongoing basis.

 

Feedback from Anangu shows that they are now looking to generate further development outcomes, including more training and employment,” Mr Ross said.

 

They have got impressive runs on the board, but to take this to another level we need more government buy-in.”

 

We need co-funding for Anangu initiatives and more resources so the CLC can keep meeting constituent demand for community development support.”

 

Mr Ross said while the Prime Minister has given his apologies, he has a standing invitation from traditional owners to hear firsthand from them about their achievements.

 

They plan to present to Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion and other invited guests at the Mutitjulu pool at 10.30 on Monday, 26 October.

 

25 October 2015

 

Contact: Elke Wiesmann, 0417 877 579, elke.wiesmann@clc.org.au.

 

Fact sheets and images are available on request. Independent monitoring and evaluation reports are at www.clc.org.au/articles/cat/community-development/.

 

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Katiti Petermann Indigenous Protected Area Declared

Posted: Thu, October 01, 2015

Traditional owners cut the cake at the declaration of the Katiti Petermann Indigenous Protected Area (IPA)

Anangu traditional owners today declared more than five million hectares of Aboriginal freehold land surrounding the Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park an Indigenous protected area (IPA).

At Tjitjingati, a significant site between Uluru and the West Australian border, over 250 Anangu and their guests launched the world’s newest Indigenous Protected Area (IPA).

Australia’s fourth largest IPA on the mainland is larger than Switzerland and completes a vast network of nine protected areas in the heart of the continent.

In these areas Aboriginal elders work with Indigenous ranger groups to protect natural and cultural values in the national interest.

The IPA agreement they signed with the Commonwealth today offers Anangu additional resources to tackle significant threats to cultural sites, native plants and animals.

“We really hope we can extend the program so we can do more trips on country and learn more about the bush tucker and all the traditional foods and important places,” said Ruby James.

One of the first female Indigenous rangers from Kaltukatjara (Docker River), Ms James has been teaching children skills such as tracking, fauna surveys and water monitoring.

“By taking them out on country the see and learn about places. It will allow them to protect their country themselves in time,” she said. “This is their schooling, this is the education we need our children to have and this is the way we do it.”

Traditional owners performed an emu inma (ceremony) with their children and elected a management committee.

IPAs support Aboriginal landowners who volunteer to manage the cultural and environmental values of their country as part of Australia's National Reserve System.

1 October 2015

Contact: Elke Wiesmann on 0417 877 579 or (media@clc.org.au). Images from the launch available at https://goo.gl/photos/9Ahbzo9dkB8qnQySA

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Traditional owners get ready to declare the land surrounding Uluru an Indigenous Protected Area

Posted: Wed, September 30, 2015

Anangu traditional owner Malya Teamay at the rediscovered Katiti waterhole, a natural spring on the Katiti Petermann IPA.

Anangu traditional owners are gathering at Tjitjingati, a significant site between Uluru and the West Australian border, to prepare for a ceremony launching the world’s newest Indigenous Protected Area (IPA).

On Thursday, 1 October 2015, they will declare more than five million hectares of land completely surrounding Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park the Katiti Petermann IPA.

The area of Aboriginal freehold land, which is larger than Switzerland and includes the Lake Amadeus-Lake Neale salt lake complex, will complete a vast network of nine protected areas in the NT/WA/SA border region.

The IPA will enable Anangu elders to work with Indigenous ranger groups to tackle significant threats to cultural sites and native plants and animals and to create jobs and enterprises. 

“What makes this IPA stand out is its tourism potential,” said CLC director David Ross.

“There’s an airport where large numbers of national and international visitors arrive every week, the Outback Way goes right through it and the landscapes are very dramatic, with spectacular mountain ranges, vast salt lakes and large sand dunes. It all adds up to huge scope for tourism development.”

“Already a handful of families are pursuing their own cultural tourism ideas but the IPA offers a great opportunity to expand if that’s what people want.”

IPAs support Aboriginal landowners who volunteer to manage the cultural and environmental values of their country as part of Australia's National Reserve System.

Mr Ross said the IPA offers the landowners additional resources to re-engage in customary practices.

“They can get out on country for burning, clearing of water holes or ceremony and to take young people out with them and pass on cultural knowledge.”

Traditional owner Janie Miama said: “We really want to teach the young ones how to look after the place properly and strongly.”

“This sort of work gives us a chance to travel around the country to show them all the places; to get out there and see all the waterholes and the important places, learn about them [and] learn how to look after them.”

The agreement with the Commonwealth was five years in the making and marks the creation of the fourth largest protected area on the Australian mainland.

Traditional owners are electing the Katiti Petermann IPA management committee today.

At the declaration at 11 am tomorrow they will perform an inma (traditional ceremony) about ‘the children that got taken away’.

30 September 2015

Please contact Elke Wiesmann on 0417 877 579, 0424 213 205 (Sat Phone) or (media@clc.org.au) for interviews with traditional owners and the CLC’s Kaltukatjara Rangers. Images available at https://goo.gl/photos/9Ahbzo9dkB8qnQySA

Download the PDF

 

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Huge Indigenous protected area for Central Australia to complete conservation jigsaw

Posted: Tue, September 15, 2015

Kaltukatjara Rangers cleaning mud nests from a rock art site at Walka in the IPA

Anangu traditional owners will declare more than five million hectares of their land an Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) on 1 October, 2015 during a ceremony at a significant cultural site in the heart of the new IPA.
 
The Katiti Petermann IPA, in the south-west corner of the Northern Territory, is larger than Switzerland. It surrounds Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and includes the Lake Amadeus-Lake Neale salt lake complex.
 
It will form part of a network of nine protected areas in the NT/WA/SA border region.
 
The IPA will enable Anangu elders to work with the CLC’s Kaltukatjara Rangers (based at Docker River community) to tackle significant threats to cultural sites and native plants and animals and to create jobs and enterprises.
 
“I want to form the IPA to make work for our young people. I’m looking to the future for our children and grandchildren. We need to leave behind a plan so there’s work for them. So when they grow up they can see the good things recorded and left by their grandparents. I’m thinking hard about the IPA so we can keep things strong, managing and working ourselves…” (Judy Trigger, traditional owner)
 
The agreement with the Commonwealth, five years in the making, marks the creation of the fourth largest protected area on the Australian mainland.
 
IPAs support Aboriginal landowners who volunteer to manage the cultural and environmental values of their country as part of Australia's National Reserve System.
 
The declaration will take place at 11 am at Tjitjingati (Irving Creek), approximately 1.5 hours west of Yulara on an unsealed section of Australia’s longest shortcut, the Outback Way.
 
Traditional owners will perform inma (traditional song and dance) and will be available for media interviews, along with Kaltukatjara rangers.
 
A permit will be required by media covering the event.
 
15 September 2015
 
Please contact Emma Sleath on 0488 984 885 (media@clc.org.au) for a program, fact sheet and images, and to discuss how we can facilitate coverage of the event.
 
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Launch of ‘Every hill got a story’: our history, our words

Posted: Fri, August 28, 2015

CLC delegate Frankie Holmes from Antarrengeny outstation near Ampilatwatja receives his author’s copy of ‘Every hill got a story’

Eminent Aboriginal men and women from across Central Australia are preparing to launch Every hill got a story, the Centre’s first comprehensive oral history collection.

The book launch at the Alice Springs Telegraph Station at noon on Wednesday, 2 September, part of the Alice Desert Festival, celebrates the Central Land Council’s 40th anniversary.

Every hill got a story chronicles the breathtaking rate and scale of change experienced by 127 notable Aboriginal people, as told in their own words and many languages.

Along with testimonies ranging from living off the land to negotiating their place in the digital age the book features many previously unpublished photographs and a foreword by film maker Rachel Perkins, daughter of the CLC’s first chair, Charlie Perkins.

“Everybody is invited to join us at the launch, enjoy a slide show of the historical pictures and listen to our stories,” said CLC chair Francis Jupurrurla Kelly, one of the storytellers.

“We picked the Telegraph Station because it holds a lot of memories for some of the people who were interviewed for the book, back when it was known as the Bungalow,” he said.

“Not all of the storyteller names will be familiar to everyone but to us they are famous because they have all played big roles in strengthening their communities, growing our organisations and fighting for our land rights.

Mr Kelly chose a quote from his late predecessor, Kwementyaye Stuart, as the title of the book.

“Mr Stuart worked hard to make governments understand that land rights are the most important thing to us. He said that the land and its stories are our life and without it we have nothing.”

“Too many storytellers and contributors have passed away since we started on our book. Every hill got a story is our way of remembering them and saying thank you to their families.”

CLC director David Ross said the book is a timely reminder that four decades after representatives of Central Australian Aboriginal communities elected Charlie Perkins and after Gough Whitlam poured sand into Vincent Lingiari’s palm the fight for land rights is far from over.

“We want the next generation to know that what is left of these hard won rights remains under threat,” Mr Ross said.

“It isn’t possible to read Every hill got a story and to remain ignorant about why being on country is not a ‘lifestyle choice’ for the storytellers.”

“They endured the paternalism of the missions and the strict control of government settlements, escaped the massacres of the frontier wars and came through the heartbreak of the stolen generations,” he wrote in his introduction to the book.

“They greeted the promise of the land rights and self-determination era – only to watch their grandchildren subjected to today’s new paternalism and radical denial of their collective identities and land ownership.”

 

Friday, 28 August 2015                                 

 

Contacts: Sally Hodson (CLC), 08 89516216, Mary Jane Reynolds (Alice Desert Festival) 08 8952 2392

 

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Northern development on our own terms

Posted: Fri, June 19, 2015

Nyirrpi students visit Rosebud Secondary College and participate in a science class.

Central Land Council chair Francis Jupurrurla Kelly has told the National Native Title Conference that Aboriginal people in Central Australia use income from land use agreements to drive empowerment and positive change in their communities.

“We’re not waiting for government to do things for us, we’re getting on with developing our communities ourselves,” Mr Kelly said. “That’s self-determination.”

“We have used our money for swimming pools, dialysis units and learning centres. We create local employment and run education projects where Aboriginal people make all the decisions,” he said.

“We work out what we need and the CLC is there to support us.”

Mr Kelly and CLC director David Ross presented the findings of an independent, government funded evaluation of the CLC’s community development program before the conference wrapped up on Thursday.

The evaluation by La Trobe University found the CLC’s program has produced many social, cultural and economic outcomes valued by Aboriginal people, empowered them within a broader context of disempowerment and generated greater lasting collective benefits than individual payments.

“The model was also found to be cost effective,” Mr Ross said.

The CLC’s community development program which has supported Aboriginal groups to plan and implement a wide range of community benefit projects with their land use income started a trend away from the individual distribution of these payments.

The CLC initiative has inspired the Northern Land Council to plan its own community development program and to rethink how it works with royalty and compensation payments.

Mr Ross said the program began when a group of Warlpiri women approached him about using mining royalties to improve education and training outcomes in their communities.

“It has strengthened the voice of women and other vulnerable groups and brought them into the decision making process.”

He said the CLC’s experience over the past 10 years highlights the importance of Aboriginal control and informed decision making about local issues and of local solutions.

“The success of our program shows that land councils can play an important role in supporting strong governance arrangements that help groups to allocate resources to development initiatives and build their own capacity to plan and manage these projects.”

Friday, 19 June 2015                                             

Contact Elke Wiesmann, (08) 8951 6217, 0417 887 579

Independent Evaluation of the Central Land Council’s Community Development and Governance Programmes 2014

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Hard-line approach is failing our kids, and the community - APO NT

Posted: Thu, June 04, 2015

Aboriginal Peak Organisations of the Northern Territory (APO NT) calls on the NT Government to reconsider it’s poorly thought out, hard line approach to young offenders at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre.

“APO NT is deeply concerned about yet another ‘crackdown’ against kids in detention”, said APO NT Spokesperson, Mark O’Reilly.

“We are also alarmed at the NT Government proposal to lock up 11, 12 and 13 year olds found on Darwin’s streets at night.

“The evidence is clear that locking young people up only increases their risk of further incarceration. Locking young people up who have not committed any offences will only reduce their trust in police and law enforcement authorities.

“98% of the children in detention in the Northern Territory are Aboriginal. These children are the product of a cycle of incarceration, which is devastating our families and communities.

“We hold real and serious concerns for the mental, physical and emotional well-being of our Aboriginal children in detention. Focussing on these issues is paramount, if we wish to break the cycle of offending and not further traumatise children”, Mr O’Reilly said.

Her Honour Ms Armitage SM made comment on 7 January 2015 that the environment at the Berrimah Detention Centre at that time was one where there are limited programs, no therapeutic interventions and the approach is principally one of containment, rather than giving sufficient weight to rehabilitation.

“APO NT calls for an end to hard lined punitive approaches in youth justice. These approaches have been tried time and again by the NT Government but it is not reducing crime or making our community safer.

“Children should be detained in an age-appropriate way, and not like adults.

APO NT believes that culturally sensitive therapeutic programs are urgently needed. Cultural connection with Elders, culture and community is pivotal to addressing the emotional and wellbeing needs of Aboriginal youth in detention. This is not happening in Berrimah.

“We believe that programs should be re-directed to engaging children with their culture,’ Mr O’Reilly said.

Amnesty International yesterday released an important report documenting the chronic over-representation of Aboriginal young people in detention. Amnesty found that Indigenous 10-17 year olds are 24 times more likely to be in detention. The report recommends allowing “inspections of youth detention facilities to ensure standards are being met” and declaring any laws that “treat persons below the age of 12 as criminally responsible” invalid.

APO NT calls on the NT Government to listen to the evidence in dealing with young offending, and urgently engage with youth services providers to seek appropriate solutions. Punitive approaches don’t make the community safer. Detention facilities need to be secure, but they must also be health-based and culturally informed.

“The community is not served by brutalising already damaged young people”, Mr O’Reilly concluded.

For media enquiries contact Brionee Noonan on 0424 727 151

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Budget delivers uncertainty and blackmail to NT outstations - Joint Media Release CLC-NLC

Posted: Thu, May 14, 2015

THE Northern Territory’s two big Land Councils say the Commonwealth must scrap plans to hand over permanent responsibility for municipal and essential services for outstations to the dysfunctional and welfare dependent NT Government.

Plans to replace the National Partnership Agreement (NPA) on Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory with a new agreement would spell an early end to a 10-year Commonwealth commitment to fund NT outstations.

“This $20 million a year was just a trickle but at least it gave some security to thousands of people living on homelands and could be used to hold the NT Government to account,” said CLC Director, David Ross, and NLC CEO, Joe Morrison. “To see this agreement thrown out is a real kick in the teeth to people living out bush.”

The proposed new NPA on Northern Territory Remote Aboriginal Investment would hand no-strings-attached responsibility for service delivery to the NT, a failed State that is almost totally dependent on the Commonwealth.

“The NT will never have the funds to secure the future of outstations and already milks Commonwealth money earmarked for Aboriginal people. It cannot be trusted with taxpayers’ money without careful scrutiny,” said Mr Ross.

The Land Councils called for high-level involvement of Aboriginal leaders in negotiations about these funds which are vital for all remote NT outstations and homelands.

“Unless Aboriginal people have a place at the table they have every right to suspect that the new deal will result in outstation closures,” said Mr Morrison.

The Land Councils predict a repeat of the developments in WA, where the Commonwealth has washed its hands of outstations, and an unknown number of small communities face closure.

“If communities are to be closed in Australia’s richest State it’s not hard to guess what will happen in its most Commonwealth-dependent jurisdiction,” said Mr Morrison. “The NT Treasurer’s attempt to blackmail outstation residents by linking their future to changes to the Land Rights Act betrays the real agenda of the CLP government.”

David Tollner, the NT Treasurer, says that the Northern Territory Government has “no arranged land access agreements” to Aboriginal communities on Aboriginal land and gives this as a reason why his government continues to deliver substandard services in remote Aboriginal communities.

In fact the NT Government has hundreds of leases in Aboriginal communities and on Aboriginal lands, and has exclusive possession of those sites and unfettered access.

 

CLC: Elke Wiesmann 0417-877579; media@clc.org.au
NLC: Murray McLaughlin0429-153363; media@nlc.org.au

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Threat of removal of ‘rock throwing’ children into care

Posted: Mon, April 20, 2015

 

The Aboriginal Peak Organisations of the Northern Territory (APO NT) are dismayed at the Northern Territory Government’s threat to Aboriginal parents of rock-throwing youths that their children may be removed and put into care.

In what appears a punitive response, Minister Elferink has directed his department to abandon the principle that taking children into care should be a last resort and that the government should be prepared to work with parents.

“Placing children into care, is never a justified punishment”, said APO NT spokesperson and CEO of NAAJA, Priscilla Collins.

“Such action must remain a last resort after alternative responses have been carefully worked through.

“Removal of children can have devastating impacts on both the child and the family.

The current rate of removal of Aboriginal children from their families is higher than at any other time in the NT’s history. In 2014, the Children’s Commissioner reported that there were 923 children in out of home care.[1] 86% of the children in care were Aboriginal.

“The proposed response reveals a government that is too ready to place all blame on Aboriginal parents but take no responsibility for its own failures in Aboriginal policy.

“As has already been reported, a number of the children involved are already in care under the department.

“APO NT strongly urges the Chief Minister and Minister Elferink to use the current situation as an opportunity to work with all stakeholders to achieve positive solutions to the current issues”, Ms Collins concluded.

Some of the actions that the NT Government could consider include:

·         Investment in early intervention and prevention programs in the NT in accordance with the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children.

·         Allocation of increased resources to youth services to provide youth with meaningful recreation alternatives.

·         Seeking a partnership between mainstream and Aboriginal youth services.

·         Ensuring government agencies take a coordinated approach in working with children, and work in partnership with youth services and Aboriginal families.

 

Media inquiries:  0427 045 665



[1] Office of the Children’s Commissioner Northern Territory Annual Report 2013-2014, p35.

 

 

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GOOD GOVERNANCE AT YOUR FINGERTIPS - APO NT

Posted: Thu, April 16, 2015

A new website is now available to give NT Aboriginal organisations access to a range of governance and management services and resources.

The Aboriginal Peak Organisations NT (APONT) Aboriginal Governance and Management Program today launched its website: aboriginalgovernance.org.au .

Website visitors can join the Program’s CEO/Board network, register for upcoming workshops or download reports of the Program’s past workshops held across the NT for over 150 people so far.  They can download best-practice governance and management resources. 

“The website is very important for remote, isolated and often poorly resourced Aboriginal organisations who are nevertheless doing a big job collectively, servicing and employing many Aboriginal people,” said Program Manager David Jagger. “At this website, organisations can instantly get governance and management resources and tools while linking to other supports this Program offers, like our regional workshops or referrals to pro bono legal help.

“Our Program also provides concentrated support over 12 months at four selected organisations as demonstration sites for strengthening governance. But now many other NT Aboriginal organisations can better access our range of additional services.”

Online resources include corporate policy templates, governance health checks, links to leadership courses, legal advice on incorporation regimes, case studies on organisational structures that work and inspiring articles on governance that wins awards or boosts Aboriginal employment.

“All these resources and access to other Program supports will help reduce the isolation NT Aboriginal organisations can suffer from,” said Mr Jagger. “This will help build their strength, which is critical for remote community well-being.”

The Program is Australian Government funded until mid-2016, after which it is seeking financial backing to become a more permanent Centre for NT Aboriginal Governance and Management. Go to aboriginalgovernance.org.au/get-involved.

For more information and interviews, contact David Jagger on 0400 914 957.

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CLC ranger wins 2015 NT Young Achiever Environment Award

Posted: Mon, April 13, 2015

Senior CLC ranger Clayton Namatjira of the Muru Warinyi Ankkul ranger group from Tennant Creek has won the 2015 NT Young Achiever Environment Award.

Senior Central Land Council ranger Clayton Namatjira from the Muru Warinyi Ankkul rangers of Tennant Creek has won the prestigious Conoco Phillips Environment Award in the 2015 NT Young Achiever Awards.

Clayton, 28, excelled in the workplace and became a role model for his CLC colleagues and young Tennant Creek people after overcoming literacy and numeracy challenges.

CLC director David Ross applauded Clayton’s abilities and commitment to caring for country.

“He’s a young fella with a lot of cultural knowledge, he’s multilingual and it’s fantastic to see that he’s stepping up to the mark and showing that leadership, dedication and reliability,” Mr Ross said.

Clayton has inspired his 10 rangers as well as work experience students. He works closely with traditional owners on cultural and natural resource management work across the Tennant Creek region.

Clayton has played an active part in protecting the small but significant portion of the Warumungu Aboriginal Land Trust north of Tennant Creek that contains the historically significant ruins of the former Phillip Creek Mission from damage by cattle, wildfire and weeds.

After four years with the CLC’s Muru Warinyi Ankkul rangers Clayton was promoted to senior ranger last September.

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New NT Aboriginal Housing Body to tackle Aboriginal housing crisis in the NT

Posted: Mon, March 16, 2015

A landmark NT Aboriginal Housing Forum in Darwin has resolved to form a new NT Aboriginal Housing Body to tackle the worsening Aboriginal housing crisis in the NT.

The forum brought together about 150 delegates in Darwin on the 12-13th March to voice their concerns with the current housing management system in the NT, and to develop solutions and alternatives.  Convened by the Aboriginal Peak Organisations NT[1], in conjunction with NT Shelter and the Central Australian Affordable Housing Company, the Forum brought together Aboriginal people living in remote communities, town camps and homelands along with national and international housing sector experts, community housing groups from across Australia, regional councils and government representatives.

APONT spokesperson and Chair of the Forum, David Ross, said “this was a critical opportunity for Aboriginal people from right across the NT to share our experiences and frustration with the housing system, and develop our own solutions for our communities. It doesn’t matter where our people live the housing issues are the same.”

Tony Jack from Robinson River was appointed interim Chair of the new Aboriginal housing body. “Individuals are just a voice in the wilderness and we need a new body to move this issue forward”, Mr Jack said.

The new body will work towards a new Aboriginal housing system which is diverse and flexible, allows for local control over services, generates local employment and suits the needs of our people. We need to do more with the funds available, and diversify funding sources, to provide better housing management outcomes and increased housing stock to counter overcrowding.

The NT public housing system is in crisis and millions of dollars in housing investment has not had the outcomes we were promised.  Dollars are disappearing into the bureaucracy while the housing system is falling to pieces on the ground. 

The Hon Bess Price, Minister for Housing, attended the Forum.  The Forum called on the Northern Territory Government to abandon the current approach and support a more diverse, flexible and locally appropriate housing system that would put Aboriginal people back in control of the design, construction and management of Aboriginal housing.

While the national mainstream housing sector has shifted to a diverse, community-based sector, Aboriginal housing in the NT has gone in the opposite direction.  Aboriginal housing in the NT has been moved wholesale to government control.

Stories from participants painted a vivid picture of a housing system which is failing; it is expensive, ineffective and wasteful, disengaged from communities and tenants, and working against local employment and local capacity building.  The following common problems were highlighted:

  • Failure of the public housing management model to adapt to the cultural and geographical demands of remote communities in both the design and management of houses;
  • Lack of maintenance, poor quality maintenance and poor response times to urgent maintenance requests;
  • Poor quality housing stock with many of the new houses poorly constructed
  • A lack of transparency at all levels of the system, including funding and expenditure of rent collected;
  • Limited local employment and a reliance on expensive outside contractors;
  • No accountability for outside contractors leading to poor workmanship and no process for checking the quality of the work performed;
  • Houses are overcrowded and no new houses being built in many communities;
  • Housing Reference Groups are not working well in some areas – they are not meeting or not being listened to;
  • Funding for outstations and town camps is uncertain and unclear, and no new houses have been built for many years;
  • Public housing tenants do not have long term security of tenure because they are not given the opportunity to enter into fixed term tenancy agreements, and;
  • Overall sense of loss of control and inability to understand the system or have a say over the decisions which impact life in communities.

While the scale of the problems could have been overwhelming, the Forum also heard inspiring examples of local, national and international Indigenous and community housing organisations that are implementing effective community housing alternatives.  Factors for success included:

  • Taking control over your own destiny – becoming a leader in housing delivery and management;
  • Working collaboratively in regions and calling on the expertise of qualified and committed professionals;
  • Developing strategic and realistic plans for the short and long term;
  • Building strong and capable special purpose housing organisations at a regional level to work in partnership with local communities;
  • Identifying low cost building alternatives;
  • Developing new finance models that do not rely solely on government funding – particularly operational funding.

Our colleague from New Zealand, Victoria Kingi, made an important point, and one which was reiterated by leaders from across the NT, she said  ‘you need one group and one voice to get governments to listen.  You need an empowering framework from which to move forward’.  Tony Jack from Robinson River said ‘individuals are just a voice in the wilderness and we need a new body to move this issue forward.’

The Forum has charged a group of leaders, supported by APONT, with the responsibility to work on housing issues and drive an alternative agenda for housing.  We will not continue to accept a housing management system which is controlled and implemented by government and fundamentally fails to deliver at any level. 

Aboriginal leader, Phillip Wilyuka from Titjikala, summed up the strong feeling at the Forum, ‘Home is where the land is, and that is where the heart is’.   Forum participants are going home with a renewed sense of unity, strength and inspiration to challenge the failures of the current system and build a new future in our communities, town camps and homelands.

For media comment: Tony Jack  0428 793 132


[1] APO NT is an  alliance of the Central and Northern Land Councils, the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the NT, the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency and Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service

 

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Alice-designed appropriate technology helps community and tourists - CAT/CLC

Posted: Fri, March 13, 2015

Outstation resident Kunmanara Ungwanaka using the mobile hotspot technology.

Traditional owners have used their rent income from the Finke Gorge National Park to put two mobile phone hotspots, developed by the Centre for Appropriate Technology, along the notorious Boggy Hole access track to the park.

Last year they raised with the Central Land Council’s community development unit their longstanding concerns about being unequipped to rescue bogged visitors. The CLC helped them make a plan to fund emergency phone access.

CAT’s hotspots capture signals from mobile phone towers and amplify them to a usable level, extending mobile coverage into areas where previously there was none. 

 “It helps tourists and other people call for help when they get bogged,” outstation resident Kunmanara Ungwanaka said.

“It’s keeping them safe and giving us privacy and less worry. Not knocking on our door calling for help at night in languages we don’t know.”

“Of all the things the traditional owners could have spent their collective rent money on they decided to prioritise a project that helps the wider community. It’s a win-win,” CLC Director David Ross said.

Mr Ross said the CLC’s community development program asked CAT if it could test the feasibility of deploying the mobile hotspot technology along the Boggy Hole 4WD track.

CAT combined knowledge of satellite antenna and mobile technologies to create the hotspot, and has also developed a mobile survey rig for field testing.

“The key with the hotspot is knowing where to locate it.  In some places there is simply no mobile signal.  In others, there is a signal but it is too tiny for a hand-held phone to work and this is where the mobile hotspot comes in,” said Andrew Crouch Technical Officer at CAT.

After traditional owners helped CAT to survey and choose suitable sites they decided to spend some of their rent money on the hotspots, a shade structure and signs about the location of the hotspots.

“The hotspot is rugged, reliable and needs no power, no solar panels and no maintenance.  Aboriginal people in the CAT Enterprise workshop fabricate and install it,” CAT’s new CEO Dr Steve Rogers said.

“We’re working on the technology to stretch its performance even further. This is appropriate technology at its best, developed in partnership with Aboriginal people to meet an identified need and a great example of the next generation in the CAT product line.”

Ms Ungwanaka said while the hotspots are already being used by visitors they will also help to promote the fledgling Red Sand Hill Arts Centre, where one hotspot is located.  

“We can call anywhere, Germany, anywhere with this one,” she said. “We want tourists going to Boggy Hole to visit the Red Sand Hill Arts Centre that our community is starting up.”

The CLC’s community development unit works with the traditional owners of 16 jointly managed NT national parks who use their rent income to benefit their communities.

CAT Ltd is an Aboriginal not for profit company delivering the enabling technologies that support community and economic development.

6 March 2011

Contacts: Steve Hodder (CLC), 8951 6215 or Metta Young (CAT), mobile 0404467814 and 89596127

Please contact Steve Hodder for use of image of outstation resident Kunmanara Ungwanaka using the technology.

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Abbott government resigned to ‘work for the dole’ life sentence - APO NT

Posted: Wed, March 04, 2015

“We warned four years ago that the removal of the CDEP would decimate local community initiatives…” - David Ross

Northern Territory Aboriginal leaders are disturbed by Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion’s comments that it was not "a bad thing" that many residents in remote Aboriginal communities may spend three decades working for the dole.

"It's just soul destroying for unemployed Aboriginal people to learn that the government is relaxed and comfortable about them serving 'work for the dole' life sentences and never getting a job," Central Land Council Director David Ross said.

“How is this demoralising prospect going to inspire children to go to school?”

“Not so long ago the government claimed that the Community Development Employment Program had to go because it had become a destination rather than a conduit to a real job. Now it is content with a scheme that really entrenches low expectations of Aboriginal people.”

“CDEP, for all its shortcomings, was a lot more real than the dead end of ‘work for the dole’ because it rewarded personal effort with subsidised wages.”

Following an outcry from Aboriginal leaders, including from his own side of politics, the Minister yesterday defended his comments, asking the ABC: “What’s the alternative?”

"The Aboriginal Peak Organisations of the NT strongly disagree with the Minister's lazy claim that 'there are no alternatives' to his disturbing vision and would like to help him out," Mr Ross said.

The alliance called on the Abbott government to urgently replace its remote 'work for the dole' scheme with a community development approach to job and business creation.

"When we sought bi-partisan support for our comprehensive remote employment and enterprise development proposal in 2011 we were ignored, as are most solutions that are informed by on-the-ground evidence and experience." he said.

"Our proposal retains the successful features of the CDEP while overcoming its limitations," he said. "Yet it continues to languish while the Minister resigns himself to eternal unemployment out bush."

"We warned four years ago that the removal of the CDEP would decimate local community initiatives, such as the successful tourism enterprise at Titjikala community near Alice Springs", Mr Ross said.

He said the systematic destruction of the program has led to an entirely predictable dramatic loss of community participation, morale and resilience.

APONT's creative and positive model aims to support a multitude of sustainable livelihood options, by stimulating small local enterprise and help participants to progress from basic activities to more demanding employment arrangements.

"Instead of exploring constructive approaches the government is hell-bent on wasting tax dollars on an unfair and punitive agenda that will see Australians in remote communities work more hours for their welfare benefits than those in urban areas," Mr Ross said.

"Without a plan to stimulate local economies and build sustainable enterprises the new 'work for the dole' scheme will see many Aboriginal people fall through the cracks, creating a permanent burden on their already stressed and struggling families."

 

Contact Elke Wiesmann, (08) 8951 6217, 0417 877 579, media@clc.org.au.

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Tributes flow for fearless advocate Kwementyaye Tilmouth

Posted: Mon, March 02, 2015

Mr Tilmouth during his time as CLC director.

CLC director, David Ross, today paid tribute to former CLC director Kwementyaye Tilmouth, who passed away on Saturday, aged 62.

“Kwementyaye was an absolutely fearless advocate for his people,” said David Ross. “He predicted the Abbott government’s current attack against their hard won land rights.”

Mr Ross said Mr Tilmouth’s parting words, after six years at the helm of the CLC (1994-1999), have proved prescient.

“He said: ‘Aboriginal peoples’ rights which are not protected constitutionally are vulnerable to government whims of the day. I expect Aboriginal people to be fighting just as hard in the new millennium as we have to date’.”

“Kwementyaye’s fight against John Howard’s attempt to weaken the Aboriginal Land Rights Act with the help of the now discredited Reeves Review foreshadowed our challenge of the Abbott government’s attempt to undermine our land rights through an ideologically driven investigation,” Mr Ross said.

In 1998 Mr Tilmouth brought together 800 Central Australian Aboriginal leaders in a constitutional convention near the site of the historic Wave Hill Walk Off.

In the convention’s Kalkaringi Statement they detailed their concerns with the governance of the Northern Territory and decided to oppose NT statehood until they were addressed.

Mr Tilmouth’s irreverent wit endeared him to his many friends on both sides of politics but did not spare his own side, the Australian Labor Party.

A few years after withdrawing his nomination to run for Senator Bob Collins’ seat he famously said of his party: ''I'm allowed to mow the lawns, but I'm not allowed on the verandah.''

An Arrernte man from Alice Springs, Mr Tilmouth was a small boy when welfare authorities took him and his brothers away to the notorious Retta Dixon home in Darwin and later the mission on Croker Island, off the coast of Arnhem Land.

He attended high school in Darwin and spent his early working life at Angus Downs cattle station.

In the 1970s Mr Tilmouth helped to establish the Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service and a community controlled health service, the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress. From 1977 he was a community advisor at Kaltukatjara, Utopia, Papunya and Yuendumu.

A qualified stock inspector with a degree in Science and Natural Resource Management, he also worked for the Aboriginal Development Commission on a number of cattle projects and was the instigator of the former Central Australian Aboriginal Pastoralists Association.

Mr Ross said Mr Tilmouth walked the talk about Aboriginal economic development.

He established a commercial prawn farm on the Darwin River and worked as a consultant with large mining companies, helping traditional owners secure employment and other benefits. Mr Tilmouth also served on the boards of several large Indigenous representative groups.

“The thoughts of CLC members and staff are with Kwementyaye’s family at this sad time,” said Mr Ross.

 

Monday, 2 March 2015

 

Contact Steve Hodder, (08) 8951 6215, 0488 984 885, media@clc.org.au.

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Keep Indigenous land investigation ideology-free - Joint Media Release CLC-NLC

Posted: Fri, February 20, 2015

Joint CLC-NLC Media Release: Keep Indigenous land investigation ideology-free

THE Northern Territory’s two big land councils have called on the Abbott government to base its investigation into indigenous land use on facts rather than ideology.
“For the sake of the most disadvantaged indigenous Australians we call on the Abbott government to rise above its demonstrated dislike of evidence based policy development,” CLC Director, David Ross, and NLC CEO, Joe Morrison, said in a joint statement.
“We hope the indigenous working group announced today will challenge the myths being peddled by NT Country Liberal Party ideologues about hard-won Aboriginal land rights supposedly holding up development in remote communities. We are certainly keen to work constructively to develop solutions to real barriers to economic development.”
Mr Ross and Mr Morrison called for experts on the Aboriginal Land Rights Act to be added to the expert Indigenous working group.
“Much of this inquiry is about the land councils’ area of expertise: the Aboriginal Land Rights Act that applies only here in the Northern Territory. We are very disappointed that the government has not included anyone with technical knowledge of the legislation.”
Mr Ross and Mr Morrison said it was not encouraging that the terms of reference for the investigation were developed without Indigenous input
“While we’re hearing a lot about the new, more consultative Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs the reality on the ground is more of the same old top-down approach.”
Both land councils took little comfort from Minister Scullion’s assurance today that he would not change the Land Rights Act without the consent of the land councils.
“What the Minister has been trying but failing to do is to hollow out our land rights with the help of Howard-era provisions in the Land Rights Act that are ideologically driven, unworkable and would greatly increase uncertainty for Traditional Owners, third parties and businesses.”

CLC: Elke Wiesmann
0417-877579; media@clc.org.au
NLC: Murray McLaughlin
0429-153363; media@nlc.org.au


Friday, 20 February, 2015

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WYDAC CLC Joint Media Release: Community Corrects Misreporting of Yuendumu Death Aftermath

Posted: Mon, February 02, 2015

Yuendumu residents have rallied around their youth service following the death of much loved pool manager Jupurrula Berry.

Eddie Robertson, the chair of the Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation which employed Mr Berry, said reports attributed to police of people “fleeing” the community in fear of a new “wave of violence” are false.

“Quite the opposite is happening”, the NT Senior Australian of the Year said. “The whole community is gathering around to mourn this wonderful man who knew every child by name.”

“All families and agencies are showing their respect in their own ways. The children and young people are very sad and have placed flowers, cards and letters at the swimming pool.”

WYDAC manager Susie Low said: “Obviously everyone is grieving but we are all supporting each other and to claim that there is a climate of fear is just irresponsible nonsense.”

Ms Low said Mr Berry was the first non-Aboriginal person the Yuendumu football team has honoured with a moving ceremony of appreciation known locally as a “memory game”.

She said the two youths who were today charged with his murder are not from Yuendumu. One of them has only been in the community since December 2014.

Contrary to media reports only one of them was employed by WYDAC. He has been a pool attendant since 2013 while living with and being cared for by Mr Berry.

CLC and PAW Media chair Francis Kelly, who lives in Yuendumu but has been in hospital for the past two weeks, sent his condolences to Mr Berry’s family and the WYDAC team.

“Jupurrula had a good heart and was good with Yapa people. He listened and understood our culture. He was learning from us, as well as teaching us and our children,” he said.

“I feel proud of my community for looking after each other during this sad and stressful time. We are all family and work any problems out together.”

The CLC’s community development program has worked with the community and WYDAC to build and run the pool Mr Berry managed.

2 February 2015

Media Contact:        WYDAC:  Susie Low 0429 997 719       Central Land Council:  Elke Wiesmann 0417 877 579

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What is Happening with the Weather? Climate Change Book Launch at Santa Teresa

Posted: Mon, December 08, 2014

The cover of the new climate change book.

The Central Land Council’s Ltyentye Apurte Rangers are proud to launch a community resource book about climate change on Tuesday, 9th December.

Climate Change: What is Happening with the Weather in Central Australia is one of the main outcomes of a climate adaptation project that saw them collaborate with the CSIRO, Ninti One, Tangentyere Land and Learning and the Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa) community.

“The book combines our Indigenous ecological knowledge and experience with the latest in climate science”, said CLC chair Francis Kelly. “It has already helped our Ltyentye Apurte Rangers to plan their work for the year ahead.”

Ltyentye Apurte ranger co-ordinator Shannon Lander said the project partners talked about living in hotter conditions and how to better learn and work together.

“We looked at the data since the 1970s, which clearly shows that there are more days over 40 degrees, as well as more storms and variability in rainfall.”

Mr Lander said his team focused on managing soil erosion.

 “Visiting Woodgreen Station to see the results of four decades of gully restoration gave us a new understanding of the time and commitment needed to deal with the impacts of climate change”, he said.

“Realising what’s possible built our confidence and motivated us to take action on our own country.”

The book will be launched at 10am at the Ltyentye Apurte Recreation Centre at Santa Teresa.

Mr Landers said the rangers are keen to share what they’ve learned and will distribute copies of the book to other ranger groups and communities in Central Australia..

The rangers plan to co-present a paper about the project with the CSIRO at the rangelands conference in Alice Springs next April.

 

5 December 2014

For images from and transport to the launch please contact: Steve Hodder 0418 875 957, 08 89516215, media@clc.org.au

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Late CLC chair’s land rights fight as urgent now as during his lifetime

Posted: Tue, November 18, 2014

“Land rights are the most important thing to us. Land is our life and without it we have nothing.” - Mr Kwementyaye Stuart

The Central Land Council mourns true land rights champion and former CLC chair Kwementyaye Stuart who passed away on Friday, 14 November, in Alice Springs.

A senior Arrernte law man born in 1932 at Jay Creek, west of Alice Springs, Kwementyaye Stuart worked as a stockman and drover from his early teens and also excelled as a boxer before Pat Dodson appointed him as a CLC field officer.

Mr Stuart represented the Alice Springs region as a CLC delegate for 20 years and chaired the land council between 1997 and 2001.

“Kwementyaye was a strong and astute leader who saw education as the key to a better future for his people and never let his own lack of schooling stand in his way,” said CLC director David Ross.

“He led the CLC during a time when hard won Aboriginal land rights were under attack from governments like never before, just like they are again today”, Mr Ross said.

He said Mr Stuart’s words from 16 years ago, when the federal government used a review to weaken the land rights act and the NT government was pushing for control of the legislation, could have been written today:

“Land rights are the most important thing to us. Land is our life and without it we have nothing. So it makes me really sad that over the past year, governments have again been trying to take away our rights,” Mr Stuart wrote in 1998. “We want the government in Canberra to look after the act, not the Northern Territory government”.

“Mr Stuart knew that land rights give Aboriginal people some control over their lives.  He described them as giving us freedom and justice,” said Mr Ross.

Mr Stuart knew a bit about justice, having served 14 years in prison, including on death row, for a murder in South Australia over half a century ago which he always maintained he did not commit.

His court case was the subject of a book, a film, a controversial royal commission and attracted international attention.

A young Rupert Murdoch campaigned on Mr Stuart’s behalf through The Adelaide News and helped save him from the gallows.

“I married a good woman”, Mr Stuart recalled meeting his late wife after he was released on parole. “She put a ring in my nose, and pulled me around, but that was good.”

As CLC chair Mr Stuart oversaw the successful Alice Springs native title claim – the first such claim over an Australian town - and in 2000 welcomed the Queen to his home town. He praised her as being “really like a bush woman”.

“It seems the Queen has less trouble acknowledging native title holders than the Northern Territory government”, he commented at the time.

Many Alice Springs residents remember him singing the ancient Yeperenye [caterpillar] Dreaming of during the following year’s eponymous festival.

Mr Ross said he performed the song in the same generous spirit that made him a respected teacher and mentor of many Aboriginal leaders. In Kwementyaye’s own words: “We want to walk around as brothers – both black and white.”

The thoughts of CLC members and staff are with his children Carlene Cook, Peter Stuart and Patrick Stuart.

17 November 2014

Contact: Elke Wiesmann, 0417 877 579, 08 89 51 6217, Media@clc.org.au

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No nuclear waste dump site nominated

Posted: Fri, November 07, 2014

 

A very productive Central Land Council meeting at Alpurrurulam (Lake Nash) has concluded without the nomination of a site for a nuclear waste management facility.

On 5 November 85 CLC delegates considered the outcomes of the CLC’s consultations with the traditional owners of an area in the Tanami region and with affected communities about a proposed site for such a facility.

The delegates heard that the CLC has received formal correspondence and public statements from the traditional owners and residents of affected communities who are opposed to a nuclear waste dump in the area.

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane’s requirement of a site “free from dispute” cannot therefore be met. The delegates did not instruct the CLC to consult further on the matter.

On 11 September the CLC facilitated a meeting with traditional owners from the Tanami region, neighbouring land owners and government representatives at the Tanami Mine, 340 kilometers north west of Yuendumu.

At the meeting traditional owners expressed their dissatisfaction with the federal government's nomination process for a proposed nuclear waste management facility and with the lack of detailed information, for example about the transport of the waste and the government’s compensation offer.

During subsequent public consultations including government representatives in Lajamanu, one of the affected communities, residents and traditional owners of the proposed site expressed strong opposition against a nuclear waste facility in the Tanami.

The process enshrined in the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012 expects traditional owners to volunteer a site without knowing all the information.

"Yet once a site is nominated they cannot change their mind when they find out the full story", said CLC director David Ross. "Given that a nuclear waste dump is forever it's just not fair to ask people to make this decision without a comprehensive proposal."

"We have told the government since 2005 that its process and the legislation were incompatible with the principle of prior informed consent. No one does business on this basis", he said.

In August the CLC received a request for information from a group of traditional owners who had been contacted by the Chief Minister’s office regarding nominating a site on their country.

The CLC has a legal duty to consult with the wider traditional owner group about any proposal for the use of their land, ensure they fully understand the nature and effect of any proposal and obtain their informed consent before any proposal can go ahead.

It must also consult with communities or groups affected by a proposal and give them an opportunity to express their views.

 

7 November 2014

Contact: Elke Wiesmann 0417 877 579, Media@clc.org.au

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New names reflect Aboriginal cultural connection to parks

Posted: Thu, October 23, 2014

The Minister for Parks and Wildlife Bess Price has announced the official name change of three popular central Australian parks.

“The names have been changed to reflect each park or reserve’s deep and long-standing Aboriginal cultural associations,” Mrs Price said.

The parks will now be known as Tjoritja/ West MacDonnell National Park, Yeperenye/Emily and Jessie Gaps Nature Park and Napwerte/Ewaninga Rock Carvings Conservation Reserve.

“Earlier this year, the Central Land Council wrote to the Northern Territory Government on behalf of the traditional owners requesting the official name changes.

“The dual naming is common practice until such time as the new name is in common use. When these names are in common use in 10 to 20 years’ time, we will drop the original official names and retain the Aboriginal name only.

“It will take time for people to adjust to the new names, but Uluru and Nitmiluk are good examples where the Aboriginal place names have become commonly accepted and adopted around the world.”

The Central Land Council chair Francis Kelly said the name changes reflect the cultural importance of the parks.

“Not only are the Aboriginal names shorter than the European names, they also show the traditional owners’ ongoing cultural connection with their land. That’s very important to the traditional owners and it helps with attracting more visitors to the Alice Springs region,” Mr Kelly said.

Tjoritja (pronounced CHOOR-IT-JA), the Western and Central Aranda name for the MacDonnell Ranges, does not have a specific meaning.

Yeperenye (pronounced YEP-AREN-YA) is the name for one of the three caterpillars the traditional owners associate with important cultural sites and rock art within the park. They regard the East MacDonnell Ranges as the embodiment of their caterpillar ancestors, with some of the gaps along the ranges marking where those ancestors fought and had their heads bitten off.

Napwerte (pronounced NA-POOR-TA) is the place name for the rocky outcrop within the reserve.  As the entire reserve is a sacred men’s site any association with the name remains secret and sacred to initiated men.

Media Contact:       

Minister Price:  Lauren Crawley 0417 145 050

Central Land Council: Elke Wiesmann 0417877579

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CLC mourns true champion of land rights

Posted: Tue, October 21, 2014

Mr Whitlam in 2001, pictured left with CLC Chair Francis Jupurrurla Kelly, Paddy Japaljarri Simms, Margaret Whitlam and Alice Napanangka Granites.

The Aboriginal flag outside the Central Land Council in Alice Springs is flying at half mast today as Central Australian Aboriginal people mourn the passing of Australia’s 21st Prime Minister, Edward Gough Whitlam.
“Mr Whitlam was really Australia’s first Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, “ said CLC chair Francis Kelly, who met Mr Whitlam in 2001. “He didn’t need to give himself that name because we all know that’s who he was.”
“There are so many Whitlams in our communities who have been given that name in his honour”, said Mr Kelly. “It shows how many people still like and remember him.”
“He was a good and straightforward man and many people are very grateful for the land rights he gave to us,” he said.
CLC director David Ross said the much loved former leader passed away at a critical time for Aboriginal land rights.
“The Aboriginal Land Rights Act Mr Whitlam was preparing to bring in before he was sacked is again under attack from all the usual suspects,” Mr Ross said from Kalkarindji, where Mr Whitlam poured dirt into the hands of the father of land rights, Vincent Lingiari.
“It is doubly sad for this great man to leave us just as his most enduring achievement is once again under threat.”
Mr Ross said the legislation initiated by Mr Whitlam gave Aboriginal people something they had been denied since the arrival of Europeans: power.
“We owe it to him that we have the power to control what happens on our land and have some measure of control over our lives.”
“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.”
 
Images of Mr Kelly and Mr Whitlam are available on request.
Contact: Elke Wiesmann 0417 877 579, Media@clc.org.au
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Sandover Native Title rights recognised at last

Posted: Fri, October 17, 2014

Justice Debbie Mortimer and Eadie Holmes celebrate the Sandover native title determination at Honeymoon Bore.

Alyawarr and Kaytetye speakers from 19 land holding groups this week won recognition of their native title rights over 18,800 square kilometers of land in the Sandover region.

The determination area incorporates Ammaroo, Derry Downs, Murray Downs and Elkedra Perpetual Pastoral Leases (PPLs). 

Justice Mortimer handed down the native title determination by consent of the parties at a special sitting of the Federal Court at Honeymoon Bore, near Ampilatwatja community, approximately 325 kms north east of Alice Springs. 

“The groups’ right to hunt and gather, to conduct cultural activities and ceremonies and to negotiate about ‘future acts’ like mining will now co-exist with the pastoral leases and the PPLs will continue to be run as cattle stations,” explained CLC director David Ross. 

CLC chair Francis Kelly and Mr Ross congratulated the native title holders and paid tribute to the claimants who have passed away during the claim process. 

Mr Ross said the CLC filed the native title application 13 years ago in response to traditional owners’ concerns over future mining and horticultural development on their land.

“They wanted to ensure they would be able to continue to protect their sacred sites and to have a say over exploration and development on their traditional country.’” he said. 

“Our children will rise up and they will continue to stand up for their rights, as we are standing,” said Gilbert Corbett of the Atnwengerrp landholding group.

“Also, remembering our poor old people … remembering all our people – from north, east and west. I thank you all.”

The determination of non-exclusive native title rights is supported by an Indigenous Land Agreement which allows for the incorporation of the former stock routes and former stock reserve on Ammaroo PPL into the pastoral lease and compensation for the native title holders.

As part of the compensation package a small parcel of land adjoining the Aherrenge Aboriginal Land Trust will be excised from Ammaroo PPL and scheduled as Aboriginal Land under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act.  

The Alyawarr Awenyerre Aperte Ingkerr-Wenh Aboriginal Corporation will become the Registered Native Title Body Corporate that holds the native title rights and interests on behalf of its members. 

Contact: Elke Wiesmann 0417 877 579, Media@clc.org.au

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Sacred site that sparked Coniston Massacre handed back

Posted: Thu, October 09, 2014

The 22 year battle for justice by the traditional owners of Yurrkuru (Brooks Soak) had ended today.

During  a ceremony today at Yurrkuru near Yuendumu, Indigenous affairs minister Nigel Scullion handed the title to the Yurrkuru Aboriginal Land Trust to Willowra elder and CLC executive member Teddy Long, on behalf of the traditional owner group.
The square mile of former Crown land surrounded by the Mt Denison pastoral lease includes the sacred site where the dingo trapper Fred Brooks was killed by Aboriginal men in 1928, before Mr Long was born.
The killing triggered a series of reprisal killings of large numbers of innocent Aboriginal people across the region by Constable George Murray. The raids became known as the Coniston Massacre.
“My father explained to me what happened here in the shooting days”, Mr Long said. “He explained every rock hole and soakage where people got shot.”
The Aboriginal Land Commissioner recommended the grant of the block in 1992, however, the Mt Denison pastoralists bitterly opposed the grant.
“I am happy to have my grandfather’s and father’s country, even though it took a long time because the station owners were against it. It’s important for ceremony and culture,” he said.
Mr Long and the men sang a ngatijiri (budgerigar) song while the women performed a bandicoot purlapa (song and dance) and presented the minister with a coolamon and clap sticks.
Approximately 80 traditional owners attended the ceremony.
“They had to wait a long time for their land but they never considered giving up,” said CLC chair and Coniston documentary maker Francis Kelly.
Originally, the traditional owners wanted to set up an outstation on the block, but they changed their minds because the soak is a very small and unreliable source of water and has been fouled by cattle.
They have plans to build a shelter to harvest rain water and provide shade for visitors, as well as feature interpretive materials about the events that led to the massacres.
“Yurrkuru doesn’t only hold deep cultural significance for us but the loss of so many people during the massacres is still causing a lot of sadness across our region”, Mr Kelly said. “It will be good to be able to teach visitors about this place so we can make peace with our shared past”.

 

8 October 2014

 

Contact and stills: Elke Wiesmann 0417 877 579, media@clc.org.au

Video: Michael Taylor 0407 427 774, michael@pawmedia.com.au

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MEDIA ALERT - Hand back of sacred site that sparked Coniston Massacre

Posted: Fri, October 03, 2014

Purlapa (song and dance) featured at the 75th Coniston anniversary at Yurrkuru in 2003. (image courtesy National Museum of Australia)

Next week the traditional owners of Yurrkuru (Brooks Soak) will receive the title to a sacred site where the dingo trapper Fred Brooks was killed by Aboriginal men in 1928.

The killing triggered the series of reprisal killings of large numbers of innocent Aboriginal people across the region by Constable George Murray. The raids became known as the Coniston Massacre.
Indigenous affairs minister Nigel Scullion will attend a ceremony at Yurrkuru, located on a square mile of Crown land surrounded by the Mt Denison pastoral lease, on Wednesday, 8 October 2014 at 2pm to hand back the title to the Yurrkuru Aboriginal Land Trust.
The Aboriginal Land Commissioner recommended the grant of the small block in 1992, however, the Mt Denison pastoralists bitterly opposed the grant. It took the traditional owners and the CLC the best part of 20 years to finally achieve justice.
“They had to wait a long time for their land but they never considered giving up,” said CLC chair Francis Kelly, who is one of the makers of the documentary Coniston.
Originally, the traditional owners wanted to set up an outstation on the block, but they changed their minds because the soak is a very small and unreliable source of water and has been fouled by cattle.
They have plans to build a shelter to harvest rain water and provide shade for visitors, as well as feature interpretive materials about the events that led to the massacres.
“Yurrkuru doesn’t only hold deep cultural significance for us but the loss of so many people during the massacres is still causing a lot of sadness across our region”, Mr Kelly said. “It will be good to be able to teach visitors about this place so we can make peace with our shared past”.
The traditional owners have invited the Aboriginal Land Commissioner and the Mt Denison pastoralists, the Martin family, to the ceremony which will feature purlapa (song and dance).
With the exception of part of Irrinjirrinjirri (Crown Hill), a 26.5 hectare area on the Mt Denison – Mt Allan boundary, Yurrkuru is the only part of the owners’ traditional lands they have ever been able to claim under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act.

 

3 October 2014

Contact: Elke Wiesmann 0417 877 579, Media@clc.org.au

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Kings Canyon traditional owners reject mining in Watarrka National Park

Posted: Thu, September 25, 2014

Kunmanara Breaden signs the statement asking the NT Government not to allow oil and gas exploration in Watarrka National Park.

The traditional owners and Aboriginal members of the joint management committee for Watarrka (Kings Canyon) National Park have asked the NT government not to allow oil and gas exploration in one of Australia’s top tourist attractions.

Eighteen traditional owners signed a letter to the NT government following a meeting of the Watarrka Joint Management Committee on 9 September with representatives of Palatine Energy Pty Ltd and the departments of mines and energy and parks and wildlife.

At the meeting in the world class national park, 4 hours south west of Alice Springs, traditional owners listened to and unanimously rejected a presentation by Palatine’s managing director David Falvey.

“We strongly told them again that we do not want oil and gas exploration or mining on Watarrka National Park”, their letter reads. “As the traditional owners of this country and joint managers of this park we demand that these licenses not be granted”. 

This is the second time in 14 months that they have written to the NT government, asking it not to grant licenses for oil and gas exploration, including fracking, in the park.

The letter follows a meeting with parks minister Bess Price in May this year, where traditional owners again voiced their determined opposition to mining in the park on cultural, environmental, social and economic grounds.

They are still waiting for a response from mines minister Willem Westra Van Holthe to their letter from July 2013, which stated: “Every person from every family said that they do not want oil and gas activity in our park. We want this problem to be stopped before it begins.”

At the September meeting, park resident, traditional owner, former CLC chair and joint management committee member Kunmanara Breaden told the company that the traditional owners did not want any mining in the park.

Aboriginal members of the committee also expressed their anger about the absence from the meeting of both ministers.

“It is time the NT government came clean to the traditional owners and other  voters about what it regards as acceptable in NT national parks”, said CLC director David Ross.

“We know that Central Australians from all backgrounds are very concerned about the impacts of mining on the high cultural and conservation values of the park, as well as the tourism industry”, he said.

“I am calling on the NT government to respect the unanimous decision of the traditional owners to put cultural, environmental and tourism interests first. These interests are not compatible with mining machinery, trucks and fracking wells.”

The park’s traditional owners have no power to veto the exploration permit application because Watarrka National Park is not on Aboriginal freehold title.

The park is held under a tenure known as park freehold title.

On park freehold land traditional owners can only give a non binding opinion to the parks minister. The decision rests solely with the NT government.

25 September 2014

Contact: Elke Wiesmann 0417 877 579, Media@clc.org.au

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New Mutitjulu swimming season to focus on school, health and jobs

Posted: Tue, September 23, 2014

New Mutitjulu swimming season to focus on school, health and jobs

The Mutitjulu community will build on the great outcomes achieved in its first season when their self funded pool reopens for summer on the 26th of September.

Only children who have attended the full school day will be able to swim on weekdays.

“There are signs that this ‘Yes school – Yes pool’ policy contributed to increased school attendance during the last season. It will be in place again this season”, says CLC director David Ross.

Traditional owner and Mutitjulu pool committee member, Barbara Tjikatu, is proud of the health benefits the pool is creating, especially for people with disabilities.

Committee members made sure the pool has a hydraulic lift for older and disabled swimmers. Ms Tjikatu, who uses a wheelchair, says: “That’s a good thing. When it gets hot again I may have a swim.”

She says the pool has helped a young local girl with a physical disability. “Through swimming she’s got stronger, running around.”

In 2013 pool operators Casa Leisure were engaged by the CLC, with funding from the traditional owners of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, to run the pool for five seasons.

With strong support from the community based pool committee, the company ran a very successful first seven month swimming season that attracted over 6,500 pool visits.

Rob Heinjus, Casa Leisure’s General Manager, is looking forward to training local people to work at the pool alongside pool manager Freddie Couldwell.

“We are excited to, once again, be managing the day to day operations of the pool”, he says.

“To have someone on the ground like Freddie, who has the support of the local community, has been excellent.  Last season a number of locals supported him at the pool on a temporary basis and this year we would like to see someone within the community employed for the entire season.”

Mr Ross calls on governments to come on board and share the running costs of the pool with the traditional owners in the future so that they can plan other projects with their rent money.

“For seven years they planned the pool, saved up $1.5 million of their own money to operate it until 2017, oversaw a great first season and now they are working closely with Casa Leisure to employ locals at the pool.”

The new season will see the company and the pool committee work with the CLC to extend partnerships within the community. 

They plan events and youth services and extended opening times for parents with young children as well as the elderly.

 

Contacts:

Rob Heinjus 0418 898 669, robheinjus@casaleisure.com.au

Elke Wiesmann 08 8951 6373 or 0427 009 240, elke.wiesmann@clc.org.au.

Danielle Campbell 0447 003 259, danielle.campbell@clc.org.au

Images of the pool are available on request.

www.casaleisure.com.au                              www.clc.org.au

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CLC Under New Leadership

Posted: Wed, September 17, 2014

The new CLC Chair, Francis Jupurrurla Kelly (left) and new Deputy Chair, Sammy Butcher.

The Central Land Council’s deputy chair of over a year, Mr Francis Kelly, was today elected the new CLC chair. Mr Sammy Butcher is the new deputy chair. Mr Kelly, a film maker from Yuendumu who has been a CLC delegate for the past 12 years, said his election clears the way for the CLC to once again focus on the needs and aspirations of Aboriginal people in Central Australia.

“Members have got to work hand in hand with staff to keep this land council strong into the future”, he said. “Together, we must fight for our children to get a good bilingual and bicultural education, whether they live in outstations, communities or town. They deserve no less.”

“I want us to support outstation people to set up and run their own businesses and to lobby governments to put Aboriginal people in charge of services through their own independent outstation resource centres”, said Mr Kelly, who is well known for his film Coniston and the Bush Mechanics television series.

New deputy chair Sammy Butcher, a well known musician from Papunya, called the election a new beginning for the CLC and him personally.

“We can overcome our difficulties by all working together. Francis and I are both artists and role models and we’ll support each other for the betterment of our people.”

The 67 delegates present at the CLC’s special council meeting in Tennant Creek voted in an election conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission and observed by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The delegates voted for a new chair after the Daguragu community near Kalkarindji elected Mr Michael George as their new CLC delegate on 9 September 2014, replacing the community’s previous representative, Mr Maurie Ryan.

 

17 September 2014

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Traditional owners criticise nuclear dump process

Posted: Fri, September 12, 2014

Traditional owners consider information at the nuclear waste dump consultations.

Sixty traditional owners from the Tanami Desert and neighbouring land owners yesterday expressed their frustration with the federal government's nomination process for a proposed radioactive waste management facility and with the lack of information from the government.
"The public servants were unable to explain many of the details we had repeatedly requested from Minister Macfarlane and his department", said Central Land Council Director David Ross after a meeting at the Tanami Mine, 340 kilometers north west of Yuendumu.
"For example, people got no answers about how the nuclear waste would be transported or about the comprehensive benefits package the minister had flagged. No wonder they said they were dissatisfied."
Mr Ross said the process enshrined in the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012 expected traditional owners to volunteer a site without knowing the full details of the government’s proposal.
"Yet once a site is nominated traditional owners cannot change their mind when they find out the full story", he said. "A nuclear waste dump is forever, so it's just not fair to ask people to make such a big decision without a comprehensive proposal."
"We told the government since 2005 that its process and legislation were incompatible with the principle of prior informed consent", said Mr Ross.
The meeting instructed the CLC to write to the minister again, requesting further information.
The CLC convened the meeting with representatives of the Department of Industry, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and an independent radiation health expert so that traditional owners could learn more about the proposed facility.
In August it received a request for information from a group of traditional owners who had been contacted by the NT government, after the minister had told NT land councils they had until 30 September to nominate a site.
The CLC has a legal duty to consult with the wider traditional owner group about any proposal for the use of their land, ensure they fully understand the nature and effect of any proposal and obtain their informed consent before any proposal can go ahead.
It must also give communities or groups affected by a proposal an opportunity to express their views and will therefore go ahead with scheduled meetings in Balgo, Lajamanu and Yuendumu in the week starting 22 September.
The CLC’s governing body of 90 traditional owners will consider the outcome of the consultations at its next meeting in November. Under the current process only the Council can nominate a site, based on the prior informed consent of traditional owners.
 
12 September 2014
 
Contact: Elke Wiesmann 0417 877 579, Media@clc.org.au
 
Images from the meeting are available on request.
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CLC to consult on proposed nuclear waste dump

Posted: Tue, September 09, 2014

The Central Land Council is convening an initial meeting for traditional owners on 11 September 2014 at the closed Tanami Mine site North West of Yuendumu to find out about a proposed national nuclear waste management facility. 

“In August the CLC received an expression of interest from a group of traditional owners in the Tanami Desert who said they had been contacted by the NT government”, said CLC director David Ross. “They told us they want to know more about the commonwealth’s proposal, its benefits and risks”.

At the meeting the Department of Industry and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation will present details about the proposal. An independent expert on radiation health will also be present to answer traditional owners’ questions.

These initial consultations will be followed by community meetings in Balgo, Lajamanu and Yuendumu in the week starting 22 September. 

“They are not the only communities that may be affected by the proposed facility. We will hold further meetings if traditional owners are interested in progressing the proposal”, said Mr Ross.

He said the CLC received the expression of interest from traditional owners after the Minister for Industry, Ian McFarlane, told NT land councils they had until 30 September 2014 to nominate a potential site. 

“He wrote that a nominated site must have the consent of traditional owners and must not be disputed by other affected Aboriginal groups or communities”, Mr Ross said.

The minister yesterday announced his intention to declare a nationwide general process for nominating a site for the proposed facility.

By law the CLC must consult with the wider traditional owner group about any proposal for the use of their land, ensure they understand the nature and effect of any proposal and obtain their informed consent before any proposal can go ahead. 

It must also consult with affected communities or groups and give them an opportunity to express their views.

“We take our job very seriously and have decades of experience with these consultation processes”, said Mr Ross.

“We are keenly aware of the controversy associated with the withdrawn Muckaty nomination, which the minister called a disaster. We are doing our utmost to make sure that our process is clear, thorough and transparent”, he said.

The CLC’s governing body of 90 traditional owners will consider the outcome of the consultations at its next meeting in November.  

Only the Council can nominate a site, based on consultation outcomes, and particularly the clear informed consent of traditional owners. 

 

9 September 2014

Contact: Elke Wiesmann 0417 877 579, Media@clc.org.au

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CLC Mourns Passing of Constructive and Positive Chairman

Posted: Tue, August 05, 2014

Kumanjaye Bookie receives the title to part of the Simpson Desert on behalf of the Atnetye Aboriginal Land Trust (2011) (photo: Kumanjaye Hodson)

The Aboriginal flag at the Central Land Council office in Alice Springs is flying at half mast as members and staff mourn the passing on the weekend of former CLC chairman, Mr Kumanjaye Bookie. 

Mr Bookie was as respected for his knowledge of Eastern Arrernte law and culture as he was for putting his ideas into action.

Central Land Council Director David Ross said that Mr Bookie did not just talk the talk, he “made real” the promise of land rights by running an award winning cultural tourism business on his country at Batton Hill, on the northern edge of the Simpson Desert.

“Mr Bookie believed in private enterprise as a way out of dependency and, in partnership with his business associate Mr Jol Fleming, actually put his belief into practice”, he said.

Mr Bookie served as the CLC’s chairman from 2006 until 2012, winning three elections in a row. Members and staff fondly remember his humour, generosity and optimism.  

“He was a constructive and positive leader who was willing to get on with and work with everyone for the greater good of achieving outcomes for Aboriginal people”, said Mr Ross.

“He was often frustrated about the social problems our people are facing but he never let them forget about the good things that were happening during his tenure, for example the employment opportunities that come with the handing back of the NT national parks to their traditional owners and the CLC’s ground breaking ranger and community development programs.”

As a claimant in the successful Simpson Desert land claim he understood the benefits of land rights and memorably summed up the CLC’s role like this:

“The land council is our Alkwerte, like our shield. We use the shield for ceremony and the land council is our main body we come to with problems and issues. That’s what it represents, the land council, protection.”

“Mr Bookie brought a wealth of practical and political experience to his role of chairman. He worked on pastoral properties, served as a community police officer and as the CLC’s field officer at Atitjere (Harts Range). He represented the Bonya region on the ATSIC Regional Council and the Bonya Regional Health Council”, said Mr Ross.

“He was also passionately opposed to the now abandoned nuclear waste dump proposal at Muckaty Station, which he felt was bad for tourism.”

His passing will be felt not just in Central Australia but also in Queensland where he had strong connections.

The thoughts of CLC members and staff are with his wife, Ms Caroline Dixon, and their children Cyril, Tanya, Wayne and Kevin.

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Council moves to end destabilisation

Posted: Fri, July 25, 2014

The Central Land Council has resolved to end months of destabilising and distracting leadership tensions.

At their meeting in Tennant Creek from 22 to 24 July 2014 the delegates approved one month’s leave for the CLC chairman, Mr Maurie Ryan, and agreed on a range of measures to strengthen the land council’s governance.

Council directed the chairman to stop improper attempts to remove the director, Mr David Ross, and that any further comment on the leadership of the organisation must be authorised by the Council.

“The Council is keen to get on with the important job of fighting for the interests of Aboriginal people”, said the acting chairman, Mr Francis Kelly. “For example the tough grog restrictions at the Top Springs roadhouse they have just achieved.”

He congratulated the Kurdiji Law and Justice Committee, a group of respected Warlpiri leaders in Lajamanu, on its win in the struggle for alcohol restrictions at the roadhouse near Kalkarindji.

The CLC has strongly supported the group to apply to the Northern Territory Licensing Commission for restrictions that minimise the considerable harm from takeaway alcohol sales by the roadhouse.

“The CLC convinced the commission to hold hearings in Lajamanu and Kalkarindji in April and May so it could hear first hand about the devastating impacts of takeaway grog on the ground”, he said.

On Monday the commission imposed the toughest restrictions yet on the licensee of the roadhouse.

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Willowra’s Community Learning Centre wins Architecture Gong

Posted: Mon, July 14, 2014

The new Wirliyajarrayi Learning Centre in Willowra has won a commendation for Indigenous Community Architecture in the 2014 NT Architecture Awards.

The award jury recognised that the centre, which opened last year, was an important step forward for the small community, 330 kilometers north west of Alice Springs.

"This centre, partly funded by the community, represents a major move to a more harmonious future between the family groups who live here", the jury commented.

CLC Director David Ross congratulated the architects, Susan Dugdale Associates from Alice Springs, on the commendation.

"This honour acknowledges the extensive consultations they undertook with the community in determining the centre’s design", he said. "They worked closely with the CLC’s community development team over a number of years and really took on board what local people were telling them."

The jurors were impressed with the architects’ response to the challenging infill site and also appreciated the finishing touches by community members.

"We entered the centre through a walled courtyard and were greeted by 16 bold rectangular paintings done by Willowra’s different family groups. The paintings made a strong statement about a common future."

The panels were an art project of Yuendumu’s Warlukurlangu Art Centre and funded by the CLC administered Warlpiri Education and Training Trust (WETT).

The centre includes an early childhood facility, a large meeting space, training rooms for informal and formal training, a library, computers and internet access, and an outdoor movie screen. There is also staff accommodation.

CLC Director David Ross said that facilities like this make an enormous and tangible difference to people’s lives. "We take services like internet access, libraries, and early childhood services for granted, but those services are virtually non-existent in remote communities".

Four local men employed by Tangentyere Constructions worked on the construction of the centre, which was built with $600,000 of Warlpiri people’s royalty monies through WETT. $2.6 million came from the Aboriginals Benefit Account.

It is operated by Batchelor Institute for Indigenous Tertiary Education (BIITE) through a regional partnership with WETT and the CLC.

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Courage and conviction at heart of Muckaty win

Posted: Fri, June 20, 2014

The Central Land Council (CLC) today congratulated the Traditional Owners for Muckaty following the Federal Government’s decision to end the plan for a national radioactive waste dump at Muckaty Station, north of Tennant Creek.

The CLC welcomed the surprise announcement that the Federal Government has committed not to act on the Northern Land Council’s contested nomination of Muckaty as the site for a national radioactive waste dump. The decision comes during a Federal Court hearing initiated by lawyers representing Traditional Owners opposed to the facility.

CLC Director David Ross congratulated the Traditional Owners who campaigned strongly to have their concerns addressed.

“This result is due to the conviction and courage of the Traditional Owners for Muckaty who have defended their country and culture for almost eight years during this fight. This is a win for Traditional Owners, their country and Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory.”

“Traditional owners and concerned Aboriginal people living in the Tennant Creek region, within the boundary of the CLC area, made numerous representations to the CLC voicing their opposition to the proposed site at Muckaty Station over many years and their concerns with the consultation process leading to the nomination.

The CLC remains concerned about the National Radioactive Waste Management Bill 2010 legislation which allows the Commonwealth Government to override many important considerations in the selection of a site for a radioactive waste facility.  “The legislation is fundamentally flawed because it subverts processes under the Land Rights Act and is clearly designed to reach the outcome of a dump being located on Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory, whether that’s the best place for it or not.” 

“A transparent, credible and scientifically rigorous process is needed to settle on a new location for a national radioactive waste dump, not a mere process which seeks to entice Australia’s most economically disadvantaged people with promises of financial rewards.”

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Throwing out the Land Rights Act not the key

Posted: Tue, June 17, 2014

The Director of the Central Land Council, Mr David Ross, today urged the Member for Stuart , NT Minister Bess Price to think more carefully about the implications of throwing out the Land Rights Act.

‘The Minister is playing a dangerous political game and putting at risk nearly forty years of struggle to have land returned to its traditional landowners, without stating what the real problems are or offering any detailed alternatives. It is simply not good enough to just spout rhetoric on complex issues or to pretend that traditional owners are leaving their land because they have land rights.   Blaming tenure is easy, but you only have to look at Tennant Creek, Kalkarindji or Finke to see that remote towns situated on NT freehold title are not faring any better than communities on Aboriginal land. 

More than 50% of the NT is property held by traditional owners under land rights titles, and there are clear processes in the Land Rights Act for ensuring their informed consent can be sought on any dealings with their land.  It is not apparent what the Minister is proposing could replace the land rights system which provides for the recognition of ownership rights in country under Aboriginal law together with defined procedures for landowners decisions to be given effect under the Torrens system. 

Leasing of Aboriginal land allows for a secure interest to be granted over Aboriginal land, and over 500 such leases have been granted in the CLC region.  Leases are transferable and can be mortgaged - major developments like the Alice to Darwin Railway are built on leases over Aboriginal land and there are hundreds of mining and exploration agreements that have been consented to across the Northern Territory on land rights titles.

‘The land is not locked-up and the record shows that tenure can be granted when requests are made and landowners give their consent, but there are many genuine impediments to stimulating economic development, such as: lack of infrastructure, distance from market, poor roads, and lack of start-up capital.’

‘It is utter nonsense to suggest that there is a river of jobs that is somehow being held back by the Land Rights Act.  It is worth pointing out that one of the biggest impediments to young people gaining employment is their tragic lack of education, and the NT Government looks set to remove secondary education from all remote schools.   Progress will be made in small, steady steps, and through hard work. The CLC is intent on doing exactly that and we urge the Minister to work with us.’

David Ross, said ‘on the issue of sit-down money the CLC is working with traditional owners to assist them in making prudent decisions about income derived from their land. For example, the 90 members of our council recently made a decision that resulted in two thirds of the compensation monies received from the compulsory acquisition of the five year leases on remote communities being directed by traditional owners and community members towards community benefit projects.  Through our innovative community development program, more than $25million has been directed by Aboriginal people into their community projects, including swimming pools, education scholarships, early childhood programs, basketball court upgrades, and outstation support.  We are now looking carefully at how to expand this work into enterprise development.’

‘The Minister needs to work with land owners and their land councils on actual solutions and detailed proposals rather than making popularist and ill-informed commentary.’