Annual Report 2010-2011
I am very pleased to report that the organisation has again made significant progress in a number of key areas and I genuinely feel that it has made a real difference to our constituents in the bush.
Once again we have had tangible and extremely positive achievements in our community development and community ranger programs.
We believe the long-term Australian Government funding for the community ranger program has assisted that program to continue to outperform nearly every other program in Aboriginal affairs in terms of outcomes in employment, education, lifestyle skills, land management and other markers.
I would like to thank both the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, the Hon. Jenny Macklin MP and the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, the Hon Tony Burke for their support for the program and for our work.
The benefits for Aboriginal people have been immense and in many cases they have been transformative for some of the individuals involved.
The program has transitioned a number of people who were long-term dependents on welfare to employees who now seek opportunities in the
wider economy beyond the ranger programs.
The demand for the programs continues to grow exponentially and the CLC is keen to share the lessons learnt from its outstanding success.
Similarly valuable lessons have been learnt from the CLC’s community development programs which involve spending rent and royalty monies on community projects.
Like the ranger program the spectacular success of these programs has led to increased demand from all over the CLC’s region for similar projects.
Again, Australian Government support for our community development initiatives is appreciated and has assisted in the process of transforming the landscape of Central Australian Aboriginal communities.
The CLC has advocated strongly on behalf of its constituents on issues that go to the heart of Aboriginal people’s relationship to land. As we reported last year, the issue of leasing on Aboriginal land remains challenging on a number of levels for the organisation.
While the CLC is pleased that the Australian and Northern Territory governments have finally committed to entering into leases with Aboriginal landowners, it has taken a lot of hard work and resources to ensure it happens in a timely manner with full consent.
One area in which the CLC has stood very firmly for its constituents has been the pursuit of ‘fair rent’ for the five-year leases over land which was compulsorily acquired by the Coalition Government as part of the Northern Territory Emergency Response in 2007.The Valuer-General valuations were considerably less than valuations obtained by the CLC from an independent valuer and unfortunately the Australian Government has not yet recommenced negotiations.
This means that monies already paid into the CLC’s trust account cannot be distributed until the matter is finalised. It is hoped this will be resolved before the end of 2011.
We were heartened to see the Australian Government’s advice that the notorious ‘blue signs’ on Aboriginal land can finally be taken down and we are interpreting this symbolically significant development as a sign that the Government wishes to move on from the excesses and absurdities that characterised the Intervention.
Finally I would like to congratulate and thank the many excellent staff of the CLC. Recruiting and retaining people and their families to remote areas is extremely difficult and one of the biggest ongoing challenges for the CLC.
Nonetheless the professionalism and commitment of our people who have chosen to come and work with the CLC in remote Australia is impressive and their input has been extremely valuable.
The CLC takes its commitment to represent its constituents in the most professional and effective way very seriously and we believe that we have delivered some very positive and tangible outcomes for 2010-2011.