Key Issues

Since its inception in 2008, the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body has identified a number of key issues – and recommendations to address them

Key issues

What is the ATSIEB Outcomes Report and who is it for

ATSIEB was established under the ACT’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body Act 2008 (the Act) to enable the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities of the ACT to have a strong democratically elected voice that is able to represent the community’s interests and aspirations.

Every year ATSIEB conducts estimate style hearings to carry out its functions in accordance with the Act. The hearings occur with all ACT Government directorates and service agencies to assist ATSIEB to investigate how well the ACT Government is performing on delivery of the priorities of Our Community, Our Future 2012–2017 Strategic Plan and Closing the Gap in life outcomes for the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

In 2013, ATSIEB initiated a change to the process with all ACT directorates receiving a set of generic questions prior to the estimate hearings to ensure that all of the issues raised by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in the ACT are responded to.

The ATSIEB Outcomes Report is a synopsis of the key outcomes from the hearings process and is for the:

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in the ACT and surrounding Queanbeyan region.

ACT Government and its directorates and service agencies

The way forward

ATSIEB priorities

Five key priorities have been identified by ATSIEB to work closely with the ACT Government to progress in the next 12 months:

Evidence of access and impact to improve outcomes for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the ACT.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership across all ACT Government directorates.

Focused and effective services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the ACT.

Focused and effective policy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the ACT.

A review of ATSIEB and its capacity to carry out and sustain effectiveness of its functions under the Act to develop and enter into a new ATSIEB–Whole of ACT Government Agreement.

ATSIEB Report to Government 2014

Key Issues – 2012 Report

During the period since the previous report, ATSIEB identified a further 24 recommendations aligned in 7 priority areas, Health, Schooling, Safe Communities, Governance and Leadership, Economic Participation, Healthy Homes and Early Childhood.

Some of the main themes were around:

  • A recommitment to the original budget allocation for the establishment of the Ngunnawal Bush Healing Far, on Paddy’s River to maximise outcomes.
  • That the ACT Government establish an independent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community controlled child welfare organisation that both will be a service delivery conduit for local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as well as to undertake an advocacy role in relation to children that are coming into the foster care and protection environment.  A shared funding arrangement between ACT and NSW Governments to fund the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled child welfare organisation as a service hub of the surrounding region should be examined as part of this process.
  • The ACT Government establish a dedicated and sustainable ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Advocacy and Service organisation.
  • The ACT Government hand back control of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Centre in Lady Denman Drive, to an appropriate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation in the ACT as agreed by ATSIEB.

Full copies of the Hansard transcript and 2011 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body – Report on the Outcomes of the ATSIEB Hearings 2011 can be found at www.atsieb.com.au

 

Priority Areas

Recommendations

Health RECOMMENDATION 1 : The ACT Government commit to a five year priority for the establishment of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander aged-care and respite facility in the ACT, including the identification and securing of a site from future land releases for the project.
RECOMMENDATION 2 : A recommitment to the original budget allocation for the establishment of the Ngunnawal bush healing farm on Paddy’s river to maximise outcomes.
 Schooling RECOMMENDATION 3 : The ACT Government to develop a service-wide program to mentor Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students currently in the ACT schools system to encourage aspirations for further qualifications such as diplomas.
RECOMMENDATION 4 : The ACT Government prioritise recruitment and career development for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the preschool sector.
 Safe Communities RECOMMENDATION 5 : That the ACT Government establish an independent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled child welfare organisation that both will be a service delivery conduit for local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as well as to undertake an advocacy role in relation to children that are coming into the foster care and protection environment. A shared funding arrangement between the ACT and NSW Governments to fund the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled child welfare organisation as a service hub for the surrounding region should be examined as part of this process.
RECOMMENDATION 6 : The ACT Government provide quarterly reporting against the Aboriginal Justice Agreement.
RECOMMENDATION 7 : The ACT Government provide quarterly reporting for the Official Visitor program.
RECOMMENDATION 8 : The ACT Government establish a dedicated and financially sustainable ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service.
RECOMMENDATION 9 : The ACT Government establish a dedicated and sustainable ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women Advocacy and Service organisation.
Governance and Leadership  RECOMMENDATION 10 : All Directorates ensure that when referring to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, no abbreviations are acceptable, and if referring to Indigenous peoples, then this is always with a Capital “I”, as a sign of respect. It is the preference of ATSIEB that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is used.
RECOMMENDATION 11 : All Directorates to work in partnership with ATSIEB in relation to the annual budget process. In particular proposals for new policy initiatives that will impact on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and which quite clearly identify where it is that ATSIEB is being consulted and evaluate feedback.
RECOMMENDATION 12 : All Directorates to work in partnership with ATSIEB in relation to engagement with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
RECOMMENDATION 13 : The ACT Government to prioritise the resolution of servicing responsibilities by the NSW and ACT Governments to Jervis Bay and Wreck Bay communities.
RECOMMENDATION 14 : The ACT Government to develop annual ‘fact sheets’ by all directorates which identify the expenditure on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander initiatives across the ACT Government, including a ‘fact sheet’ on expenditure initiatives for the local traditional Aboriginal custodians.
RECOMMENDATION 15 : The ACT Government to fund an expansion or extension of the facilities of the Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Medical Service.
RECOMMENDATION 16 : Documentation of baseline data by ACT directorates to measure the local performance outcomes of programs and services funded for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and measure if the activities undertaken are working effectively to close the gap in disadvantage.
RECOMMENDATION 17 : Administrative responsibility for the operation of the United Ngunnawal Elders Council to be transferred to the Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate to more effectively engage with local Aboriginal custodians on cultural and heritage matters, including Natural Resource Management issues.
Economic Participation  RECOMMENDATION 18 : The ACT Government to actively engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples utilising the energy and water efficiency program.
RECOMMENDATION 19 : The ACT Government to assist local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations with assessments for existing community organisations. Particularly, those premises that are over 50 years old are to be made a priority.
RECOMMENDATION 20 : The ACT Government to commit to a fi ve year plan for the long term economic development and revitalisation of Boomanulla Oval.
RECOMMENDATION 21 : The ACT Government to actively promote and report on its use of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses that qualify as a certified supplier of the Australian Indigenous Minority Supplier Council (AIMSC), including the level of businesses that are utilised to procure goods or services for the ACT Government.
RECOMMENDATION 22 : ACT Government hand back control of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Centre in Lady Denman Drive, to an appropriate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation in the ACT as agreed by ATSIEB.
Healthy Homes  RECOMMENDATION 23 : The ACT Government to prioritise immediate housing and accommodation support for the aged-care and disabled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, including respite care.
Early Childhood  RECOMMENDATION 24 : The ACT Government develop a recruitment and career development strategy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in early childhood development areas.

Key Issues – 2011 Report

During 2010 the Elected Body identified a further 16 key issues and they are as follows:-

  • The ACT Government must consult with the Elected Body when making any commitments to address the issue of social inclusion as stated in the objectives and outcomes of the Closing the Gap: National Indigenous Reform Agreement.
  • To overcome Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage the ACT Government and its directorates — through a strategic policy framework — focus increased budget allocation and policy attention in the following areas:
    • education
    • health
    • law and justice
    • housing

In line with the National Indigenous Law and Justice Framework, the Justice and Community Safety Directorate provide a report on actions, funds allocated and expended to-date, based on the framework goals as shown below:

  • Improve all Australian justice systems so that they comprehensively deliver on the justice needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in a fair and equitable manner.
  • Reduce over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders, defendants and victims in the criminal justice system.
  • Ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander feel safe and are safe within their communities.
  • Increase safety and reduce offending within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities by addressing alcohol and  substance abuse.

Strengthen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people communities through working in partnership with governments and other stakeholders to achieve sustained improvements in justice and community safety.

The ACT Government fund an expansion of the role of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body including a full-time chairperson for the next term of the Elected Body whose specific role is to liaise with the Commonwealth on development of policy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans.

The ACT Government transfer all administration and resources aligned with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body to the Chief Minister and Cabinet Directorate.

The Chief Minister and Cabinet Directorate support the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body by increasing research, reporting, administrative and support services.

The ACT Government to work with the Australian Government in the funding of an ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service.

Under the ACT Recruitment and Career Development Framework, ACT Government agencies create scholarships and/or cadetships for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in:

  • child care
  • preschool
  • teachers
  • nursing

The ACT Government develops a proposal for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Aged Care and Disability facility including respite services in the ACT to service the ACT and regional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander aged and disabled population.

The ACT Government review its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing and homelessness services in consultation with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body.
The referral pathways for the Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm be developed ensuring appropriate support for families of those accessing the service.

The Education and Training directorate replicates its Skill-based Training Program — successful with Erindale College’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander year 11 and 12 students — to all ACT colleges.

The ACT Government create a discrete ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander foster care agency.

ACT Government agencies have an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Competency Program for all managers and frontline staff.

The ACT Government develop a discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Small Grants Program to promote the history, culture and achievements of the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and assist in their aspirations.

The ACT Government implement a linguistic program based on the model and paper provided to the Education and Training Directorate during the hearings.

Key Issues – 2009 Report

The Elected Body identified 6 key issues as follows:-

  • ACT Government directorates and agencies improve collection and management of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander data.
  • The ACT Government implements a whole-of-government Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander recruitment, retention and development strategy.
  • ACT Government directorates and agencies better inform and promote ACT Government services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the ACT.
  • The Education and Training Directorate improves support for school-aged students during the transition to high school and beyond to maintain literacy and numeracy achievements.
  • The Health Directorate ensures an increased number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander liaison officers at the Canberra Hospital.
  • The Justice and Community Safety Directorate pursues recurrent funding for the Indigenous liaison officer at the Women’s Legal Centre.