The Australian Government will work with the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples. This will include considering priorities identified by both the Australian Government and the National Congress, providing $29.2 million for its establishment, and negotiating an engagement framework for communication between all parties.
Key Congress priorities for the next 12 months include:
Raising the profile of the Congress and growing the membership
Building a policy platform underpinned by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Striking a formal agreement between Congress and the Australian Government
Creating a network of partnerships and alliances across all sectors.
The Australian Government and the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples are currently finalising joint key priorities and a formal Framework within which the Government and National Congress can effectively engage on matters of importance to Indigenous peoples
FaHCSIA , DEEWR, AGD, DoHA, PMC,
Funding for the establishment of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples covers a five year period
Mechanisms as set out in the Funding Agreement between Commonwealth agencies and Congress
The Australian Government will continue to address the significant level of housing need in remote Indigenous communities through its $5.5 billion investment in the National Partnership on Remote Indigenous Housing. Since the commencement of the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing on 1 January 2009 more than 800 new houses have been completed and 3,300 houses have been rebuilt and refurbished nationally.
The Social Housing Initiative provides $5.238 billion for new construction over three-and-a-half years, from 2008–09 to 2011–12. A further $400 million was allocated over two years from 2008–09 to 2009–10 to undertake repair and maintenance work that benefited existing social housing dwellings. Of the over 13,400 dwellings for which tenant data is available (at 30 September 2011, over 1,800 (14 per cent) went to Indigenous people.
The National Partnership Agreement on Social Housing provided $400 million to build around 1,960 new dwellings. The increased supply of housing will contribute to reducing homelessness and improving outcomes for homeless and Indigenous Australians. As at 30 September 2011, over 1,680 dwellings had been completed. Of the over 1,470 dwellings for which tenant data is available, over 100 (7 per cent) went to Indigenous people.
FaHCSIA State and NT Governments
Mechanisms set out in the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing
Stolen generations and stolen wages
Community safety and the justice system12,13
The Australian Government will continue to provide funding for programs and initiatives, including:
$85.3 million in funding for Indigenous legal assistance and related services
$11.4 million in the Indigenous Justice Program to fund initiatives to reduce the number of Indigenous people coming into contact with the criminal justice system
Through the Indigenous Family Safety Program $12.5 million was provided to deliver 42 Indigenous family safety programs in remote, regional and urban locations across Australia
In partnership with the NT Government $3 million provided to enforce alcohol restrictions through identity card technology and the buyback off three take-away liquor licences
Under the NT Emergency Response 22 safe places in 17 communities across the NT. Safe places provided shelter for 802 women, 651 children and 45 men between January 2009 and June 2011;
$3.4 million invested over two years to support Community Engagement Police Officers in eight remote communities with high levels of crime and violence, and
$76.8 million provided over three years to support initiatives within the Closing the Gap Law and Order measure in particular the delivery of night patrol services across 80 communities in the NT NT government child protection workers can now refer parents to Centrelink, which administers Australia’s income support budget, for compulsory income management when children are being neglected or are at risk of neglect.
The Northern Territory Department of Justice (DoJ) is the lead agency in coordination with NT Police, the Australian Government and other NT Government agencies for the development of community safety plans in identified regional growth towns under the Remote Service Delivery National Partnership Agreement.
Under the plans relevant service agencies across three tiers of government will be responsible for implementing actions identified by the community across a range of program areas including law and justice, child protection, homelessness, alcohol and other drugs, domestic and family violence, environmental design and health and education. Under current arrangements, funding for this program is due to cease 30 June 2012.
Commonwealth and NT Governments
As set out in the relevant National Partnership Agreements
The Australian Government and the Northern Territory will continue to provide capacity building funding to the Northern Territory Aboriginal Interpreter Service, with Australian Government funding committed to 2011-12 under the Closing the Gap in the Northern Territory National Partnership Agreement. Governments are working together to encourage agencies to increase their use of Indigenous interpreters when needed, as an ongoing service delivery practice, in the rollout of service and programs in the Northern Territory.
Increased number of trained interpreters employed by the NT AIS; increase number of community based interpreters with ongoing employment arrangements
Implement measures in the Territory 2030 Strategic Plan that relate to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Implement measures to increase driver training and licensing to reduce incarceration for traffic related offences.
The Justice (Corrections) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2011 (not yet commenced) will introduce two new sentencing options in the Sentencing Act, called Community-Based Orders and Community Custody Orders.
Freedom from violence14
The Northern Territory Department of Justice, and Department of Children and Families are jointly leading a whole of government ‘Integrated Response to Family Violence’ (IVFP) project in Alice Springs. The three year, $3.26 million project is funded by the Alice Springs Transformation Plan, a joint Northern Territory and Australian Government initiative which aims to improve life outcomes for Aboriginal residents in Alice Springs and their visitors. The IFVP approach is in line with international and national research that identifies best practice in addressing family violence. The project is also consistent with the 2011 Council of Australian Governments National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children.
The Northern Territory Government will continue work towards reduction of homelessness in the Northern Territory under NT’s Territory 2030 Strategic Plan through measures including:
increasing managed and supported accommodation facilities and tenant support programmes
commissioning study on rough sleeping in Darwin, and
providing assistance for individuals leaving child protection to access and maintain stable and affordable accommodation.
Freedom from discrimination
Homelessness within priority groups
The Northern Territory Government provides funding and program management of a range of initiatives under the Integrated Case Management Services (ICMS) program that is principally aimed at Indigenous people sleeping rough in urban areas. The ICMS services include short and longer term intervention and referral through outreach and case management, and Return to Country services for homeless people.
Freedom from discrimination21
The Northern Territory Office of the Commissioner for Public Employment will continue to implement its Equal employment Opportunity Management Programs, including management of:
the Northern Territory Public Sector (NTPS) Willing and Able Strategy which aims to ensure that people with a disability are able to realise their potential through access to employment opportunities in the NTPS, and
the Project Employment Scheme which is the NTPS’s pathway employment program for people with a disability who are not able to be competitive in winning a job on the basis of merit.
13 See also action under People in prisons relating to examining mechanisms employed within the criminal justice system to address the needs of people with a mental illness and/or cognitive disability (including intellectual disability and acquired brain injury) - p 34