Welcome to our 45th Newsletter!
It’s been a while since our last Newsletter and lots has been happening!
We’ll start by sharing some good news stories, then we’ll highlight some key events and go on to consider some questions that the Paper Tracker has been tracking but that haven’t been answered yet.
This Newsletter also provides information about the latest Paper Tracker radio shows and invites you to visit the Anangu Lands Paper Tracker Facebook page.
Good news stories
The Paper Tracker was very excited to hear that the Federal Assistant Minister for Health, Fiona Nash, has committed funding to Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation (also known as The Purple House) to extend their work in successfully providing community-based dialysis, and that this could include a dialysis facility in Ernabella/Pukatja on the Lands.
Fresh and nutritious food
The Mai Wiru Regional Stores Aboriginal Corporation started its weekly freight service to APY community stores in September 2014. This has had a positive impact on the availability and price of fresh food. As a result of the regular freight service from Adelaide to the Lands, there is already a 25% reduction in the cost of most foods.
Mimili Community CFS
The Mimili Community Country Fire Service now includes a Women’s Fire Brigade! You can check out the Paper Tracker radio interview with members of this brigade, including Ms Tania Pompey and Mr Tony Walker.
They talk about how the Mimili CFS was set up and how the women came to be involved. Tania talks about the importance of women ‘stepping up’ and getting involved in their community.
APY Executive elections
In May 2015, the Australian Electoral Commission held elections for the APY Executive Board. Mrs Paddy from Kalka was elected as the APY Chairperson and Mr Bernard Singer as the Deputy Chairperson.
Governance and APY Land Rights Act
Review of APY Land Rights Act: In April 2014, the Hon Dr Robyn Layton presented the final report of the limited review of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Land Rights Act 1981 to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation. Copies of the report were then provided to the APY Executive, who responded to the recommendations in mid-December 2014. The outcomes of the Review are yet to be formally approved or adopted. The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs has indicated that he is committed to implementing the findings of the Review and plans to then call fresh APY Executive elections.
Amendment to the APY Land Rights Act: In late 2014, the previous Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation introduced an urgent amendment to the APY Land Rights Act through Parliament. These amendments give the Minister the power to suspend the APY Executive Board and appoint an Administrator, based on any grounds that the Minister believes are warranted. The existing provisions of the Act already enabled the Minister to take this action but required that specified procedures were to be followed. To date, the amended powers have not been used.
Forensic audit of APY finances and administration: In July 2015, the Federal and State Ministers for Aboriginal Affairs announced that a forensic audit would be undertaken of Government funds awarded to the APY Executive Board in 2014-15. Both Ministers indicated that the audit followed long-standing concerns about governance arrangements within the APY Executive.
The audit follows the release of the APY Lands Rights Administration Grant Review (KPMG, 1 May 2015), which found that there was a lack of financial control and non-compliance with required expenditure delegations during the last six months of 2014. This report was followed by The APY Lands Rights Administration Grant Review Status Report (KPMG, 18 June 2015).
APY Executive Minutes: Section 10 of the APY Land Rights Act states that the Executive Board must have accurate minutes kept of its meetings and that these are to be made available to Anangu. The latest Executive minutes on the APY website are for June 2015.
APY Interim General Manager: A new Interim General Manager, Mr Richard King, was appointed in April on a three month contract. He previously worked as the Aboriginal services director for the SA Government’s Corrections Department. His appointment follows the resignation of the previous interim general manager, Lesley Johns. Recruitment for a General Manager is currently underway.
Progress on the APY Lands Annual Report: In August 2015, the Department of State Development’s division of Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation posted its Progress on the APY Lands Annual Report for 2014. You can read this report here. This report was previously produced twice a year but will now be produced annually.
Unanswered questions and issues of concern
- Ongoing monitoring of the implementation of Mullighan Inquiry recommendations
In late 2013, the Government tabled its fifth and final report to Parliament about its implementation of the recommendations of the Children on APY Lands (Mullighan) Commission of Inquiry. The report states that the APY Lands Steering Committee will have responsibility for the ongoing monitoring of the implementation of the Inquiry’s recommendations. The Paper Tracker wrote to the Minister for Education and Child Development in December 2014 regarding the ongoing monitoring of recommendations and was informed in March 2015, by the Chief Executive of the Department, that the APY Lands Steering Committee had met twice in 2014 but that child protection was not on the agenda.The Department for State Development’s Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation division’s Progress on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands report for 2014 makes no reference to the APY Lands Steering Committee’s responsibility for monitoring the implementation of the Inquiry’s recommendations, but indicates that this Committee’s key focus areas are the Regional Partnership Agreement and the Remote School Attendance Strategy.The question as to who has oversight and responsibility for the ongoing implementation of the Mullighan Inquiry recommendations remains unanswered.
- Child Protection Protocols
In October 2013, the South Australian Government commenced a review of the APY Lands Child Protection Protocols for the Investigation and Assessment of Suspected Child Abuse and/or Neglect. These protocols have been operational since 2011 and provide guidelines for how government agencies and non-government organisations should respond to child protection notifications. The Review is being led by the Commissioner for Victims’ Rights and by DECD-Families SA.After repeated requests for an update on the progress of this Review, on 17 December 2013 the Department advised the Paper Tracker that it expected the Review to be completed by August 2014. According to AAR’s 2014 Progress on the Lands Report, the Review was to be finalised by mid-2015. To date, no final report or outcome has been made available.
- Various issues of concern
- Hearing loss among Anangu children: There is a high level of hearing loss among Anangu children on the APY Lands. Research data compiled by audiologists and researchers from Flinders University shows that 75% of children fail standard hearing tests and over one third of children have at least one perforated ear drum. The Paper Tracker has raised this issue with both the Federal and State Ministers for Aboriginal Affairs and with the Women and Children’s Health Network. We look forward to hearing how this serious problem is going to be addressed.
- Reduction of services in Mimili Community: A number of services in Mimili Community have been shut-down or reduced – the Internet Centre is closed; Centrelink is no longer providing a service in the community; and due to funding cuts, MoneyMob Talkabout is not able to provide financial support services. These changes are affecting community members and their access to online banking and information and their ability to manage their money and income benefits, more especially at this time when the new Community Development Program (previously CDEP and RJCP) is being rolled out. On 1st July, the Paper Tracker wrote to the Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, the Regional SA office of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and the Mimili Government Business Manager about this issue. We also raised this issue with the SA Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. We hope to receive a response soon.
Paper Tracker Radio Shows
Since our last newsletter, the Paper Tracker has produced and broadcast 41 radio shows. We’ve covered a range of topical issues under the key themes that Paper Tracker is tracking. The shows are grouped under our tracking themes and you can click on the links if you’d like to listen to the radio shows.
Making decisions and looking ahead
- Empowered Communities: Andrea Mason on Empowered Communities and Andrea Mason on ‘Empowered Communities’ – Part Two
- The APY court circuit: Paul Tanner on APY Court Circuit
- Interpreting and translating Aboriginal languages: Paul Eckert on translating and life on the Lands – Part1 and Paul Eckert on Translation and Life on the Lands – Part 2
- Music education, through the Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music: CASM on Courses and Showcase
- The Royal Commission into the Nuclear Fuel Cycle: Mark Parnell on Nuclear Royal Commission and Karina and Rose Lester on Nuclear Royal Commission and Adam Sharah on SA Nuclear Royal Commission
- Support for children and families: Frank Hytten (SNAICC) – Support for children and families and Frank Hytten – SNAICC (Part two)
- Elections for the APY Executive: SA Electoral Commission – APY Elections
- Updates from Federal and State Ministers on a range of issues, including Compensation for the Stolen Generation, the Remote School Attendance Strategy, and the implementation of Mullighan Inquiry recommendations: Minister Nigel Scullion – Update and Minister Maher – Introduction and update and Minister Maher – Update: Part 2
- Natural resource management: Natural Resource Management on the Lands
- APY Governance and general APY issues: Bernard Singer update on APY Lands and Eddie Hughes – Update on APY issues and Richard King on APY Governance – Part 1 and Richard King: APY Update – Part 2 and Khatija Thomas on Reconciliation and Revd. Bernie Clarke on the Uniting Church and APY Lands
- How to manage paying fines: ALRM on paying fines
Employment and training
- The Forrest Review into Indigenous Jobs and Training – the ‘Creating Parity Report’; income management and the pilot of the Healthy Welfare Card in Ceduna: Matthew Gray (CAEPR) on Income Management and Commissioner’s consultations on Forrest Review and Khatija Thomas on Forrest Review
- The Community Development Program (CDP – previously the Remote Jobs and Communities Program), which includes a requirement that in order to receive their income benefits, people are required to undertake ‘work-like activities’ for 25 hours per week – this is essentially a work-for-the-dole program. The roll-out of the CDP across the APY Lands is coordinated by SkillHire which has been contracted by the Federal Government: David Couzner on Community Development Program
- The 2015 Anangu Work Expo: TAFE SA’s 2015 Anangu Work Expo
- The Mimili CFS has set up and trained the Mimili Women’s Fire Brigade: Mimili Community Fire Service
- Mai Wiru freight service to APY community stores and the impact on the price and availability of fresh food. The regular freight service from Adelaide to the Lands is showing a 25% reduction in the cost of most foods. Link to radio show: David Schomburgk on Food Security
Health and kidney disease
- Ear health and hearing, with a particular focus on the levels of hearing loss amongst Anangu children on the APY Lands – 75% of children fail standard hearing tests and over one third of children have at least one perforated ear drum: Linnett Sanchez on ear health and hearing
- Community-based dialysis, with an overview of the existing provision of dialysis services in community so that people suffering from renal disease are able to stay at home and remain connected with country and culture: Sarah Brown on Community-based Dialysis
Infrastructure and housing
- The new APY road: Paul Gelston (DPTI) on new APY road and Jon Whelan (DPTI) on APY Road
- Municipal and essential services in communities such as Yalata and Nipapanha as well as on the APY Lands: Greg Franks on Yalata services – Part 1 and Greg Franks on Yalata and Essential Services – Part 2 and Greg Moore of Nipapanha on Services – Part 1 and Greg Moore – Nipapanha Services Part 2
- Services and infrastructure managed by the Regional Anangu Services Aboriginal Corporation: Mark Jackman on Regional Anangu Services – Part 1 and Mark Jackman on RASAC – Part 2
The Paper Tracker Project would like to thank the University of Adelaide and its Radio Adelaide Station for hosting our show and for the fantastic work they do in sharing information with the broader community and in strengthening community radio.
Our Facebook page is continuing to be a great way to get word out quickly to Anangu and to share information more broadly. We currently have 1,169 ‘friends’ and the number of our ‘contacts’ per week range from 500 to 8,000! We’d love it if you and your friends would ‘like’ our page and would engage with us about issues that you think are important and that affect Anangu communities.
In memoriam: Reverend Edwards
The Paper Tracker would like to acknowledge the passing of Reverend Edwards on July 24 2015, and pay our respects to him and his commitment to Anangu and to the years he spent supporting and strengthening Aboriginal languages and interpreting and translating work.
He served as the Superintendent at Ernabella Mission from 1958 until 1972 and as Minister of the Fregon Pitjantjatjara Parish in 1973 and at Amata from 1976-1980. He lectured in Aboriginal Studies at the Torrens College of Advanced Education and was a lecturer at the South Australian College of Advanced Education and at the University of South Australia where he taught Pitjantjatjara.
Revd. Edwards was awarded membership of the Order of Australia in 2009 for more than 50 years of service to the Aboriginal community.
We offer our sympathy to his family, friends and all who were touched by his teaching and dedication.