Welcome to the Paper Tracker’s 43rd newsletter!
Changes At The Paper Tracker Project
A great deal has happened since our last newsletter, including a change at the helm of the Paper Tracker Project. After almost seven years of co-ordinating the Project, Jonathan Nicholls decided to move on and he left Uniting Communities in mid-March. Sue Tilley has taken over from Jonathan as the Manager of Aboriginal Policy and Advocacy and has responsibility for the Paper Tracker Project.
Uniting Communities and the Paper Tracker would like to thank Jonathan for initiating and driving this important project and for his commitment to ensuring that Anangu have access to information about what governments are saying and doing. He has established and maintained a valuable project which advances transparency and accountability through sharing information. Best wishes for your next adventure, Jonathan!
Sue comes to the Paper Tracker with experience not only from working in remote communities in South Africa and South Australia, but also in various South Australian government departments. She’s committed to carrying on the work of sharing information across Anangu communities.
State Election 2014 and Key Policy Platforms
To ensure that Anangu had access to information about the policy platforms of the main political parties in the run-up to the State Election in March this year, the Paper Tracker held radio interviews with five politicians who agreed to answer a set of questions on issues of importance to Anangu.
These questions focused on seven themes that the Paper Tracker is tracking:
- Food Security
- Kidney Disease
- Child Protection
- Making Decisions
- Looking Ahead.
The following representatives of political parties were interviewed before the State Election:
- Hon Ian Hunter MLC, Labor
- Mr Steven Marshall MP, Liberal
- Hon Tammy Franks MLC, Greens
- Hon Robert Brokenshire MLC, Family First
- Hon Kelly Vincent MLC, Dignity for Disability.
These individual interviews were translated into Pitjantjatjara/Yankunytjatjara and posted on our website. You can listen to these interviews by clicking on the name of each politician above.
APY Governance: Review Panel’s Final Report Submitted
In April 2014, the panel involved in reviewing specific aspects of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Land Rights Act 1981, submitted its Final Report to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, the Hon Ian Hunter, MLC.
For background information about the Review, the members of the Panel and the recommendations included in the Review’s Interim Report, you can read more here.
The Final Report makes a series of recommendations which are largely the same as those set out in the Interim Report. The Final Report notes that ‘at the Special General Meeting (held in February 2014), Anangu did not confirm or reject the recommendations of the Panel and that the recommendations therefore remain unconfirmed by Anangu’.
The recommendations of the Review focus on the following, amongst others:
- Gender Balance – That the APY Executive consists of an equal number of men and women to be elected or appointed in accordance with the Act
- General Voting Principles
- Pre-election processes
- Post–election training
- Eligibility requirements
- Removal of APY Executive members
- Encouraging youth and young men and women
- Gender of Chair and Deputy Chair
- Amending the Act or other legislative measures.
The Final Report highlights the need for further consultations, stating that:
- the recommendations and the Executive Summary in this Final Report be translated into Pitjantjatjara and be presented by the Panel to the APY Executive together with a full copy of the Final Report in English.
- the Government acknowledge the resolution passed by Anangu at the SGM to have an independent lawyer to advise Anangu about the recommendations in the Final Report.
- after any independent legal advice is obtained by Anangu, then the Government consider further consultation or discussion by the Panel with Anangu about issues resulting from the combination of such independent legal advice and these recommendations. Further consultation or discussion is to be undertaken with the aim of Anangu reaching consensus.
- That prior to any proposed changes to the Act or other legislative measures, the Government consult with Anangu on the draft of such legislative measures.
In a Paper Tracker radio interview held on 23 May 2014, Minister Hunter indicated that he had forwarded the Final Report to the APY Executive for its response.
General Update on Aboriginal Affairs
In Paper Tracker interviews with Minister Hunter and with the Executive Director of Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Ms Nerida Saunders, a range of issues were addressed, including reconciliation, funding, and the proposals in the recent Federal Budget and what these might mean for Aboriginal communities.
In his interview, Minister Hunter shared the South Australian Government’s views on the provision of dialysis services and indicated that the provision of the mobile dialysis truck and ongoing support for dialysis chairs in Port Augusta, Adelaide and Alice Springs is the approach that has been adopted by the South Australian Government and that the government would not be considering other models or approaches, such as community-based dialysis services or a permanent facility on the APY Lands.
The Minister also commented on a number of other initiatives such as funding for Municipal and Essential Services, the APY Land Rights Act Review and progress with developing the APY Regional Partnership Agreement.
In her interview, Nerida Saunders talked about the work of DPC-AARD and discussed the purpose of the South Australian Policy Framework for Aboriginal Languages Interpreters and Translators, recently approved by the South Australian Cabinet. She also gave an update on various initiatives such as the APY Regional Partnership Agreement and the changes affecting where AARD is located within the South Australian government structures – as of 1 July, DPC-AARD will be located in the newly formed Department for State Development.
Mullighan Inquiry and Review of Child Protection Protocols
Mullighan Commission of Inquiry
The fifth and final report on the South Australia Government’s response to the recommendations of the Mullighan Commission of Inquiry into child sexual abuse on the APY Lands was submitted in November 2013.
The Final Report indicates that the South Australian Government has completed the implementation of its response to 43 recommendations of the Inquiry. Two recommendations are listed as ‘continuing’ – these relate to ‘the ongoing nature of the implementation required to achieve desired outcome of the recommendation as well as operational challenges and cultural sensitivities’. The ‘continuing’ recommendations are:
- Recommendation 31 – The Government’s response highlights programs ‘that have been implemented that are targeted towards men and boys, but states that there are significant cultural and gender sensitivities regarding the management and coordination of meetings with Aṉangu men and boys regarding sexual conduct’.
- Recommendation 36 – The report states that ‘SAPOL has worked to establish night patrols in Amata and Mimili and that the success of night patrols in Mimili has been hampered by expectations that volunteers will be paid for their time’.
Review of Child Protection Protocols
Nine months after the Review of the APY Lands Child Protection Protocols began, and after repeated requests by the Paper Tracker for a copy of the Review’s Terms of Reference, the Paper Tracker has not yet received a copy of these. The Paper Tracker was informed in February that the Terms of Reference had not yet been finalised. Subsequent requests in April and June have still not yielded a copy of this document or a response to questions posed in various emails to the Department for Education and Child Development.
The Paper Tracker interview on 14 April 2014 with South Australia’s Commissioner for Victims Rights, Michael O’Connell, focused on the capability and will of agencies and organisations to ensure and protect the rights of victims, and in particular, of vulnerable children. The Commissioner talked about the work that needs to be done to ensure that victims’ rights, and the APY Child Protection Protocols to protect the rights of children, should not become a “checklist of empty promises”.
Municipal and Essential Services
The Commonwealth Government has indicated for a number of years that it will be cutting the funding for municipal and essential services to South Australia’s regional and remote Aboriginal communities. These services include rubbish collection; power, diesel and water supplies; and general infrastructure maintenance. The Federal Government has now confirmed that this funding for these services will be cut from 1 July 2015.
The Federal cut to municipal and essential services amounts to about $9.6million and will have a huge impact on communities and homelands. In his news release of 16 May 2014, Minister Hunter said that the ‘cuts to Commonwealth funding will place vital services to Aboriginal communities and homelands at risk’. During his Paper Tracker radio interview, he viewed these cuts as “coercive”, potentially forcing Anangu to move out of smaller communities and homelands in the event that services are no longer provided.
It would be incorrect to view these cuts as being a sudden and unexpected undertaking and as being linked primarily to the recent Federal Budget announcements – the states and territories have been informed of these cuts for a number of years. It remains unclear as to what strategy is in place in South Australia to address this funding gap and to ensure that Aboriginal communities and homelands continue to have access to basic services.
Recent Radio Shows
Since our last newsletter, we’ve broadcast and posted twenty-three interviews for our weekly radio show, which gets information out to Anangu in Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara.
You can click on the links for the following interviews if you’d like to listen to them:
- What’s available for young people on the Lands?
- Peter Buckskin on Aboriginal languages
- Labor’s Eddie Hughes – An Introduction
- Minister Hunter on Reconciliation and Service Delivery
- Nerida Saunders on Aboriginal Affairs
- Transitional Housing for Anangu in Adelaide
- Alice Clark on Housing and Homelessness
- Amanda Tsoundaru on Welfare Rights
- MoneyMob Talkabout and financial literacy
- Mike Last on Anangu Governance
- Commissioner for Victims Rights
- Interview with Jonathan Nicholls
- Interview with Jeremy Gaynor
- Second interview with Mike Last
- Third interview with Brian Gleeson
- Interview with Ian Hunter (Labor Party)
- Interview with Steven Marshall (Liberal Party)
- Interview with Tammy Franks (Greens)
- Interview with Kelly Vincent (Dignity for Disability)
- Interview with Rob Brokenshire (Family First)
- Second interview with Jacqui Semmler.
Our Facebook page continues to be a great way to get information out quickly to Anangu communities and beyond and to gather feedback from people. We look forward to hearing from people on the Facebook page and welcome any suggestions you might have about possible radio interviews or issues that the Paper Tracker is tracking.
Let Us Know Your Thoughts
The Paper Tracker Project welcomes suggestions from listeners and readers about information that you think would be of interest to Anangu and our broader audience. You can contact us on (08) 82025867 or email firstname.lastname@example.org We look forward to hearing from you!