An investigation into governance allegations about the Northern Land Council (NLC) has probed the distribution of millions of dollars of grants and loans to entities that were majority owned by, or closely associated with, the council over the past six years.
The curveball decision of two mining giants to back the Uluru Statement from the Heart is being applauded by some who signed the historic proclamation, but one prominent Aboriginal leader is wary that the move is a cynical grab for Indigenous resources.
Two more federal ministers, Nigel Scullion and Michael Keenan, have announced they are jumping ship at the election, making three in a week to say they are leaving.
The federal government has relaxed rules around its work-for-the-dole scheme for remote areas amid criticism it is too harsh on Aboriginal people. The required participation in the Community Development Program have been reduced from 25 hours to 20 hours.
Australia is the only Commonwealth country never to make a treaty with its indigenous peoples. Why has it proven so difficult? Kathy Marks looks at the vast challenges in Victoria alone – a state that is working towards a national first.
I understand your department has been part of conversations in relation to development of Defence activities in northeast Arnhem Land. Could you advise what Defence activities are being considered for the region and how these activities will benefit the people of the region?
15 November 2018
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Primary Industry and Resources, Ken Vowles, today acknowledged the resignation of Northern Land Council (NLC) CEO Joe Morrison with regret, saying it was a huge loss for the organisation.
Since Mr Vowles became Primary Industry and Resources Minister in 2016, he and Mr Morrison have enjoyed a productive, robust working relationship. This relationship was strengthened when Mr Vowles was named Minister for Aboriginal Affairs earlier this year.
Mr Vowles said many positive changes had occurred at the NLC under Mr Morrison’s watch, and the organisation had made significant steps forward on many issues during Mr Morrison’s nearly five years as CEO.
Quotes from Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Primary Industry and Resources, Ken Vowles:
“No matter the subject – and there have been several difficult matters to discuss – Joe has always proved himself to be open to discussion and, most importantly, a strong advocate for the NLC and Aboriginal affairs in general.
“The NLC has benefitted greatly from his guidance during his tenure, and when he finishes up next year he will leave behind some big shoes to fill.
“I wish Joe all the best in his future endeavours, and remain committed to working with the NLC, and whoever becomes the new CEO, to better the lives of Aboriginal Territorians.”
Media Contact: Leanne Hudson 0427 687 079
14 November 2018
The Territory Labor Government will today sign the Groote Archipelago Local Decision Making Agreement with the Anindilyakwa Land Council (ALC).
The agreement is one of nine Local Decision Making agreements now signed or underway across the Territory, developed in accordance with the principles of self-determination; flexible place based approaches; co-design; and community control.
A return to Local Decision Making for Aboriginal communities was a key election commitment of the Territory Labor Government.
The binding agreement outlines Anindilyakwa priorities and timeframes for transition to local control in the areas of housing, education, health, local government, economic development, law and justice and environmental sustainability.
The agreement recognises the long established and strong systems of Anindilyakwa governance and leadership, and sets out how ALC, the NT Government, other stakeholders and the Anindilyakwa people will work together to transition decision making and service delivery for the Groote Eylandt communities over the next decade.
Agreements signed include:
- West Daly (signed November 2018)
- Djalkiripunynu (Blue Mud Bay) Statement of Commitment (signed July 2018)
- Yugul Mangi Aboriginal Corporation (signed May 2018)
- Jawoyn Association Aboriginal Corporation (signed November 2018)
Agreements underway include:
- Alawa Aboriginal Corporation
- Mutitjulu Community
- Tangentyere Council
- Yolngu Region Statement of Commitment
- Gurindji Aboriginal Corporation (to be signed 19 November 2018)
More information on Local Decision Making agreements can be found at ldm.nt.gov.au
Quotes from Chief Minister Michael Gunner
“Local Decision Making is a key election promise of the Territory Labor Government, and it serves as a potential first step towards a Territory version of Treaty.
“The old way is finished, and today we embark on a significant journey to give decision-making power back to where it belongs, in the hands of the Anindilyakwa people of the Groote Archipelago.
“This means Government giving up decision making power to communities in areas like housing, education, justice, local government, health and looking after kids.
Quotes from ALC Chairman Tony Wurramarrba AO
“This agreement represents a future for the Anindilyakwa people of the Groote Archipelago that is decided by our people, for our people.”
“We celebrate today’s occasion because it marks the Northern Territory Government’s solemn commitment to return control of local decisions to Traditional Owners. We will work with the Northern Territory Government to undertake this important work under this agreement over the next decade and make these changes for the benefit of our people.”
Media Contact: Cameron Angus 0404 021 192
Australia’s Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion has been criticised by Aboriginal groups for giving nearly half a million dollars to non-indigenous lobby groups for legal funding.
Northern Land Council chairman Joe Morrison says it is a “poor look” that public money meant for Aboriginal people was being used by third parties opposed to land claims.
The NT Seafood Council, NT Amateur Fishermen’s Association and NT Cattlemen’s Association shared in $465,000 earlier this year to pay lawyers to help them demonstrate how outstanding Aboriginal land claims would cause them detriment…..
Nigel Scullion gave almost half a million dollars to groups to argue how they might be negatively impacted by land rights claims.
Indigenous affairs minister Nigel Scullion has given almost half a million dollars’ worth of funds earmarked for alleviating Indigenous disadvantage to fishing and cattlemen’s groups in the Northern Territory. The grants will go towards legal fees for the groups to argue how they might be negatively impacted by land rights claims, he told a Senate estimates hearing last week.