Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995
Parliamentary Record 11
Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 23 May 1995 The unusually high levels of cash sales of the last few years have started to taper off, and receipts for 1995-96 from cash sales to tenants are estimated to be $5.75m. I turn now to the work of the Office of Aboriginal Development. As honourable members will be aware, this office was created in December 1992 to provide a focus for Northern Territory government activity in Aboriginal affairs. It is a small office which was established as a separate administrative unit receiving administrative support and sharing the same chief executive officer as the Department of Lands, Housing and Local Government. The office has now established its role in the government administration as the agency with central coordination responsibility for the generation of policy on Aboriginal development at a whole-of-govemment level, and for the development of more effective communication mechanisms between government and Aboriginal people. The office operates by negotiation, facilitation, coordination and, where necessary, the use of its functional leadership to achieve a consistent policy focus across government. Thus, the effectiveness of the office can be seen most clearly in the actions taken by functional agencies to target their services to address the special needs of Aboriginal people more effectively. In the last financial year, the office has been involved with the relevant functional agencies in a wide range of policy development and communication activities. All of these have been aimed at implementing overall government policy directions towards the improvement of the economic and social wellbeing of Aboriginal Territorians. Working closely with the functional agencies allows the office to add value to the Aboriginal policy development and communication processes of those agencies. This occurs both on specific issues and at the more general level through formal consultative mechanisms. The office has sponsored the establishment of consultative mechanisms at all levels. The ATSIC Northern Territory Government Forum includes the chairs of the 7 ATSIC regional councils, elected ATSIC commissioners from the Northern Territory and the chief executive officers of 9 major Northern Territory government agencies. This forum allows the elected arm of ATSIC to receive information and discuss priorities and concerns directly with senior decision-makers. It exposes CEOs directly to the views of those ATSIC elected representatives who are charged with maintaining a close relationship with their constituents. Formal consultative arrangements have also been established with the Territory heads of Commonwealth agencies and, within government, an interdepartmental committee operates now to coordinate development across agencies. These arrangements assist in linking the work of the specific functional consultative arrangements that allow Aboriginal representatives to participate in government decision-making. At the operational level, coordinating arrangements operate in all administrative regions to ensure that maximum value is obtained from available resources. Primarily, these arrangements involve Northern Territory agencies, but ATSIC is normally involved both from the elected and administrative arms. The majority of the work of the office occurs on specific issues where it works closely with the responsible functional agencies to generate policy proposals that address the special needs of Aboriginal people. The preparation with the Northern Territory Tourist Commission of a Discussion Paper on Aboriginal Cultural Tourism provides an example of the approach taken. This discussion paper was published and circulated widely in September 1994, and the feedback and comment on it are now being assessed with the aim of producing a coordinated whole-of-govemment 3496
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