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 strategy. Land councils, ATSIC, the tourism industry and private Aboriginal operators have been involved in the development of strategy proposals with the Northern Territory Tourist Commission and the Office of Aboriginal Development. It is anticipated that formal proposals will be presented to the government for a decision within 2 months. In another area, which encompasses coastal management, sea closures and the fishing industry, the office has cooperated with the Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries to assist with the development of approaches to the complex and difficult issues that are emerging. Simple or straightforward solutions do not exist in this area of activity where a range of important stakeholders are vitally interested in seeing the development of an approach to the management and use of the seas, the coast and the resources of both which meet their particular concerns. The Fishing Industry Strategy, which has been released by the Minister for Primary Industry and Fisheries, provides an approach to the issues that, over time, is capable of achieving the outcomes that will benefit all in the Territory in the longer term. Economic development and employment generation for and involving Aboriginal people is a priority for the Office of Aboriginal Development. As most members will be aware, this is an area where the activities of governments, both Commonwealth and Territory, have not normally been marked by success. The approach being taken in this area is aimed at the achievement of a coordinated approach across all agencies with the eventual negotiation of a partnership with Aboriginal people through their representative organisations. This is not a task that will be completed quickly and it is obvious that a considerable amount of negotiation will be needed on the terms of a strategy. The aim is to achieve a strategy that will, as far as is possible, adopt a consistent approach to the encouragement and support of Aboriginal entrepreneurs, implement a training strategy that will provide skilled Aboriginal staff for Aboriginal and other businesses, and ensure that Aboriginal people are aware of their options for involvement in the mainstream of economic life. Proposals for a new Aboriginal Economic Development and Employment Generation Strategy are well advanced and will soon be in a form appropriate for discussion with Aboriginal organisations. Another major priority of the Office of Aboriginal Development, which was provided for the office by the Chief Minister in his statement establishing the office in November 1992, is in the development of more effective communication between Aboriginal people and government. This is a long-term strategy where the outcomes will be capable of effective assessment only over time. The strategy being pursued has a number of elements. The Office of the Commissioner for Public Employment has asked all agencies to develop and implement programs for cross-cultural awareness training for officers. The approach requested seeks the provision of training for officers that is appropriate to their work. A number of agencies have now developed and are implementing plans. Notable among these is the Department of Health and Community Services which is proceeding with a comprehensive and professional plan that will see the provision of training for all service delivery staff. The program is being trialed in Alice Springs. The development of cross-cultural awareness in public servants is, however, just one part of the strategy being pursued. There is very little doubt that there is a level of confusion on the part of some Aboriginal people about the way in which the government and, at a wider level, non-Aboriginal society works. In contact between Aboriginal people living in remote areas and government officers, there has not always been effective communication. The misconceptions that have developed, particularly about the operation of the mainstream economic, political and legal 3497
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