Territory Stories

Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995



Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995

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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





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Tuesday 23 May 1995 systems, seriously affect some Aboriginal people in their interaction with those mainstream systems. The office has continued to pursue the development of models for the provision of cross-cultural education for Aboriginal people through a consultancy with the Aboriginal Resource and Development Services (ARDS) during 1994-95. This process will continue in 1995-96, and the budget provides an additional allocation to the office to fund this work. A key factor identified by ARDS, which works against effective communication between government and Aboriginal people, is the lack of trained interpreters and translators in Aboriginal languages. Forty Aboriginal languages are each spoken by groups of 100 or more Aboriginal people. The recent National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey and both the 1986 and 1991 censuses indicate that a significant proportion of Aboriginal Territorians do not consider themselves competent in English. The need for the establishment of more effective services for people was recognised by the government prior to the last election. A report has been prepared within government for the Office of Aboriginal Development that is intended to provide the basis for a strategy to develop more effective services. The recommendations of the report are now being analysed and a strategy will be submitted for consideration by government within 2 months. Matters related to land are a constant priority for the office. The proposals made in 1993 for the settlement of all remaining land claims under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act did not receive a positive response from the Commonwealth government. Nonetheless, the proposals remain on the table. The era of land claims is coming to an end and it is time to remove the debilitating effect that the process has had on Northern Territory life. At the same time, significant amounts of Commonwealth money are being provided for the purchase of land in the Northern Territory which, in the normal course, would be the subject of a claim under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act. The issues surrounding native title also require considerable negotiation and policy development activity. The Office of Aboriginal Development plays an important role on land issues as an adviser and as a generator of approaches that attempt to balance the legitimate needs and desires of Aboriginal people for land with the needs and desires of the wider society for the use of land. The budget provides funding for an additional officer in the office to deal specifically with land and native title issues. I might mention that, in the states, substantial units of officers have been created to deal with these issues. In 1995-96, the office will continue to develop effective communication with the land councils to assist the process of achievement of the balance that must be struck between the legitimate land aspirations of Aboriginal people and the needs of the wider society. The office has also been provided with $100 000 in 1995-96 to commence a major new initiative in the coordination of law and justice programs. The office will take responsibility in this area for a period of 2 years during which it will coordinate implementation of initiatives and the development of a policy base. This program will not remove the current responsibility of functional agencies but will bring a higher level of coordination to the current multi-agency approach to the introduction of such initiatives as community warden schemes, night patrols and the establishment of community justice plans. Work will proceed on the development of policy for the greater recognition of elements of Aboriginal customary law. The office will be closely involved in the consideration, and implementation as required, of the recommendations of the review of the Northern Territory Police Force relevant to Aboriginal people, within the 3498