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 context of its responsibility for the coordination of community law and justice programs. As another part of this new responsibility, the office will be implementing the decision of the government to establish an Aboriginal Law and Justice Forum. This forum is intended to provide a means by which interested Aboriginal organisations are able to work with relevant government agencies to provide advice to the government on Aboriginal law and justice issues. The forum will operate at a Territory level. It will be supported in its work by Regional Aboriginal Law and Justice Advisory Committees which will bring Aboriginal organisations together in each region with relevant government agencies, such as the police, correctional services and law. The committees will be facilitated by the Office of Aboriginal Development. These initiatives have been developed partly in response to recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. The Territory gave only qualified support to recommendation 2 of the Royal Commission which sought the establishment of Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committees. It was considered that the structure recommended was unlikely to be effective either for Aboriginal people or the government. The arrangements now proposed will take a different approach by creating the opportunity for effective dialogue between Aboriginal representative groups and senior officers of agencies, thus complying with a major theme of the Royal Commission report - the creation of means by which Aboriginal people are able to participate directly in the making of decisions that affect them. The second monitoring report on the implementation of the recommendations of the Royal Commission is now being finalised and the intention is to table it at the next sittings. The approach taken to the development of this report has been more comprehensive than was possible with the first report. A series of workshops during the last 12 months have provided the opportunity for representative Aboriginal groups to discuss directly with relevant government officers the action that has been taken to implement groups of recommendations. In these workshops, Aboriginal representatives have had the opportunity to receive detailed information and to question government officers on progress. In addition to detailed advice on the progress towards implementation of each recommendation, there will be a summary statement of the perceptions of Aboriginal people about implementation of groups of recommendations as expressed in the workshops and in other consultative forums. The report will also provide some information on relevant socioeconomic indicators that will assist in assessment of progress made in addressing the underlying themes of the Royal Commissions report. This information is provided as the first stage of the development of more comprehensive information being gathered by the office that will allow government to target programs with greater precision and the monitoring of programs on a more objective and rational basis than is currently available. In conclusion, I stress that the work of the Office of Aboriginal Development depends on the cooperation of all other agencies of government. The positive reaction of other agencies to the approaches suggested by the office to the many difficult and complex issues that confront governments in the Aboriginal affairs area gives great confidence that the approach of the government set out by the Chief Minister in November 1992 will be achieved. Change in such an area is not achieved quickly, but it is achieved more quickly where there is good will and commitment to change. I am confident that this goodwill and commitment is present in all service delivery agencies. 3499
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