Territory Stories

Annual Report 2009 - 2010



Annual Report 2009 - 2010

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East Arnhem Shire Council


East Arnhem shire council reports; Reports; PublicationNT




Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).






East Arnhem Region -- Politics and government -- Northern Territory -- Periodical

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East Arnhem Shire Council

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East Arnhem Shire Council Annual Report 2009-10 7 for anyone else without cultural authority, under law (Rom) - Representation by election - attacks extant, respected traditional governance - Traditional Custodians of land and culture are thus diminished by democracy - Ibso facto anyone who is for Local Government is seen as being against culture. 2. THE PROLIFERATION OF COMMITTEES. The standard practice is for each Department, agency & new Government officer to raise their own community consultative committee which by-passes the Mala and is - Destructive of customary law and the attendant social structures - Causes friction within communities - Results in poor and unsafe decisions - Raises meeting fatigue to chronic levels - Proves to community people that Government is anti-culture whilst it is merely unaware of the invaluable mechanisms that exist, function and are respected. If the potential benefits of Regional Local Government are to be realised, it is axiomatic that the mechanisms of governance must be relevant to, and respected by, local people. Extensive consultation has indicated that the situation could be resolved through the practical reconciliation of Customary Law (Rom) with Mainstream Governance. mala (Family/Clan/Group) is the primary unit of group identification and representation under Customary Law (Rom); it therefore follows that - As each Mala has an identified number of people - within a defined area of land - has a culturally recognised and respected representative in the Mala Leader who, alone under Rom, may speak for the Mala land and the people thereon the Mala Board, as a legally constituted committee of Shire Council comprised predominantly of Mala Leaders & elected Shire Council members -is the only legitimate consultative panel for a community and its satellite homelands. The practical benefits arising include - Minutes and Resolutions of Mala Board Meetings will identify the presence of the relevant Mala Leaders, when a resolution is made on any issue directly affecting their individual Mala lands thereby guaranteeing the veracity of decisions - Shire Councillors will, as Mala Board members, carry the Mala Boards resolutions as recommendations up to Council, on behalf of the Mala Leaders, in accordance with Rom - Shire Council will thus be informed of the validity of recommendations and be able to appreciate the context and rapidly seek additional information, from identified individuals, where necessary. The potential benefits to management and service delivery include - Spatial mapping of mala lands, as a basis for the visual presentation of datasets to genuinely inform the decision making processes - Empowerment of the Mala Board as the source of local data and local knowledge to consolidate its position as the consultative authority - Accurate sex-age population data for per capita based funding - Data upon which to calculate service catchments (Clinics, schools etc) - Data upon which to predict trends in service need and dependency - Ability to prioritise funding by quantified, demonstrated priority need. The Shire has interactive SmartBoards at Parap Office, Milingimbi, Ramingining and Galiwinku. Trials are progressing with Skype, TeamViewer and a range of other softwares to enable remote management of Agendas, Minutes and Reports, through the Shires SharePoint Intranet service as well as provide administrative support; on-line training electronic meetings & delegations. The savings in time, charters and accommodation are such as to provide a sustainable solution to the practical issues of meaningful consultation and representation. Council has resolved to adopt the use of Mala as the foundation for Local Board representation and affirmed the community call for a single board for each community.