|Services Update No. 2 of 2009 - 2020: 9 October 2009|
FaHCSIA and the Special Administrator of AP Services arranged a meeting for Chairpersons, called an AP Services Advisory Committee meeting on Wednesday 7 October 2009, the same day as the APY Executive Board meeting. Doing this was a gross disrespect to the elected governance of the APY Lands. Chairpersons on the APY Executive Board were made to choose and take sides which meeting they would attend. They chose to attend the APY Executive Board meeting.
The agenda for that meeting shows no hint or mention of the demands APY’s Solicitors have made to the Special Administrator of AP Services to account for Anangu rent and enter into proper arrangements for the occupation of premises belonging to traditional owners, through APY.
By now, communities will have received a letter from Nupi of Indulkana to which I have replied today. Part of my reply to Nupi is set out below.
“Nupi, AP Services is not controlled by Anangu on the Executive Board or otherwise. It is controlled by an Accountant in Adelaide, who is controlled by Canberra, who is controlled by Mrs Macklin. Before that it was controlled by three Consultants and a lawyer from Adelaide who drew over $1.3 million dollars of taxpayer funds given for our services. Before that, it was controlled by non-Anangu staff in Alice Springs, who were prepared to overthrow the majority of elected Anangu Governing Committee to protect their jobs.
Anangu lost control of AP Services in 2005 when its Constitution was changed so that the Governing Committee were no longer elected from the members of the APY Executive Board. Did you know that under the "new" AP Services Constitution, control is in the hands of three non-Anangu Directors and four out of the 10 communities on the Lands? That's right. A majority of communities do not have the numbers. Another secret is that Anangu members can not request a general meeting as this can be blocked by the majority of Directors.”
What the people in Canberra, Adelaide and Alice Springs are trying to do is to create a rival Executive Board and cause division so that more funding and power can be taken out of Anangu hands. Our rights under the APY Land Rights Act are protected by the Commonwealth Constitution and the Racial Discrimination Act. They can’t be taken away without our consent.
So be careful. APY has a very strong team of lawyers and powerful allies to protect our rights and your interests. Services need to be under Anangu control through APY, including getting very good people working and living in communities to help us develop our capacity. Don't listen to people who sign things put in front of them by those who do not work for Anangu or some people who can’t get elected.
There is nothing worse than having something wonderful and losing it or throwing it away. This is a time to understand our rights under the APY Land Right Act.
Come to our Special General Meeting in November and have your say.
Bernard Singer, APY Chairperson