Home Communities/Services Updates Community Update No. 6 of 2009/2010 - 2 February 2010
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Community Update No. 6 of 2009/2010 - 2 February 2010 Print E-mail

Tomorrow we hold our first Executive Board meeting for 2010 and on 4 - 5 March, we hold our Annual General Meeting. What Minister Holloway said in Parliament on 3 December 2009 sums up the quality of our relationship with the South Australian Government. He said:

“I …pay tribute to the leadership of the APY lands. I know they have had their critics but over the past couple of years …I have found the APY Executive and other leaders in that community to be very keen to see progress in their communities. I think they have been very reasonable and that they are looking outwards from the lands…I have been pleasantly surprised by the very progressive attitude the APY lands Executive has taken to a number of issues…the community are really looking to progress…”

We will have some important things to talk about at our AGM. These include: Anangu taking responsibility for family, in particular the education and welfare of our children; Anangu individual ownership of houses in communities; royalty distribution models; and, delivery of NRM projects.

Family Responsibility
Aboriginal people in four communities in North Queensland won government support for a program where community members sit to deal with problems where children are neglected and/or do not go to school. The community has power to quarantine Centrelink to help the children and family where there is a problem. The government supports and pays the community panel members. The pilot program has been very successful and school
attendance has increased.

Aboriginal owned housing
In the Tiwi Islands, Aboriginal people own their own houses. We have 300 houses which could go to Anangu individual ownership. We could build our own fund to carry out R&M and community improvement. This idea of Anangu home ownership is in addition to the public houses being built/upgraded by the government for Anangu who do not want to own their own houses.

Royalty Distribution Model
We are funded under our Mining agreements to carry out Lands-wide community consultations to see what Traditional Owners want to do with Mining money. I have invited Phillip Toyne to our March Executive Board meeting and to our AGM to talk about NRM projects and to listen to the discussion and talk about helping us with these consultations. Tjilipis will remember Phillip well. With others, he negotiated the APY Land Rights Act in the late 1970s.

APY will be approaching community representatives to go with us to Aurukun, Queensland and Tiwi Islands later in February to check out the Family Responsibilities Commission and Anangu home ownership. On 11 February, some of the Executive will meet with State Government Ministers in Adelaide to find out the government’s attitude to these things. I will give a full report of the Government’s position at our AGM. Ron Merkle, QC has been invited to our March Executive meeting and SGM to give independent advice once again.

These are important matters and we are living at an important time in our history. Our children's future is in our hands. This is a time to understand our rights under the APY Land Rights Act and the possibilities open to us if we can be unified and speak with one voice.

Bernard Singer, APY Chairperson



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