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Programs & initiatives

Domestic and Family Violence Taskforce

In February 2015, the Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence released its report entitled Not Now, Not Ever: Putting an End to Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland.

This Report noted that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Queensland experience disproportionately high levels of violence, including domestic and family violence, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women being 35 times more likely than members of the general female population to be hospitalised for spouse/domestic partner assaults.

The Report also notes that the impacts of this violence and abuse in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities cannot be underestimated and contributes to negative effects on psychological and physical health, homelessness, poverty, children’s wellbeing, and education.

The Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships is leading and supporting the implementation of a number of recommendations from the Report. This includes recommendation 93 regarding amending the Family Responsibilities Commission Act to include the requirement for a court to notify the Family Responsibilities Commission when a protection order under the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act is made naming a welfare reform community resident as the respondent. To give effect to this recommendation, on 1 December 2015, the Family Responsibilities Commission Amendment Bill was passed by the Queensland Parliament. These legislative changes took effect on 17 December 2015.

The department is also working with agency partners to support integrated approaches to improving the safety of victims and their children, including an integrated response to domestic and family violence in discrete Indigenous communities.

This work involves trialling integrated approaches in 3 sites – one in an urban location, one regional city location with outreach, and one discrete Indigenous community – to consider how service systems can work together in a structured and collaborative way to ensure people affected by domestic and family violence receive quality and consistent support.

The trial sites are:

  • Logan/Beenleigh (urban trial)
  • Mount Isa (regional trial)
  • Cherbourg (the discrete Indigenous community trial).

Some outcomes of work across government so far include:

Program office

Introduction to the Program Office

The remote Indigenous Land and Infrastructure Program Office is part of the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Partnerships. It was established in 2009 to facilitate development across 16 remote discrete Indigenous communities in Queensland.

The Program Office provides government with a ‘one stop shop’ in addressing land administration issues along with whole-of-government coordination of all infrastructure development within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander discrete communities. The Program Office coordinates the following programs in Queensland’s discrete communities:

  • whole-of-government coordination for infrastructure development
  • land use planning schemes
  • native title compliance including Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs)
  • survey works including the Community Survey Program (CSP)
  • tenure resolution including Land Holding Act (LHA) leases (Katter leases)
  • infrastructure development
  • maximising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment, business and training opportunities
  • home ownership
  • cultural heritage compliance.

The Program Office’s work brings the following benefits to community and government:

  • consistency in state dealings across Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
  • strengthened relationships within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
  • improved surveying within Indigenous communities
  • enhanced employment and business opportunities
  • statutory-compliant land dealings and infrastructure
  • enabling development to occur on Indigenous Trust lands
  • coordination, prioritisation and sequencing of development activities
  • facilitation of necessary essential services, including environmental health infrastructure
  • improved land-use planning by councils/trustees
  • providing pathways to home ownership
  • native title compliance
  • cultural heritage compliance
  • enabling freehold opportunities in Indigenous communities.

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What does ‘engaging with communities’ mean?

For the Program Office, ‘engaging with communities’ means talking to and carefully consulting with Traditional Owners, trustees and councils about housing investment and development opportunities.

The Program Office discuss with communities what needs to be negotiated, agreed upon and finalised before new infrastructure investment can take place. This discussion covers land use and infrastructure planning and the need for new leasing arrangements to enable the government to invest while also creating opportunities for housing, business and social development.

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What does the Program Office deliver to communities?

Whole-of-government coordination

  • identifies government assets and decides how they can best be used
  • determines the broader community land and infrastructure needs
  • coordinates land use planning and administration
  • ensures that government agencies use land and buildings in a coordinated way
  • ensures Integrated Capital Work economic opportunities are maximised.

Land administration

  • makes sure a community’s land use planning scheme complies with current planning laws
  • addresses cultural heritage requirements
  • improves surveying across the whole community to include roads and public infrastructure
  • uses a coordinated approach to addressing different land tenure arrangements in a community, for example, native title matters
  • ensures a strategic approach to future development and is undertaken through master planning.

Coordinated leasing negotiations

  • enable the government to invest in new housing and other leasing in communities.

Home ownership

  • assists individuals, trustees and councils to enable home ownership in communities where local indigenous residents want to own their own home.

Freehold in township areas of Indigenous Trust Land

  • provides advice to communities interested in freeholding within their township areas.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment and training

  • maximises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment, training and business development opportunities coming out of the government investment in social housing and infrastructure construction in the discrete communities.

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What does all of this achieve for remote communities?

Through this work the Program Office will help facilitate:

  • new housing and infrastructure development
  • local employment opportunities
  • better use of government assets (for example, houses and offices) better service delivery for water, power and other essentials
  • long-term planning to encourage developmentprivate home ownership opportunities
  • coordinated approach to dealing with native title, cultural heritage and other land-related matters.

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Which communities does the Program Office engage with?

Aurukun, Coen, Cherbourg, Doomadgee, Hope Vale, Kowanyama, Lockhart River, Mapoon, Mona, Mornington Island, Mossman Gorge, Napranum, Northern Peninsula Area, Palm Island, Pormpuraaw, Torres Strait Islands, Woorabinda, Wujal Wujal and Yarrabah.

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Community alcohol limits

If you’re planning on travelling through Queensland, you need to know about alcohol restrictions.

Alcohol restrictions are in place in the discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Queensland. They aim to help improve the health and well-being of all people living in these communities.

The restrictions either ban or limit the amount and type of alcohol you can take into a community.

What is a restricted area?

A restricted area is where alcohol restrictions apply. This includes the entire area controlled by the local shire council, unless an area is specifically included or excluded.

Homes are included in restricted areas. Beaches, wharves and riverbeds can also be included in the restricted area.

Please refer to each discrete community for further information on restrictions and penalties in place.

Welfare Reform

Welfare reform is one of DATSIP’s key initiatives. In the 2015-16 Budget, the Queensland Government committed $28.6 million over 4 years to extend the welfare reform initiative.

The welfare reform initiative focuses on restoring social norms and social responsibility while re-establishing local leadership and increasing economic participation. Much has already been achieved within the 5 welfare reform communities of Aurukun, Coen, Hope Vale, Doomadgee and Mossman Gorge.

The Family Responsibilities Commission (FRC) is a key mechanism supporting the welfare reform program. It is an independent statutory body, established under the Family Responsibilities Commission Act 2008 (the Act). The FRC operates to restore local authority and build stronger and more resilient communities by having the Family Responsibilities Commissioner and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Local Commissioners convene conferences with community members notified to the FRC for breaching a ‘trigger’ under the Act. Triggers include when a child does not attend school or is not enrolled, a person is convicted of a criminal offence, a child safety report is made, a domestic violence order is issued, or a breach of a tenancy arrangement occurs.

Through the welfare reform program, DATSIP has funded among other initiatives:

  • the Aurukun Restorative Justice Program to increase the community’s capacity for local mediation
  • a Parenting Program to support individuals to improve their parenting skills
  • youth engagement and development activities in Doomadgee
  • business development projects in support of increasing local employment opportunities.

Family Responsibilities Commission

Implementation Review of the Family Responsibilities Commission

This report focuses solely on the findings from the Implementation Review of the Family Responsibilities Commission (FRC). This review has considered the implementation and operation of the FRC in the first 18 months of its 3.5-year term. The report highlights the progress made and recommends changes where these could help to improve the effectiveness of the FRC for the remainder of its term. It also documents what is happening in the communities of Aurukun, Coen, Hope Vale and Mossman Gorge and considers this in light of what was expected for the Cape York Welfare Reform overall.

Cape York Peninsula Tenure Resolution Program

What is the program about?

The Cape York Peninsula Tenure Resolution Program returns ownership and management of identified lands on Cape York Peninsula to local Aboriginal Traditional Owners, while ensuring the protection of Cape York Peninsula’s iconic natural areas and significant natural and cultural values.

What does the program achieve?

Through this program, the state is changing the tenure of identified properties to Aboriginal freehold land, allowing Traditional Owners to return to live on country and pursue employment and business opportunities in land mangement, grazing, and mining.

Areas with outstanding environmental values are being dedicated as jointly managed national parks, providing for conservation, recreation and tourism. The state is also converting existing national parks to jointly managed national parks, with Aboriginal freehold as the underlying tenure.

To date, tenure resolution has been completed for 22 properties and 18 existing parks, resulting in:

  • 25 Aboriginal freehold transfers outside national parks (more than 1.5 million hectares)
  • 18 existing national parks converted to jointly managed national park (Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal Land or CYPAL) (nearly 1.4 million hectares)
  • 10 new national parks (CYPAL) (nearly 703,962 hectares)
  • 19 nature refuges on Aboriginal freehold (nearly 303,450 hectares
  • more than 105,165 hectares of jointly managed resources reserves
  • in total the program has transferred almost 3,700,990 hectares of land on Cape York Peninsula to Aboriginal ownership.

Fifteen existing national parks in the Cape York Peninsula Region, covering almost 413,300 hectares, are yet to be converted to national park (CYPAL). The iconic Daintree National Park is also scheduled to be converted to jointly managed national park (CYPAL) following discussions with the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people. In May 2017, the property known as Bromley was granted to the Bromley Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC and the new Bromley (Ampulin) and Bromley (Kungkaychi) National Parks (Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal Land) were created. This action protects an extensive wildlife corridor, significant heathlands and internationally important wetlands around the Olive River.

Other key achievements of the Cape York Peninsula Tenure Resolution Program include:

  • working cooperatively with the Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing to support joint management of national parks and associated Aboriginal ranger employment and land management projects including fencing at Rinyirru (Lakefield) and Oyala Thumotang National Parks
  • facilitating the leasing of Aboriginal land for third party grazing and gravel extraction purposes
  • facilitating state and Commonwealth Indigenous land management funding projects to provide Aboriginal employment in fire and pest management
  • supporting Aboriginal landowners for Archer Bend, Batavia, Mary Valley and Olkola lands to plan for sustainable livelihoods and economic development opportunities
  • supporting landholding bodies established under this program (Aboriginal land trusts and corporations) to:
    • become independent, highly functioning land managers
    • meet governance and land management obligations
    • create networks and pursue economic development opportunities.

Reparations

The Queensland State Government’s $21 million Reparations Scheme acknowledges past injustices towards Indigenous Queenslanders whose wages and savings were controlled under previous governments’ ‘Protection Acts’.

Since being established in December 2015, thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders have accessed the scheme and received reparations payments. The department is continuing to assist applicants and family members to finalise claims under the scheme.

In July 2016, the Queensland Government established the state’s first dedicated Reparations Review Panel to help applicants without formal documentation access the scheme by considering oral history as evidence.

The Queensland Government’s 2017-2018 budget has also delivered additional support to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders can continue to access culturally-appropriate services for historical, community and personal information.

Applications for the reparations scheme closed on 29 September 2017. Applications will continue to be assessed until June 2018.

Reparations Taskforce

The Queensland Government appointed a Reparations Taskforce to make recommendations about distribution of these funds. The taskforce’s recommendations report was released on 26 May 2016.

The Reparations Taskforce Report: Reconciling Past Injustice (PDF) is available on the reparations website.

Queensland Government’s response to the recommendations

On the same day, 26 May 2016, the Queensland Government released their response to the taskforce recommendations report. A key recommendation of the Queensland Government’s report was to close the Aborigines Welfare Fund, as a gesture of reconciliation to finalise this chapter of Queensland’s history.

The report also confirmed the Queensland Government’s intention to publically acknowledge the financial contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples towards the development of key Queensland infrastructure. This public acknowledgement will include monuments, plaques and other lasting forms of appropriate public acknowledgement, to highlight the use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders’ wages in helping to build this state.

The Queensland Government has also agreed to other taskforce recommendations, including:

  • establishing a Reparations Review Panel to enable consideration of previously ineligible applications, to ensure as many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders as possible have access to the Reparation Scheme, to seek justice for past wrongs
  • funding scholarships for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to document the experiences and perspectives of government control of wages and savings under the ‘Protections Acts’, for their respective cultures.

Enterprise development

The Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships (DATSIP) provides a range of services to help strengthen and grow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses in Queensland.

We can help by:

  • working with your business to identify your business development needs and ambitions
  • linking you to business support programs and services
  • increasing the awareness of Queensland Government procurement opportunities
  • promoting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses to government agencies and private buyers
  • introducing government and private sector businesses to buying from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses
  • helping government agencies and non-Indigenous businesses understand cultural protocols.

DATSIP’s focus is aligned with the Queensland Government’s decision to use its annual spend on procuring goods, services and capital works to bring about growth and development opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses.

Black Business Finder

An effective way to get your business noticed by buyers is to register on the Black Business Finder (BBF). The BBF is Queensland’s online business directory for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses. It provides opportunities for Indigenous businesses to participate in the supply chains for major projects listed with the ICN Gateway – a nationally recognised connection point for buyers and suppliers. It also provides a platform for government and private sector businesses looking to source goods and services from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suppliers.

Find out more about BBF.

Engaging with industry for future opportunities

DATSIP partners with industry to secure future employment and training outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and to grow and develop Indigenous businesses in Queensland.

Partnership with Queensland Rugby Union

The Queensland Government is proud to be in partnership with the Queensland Rugby Union, supporting the objectives of its Indigenous program to provide ‘support and encourage young Indigenous Queenslanders to stay in school, seek employment and further training and as a result become a leader within their community’. This unique program targets young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders from regional and remote communities and offers support, mentoring and on-going development programs during their schooling years.

The Queensland Reds Indigenous Program starts in Year Six and continues until Year Thirteen (post-secondary), supporting these young people in their journey to become future leaders. The Memorandum of Understanding with Queensland Government is an Australian first, and a win-win for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders.  For more information, view the QRU video announcement.

Partnership with Queensland Resources Council

DATSIP has a productive and long-standing working partnership with the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) to promote:

  • employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders
  • procurement opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business within resources industry supply chains.

Through the partnership with the Queensland Tourism Industry Council, key sectors of the tourism industry aim to create 1000 new jobs by 2020 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, as well as increase opportunities for Indigenous businesses to link into tourism industry supply chains.

Youth Employment Program

What is YEP?

The Youth Employment Program (YEP) is an employment support program for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are finishing high school and looking for work or considering further education.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a Certificate III or higher, who are not supported by a job agency, can also be supported through YEP.

How can YEP help you

Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships (DATSIP) staff in your region can help you:

  • with your choice of career
  • link to job vacancies
  • connect you to culturally capable services
  • with pre-employment support such preparing resumes and for job interviews
  • get support for any life challenges that make it difficult to find work
  • access training opportunities.

Benefits of YEP

  • find out about new career opportunities
  • get support to find a job and start a career
  • have a regular DATSIP contact to give you support and advice
  • engage with other candidates through various social media networks to hear their journey into employment and/or further education.

It’s all in the preparation

To help you get started in your future career, or look into options for further education, DATSIP staff will support you with:

  • interview tips and writing a resume
  • resources that will help you discover the career that’s right for you
  • identifying how to use your own networks to find a job
  • taking the next steps in finding all types of careers, including traineeships and apprenticeships.