Council of Australian Governments
An agreement between
- the Commonwealth of Australia and.
- the States and Territories, being:
- the State of New South Wales;
- the State of Queensland;
- the State of Western Australia;
- the State of South Australia; and
- the Northern Territory of Australia.
1. This agreement is created subject to the provisions of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Federal Financial Relations and should be read in conjunction with that Agreement and subsidiary schedules. In particular, the schedules include direction in respect of performance reporting and payment arrangements.
2. The Parties are committed to addressing the issue of social inclusion, including responding to Indigenous disadvantage. That commitment is embodied in the objectives and outcomes of this agreement. However, the Parties have also agreed other objectives and outcomes – for example, in the National Indigenous ReformAgreement – which the Parties will pursue through the broadest possible spectrum of government action. Consequently, this agreement will be implemented consistently with the objectives and outcomes of all National Agreements and National Partnerships entered into by the Parties.
3. In December 2007, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to a partnership between all levels of government to work with Indigenous communities to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.
4. In recognition that outcomes for Indigenous Australians remain well below those of non-Indigenous Australians, COAG agreed to six targets. COAG has also identified seven building blocks that need to be in place in order to comprehensively address the current level of disadvantage.
5. This National Partnership Agreement (the Agreement), which contributes to the Closing the Gap targets agreed in the National Indigenous Reform Agreement, has been established to implement a new remote service delivery model that clearly identifies service standards, roles and responsibilities and service delivery parameters to ensure that Indigenous Australians living in selected remote communities receive and actively participate in services to close the gap in Indigenous disadvantage.
6. Through this Agreement, the Commonwealth, the States and the Northern Territory will work together with Indigenous communities to improve Indigenous Australians access to government services, including early childhood, health, housing and welfare services through a single government interface.
PART 1 — FORMALITIES
Parties to this Agreement
7. This Agreement is between:
- the Commonwealth of Australia (the Commonwealth); and
- the States and the Northern Territory.
8. In entering this Agreement, the Commonwealth and the States and the Northern Territory recognise that they have a mutual interest in improving outcomes in the area of Indigenous remote service delivery and need to work together to achieve those outcomes.
Term of the Agreement
9. This agreement will commence as soon as the Commonwealth and one other Party signs the agreement and will expire on 30 June 2014, or earlier termination as agreed in writing by the Parties. A review will be conducted prior to the expiry of the agreement (refer clause 41).
10. The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs is authorised to agree the Implementation Plans on behalf of the Commonwealth.
11. State and Territory Ministers responsible for Indigenous affairs are authorised to agree the Implementation Plans on behalf of their State or Territory.
12. Unless otherwise specified, the following terms and definitions are used throughout this Agreement:
- Agreement: this Agreement and any attached bilateral implementation plans, schedules or annexures.
- COAG: the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) or any body delegated by COAG to operate on its behalf within the context of this Agreement.
- In-kind Contribution: a contribution to the achievement of this Agreement’s objectives in the form of services rather than in funding and in the context of the Agreement includes integration of existing resources and/or services into implementation of the measures in this Agreement.
- Local Implementation Plans: Plans developed for each location arising from the baseline mapping and in consultation with local community members and other parties e.g. nongovernment organisations and business/industry partners.
- Milestone: a significant event or point in time within the delivery of the objectives of this Agreement.
- Performance Indicators: the indicators used to monitor the progress towards achievement of the activities as specified in the relevant implementation plans.
- Remote Indigenous Location: a location classified as either remote or very remote under the Australian Standard Geographical Classification Remoteness Classification, as used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
- Integrated Service Planning and Service Delivery Mechanism: agreed processes and structures for the Commonwealth and State/Territory governments to plan and deliver integrated services.
- Regional Operations Centre: a location in which Commonwealth and State/Territory staff work together (co-located where possible) to support the development and implementation of Local Implementation Plans.
- Single Government Interface: one or more senior “champions” or “business managers” coordinating service delivery of commitments made by governments under the Bilateral plan.
- Bilateral Plan: plans completed between each jurisdiction and the Commonwealth to achieve the objective of the agreement. The Bilateral Plan is a precursor to the development of a detailed local Implementation Plan for identified locations. It will include milestones, performance benchmarks and indicators.
PART 2 — OBJECTIVES, OUTCOMES AND OUTPUTS
13. Subject to further negotiation with participating jurisdictions, the locations proposed for initial investment under this approach are:
- the 15 larger major works communities in the Northern Territory already identified for significant housing and infrastructure investment under the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program;
- 4 locations in the Cape York and Gulf regions in Queensland;
- 3 locations inWestern Australia, with at least 2 locations in the Kimberley;
- 2 locations in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in South Australia; and
- 2 remote locations in theMurdi Paaki region inWestern New South Wales.
14. The rollout of investment will be sequenced in further locations consistent with the principles in Schedule B
15. The Agreement, together with other relevant COAG agreements, will contribute to the following objectives:
- improve the access of Indigenous families to a full range of suitable and culturally inclusive services;
- raise the standard and range of services delivered to Indigenous families to be broadly consistent with those provided to other Australians in similar sized and located communities; National Partnership on Remote Service Delivery.
- improve the level of governance and leadership within Indigenous communities and Indigenous community organisations;
- provide simpler access and better coordinated government services for Indigenous people in identified communities;
- increase economic and social participation wherever possible, and promote personal responsibility, engagement and behaviours consistent with positive social norms.
16. In identified locations and consistent with agreed investment guidelines (at Schedule A) this Agreement will contribute to the following outcomes:
- standards of services and infrastructure to be comparable with non-Indigenous communities of similar size, location and need elsewhere in Australia;
- clear roles and responsibilities identified with all levels of government working together;
- community organisations deliver government services that meet relevant legislative requirements and are accountable to their constituents and funding bodies;
- improved access to services for Indigenous people in remote locations to support achievement of the COAG Targets. Ensuring:
- it is simpler to negotiate government services for Indigenous Australians;
- it is easier for Indigenous Australians to engage government services; and
- user-friendly services are provided to Indigenous Australians by government;
- better coordinated, consistent and connected government services and more highly developed capacity in Indigenous communities; and
- enhanced workforce planning including the development of local skills and a stable local workforce.
17. The objectives and outcomes of this Agreement will be achieved by:
- a new fully functional integrated service planning and delivery methodology and single government interface;
- the completion of detailed baseline mapping of social and economic indicators, government investments, services and service gaps in each location;
- detailed Local Implementation Plans developed and completed with State and Northern Territory governments and stakeholders in identified locations;
- improvements in the design and delivery of services consistent with the Service Delivery Principles at Schedule C;
- an agreed Bilateral Plan completed for each jurisdiction that is party to the Agreement;
- reports as outlined in the Reporting section of this document, paragraphs 25-30; National Partnership on Remote Service Delivery.
- the sharing of best practice;
- the delivery of community leadership skills programs;
- the identification of gaps in priority local infrastructure;
- strengthened interpreting and translation services in response to local needs;
- the delivery of cultural competence measures for all government employees involved with identified communities; and
- changes to land tenure and administration to enable the development of commercial properties and service hubs.
PART 3 — ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF EACH PARTY
18. To realise the objectives and commitments in this Agreement, each Party has specific roles and responsibilities, as outlined below
Role of the Commonwealth
19. The Commonwealth will have responsibility for:
- working with States and the Northern Territory to establish a new integrated service planning and deliverymechanism in identified locations;
- providing a financial contribution (and any in-kind support identified within the respective implementation plans) to States and the Northern Territory as set out in this Agreement;
- dedicating staff to operate new integrated service deliverymechanisms;
- working with States and the Northern Territory to establish a coordination mechanism to facilitate problem solving as well as to ensure that the development and implementation of service delivery, including servicing plans, proceeds smoothly;
- baseline mapping, building and maintaining the evidence base, and monitoring and evaluation in identified locations, including:
- current government expenditure/investment in each selected location, encompassing existing service delivery and supporting infrastructure;
- existing community networks and decision making processes as the basis for establishing legitimate Indigenous community governance structures and decisionmaking processes; and
- an evidence base to facilitate the measuring of performance against clearly defined targets and standards that cut across agencies and levels of government;
- a research capacity to provide advice to government on local and systemic issues associated with cultural accessibility, including cross-cultural trainingmaterials; and National Partnership on Remote Service Delivery.
- introducing a national framework, working with the States and the Northern Territory, for the effective supply and use of Indigenous language interpreters and translators (both technical and non-technical), including protocols for the use of interpreters and translators.
Role of the States and Territories
20. The States and the Northern Territory will have responsibility for:
- working with the Commonwealth to establish a new integrated service planning and deliverymechanism in identified locations;
- providing financial contributions (and any in-kind support identified within the respective implementation plan) as set out in this Agreement;
- dedicating staff to operate new integrated service deliverymechanisms;
- delivering all of the land tenure component; and
- assisting in the creation of the coordinationmechanism.
21. The States, the Northern Territory and the Commonwealth share the following roles and responsibilities, working in partnership to:
- complete reporting requirements as detailed in the Reporting section of this Agreement, paragraphs 25-30;
- work with communities to establish a Single Government Interface in identified locations, providing for interaction between communities and all government agencies at all stages of the service planning and delivery cycle. The interface, consisting of one or more senior
‘champions’ or ‘businessmanagers’ will coordinate service delivery of commitmentsmade by governments under this Agreement;
- establish whole of government regionally based operations centres supported by locally based staff from agencies of the State/Territory and Commonwealth governments. Regional operations centres will work across government with local Indigenous people and other stakeholders to develop Local Implementation Plans and ensure that they are implemented in a timely and accountable way;
- work with selected communities to feed into Local Implementation Plan processes (e.g. ‘negotiation tables’) to agree on service delivery priorities between community groups and governments, and non-governmental and private sector organisations where relevant, consistent with the COAG targets:
- priorities are to be embodied in publicly available documents including targets, actions and associated milestones and timelines; with publicly available joint annual reports on progress against these performance indicators;
- establish programs in identified locations to develop community leadership skills for individuals around which communities and social groupings can organise, including capacity building opportunities (for example, training in leadership, financial management and administration for existing and potential members of governing bodies in remote communities); National Partnership on Remote Service Delivery.
- provide translation services and cultural awareness training in the identified locations;
- provide technical support and funding to establish and maintain appropriate structures and capacity for corporate governance, where appropriate;
- participate in consultations as appropriate regarding implementation of this Agreement;
- plan and implement Bilateral Plans attached to this Agreement;
- identify and share best practice across all parties to this Agreement and provide information and assistance with the overarching evaluation of this Agreement; and
- provide sufficient data (as specified in Part 4 of this Agreement and in the implementation plans) to enable effective planning and a thorough evaluation of outcomes of the Agreement at a national and local level.
PART 4 — PERFORMANCE BENCHMARKS AND REPORTING
Performance benchmarks and indicators
22. This proposal is part of COAG efforts to address the six targets essential to closing the gap in Indigenous disadvantage
23. Under this proposal, performance benchmarks and indicators will differ from location to location. Performance indicators and benchmarks will be developed as part of the process of developing Local Implementation Plans. Performance baselines will be developed through the detailed baseline mapping of social and economic indicators, government investments, services and service gaps in each location (to be undertaken in advance of developing implementation plans)
24. The Parties will agree to a Bilateral Plan in each jurisdiction within three months of signing the Agreement to achieve the objectives of this Agreement and as a precursor for the development of detailed Local Implementation Plans for identified locations. The Bilateral Plan will be reviewed by the Parties on an annual basis
- The Commonwealth and States and the Northern Territory will jointlymaintain and agree updates or amendments to the Bilateral Plans following reviews.
- The Bilateral Plans will include the timelines for achieving the performance benchmarks.
- The Implementation Timeline is as follows:
- Bilateral Plans, with identified locations, milestones, performance benchmarks and indicators are to be agreed within threemonths of signing the Agreement;
- baseline mapping for the agreed locations begins once the Bilateral Plans are agreed;
- the integrated service delivery mechanism is to be established within six months of the Bilateral Plans being signed; National Partnership on Remote Service Delivery.
- government business managers are on site within 1 month of the new delivery mechanisms being established;
- the baseline mapping is to be completed within 1 month of the mechanism being established; and
- drafting of detailed Local Implementation Plans for each location is to commence upon completion of baseline mapping and is to be progressed in consultation with local Indigenous people.
25. The Commonwealth will monitor the overall implementation of the Agreement, including the Bilateral Plans and Local Implementation Plans. The Commonwealth will report annually to COAG on implementation of the Agreement.
26. The States and the Northern Territory will each provide a report card first after six months and then every twelve months to the Commonwealth against the performance indicators, completed baseline mapping and timelines, as detailed in the Local Implementation Plans.
27. The reports will be provided within 1 month of the end of the relevant period, or as otherwise specified in the agreed Bilateral Plans.
28. Part of the reporting process will include an annual evaluation process that is shared across all jurisdictions. The structure of this evaluation will be the subject of further discussion but will ensure ongoing alignment with the COAG reform agenda as appropriate.
29. Clear statements of expenditure in each location presented by the Commonwealth, States and Northern Territory twelvemonths after implementation.
30. Reporting under this National Partnership will comply with the requirements of Schedule C to the Intergovernmental Agreement on Federal Financial Relations.
PART 5 — FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS
31. Funding responsibilities for the implementation of the Agreement are as follows:
|Element of proposal||Commonwealth funding ($m)||State funding ($m)||Total
|Baseline mapping, evidence base, and monitoring and evaluation||36.6
all Cwlth own purpose expenditure
no State costs
|Governance 128.1 73.7 201.8|
|Single government interface||77.1
2/3 of costs
1/3 of costs
|Agreeing local service delivery plans between governments and communities||5.9 2/3 of location based costs||12.5
1/3 of location based costs + fixed State/Territory costs
|Fixed cost per State/Territory (over 26 locations)||9.3|
|Locations based costs (over 26 locations)||8.8|
|Building community governance capacity||45.1
2/3 of costs
1/3 of costs
no Cwlth own purpose expenditure
Cultural awareness training
Translation services 19.8
32. The Commonwealth will bear some two thirds of the responsibility, and the costs associated with Single Government Interfaces in each community, agreement brokers, negotiation tables and community service plans and building community governance capacity. The States would be expected tomeet some one third of the expenses associated with these items
33. The distribution of funding between the States and the Northern Territory will be broadly proportional to the number of agreed locations in each State and Territory
34. Commonwealth and State and Territory costs will be met with new money as appropriate. Funds will not be diverted from other services but it is recognised that a jurisdiction may have provided significant additional funding in relation to a particular element or elements of this Agreement since December 2007, such that some new money would simply result in a duplication of resources. In the latter case the amount of new money provided by that jurisdiction will be as set out in the Bilateral Plan. It is paramount though, that all jurisdictions commit to meeting all the outcome and output requirements of this National Partnership
35. When it can be demonstrated that an existing funding commitment in relation to one element of the proposal satisfactorily meets associated outcome and output requirements, a jurisdiction will be able to propose re-profiling of funding across elements of the proposal where there is demonstrated additional need (with no diminution of any jurisdiction’s total funding commitment). Any such transfers by the Commonwealth will not displace State or Territory total funding commitments. Any changes to funding of different elements will be as set out in the Bilateral Plans
36. The Commonwealth will make payments to the States and the Northern Territory in accordance with a schedule reflecting the achievement of keymilestones identified in the Bilateral Plan
PART 6 — GOVERNANCE ARRANGEMENTS
37. Any Party may give notice to other Parties of a dispute under this Agreement
38. The relevant delegates will attempt to resolve any dispute in the first instance
39. If a dispute cannot be resolved between the relevant delegates, it may be escalated to the Working Group on Indigenous Reform (WGIR) for consideration or should the WGIR be dissolved the relevant Ministerial Council orWorking Group
40. If a dispute cannot be resolved by the relevant Ministerial Council or COAG Working group, it may be referred by a Party to COAG for consideration
Review of the Agreement
41. The Agreement will be reviewed prior to its completion in 2013-14, the final year of the Agreement, with regard to progress made by the Parties in respect of achieving the agreed outcomes
Variation of the Agreement
42. The Agreement may be amended at any time by agreement in writing by all the Parties and under terms and conditions as agreed by all the Parties
43. A Party to the Agreement may terminate their participation in the Agreement at any time by notifying all the other Parties in writing
The Parties have confirmed their commitment to this agreement as follows:
Signed for and on behalf of the Commonwealth of Australia by _______________________________
The Honourable Kevin RuddMP PrimeMinister of the Commonwealth of Australia January 2009
Signed for and on behalf of the State of Western Australia by _______________________________
The Honourable Colin Barnett MP Premier of the State of WesternAustralia December 2008
Signed for and on behalf of the State of New South Wales by _______________________________
The Honourable Nathan ReesMP Premier of the State of New South Wales December 2008
Signed for and on behalf of the Northern Territory by _______________________________
The Honourable Paul HendersonMLA Chief Minister of the Northern Territory of Australia December 2008
Signed for and on behalf of the State of Queensland by _______________________________
The Honourable Anna Bligh MP Premier of the State of Queensland December 2008
Signed for and on behalf of the State of South Australia by _______________________________
The HonourableMike RannMP Premier of the State of South Australia December 2008
National principles for investments in remote locations
NATIONAL PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT ON REMOTE SERVICE DELIVERY
A1 National principles for investments in remote locations include:
- remote Indigenous communities and remote communities with significant Indigenous populations are entitled to standards of services and infrastructure broadly comparable with that in non-Indigenous communities of similar size, location and need elsewhere in Australia;
- investment decisions should aim to: improve participation in education/training and the market economy on a sustainable basis; and reduce dependence on welfare wherever possible; and promote personal responsibility, and engagement and behaviours consistent with positive social norms;
- priority for enhanced infrastructure support and service provision should be to larger and more economically sustainable communities where secure land tenure exists, allowing for services outreach to and access by smaller surrounding communities, including:
- recognising Indigenous peoples’ cultural connections to homelands (whether on a visiting or permanent basis) but avoiding expectations of major investment in service provision where there are few economic or educational opportunities; and
- facilitating voluntary mobility by individuals and families to areas where better education and job opportunities exist, with higher standards of services.
Principles taken into account in deciding sequencing
NATIONAL PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT ON REMOTE SERVICE DELIVERY
The following principles will be taken into account in deciding sequencing:
- areas where we have already applied significant reform effort that can be readily built upon (see below):
- that is, locations where communities have demonstrated a willingness to actively participate in the change process, supported by strong leadership;
- preparedness to participate in steps to rebuild social norms – for example, welfare reform and alcohol management;
- labour market opportunities and potential for corporate investment/partnerships and business development;
- capacity to be developed and utilised as a service hub (including transport) with linkages with smaller communities/homelands; and
- capacity of service supply needs to be met – including consideration of capacity of existing local service providers and capacity of the location to support incoming services
(for example, availability of built facilities and staff housing for staff)
Service delivery principles for programs and services for Indigenous Australians
NATIONAL PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT ON REMOTE SERVICE DELIVERY
C1 These principles draw upon the National Framework of Principles for Government Service Delivery to Indigenous Australians agreed to by COAG in 2004. These principles are to guide COAG in the:
- design and delivery of Indigenous specific and mainstream government programs and services provided to Indigenous people; and
- development and negotiation of National Partnership agreements, National Agreements and reform proposals.
C2 Priority principle: Programs and services should contribute to Closing the Gap by meeting the targets endorsed by COAG while being appropriate to local community needs
C3 Indigenous engagement principle: Engagement with Indigenous men, women and children and communities should be central to the design and delivery of programs and services
C4 Sustainability principle: Programs and services should be directed and resourced over an adequate period of time tomeet the COAG targets
C5 Access Principle: Programs and services should be physically and culturally accessible to Indigenous people recognising the diversity of urban, regional and remote needs
C6 Integration principle: There should be collaboration between and within Governments at all levels and their agencies to effectively coordinate programs and services
C7 Accountability principle: Programs and services should have regular and transparent performance monitoring, review and evaluation
Principles in Detail
C8 Priority principle: Programs and services should contribute to Closing the Gap by meeting the targets endorsed by COAG while being appropriate to local community needs. The COAG targets are:
- close the 17 year life expectancy gap within a generation;
- halve the gap inmortality rates for children under five within a decade;
- halve the gap in reading, writing and numeracy within a decade;
- halve the gap in employment outcomes and opportunities within a decade;
- at least halve the gap for Indigenous students in Year 12 or equivalent attainment rates by 2020; and
- within five years provide access to a quality early childhood education program to all Indigenous four year olds in remote Indigenous communities.
C9 Indigenous engagement principle: Engagement with Indigenous men, women and children and communities should be central to the design and delivery of programs and services. In particular, attention is to be given to:
- recognising that strong relationships/partnerships between government, community and service providers increase the capacity to achieve identified outcomes and work towards building these relationships;
- engaging and empowering Indigenous people who use Government services, and the broader Indigenous community in the design and delivery of programs and services as appropriate;
- recognising local circumstances;
- ensuring Indigenous representation is appropriate, having regard to local representation as required;
- being transparent regarding the role and level of Indigenous engagement along a continuum from information sharing to decision-making; and
- recognising Indigenous culture, language and identity.
C10 Sustainability principle: Programs and services should be directed and resourced over an adequate period of time tomeet the COAG targets. In particular, attention is to be given to:
- service system orientation, particularly:
- using evidence to develop and redesign programs, services and set priorities;
- recognising the importance of early intervention; and
- including strategies that increase independence, empowerment and self management;
- ensuring adequate and appropriate resources, particularly:
- setting time-frames for meeting short, medium and longer-term targets and outcomes; Page C-3.
- considering flexibility in programdesign tomeet local needs;
- considering workforce supply and future planning;
- considering sustaining or redesigning services to best use existing resources, as well as the need for programs and services tomeet the COAG targets;
- minimising administrative red tape to enable greater integration of program and service delivery;
- ensuring that programs and services are efficient and fiscally sustainable; and
- ensuring that infrastructure is appropriate and adequatelymaintained;
- building the capacity of both Indigenous people and of services to meet the needs of Indigenous people, particularly:
- developing the skills, knowledge and competencies, including independence and empowerment of Indigenous people, communities and organisations;
- supporting Indigenous communities to harness the engagement of corporate, non-government and philanthropic sectors;
- building governments’ and service delivery organisations’ capacity to develop and implement policies, procedures, and protocols that recognise Indigenous people’s culture, needs and aspirations;
- ensuring that programs and services foster and do not erode capacity or capability of clients; and
- recognising when Indigenous delivery is an important contributor to outcomes
(direct and indirect), and in those instances fostering opportunities for Indigenous service delivery.
C11 Access Principle: Programs and services should be physically and culturally accessible to Indigenous people recognising the diversity of urban, regional and remote needs. In particular, attention is to be given to:
- considering appropriate and adequate infrastructure and placement of services (including transport, IT, telecommunications and use of interpreter services);
- minimising administrative red tape thatmay be a barrier to access; and
- providing adequate information regarding available programs and services.
C12 Integration principle: There should be collaboration between and within Governments at all levels, their agencies and funded service providers to effectively coordinate programs and services. In particular attention is to be given to:
- articulating responsibilities between all levels of government;
- identifying and addressing gaps and overlaps in the continuum of service delivery;
- ensuring services and programs are provided in an integrated and collaborative manner both between all levels of governments and between services; Page C-4.
- ensuring services and programs do not set incentives that negatively affect outcomes of other programs and services; and
- recognising that a centrally agreed strategic focus should not inhibit service delivery responses that are sensitive to local contexts.
C13 Accountability principle: Programs and services should have regular and transparent performance monitoring, review and evaluation. In particular, attention is to be given to:
- choosing performance measures based on contribution to the COAG targets and report thempublicly;
- ensuring mainstream service delivery agencies have strategies in place to achieve Indigenous outcomes andmeet Indigenous needs;
- clearly articulating the service level to be delivered;
- ensuring accountability of organisations for the government funds that they administer on behalf of Indigenous people;
- periodically measuring/reviewing to assess the contribution of programs and services to the above, and adapting programs and services as appropriate;
- clearly defining and agreeing responsibilities of government and communities;
- supporting the capacity of the Indigenous service sector and communities to play a role in delivering services and influencing service delivery systems/organisations to ensure their responsiveness, access and appropriateness to Indigenous people; and
- evaluating programs and services from multiple perspectives including from the client, Indigenous communities and government perspectives and incorporating lessons into future program and services design.