Whole of Government Response to the Second Report of the Coordinator General for Remote Indigenous Services

Background:

The Coordinator-General for Remote Indigenous Services (CGRIS) released his second statutory report on 5 October 2010. The report makes ten recommendations (including 17 distinct actions). Most recommendations traverse Commonwealth/State/Territory responsibilities.

This report comprises the response of the Working Group on Indigenous Reform to the recommendations (and actions) of the second CGRIS report. It was endorsed by the WGIR on 13 December 2010.

Lead responsibility for implementing each recommendation is identified in this report. Monitoring of the implementation of most recommendations and actions in each jurisdiction will be undertaken by the Boards of Management established to oversight implementation of the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Service Delivery (RSD NPA).

 


Recommendation 1: Governance capacity building

  • 1.1 It is recommended that the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, in consultation with the State and the Northern Territory, develop a specific governance, leadership and related capacity building framework, which includes the ability to tailor responses to specific circumstances of communities in developing their governance capacity; and provides for training staff working in priority communities on the drivers and importance of good community governance.
  • 1.2 Measures agreed to should be captured in Local Implementation Plans with agreed outcomes. Existing governance programs and funding should be identified under the framework referred to in 1.1 to allow for integrated support for governance and leadership in the priority communities.

Response

Recommendation 1.1


Agreed

The Commonwealth Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA), in consultation with Regional Operation Centres (ROCs) and Boards of Management (BOMs), will develop a governance, leadership and capacity building framework. The development of the framework will be undertaken within the context of any scheduled reviews of Local Implementation Plans (LIPs), and will take account of existing commitments in LIPs, as well as the significant work already undertaken or underway in each jurisdiction. The framework will need to be agreed multi-laterally through the Working Group on Indigenous Reform (WGIR).

Expected outcome: Development of a governance, leadership and capacity building framework

Lead responsibility: FaHCSIA/WGIR

Implementation date: late 2011, recognising the complexities of achieving multilateral agreement

Recommendation 1.2


Agreed

Progressive implementation of the governance, leadership and capacity building framework will be undertaken through the Local Implementation Planning process. Progress in each jurisdiction will be monitored through the Boards of Management.

Expected outcome: Progressive implementation of the governance, leadership and capacity building framework

Lead responsibility: Implementation monitored by BOMs. (Key responsibilities in each jurisdiction to be identified in the framework.)

Implementation date: On-going


Recommendation 2: Building the capacity of government officers

It is recommended that the Australian, State and Territory governments consider developing targeted education and training programs with national training providers for government officers engaged in the Remote Service Delivery partnership, to ensure officers have the appropriate skills and cultural competency to work in priority communities. The key competencies to be covered by these training programs could be included in the Governance, Leadership and Capacity Building Framework outlined in Recommendation 1.

Response


Agreed

The Parties will consider the use of national training providers during the development of the governance, leadership and capacity building framework (refer to Recommendation 1 above). Progress on implementation will be monitored in each jurisdiction through the Boards of Management.

Expected outcome: Agreement on the appropriate use of national training providers may to develop targeted education and training for government workers.

Lead responsibility: FaHCSIA/WGIR

Implementation date: late 2011, recognising the complexities of achieving multi-lateral agreement


Recommendation 3: Baseline mapping

It is recommended that the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs present summaries of the current baseline mapping reports to Community Reference Groups to directly inform the preparation and future refinement of Local Implementation Plans. These presentations should be prepared to assist communities to understand the outcomes of the baseline mapping and to raise any concerns with the validity of data collected.

Response


Agreed

Summaries of baseline mapping reports have been released to some communities, and planning for the release of summaries to other communities is in train. ROCs are determining the appropriate content and release strategies for baseline mapping information to communities. FaHCSIA is working closely with BOMs and ROCs by providing them with relevant summary information as may be required. Progress will be monitored through the BOMs.

Expected outcome: Summaries of baseline mapping prepared and presented to communities.

Lead responsibility: BOMs

Implementation date: By early 2011, with release dates for specific communities to be determined by ROCs


Recommendation 4: Infrastructure

Noting the work underway within the Australian Government to assess infrastructure needs within priority communities, it is recommended that future Local Implementation Plans should identify local infrastructure priorities to inform the development of a cross-government infrastructure investment plan.

Response


Agreed in-principle

The Parties agree to establish infrastructure registers or plans of forward works which could be included in Local Implementation Plans (subject to agreement of the LIP parties) and taking account of existing centralised infrastructure planning structures in each jurisdiction. These registers or plans will ensure BOMs will have visibility of planned investments in priority locations to ensure activities are being effectively sequenced and infrastructure investments are well planned across the whole of government. ROCs will be responsible for the negotiations with communities over the purpose and content of the registers/plans as part of the LIP process. Progress in each jurisdiction will be monitored by BOMs.

Expected outcome: Infrastructure registers or plans of forward works (capable of informing any future infrastructure investment planning) which could be included in LIPs (subject to agreement of the LIP parties)

Lead responsibility: BOMs

Implementation date: By June 2011, with the updating and monitoring of registers/plans on-going


Recommendation 5: More effective youth initiatives

It is recommended that the Australian, State and Territory governments identify funding currently committed for youth programs in priority communities and opportunities to improve coordination of these programs. This work should inform the development of Youth Action Plans to be included in future Local Implementation Plans

Response


Recommendation 5 (action 1): Identification of funding currently committed for youth programs


Agreed

The Parties agree to identify funding currently committed for youth programs in priority communities. This work will be coordinated by the BOMs in each jurisdiction, and FaHCSIA will assist BOMs where national coordination is required.

Expected outcome: Funding currently committed for youth programs identified

Lead responsibility: BOMs

Implementation date: March 2011


Recommendation 5 (action 2): Development of Youth Action Plans to be included in future Local Implementation Plans


Agreed in-principle

The development of Youth Action Plans will be progressed by the BOMs as part of the LIP process. The Plans will be capable of being included in LIPs (subject to the agreement of the LIP parties). The BOMs will determine the most appropriate government agencies in each jurisdiction to lead this work across the whole of government. ROCs will negotiate with the priority communities over the purpose and content of the Youth Action Plans as part of the LIP process. Progress in each jurisdiction will be monitored by the BOMs.

Expected outcome: Youth Action Plans to be developed and considered by the priority communities and other LIP parties through the LIP process

Lead responsibility: BOMs

Implementation date: June 2011 (with specific implementation dates dependent upon outcome of negotiations with communities), and then on-going. Recognising the number of implementation plans requested by the CGRIS, the order in which they are completed and the time taken will depend upon the capacities and preferences of individual communities.


Recommendation 6: Early Childhood Services

It is recommended that:

  • 6.1 Regional Operation Centres support the development of Client-Centred Service Provider Charters in each priority community to:
    • (i) ensure the effective coordination of services for children with a particular focus on consistent and proactive referral pathways for children and families at risk; and
    • (ii) develop an early childhood workforce development strategy with local service providers.
  • 6.2 All governments ensure the delivery of ongoing and refresher training to all community workers on their legal responsibilities to identify and respond to suspected child abuse and neglect.

Response

Recommendation 6.1


Agreed in-principle

As part of the LIP process, the ROCs will promote the development of Client-Centred Service Provider Charters for the purpose of supporting the coordination of services for children and the subsequent development of early childhood workforce development strategies. Progress in each jurisdiction will be monitored by the BOMs, however the result of this work will be dependent on the outcome of negotiations undertaken with the LIP parties and local service providers in each priority location.

Expected outcome: Client-Centred Service Provider Charters developed

Lead responsibility: BOMs and ROCs

Implementation date: June 2011 (specific implementation dates will be subject to the outcome of consultations with relevant local service providers). Recognising the number of implementation plans requested by the CGRIS, the order in which service provider charters are completed and the time taken will depend upon the capacities and preferences of relevant local service providers in communities.

Recommendation 6.2


Agreed

The Parties agree to ensure that as part of the on-going implementation of the RSD NPA, community workers in each priority location receive training (or re-fresher training as appropriate) on their legal responsibilities to identify and respond to suspected child abuse and neglect. Agencies supporting community workers will advise BOMs of their proposed training programs/schedules, and the implementation of this training will be monitored by BOMs.

Expected outcome: Training regularly provided to community workers in each priority location on their legal responsibilities to identify and respond to suspected child abuse and neglect

Lead responsibility: Individual agencies; Monitored by BOMs

Implementation date: On-going


Recommendation 7: Education

To ensure the delivery of excellence in facilities, curriculum and teachers in the priority communities it is recommended that:

  • 7.1 Boards of Management establish an education subcommittee comprising representatives of education providers, particularly Indigenous education providers; and Australian and State/Territory Governments to lead policy and program development and implementation across priority communities and to support local initiatives such as school boards; and
  • 7.2 teacher training be provided to local Indigenous assistant teachers to support them to attain teaching qualifications.

Response

Recommendation 7.1


Agreed in-principle

The BOMs will consider this recommendation and determine the most appropriate cross-government mechanism in each jurisdiction (which may be an education sub-committee of the BOM) for monitoring the delivery of education facilities, curriculum and teachers in the priority communities. The terms of reference for these mechanisms will be determined by the BOMs but will include an advisory role in relation to education policy and program development and monitoring of implementation of local education initiatives across priority communities.

Expected outcome: Cross-government mechanism established in each jurisdiction for monitoring the delivery of education facilities, curriculum and teachers in the priority communities

Lead responsibility: BOMs

Implementation date: February 2011

Recommendation 7.2


Agreed in-principle

Responsible State/Northern Territory education departments will work stakeholders to identify local Indigenous assistant teachers in each priority locations who may wish to receive teacher training and progress towards achieving formal teaching qualifications.. BOMs will monitor progress in each location.

Expected outcome: Teacher training provided to local Indigenous assistant teachers as appropriate

Lead responsibility: Responsible State/Northern Territory education departments

Implementation date: On-going


Recommendation 8: COAG National Partnership Agreements Review

It is recommended that future planned reviews (including those by the COAG Reform Council) of existing COAG National Partnership Agreements assess how Remote Service Delivery communities have been specifically targeted for investment. Where reward funding is paid under existing National Partnerships which include Indigenous-specific performance measures, consideration should be given to a proportion of future reward payments being paid against attainment of the specified Indigenous outcomes. Negotiation of reward payments under future National Partnerships should, where relevant, identify that a proportion of those payments would be made against the attainment of specified Indigenous outcomes within the broader agreement.

Response


Agreed

As part of routine review processes of COAG National Partnership Agreements, consideration will be given by the Parties to the inclusion of reward funding as appropriate. Any amendment to an existing National Partnership Agreement will require the agreement of COAG.

Consideration of reward payments under any future National Partnership Agreements by the Parties will be considered on a case by case basis, and will require the agreement of COAG.

Expected outcome: Consideration of reward payments as part of reviews of National Partnership Agreements and on a case by case basis as part of negotiations for any relevant future National Partnership Agreements

Lead responsibility: Relevant jurisdictions (depending on nature of the National Partnership Agreement that may be subject to review or negotiation)

Implementation date: When relevant and on a case by case basis


Recommendation 9: Reducing administrative burden and concentrating investment in communities

It is recommended that Australian, State and Territory agencies minimise the requirement that priority communities must negotiate agreed priorities for inclusion in Local Implementation Plans and then separately pursue funding for these priorities through other processes. This should be enabled through:

  • (i) Wherever possible, governments should work with communities to understand their priorities and assist them in seeking funding through relevant programs. The inclusion of agreed priority in a Local Implementation Plan should entail confirmation that funding is available; and
  • (ii) Any review of program or funding guidelines relevant to priority communities should identify how priority communities could be prioritised within the program funding model.

Response

Recommendation 9(i)


Agreed

The Parties will seek to strengthen Local Implementation Plans as they are further developed and reviewed, including by assisting communities to source program funding for potential priority projects where this is not already identified.

Expected outcome: Assistance provided to communities to source program funding for potential priority projects in LIPs

Lead responsibility: BOMs

Implementation date: On-going

Recommendation 9(ii)


Agreed

The Parties will ensure that as part of the routine review of programs or funding guidelines relevant to priority communities, that consideration will be given to whether the priority communities should be prioritised within the program funding model. If it is determined that priority should be given, the Parties will also ensure consideration is given as to how prioritisation will be implemented.

The BOMs will monitor progress within each jurisdiction. Relevant Commonwealth agencies will monitor their progress in relation to programs developed nationally.

Expected outcome: Prioritisation of priority communities within program funding models as part of reviews of programs or funding guidelines

Lead responsibility: Funding agencies

Implementation date: On-going, as guidelines are reviewed


Recommendation 10: Regional Operations Centres

It is recommended that:

  • a national Regional Operations Centre leadership and support group be established; and
  • agencies commit to assisting Regional Operations Centre efforts to coordinate government activities within communities by providing staff and resources to support the implementation of Local Implementation Plans and ensure that they are notified of any planned visits (including Ministerial visits) to the communities.

Response

Recommendation 10 (action 1): National Regional Operations Centre leadership and support group


Agreed

FaHCSIA will, in close consultation with ROCs, develop a national Regional Operations Centre leadership and support capacity.

Expected outcome: Development of a national Regional Operations Centre leadership and support capacity

Lead responsibility: FaHCSIA

Implementation date: February 2011

Recommendation 10 (action 2): Assisting ROC efforts to coordinate government activities


Agreed in-principle

The Parties will continue to support the role of ROCs in coordinating government efforts in communities. Decisions on the necessity for additional departmental staffing of ROCs will be made by individual agencies on a case by case basis in consultation with ROCs. The support needs of ROCs will be regularly assessed by the BOMs in each jurisdiction.

Expected outcome: Support needs of ROCs will continue to be considered and addressed by agencies on a case by case basis

Lead responsibility: All parties; support needs to be regularly assessed by BOMs

Implementation date: On-going

Recommendation 10 (action 3): Notification of planned visits (including Ministerial visits) to the communities


Agreed in-principle

The Parties will ensure that agencies notify the ROCs of relevant proposed community visits. In some cases (for example, visits associated with police or child protection actions) it is acknowledged that prior notification may not be desireable, appropriate or practical. The BOMs will develop visiting officer notification guidelines tailored to the circumstances of each jurisdiction to guide agencies in making appropriate notifications of proposed visits to the priority locations.

Expected outcome: Visiting officer notification guidelines developed for each jurisdiction

Lead responsibility: BOMs

Implementation date: March 2011

Content Updated: 17 July 2013