Submission to YouMeUnity.com.au campaign

As many of you may be aware, consultations are currently taking place across Australia about possible amendments to the Australian Constitution to officially recognise Indigenous members of our community and their rich culture and history. The consultations are being carried out by the Commonwealth Government’s Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. A website has been established to assist with the consultation process at www.YouMeUnity.org.au
On behalf of the NSW Greens, Jan has provided a submission to the process strongly supporting the formal recognition of Aboritinal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in our National Constitution.
 Read Jan’s submission below:

Indigenous Constitutional Recognition Submission

Greens NSW Indigenous policy

Mr Ian Cohen MLC – Second Reading Speech to the Legislative Council of the NSW Parliament regarding Constitution Amendment (Recognition of Aboriginal People) Bill 2010

LIBRARY FUNDING QWN

Question

23rd August 2011

 

The Hon. JAN BARHAM: My question without notice is addressed to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, representing the Minister for the Arts. Will the Minister confirm the current levels of funding for public libraries for the past two years under the designated categories used by National and State Libraries Australasia—namely, the overall expenditure, the per capita expenditure and the per capita subsidy?

The Hon. Duncan Gay: That question should be put on notice.

The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: It is appropriate for that question to be put on notice. However, I will assist the member with her question by referring it to the appropriate Minister and seeking a response.

ANSWER PENDING

FAMILY AND COMMUNITY SERVICES—BANKSTOWN INCOME MANAGEMENT PILOT QoN

Ms Barham to the Minister for Finance and Services, and Minister for the Illawarra representing the Minister for Family and Community Services, and Minister for Women—

  1. What arrangements or agreements are in place between the Department of Family and Community Services and Centrelink to provide information about people living in Bankstown who have been referred to the Department?
  2. What class or type of referral to the Department will qualify a person, living in the Bankstown area receiving Federal Government welfare benefits, for income management?
  3. What community and social service programs currently funded by the Department are located in the Bankstown area? Please provide a complete list.
  4. What percentage of people referred to the Department living in the Bankstown area are receiving early intervention programs including Brighter Futures?

 

Answer—

  1. Bilateral negotiations have commenced with NSW Government and Commonwealth officials meeting to plan the implementation of the trial. These negotiations will include information sharing arrangements between the Department of Family and Community Services and Centrelink.  
  2. The Commonwealth has stated targeted income management will apply to vulnerable families and individuals including parents referred for income management by state or territory child protection authorities; people assessed by Centrelink social workers as being vulnerable to financial crisis, which could include people referred by public housing authorities because they are at risk of homelessness due to rental arrears; and people who volunteer for income management.
  3. In 2010-11, Community Services provided funding under the following funding programs in the Bankstown LGA:
    Community Services Grants Program: $1,615,845
    Children’s Services Program: $2,043,463
    Early Intervention Program: $2,889,438
    Keep Them Safe: $45,000
    Out-of-Home Care: $2,456,301
    Supported Accommodation Assistance Program: $2,097,294
    Strengthening Communities:  $2,137,969
    Total: $13,285,310
  4. The Department of Family and Community Services does not collect data on this basis.

AGEING, DISABILITY SERVICES—THE QUALITY AND SAFETY FRAMEWORK AND THE QUALITY ASSURANCE IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM QoN

Ms Barham to the Minister for Finance and Services, and Minister for the Illawarra representing the Minister for Ageing, and Minister for Disability Services—

    1. What are the functions and processes of the Quality and Safety Framework (QSF) and the Quality Assurance Improvement Program (QAIP) within the Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care?
    2. What type of data do the programs collect?
    3. How is the data managed?
    1. Do these programs generate reports on the data collected?
    2. If so,
      1. How often are these reports generated?
      2. Which officers in the Department are provided with reports generated from data collected as part of these programs?
    1. Do the programs make recommendations to improve services based upon data collection and analysis?
    2. If so, will the Minister provide the details of any recommendations made by the QSF and the QAIP?

 

Answer—

  1.  
    1. The Quality Assurance and Improvement Program (QAIP) is a collection of processes that monitors quality and identifies areas for improvement in Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) operated accommodation support and centre-based respite services. 
      The Quality and Safety Framework (QSF) is a component of the QAIP. It is a monitoring tool used to measure compliance with key policy and procedures. The QSF is completed quarterly.
    2. The QSF comprises 24 Key Performance Indicators, to monitor the development and review of client care plans, levels of incident reporting, completion of health and safety inspections and levels of staff and service usage. Other data that informs quality improvement areas include feedback from clients and families, Ombudsman reports and investigations, Community Visitor reports and internal audits.
    3. For the QSF, at the unit level (group home, centre based respite and large residential units) data is collected on a quarterly basis and reported both regionally and centrally. Other data collected as part of the QAIP is stored in a number of corporate record management and information systems.
  2.  
    1. The unit level data is collated into a regional report. Regional results are aggregated into a state-wide report that is reported to the agency’s Audit and Risk Committee. In addition, a regular report is submitted to the ADHC Executive regarding the operation of ADHC operated accommodation support and centre based respite services.
    2.  
      1. The regional and state wide reports are generated on a quarterly basis. Reports to the Audit and Risk Committee occur quarterly or as required and the reports to the Operational Performance Committee (OPC) occur on an annual basis or as required.
      2. Regional Directors receive reports relating to quality in the services in their region. Regional Improvement Teams have carriage of action plans for quality improvement. The ADHC Executive (Chief Executive and Deputy Directors-General) receive regular reports through the Audit and Risk Committee and the OPC.
  3.  
    1. Results from the QAIP, including QSF, are used to inform service delivery improvement and reform, including training and management of client support plans, and improvements to policies and procedures.
    2. The tools are not used to make recommendations rather each region uses results to inform local action plans. Current state-wide areas for improvement in ADHC operated accommodation services include implementation of the Lifestyle Planning Policy and Guidelines and the commencement of a review of all health-related policies and procedures.

ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS—ABORIGINAL TRUST FUND REPAYMENT SCHEME QoN

Ms Barham to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for the Hunter, and Vice-President of the Executive Council representing the Minister for Citizenship and Communities, and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs

  1. How many direct and decedent claims have not been assessed by the Aboriginal Trust Fund Repayment Scheme (ATFRS) panel?
    1. What is the total amount of funds that have been paid out of the ATFRS to date?
    2. What percentage of the total funds has been paid out to direct claimants?
    1. Is there a specific amount of funding available for fulfilment of ATFRS claims?
    2. If so, how would any residual or remaining funds be disbursed?
  2. When will the anticipated date of finalisation of all current claims?
    1. Has the scheme encountered a situation whereby descendent claims are rejected on the basis that funds have already been paid out to another descendent of a trust fund beneficiary?
    2. If so, how many claims have been rejected on this basis?
  3. How many beneficiaries or descendents of beneficiaries of the relevant trusts listed on the original 1938 beneficiary list have made claims under the scheme?
  4. What actions will be taken to advise claimants or descendents of claimants from the 1938 lists, who have not yet made an application under the ATFRS, that there is evidence of an entitlement?

 

Answer—

  1. All direct claims have been assessed. As at 30 June 2011, 618 (6.85%) claims are yet to be assessed.
  2.  
    1. I am advised that as of 30 June 2011, ex-gratia repayments totalling $6,075,712.57 have been approved.
    2. I am advised that at 30 June 2011, 45 per cent of total funds approved have been in relation to direct claimants.
  3. No.
  4. I am advised that the Scheme Guidelines provide claimants with a right of review of the assessment of their claim. Claimants have six weeks from the date of claims assessment to lodge a review. Therefore, the finalisation will occur when claims are fully processed.
  5.  
    1. I am advised that in relation to descendant claims, if a repayment is assessed as being owed an ex gratia repayment of $11,000 will be distributed to eligible living family members as follows, but only to the family members who registered with the Scheme by 31 May 2009. 
      If there is no will, the repayment will be made to a spouse (including a de facto partner) who had been living with the deceased for at least 2 years at the time of their death if they have registered with the Scheme. 
      If there is no spouse alive (or registered) then the repayment is distributed in equal shares between the living children of the deceased person who have registered with the Scheme. 
      If the spouse and children of the deceased Trust Fund holder have also died (or have not registered) then the money will be distributed in equal shares to the living grandchildren of the deceased person who have registered with the Scheme.
    2. I am advised that a small number of people not registered with the Scheme have sought to register with the Scheme following payments to family members. Payments cannot be made to unregistered family members as the trust funds have been disbursed.
  6. I am advised that the list of Endowee’ Balances as at 31st July, 1938 was included in the Aborigines Protection Report and Recommendations of the Public Service Board News South Wales as published by order of the Parliament of New South Wales on 4 April 1940. 
    Claims have been registered against 490 trust fund holders contained on the list of Endowee’ Balances as at 31st July, 1938.
  7. I am advised that inclusion on the list of Endowee’ Balances as at 31st July, 1938 is not of itself evidence of an entitlement to a repayment under the Aboriginal Trust Fund Repayment Scheme. 
    Reforms to the Scheme in March 2009 included an extension of the period in which applicants could register, and the Government funded an extensive communication strategy, ensuring word of the Scheme spread throughout Aboriginal communities in NSW and across Australia. Various other organisations, including the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and Legal Aid NSW, also conducted their own campaigns. The Legal Aid NSW campaign included the publication of the full list of Endowee’ Balances as at 31st July, 1938 in Indigenous print media.

 


BYRON BAY EVENTS

The Hon. JAN BARHAM [6.05 p.m.]: Events portray a community’s character. They present the culture of an area and are an important contribution to the social capital. They can also make a significant contribution to the economy, especially in tourist areas. On 10 September I attended the inaugural Sample Food Festival at Bangalow in Byron shire. The organiser, Remy Tancred, assembled more than 100 of the region’s growers, producers, restaurateurs, and art and craft suppliers from the region for a festival that celebrated and displayed the abundance and creativity of the North Coast. The event attracted approximately 8,000 people, who sampled and purchased the best and freshest of the region.

This event highlights the support for sustainable agriculture and the benefits of fresh, fine food. I raise this event and its success in the context of how the region maintains its attraction and diversity as a sustainable destination. There has been recent media focus on Byron Shire Council’s seeking to retain a degree of control of its identity and proposing to limit the number of large music festivals held in the area. Byron shire is an iconic tourism and event destination. The challenge is how to maintain a quality of life for the community while being economically and socially diverse.

Local events such as the Bluesfest and the Splendour music festival have attracted wide acclaim. The council and the community have been proud to host those events and the council has adopted a policy to support the continuation of two major music events annually. The aims of that policy are to recognise the contribution that events make to the diverse character and culture of the shire, to encourage event organisers to promote events that recognise and contribute to the evolution of this character and culture, and to manage events so that they do not adversely impact on the existing character.

The diverse talents and interests of the area embrace a broad platform of expression that is reflected in the range of events that continue to evolve. Local events are as varied as the community. They include the very popular and successful writers festival, film festivals, a billycart derby, a classical music festival, a vintage event, a kites and bikes event, underwater and surf festivals, a harmony event, a comedy festival, the woodchip event, the Starlight Wellbeing Expo, a triathlon, art expos, the Mullum Music Festival, the Bluesfest and, in past years, Splendour in the Grass. This is in addition to the activities that are part and parcel of the peak tourism period and schoolies week. Organisers deliver an average of three significant events each month that attract visitors, local and regional residents, and many from the large Queensland population to the north, just an hour away, who come over the border to enjoy our cultural diversity and natural landscape.

The community supports a tourism focus, but one which respects the host community. The shire has a small population of fewer than 30,000 residents and a visitor population of more than 1.5 million. The proposed festival site at Yelgun, known as North Parklands, is the subject of an application to establish a dedicated event site to host multiple music events, not only the widely renowned Splendour festival. The application is currently awaiting determination by the Government under part 3A. An application for a trial event at the site was approved by the council but overturned by the court after an appeal was lodged by a community group.

The proponents then made an application to the State Government. The Government has said much about returning planning matters to the local level, but that did not happen on this occasion. The community’s and the council’s concerns about the potential environmental and social degradation caused by multiple music festivals have been articulated as has their desire to maintain a broad cultural diversity. The concern is that the area will be characterised as a party town. Already there is wide community concern about alcohol-fuelled events and antisocial behaviour and how these might deter people from visiting the area.

The Byron shire has been at the forefront of environmental protection and sustainable development for more than 30 years and it is its distinctive character that makes it so attractive to locals and visitors. The event limit is recognition of the need to consider the future rather than simply to let market forces take control and perhaps define and diminish the overall character of the town. The shire does not want to be known as a music festival destination alone. It has so much more to offer and it seeks to maintain and develop a diverse cultural character.

It is recognised that there are positives in terms of economic and cultural benefits from large music events, but there is also potential for impacts on the social amenity and the environment. The community is concerned that the rich cultural diversity is maintained and that space is provided for more local events to emerge and seek the support of the community. The events policy seeks to restrict the number of large events that operate in the shire to allow the community to continue to define what and how we reflect our cultural identity. The potential for approval of a site that increases the number of large music events in the shire would present the shire as a music festival hotspot, which is not a desired outcome for the community.

FORSTER DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING UNIT FIRE QWN

Question

15th September 2011

 

The Hon. JAN BARHAM: My question is directed to the Minister for Finance and Services, representing the Minister for Family and Community Services. In light of the overnight tragedy that took place in a former Department of Housing unit block in Forster, will the Minister advise what action, if any, was taken by the department in response to concerns about the property raised by the Great Lakes Council over the past two years?

The Hon. GREG PEARCE: That is a difficult question.

[Interruption]

The reaction of members opposite to people being injured is to burst into laughter.

The Hon. Eric Roozendaal: Point of order: We are not laughing about the question; we are laughing at the Minister.

The PRESIDENT: Order! I call the Hon. Eric Roozendaal to order for the first time.

The Hon. GREG PEARCE: Members opposite have asked me dozens of questions about Orica, but the Leader of the Opposition did not take up the offer yesterday to call WorkCover and he did not take the call from the chief executive officer.

The Hon. Luke Foley: Point of order: The Minister is once again misleading the House. It is simply not true to say that I did not take a call from the chief executive officer of WorkCover. I said that I did not receive the call. The Minister should withdraw that statement.

The PRESIDENT: Order! The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat.

The Hon. GREG PEARCE: You did not take the call.

The PRESIDENT: Order! The Minister will resume his seat.

The Hon. Luke Foley: I didn’t receive one you lying prick.

The PRESIDENT: Order! The Leader of the Opposition should withdraw those unparliamentary words.

The Hon. Luke Foley: I withdraw.

The Hon. Amanda Fazio: To the point of order: My point of order relates to relevance. The Hon. Jan Barham’s question was very serious; she asked about the tragic fire that occurred yesterday in a former Department of Housing dwelling. The Minister should be asked to answer that question and not to talk about questions he was asked earlier in question time.

The PRESIDENT: Order! If the Minister has no information relevant to the Hon. Jan Barham’s question, he should conclude his answer as quickly as possible.

The Hon. GREG PEARCE: As I was going to indicate, I will come back with a detailed answer.

 

ANSWER

15th September 2011

The Hon. GREG PEARCE: Earlier today the Hon. Jan Barham asked me a question about a tragic incident overnight in Forster.

The PRESIDENT: Order! I ask members to reduce the level of audible conversation in the Chamber.

The Hon. GREG PEARCE: The Government and, I am sure, all honourable members extend our condolences to the victims of the incident overnight in Forster. The property in Little Street, Forster, is owned by Housing NSW and had been managed by Community Housing Ltd for a number of years. Housing NSW plans to sell the property and the tenants had been relocated. There was only one remaining tenant in the complex and she was not injured in the incident. Housing NSW is arranging temporary accommodation prior to finalising her relocation. All the windows of the vacant units on the ground floor had been boarded up and the doors screwed shut to deter squatters. The stairwells to the upstairs units had also been boarded to prevent access to those units. I am advised that staff from Community Housing Ltd had been on the site late last week. At that time the boarding was intact and there was no sign of squatters. Housing NSW is assisting police with their inquiries.

STATE PLAN NSW 2021 QWN

Question

13th September 2011

 

The Hon. JAN BARHAM: My question is directed to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, representing the Premier. What consultation was undertaken by the New South Wales Government for development of the new State Plan NSW 2021?

Answer

13th September 2011

The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: I inform the House that in the area of policing alone the Government is involved in extensive consultation with the community, particularly in the social policy area in which I was involved. We travelled right throughout New South Wales. Significantly, quite a large number of Coalition members, who at that stage were shadow Ministers, undertook travel throughout the State. I thank the member for her question because the new State Plan NSW 2021 is testament to what happens when oppositions work hard. The shadow Ministers worked hard to achieve a change of government in New South Wales and they were very successful.

In relation to the specific segments of the State Plan NSW 2021, I am not aware of the consultation to which the member referred. However, I assure her that all areas of the State were covered in conjunction with preparation of the Coalition’s policy work prior to the election. I am sure the member also has noticed that since being elected to government in March, we have continued our extensive program of travelling throughout the State. The process has only just begun to ensure that when the community perceives a need for change, which was the case prior to March 2011, the Coalition will work with it to ensure that the policy direction the Government has put forward, and will continue to pursue in the future, is the right one for New South Wales.

ABORIGINAL EMPLOYMENT QWN

Question

9 September 2011

The Hon. JAN BARHAM: My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, representing the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. The new State Plan includes a target to close the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people within a generation. How many extra jobs would need to be created for Aboriginal people in New South Wales to reach the Government’s target? How many of the 100,000 new jobs that the New South Wales Government is aiming to create will be targeted for Aboriginal people?

The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: That is a good question. I assure the honourable member that I will get an answer from the Minister and report back to her as soon as I can.

 

Answer

15th September 2011

The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: On 24 August 2011 the Hon. Jan Barham asked me, representing the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, a question without notice regarding Aboriginal programs and services. The Minister for Aboriginal affairs has provided the following response:

    The recently announced Ministerial Taskforce of Aboriginal Affairs will be the New South Wales Government’s peak body and structure to consult with Aboriginal people. The Taskforce will determine a new direction for Aboriginal affairs consultation and service delivery in New South Wales.

    Aboriginal Affairs New South Wales is the key agency that provides advice to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs on all matters affecting Aboriginal people.

    Every department is required to have processes in place and a commitment to consult with peak Aboriginal bodies and organisations.

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