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Indigenous councils seek more control over local issues

News Release

Friday, 10 June 2016

Indigenous councils seek more control over local issues

Mayors, councillors and CEOs of Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander councils will seek greater control over job service contracts in their communities and more power to deal with problem crocodiles in their waterways. 

The Indigenous Leaders’ Forum, which wrapped up in Cairns yesterday, also voted for the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) to lobby for a review of federal funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services to determine how much is spent in the actual communities.

Members of the ILF voted unanimously on 16 items, which also included: assisting Yarrabah and Cherbourg Aboriginal shire councils in reviewing their “outer region” Federal Government area classification; amendment of the Roads and Recovery legislation to consider the unique circumstances of communities where the main form of access is by sea; and promotional campaigns to attract breakfast television programs to indigenous communities.

Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion, Shadow Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs Shayne Neumann and Queensland’s Assistant Minister for Local Government Jennifer Howard attended the event.

Torres Strait Island Regional Council Mayor and LGAQ Policy Executive indigenous representative Fred Gela said that indigenous councils were committed to working with both the state and federal governments to achieve the best policy outcomes for their communities. 

“We've had a productive two days of discussion with state and federal representatives in Cairns,” Cr Gela said.

“In light of the upcoming federal election it’s particularly important our voices are heard and heeded on these important issues for our communities.”

Palm Island Mayor and LGAQ Policy Executive indigenous representative Alf Lacey said the councils sought greater control over funding, contracts and services in their communities.

“As always, the ILF was well-represented and productive and I thank all of the mayors, councillors and CEOs who came together for such an important event,” Cr Lacey said.

“As reflected in the outcomes, we want to provide community-led solutions to local problems and for governments to recognise our rights as democratically-elected leaders.”

ILF members will call on the Federal Government to not enter into any new job service provider contracts in indigenous communities without consultation or approval by the respective council.

They also will ask the State Government to lift a ban on the wild harvesting of crocodile eggs by croc farm operators within indigenous communities. The LGAQ will lobby for council rangers to have the authority to capture and relocate rogue crocs.

The ILF meets twice a year to discuss priorities and issues affecting Queensland’s 17 indigenous councils.

Local Government Association of Queensland
LG House, 25 Evelyn Street, Newstead Qld 4006


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