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Queensland’s new approach to “whole-of-government” working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

While Croakey has been encouraging our political leaders to consider governance arrangements that enable Health in All Policies, the Queensland Government is introducing a novel approach encouraging all Ministers to take responsibility for working with specific Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Hopefully there will be some evaluation of this approach, particularly from community perspectives.

Meanwhile, the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples today expressed “a degree of concern” about the reappointment of the Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator Nigel Scullion.

In a statement, Co-Chair Jackie Huggins said: “We will ensure that the government is held to account for the problematic state of affairs and the lack of a genuine and respectful relationship.”

The statement said the Review of Indigenous Affairs currently underway was good news and although the National Congress had not been consulted, “we hope such a review is able to resolve the chaotic state of affairs and give some direction for a better environment focused on positive outcomes”.


Queensland Government statement: All Ministers to champion Indigenous outcomes

Each Minister in the Palaszczuk Government Cabinet has been assigned unique responsibility for a discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in Queensland to improve communications with Government and drive better outcomes.

Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Curtis Pitt announced the Ministerial Government Champions’ Program today, promising communities that they would receive a greater level of individual attention to address their particular needs.

“Each discrete community will now have its own dedicated partner within the Palaszczuk Government Ministry to listen and act on their concerns which will help communities seize opportunities before them,” Mr Pitt said.

“The Ministerial Champions program builds on the existing Queensland Government Champions program, which has partnered discrete communities with Directors-General or other heads of government agencies.

“This program will provide unprecedented contact, presence and direct attention between Ministers and communities, which will undoubtedly strengthen our whole-of-government response to improving Indigenous outcomes.

“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to closing the gap in life outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders and non-Indigenous Queenslanders, particularly those living in remote and discrete communities.

“Under the new program Ministers will immediately begin working closely with mayors and community leaders from their partner community, to engage more effectively with Cabinet on the opportunities and challenges facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“As part of our existing portfolio responsibilities, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and I will continue our involvement in all communities and I will personally lead the whole-of-Government response in Aurukun as announced by the Premier in May.

“We look forward to working closely with our Cabinet colleagues as they take up the vital role of championing the interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders in the spirit of genuine partnerships.

“During a Summit held at Yarrabah in Far North Queensland late last year, mayors and community leaders expressed their strong support for the existing Director-General level ‘Government Champions’ program. “Today’s announcement demonstrates our commitment to acting on that feedback.”

The new Ministerial Government Champion appointments are as follows:

All Communities – Premier and Minister for the Arts, Hon Annastacia Palaszczuk and Treasurer, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Minister for Sport, Hon Curtis Pitt

Aurukun – Treasurer, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Minister for Sport, Hon Curtis Pitt

Cherbourg – Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Hon Dr Anthony Lynham

Coen – Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services, Hon Cameron Dick

Doomadgee – Minister for Disability Services, Minister for Seniors and Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland, Hon Coralee O’Rourke

Hope Vale – Minister for Housing and Public Works, Hon Mick de Brenni

Kowanyama – Assistant Minister of State Assisting the Premier, Assistant Minister Mark Ryan

Lockhart River – Minister for Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports and Minister for Energy, Biofuels and Water Supply, Hon Mark Bailey

Mapoon – Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services and Minister for Corrective Services, Hon Bill Byrne

Mornington Island – Assistant Minister for Local Government, Assistant Minister Jennifer Howard

Mossman Gorge – Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for Training and Skills, Hon Yvette D’Ath

Napranum – Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, Minister for Racing and Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Hon Grace Grace

Northern Peninsula Area – Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon Leanne Donaldson

Palm Island – Deputy Premier, Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning and Minister for Trade and Investment, Hon Jackie Trad

Pormpuraaw – Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef, Hon Dr Steven Miles

Torres Strait – Minister for Communities, Women and Youth, Minister for Child Safety and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Hon Shannon Fentiman

Woorabinda – Minister for Transport and the Commonwealth Games, Hon Stirling Hinchliffe

Wujal Wujal – Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business, Hon Leeanne Enoch

Yarrabah – Minister for Education and Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Hon Kate Jones


In other news from Queensland that may also interest Croakey readers, the Government is introducing real-time disclosure of political donations.