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AUSTRALIA: ATSIC

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  • Neshoba
    Herald Sun ATSIC on verge of oblivion By IAN McPHEDRAN and MARIA MOSCARITOLO 02jun03 ATSIC will virtually cease to exist under a radical reform plan for the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 2, 2003
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      Herald Sun
      ATSIC on verge of oblivion
      By IAN McPHEDRAN and MARIA MOSCARITOLO
      02jun03

      ATSIC will virtually cease to exist under a radical reform plan for the
      controversial indigenous body.

      The overhaul formulated by a top-level review will see most powers
      stripped from the elected 18-person Aboriginal and Torres Strait
      Islander Commission board and handed to local indigenous
      communities.

      News of the proposal has prompted outrage from indigenous leaders
      who have warned of street protests if it is adopted.

      The Government last month pre-empted one of the review's major
      findings by announcing ATSIC would no longer have control over its
      $1.2 billion budget.

      A new funding body, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services,
      was formed to manage indigenous spending from July 1.

      AUSIt is to be run by ATSIC chief executive Wayne Gibbons, who hinted at
      the review's main finding when he told a Senate committee last week
      increased emphasis would be given to regional councils.

      "I am giving some thought to strengthening our capacity to support
      regional councils' planning capabilities," he said.

      Details of the overhaul are contained in the review team's report and
      discussion paper, which will be handed to Indigenous Affairs Minister
      Philip Ruddock in a fortnight.

      The four-member panel is headed by former defence secretary Allan
      Hawke and includes former Labor minister Bob Collins, indigenous
      author Jackie Huggins and ex-NSW Liberal minister John Hannaford.

      ATSIC deputy chair "Sugar" Ray Robinson said regional councils
      should have more autonomy, but not at the expense of the national
      body.

      He said if national representation was taken away it would gut
      indigenous self-determination.

      "Then who speaks on behalf of Aboriginal Australia on a national level?
      You've got no voice no more," he said. "How could it work? You just
      imagine if there was no national body. There'd be marching in the
      streets."

      But former ATSIC chair Lowitja O'Donoghue supported moves to give
      greater power to local communities.

      "To enable Aboriginal organisations, people on the ground . . . to get on
      with the job," she said.

      http://heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,6528090%2
      55E662,00.html


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