Use the following social sites to connect and share with Premier Denis Napthine.
The Victorian Coalition Government is committed to a whole of government and bi-partisan approach to Closing the Gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Victorians.
We are very proud that a new Parliamentary tradition of a formal Welcome to Country commenced with the Opening of Parliament in December 2010.
At the 13 February 2011 meeting of the Council of Australian Governments, the Premier, together with other First Ministers, reinforced the national commitment to closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.
On 24 March 2011 the Premier, Deputy Premier and the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, together with their Opposition counterparts, signed the Closing the Gap Statement of Intent in the Queens Hall of Parliament House and recommitted the Government to the Closing the Gap agenda.
The gap in outcomes between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Victorians will be addressed by the Victorian Government through a range of efforts, and in particular by creating more employment and business opportunities, striving for stronger education and training outcomes and improving access to service delivery.
The Premier announced four principles to guide the Government's approach to Aboriginal affairs in his Closing the Gap Speech of 24 March 2011:
- Aspirations - Every Victorian should have the opportunity to reach their full potential. A commitment to closing the gap in health, education and housing outcomes underpins the ability and capacity of Indigenous Victorians to build a better future. A more prosperous and economically engaged Indigenous community will have benefits for all Victorians.
- Accountability - Government has a responsibility to be accountable to all Victorians. Good policy and program delivery must be based on evidence. In turn funded organisations must be accountable for delivering services that meet the needs of their communities.
- Engagement and Inclusiveness - Closing the gap can only be achieved through a partnership built on genuine engagement with Indigenous people across this state. This includes recognition and inclusion of local community voices and the views of Indigenous organisations and their peak representative bodies.
- Partnership - a whole of community approach Harnessing the resources and commitments of all sections in the community – government, business and philanthropic is essential. Indigenous individuals, families, communities and organisations have a key role to inspire and drive the process.
The Premier also announced the next steps in the Government's agenda for Aboriginal affairs. These include:
- The release of the 2009-10 Indigenous Affairs Annual Report, in May 2011. Future releases of this report will be tabled in Parliament and timed to coincide with the Prime Minister's Closing the Gap report. The Victorian report will remind the Commonwealth Government that some of the greatest challenges in Closing the Gap are in our urban and regional areas and not just in remote locations in Australia. (The Annual Report can be downloaded at www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/indigenous.
- Departmental Action Plans. All departments are required to prepare Action Plans to clearly demonstrate how they will improve access and inclusion for mainstream services for Indigenous Victorians. These plans will be included in the Victorian Indigenous Affairs Annual Report.
- Strengthening the Victorian Indigenous Affairs Framework. The Secretaries Group on Aboriginal Affairs is currently conducting a review of the Victorian Indigenous Affairs Framework to strengthen the Framework by addressing shortfalls and improving outcomes in line with the four guiding principles. The Framework can be downloaded at www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/indigenous.
The Coalition Government is delivering on three important election commitments in Aboriginal affairs
- Reconciliation Victoria - The Coalition Government has reinstated recurrent funding to Reconciliation Victoria, after the previous Labor Government de-funded the organisation. Reconciliation Victoria will receive $800,000 over the next four years. We will be working closely with Reconciliation Victoria to tackle racism and the unfinished business of reconciliation, including the development of a Reconciliation Framework for the state, supporting the development of Reconciliation Action Plans in local governments and supporting planning and staging of events in future Reconciliation Weeks.
- Indigenous Honour Roll – The Coalition Government is very proud to lead the nation in recognising the achievements and contributions of Indigenous Victorians to our shared history. Nominations for the Honour Roll for Indigenous Victorians, the first of its kind in Australia, have now closed. Later this year we will be launching the Roll, which is set to be a record of Victorian Indigenous history and achievement and will be permanently located in Parliament House and supported by a public website. It will recognise Indigenous Victorians who have made lasting contributions or instigated change for the better for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. More information on the Honour Roll can be found at www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/indigenous
- Parliamentary Inquiry into the establishment and effectiveness of Registered Aboriginal Parties - A Parliamentary inquiry was announced on 10 February 2011. The Environment and Natural Resources Committee of Parliament will report no later than 28 September 2012. The inquiry will consider the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council appointment policies, support available to assist the Council, and the effectiveness of the established Registered Aboriginal Parties.
The inquiry will also consider the outcomes of a review of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 into the efficacy and efficiency of the Act. The review is required by the Act to report by 28 May 2012. A copy of the discussion paper released by the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs on 9 September 2011 can be found at www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/indigenous
Additionally, the Coalition Government has provided an investment of an additional $2.2 million over four years for governance training initiatives. Since the commencement of the program in 2006, there have been a total of 577 participants, of which 172 have graduated with a Certificate IV in Business (Governance). Of those 172 graduates, 27 have continued on to complete the Diploma of Business (Governance).
Our Government has an enduring respect for Aboriginal peoples and understands the importance of the contribution our Indigenous communities make.
We are committed to engaging with Aboriginal Victorians in a very real and practical way and we will ensure Aboriginal Victorians receive the support they need to further develop the rich culture that brings so much to Victoria.
Achievements and policies implemented
- Restored Funding to Reconciliation Victoria
- Introduced Australia's first Indigenous Honour Roll
- Established a Parliamentary inquiry into the effectiveness of Registered Aboriginal Parties to report back by no later than 28 September 2012