Two Ways Together

Auditor General's Report: More Evidence of Need for a New Approach

May 19, 2011

The State's peak Aboriginal representative body has welcomed a commitment from the O'Farrell Government to talk "openly and honestly," with Aboriginal people following the release of a damning NSW Auditor General's report into the State Government plan which has guided Aboriginal Affairs in New South Wales over the past eight years.

The Chairwoman of the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC), Bev Manton says the overall findings of the Auditor General's report into the Two Ways Together-New South Wales Aboriginal Affairs Plan 2003-2012 will come as no surprise to those who have been working in Aboriginal Affairs over the past eight years.

But, its public release should trigger a complete rethink on how the O'Farrell Government will now work with peak Aboriginal organisations and communities to build capacity and improve outcomes in the social, economic, cultural and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal people in New South Wales.

"The Auditor General's Report outlines serious policy failures by the previous Labor Government, as Premier O'Farrell and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Dominello have already pointed out, and a failure to reach its targets to close the gaps in key outcomes for our people," Ms. Manton said today.

"However, the main recommendations of the Auditor General's Report are not supported by its findings, particularly in regard to how the State Government and its agencies should continue to directly engage with our communities," she added.

"NSWALC looks forward to discussing the report in detail with the O'Farrell Government and fellow members of the Council of Aboriginal Peak Organisations.

"In the meantime, we welcome the Premier's pledge to talk openly and honestly with our people in framing a new direction for Aboriginal Affairs policy in New South Wales in concert with Aboriginal communities and stakeholders in the wake of the public release of this report.

"The sad reality is that despite the promise of self-determination, Aboriginal representative organisations, such as NSWALC, were never given a true partnership opportunity to affect any outcomes within the Two Ways Together plan.

"The fact we were afforded no opportunity to respond to the Auditor-General's Report before its public release, despite being interviewed during the audit, is a telling illustration of the continuing disconnect between the on-going lip service paid to the notion of self-determination and the lack of it in practice."

Performance Audit - "Two Ways Together"
Letter to LALCs from Bev Manton, NSWALC Chairwoman

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Media contact: Chris Munro 0438 760 242