Find a visa Find the right visa for your needs

DIMIA Annual Report 2004-05

Outcome 5-Administered items




  • strengthen the development of Indigenous women leaders to launch them into broader representative and other leadership positions
  • provide opportunities for Indigenous women to share knowledge through a network of support
  • provide support to Indigenous men to reconnect with family responsibilities and support women's leadership.


In the 2004-05 Budget, $16.5 million over four years was provided for three initiatives under the Indigenous Women's Development Program. These initiatives are:

  • Indigenous Women's Leadership-which targets women already making a difference in their own communities. Each year up to 70 Indigenous women are selected to take part in a leadership and skills development program, and then given the opportunity to practise leadership by delivering a community-development experience focused on relevant local issues
  • Networking Indigenous Women-which fosters connections and information sharing among women at the local, regional and national level
  • Indigenous Men and Family Relationships-which focuses on the leadership skills of Indigenous men.

This Budget measure is part of the government's agenda to build capacity in Indigenous communities, and to ensure that women in particular have the opportunity to contribute to community decision-making.

Analysis of performance

In its first year of operation, the program has generated an emphasis on leadership and personal responsibility for community wellbeing within Indigenous communities across Australia. Achievements included:

  • support for 84 Indigenous women leaders to increase their leadership skills, confidence and level of involvement in community development
  • 3000 Indigenous people participating in gatherings or workshops focused on local priorities
  • 80 Indigenous men sharing their expertise, skills and knowledge, and forming networks to enhance their community work
  • 280 Indigenous women participating in the first National Indigenous Women's Conference.

Indigenous Women's Leadership

Seventy leaders and 18 coaches were selected to participate in the 2004-05 Indigenous Women's Leadership Program, with 68 leaders and 16 coaches taking part. Thirty-eight of the leaders were involved in the planning and delivery of 36 community gatherings and workshops across Australia, with 3000 women, men and children from Indigenous communities participating. Other leaders practised their leadership skills through increased involvement in local community development activities.

Networking Indigenous Women

The first National Indigenous Women's Conference held in June 2005 explored leading-edge thinking on leadership, community development and the best ways for Indigenous women to develop and maintain networks. More than 500 Indigenous women submitted expressions of interest, and 280 were selected to attend. They were of diverse ages and represented a range of community development experiences from remote, regional and urban areas.

In addition to the annual conference, the networking initiative capitalised on this variety of experiences, ages and locations to build and maintain networks through establishment of:

  • a quarterly newsletter focusing on individual leadership experiences, family and community-development initiatives, and activities and events of interest
  • a secure database where Indigenous women who choose to be part of the network can access each other's contact details and share information about local initiatives.

Indigenous Men and Family Relationships

The first National Indigenous Men and Families Forum was held in March 2005, and attended by 80 Indigenous men involved in community development, particularly in relation to men and families. Feedback from participants indicated that the forum was effective in bringing together Indigenous men from across Australia for the purpose of:

  • developing effective models of Indigenous men's leadership
  • promoting ways in which men can support women's leadership
  • developing a network of mutual support among men involved in these issues.

back to top

Outcome 5-Administered items




  • support the establishment of effective and workable Shared Responsibility Agreements (SRAs) which start to redefine the way governments and Indigenous communities work together through ready access to flexible funding
  • resource consultations on new regional Indigenous representative networks being formed from July 2005.


This program supports the development and implementation of new ways of engaging directly with Indigenous Australians at the regional and local level through:

  • SRAs at the community/clan/family level, which spell out what all partners will contribute to bringing about beneficial long-term changes in Indigenous communities
  • Regional Partnership Agreements (RPAs), to help customise and shape government interventions in a region.

These are foundation elements of the Australian Government's new arrangements in Indigenous affairs, administered through Indigenous Coordination Centres (ICCs).

Funds are provided for innovative cross-agency activities that do not neatly fall into individual portfolio allocations, including:

  • 'kick starting' activities, with ongoing support to be drawn from across Australian and state and territory governments as needed
  • the purchase of capital items to improve community infrastructure
  • the provision of seed funding to leverage corporate and philanthropic sector engagement with communities in activities under SRAs
  • brokering specialised expertise to assist community development
  • governance projects to enable local people to participate effectively in SRAs
  • support to local leaders in early implementation and to assist communities to self-assess on SRA progress.

In 2004-05 funding was also provided for activities under two former ATSIS programs:

  • Community Participation Agreements (CPAs), a 2001 Budget initiative funded for four years, helping people in remote Indigenous communities identify practical ways of contributing to their communities in return for income support from the social security system
  • Communities in Crisis, a CPA element arising from the Prime Minister's Indigenous family violence package of July 2003.

Analysis of performance

$15 million was allocated to SRA implementation, with $14.5 million spent. The SRA Implementation Assistance Program supported the development of the 76 SRAs in 64 communities that have been announced by the Government. This was considerably more than the target of 50 set for the first year of the new arrangements. The SRAs cover a range of themes including:

  • economic development
  • building the capacity of communities
  • improving the health and wellbeing of families, women and men
  • improving education outcomes for children
  • community infrastructure
  • making communities safer.

These SRAs will build towards the long-term vision and plans that Indigenous people have for their communities (see Outcome 5 Administered Item: Developing a 20-30 Year Vision).

The access to flexible funding through this program allowed for faster implementation of local solutions to priority needs, and quicker responses to ideas generated by local communities that often could not be funded from existing programs. It also allowed government to support community development and engagement where these were essential pre-conditions before local people could effectively engage in SRA negotiations.

In many SRAs, flexible funding successfully encouraged engagement and funding contributions from a range of other Australian and state/territory government agencies. For example, in Mitchell, QLD, the Australian Government (through a number of agencies) funded the construction of the Yumba Interpretive Walking Trail to help develop a viable tourist attraction to share the Yumba story with school children, tourists and the local community. Community Development Employment Projects participants will provide the labour.

A small number of activities supporting or expanding engagement between the corporate sector, Indigenous communities and governments also began, some building on previous experiences in the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) trial sites (see Outcome 3 Administered Item: Cross Portfolio Indigenous Flexible Funding Arrangements).

Regional Partnership Agreements (RPAs)

Negotiation of RPAs has also advanced, with agreements being developed in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands, WA, and Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, SA.

Community Participation Agreements (CPAs)

CPA activities were supported in 11 remote communities. Work started on ways to build on the existing initiatives through developing SRAs and progressing a phased implementation to lift the Remote Area Exemptions that now operate in the social security system, with CPA activities enabling people to meet activity test requirements.

Communities in Crisis (CIC)

A range of interventions were funded in 11 remote communities in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia under the CIC initiative, with funding approved for a further three communities in Queensland where work will start in 2005-06.

Regional representation

OIPC worked through ICCs with Indigenous communities and the ATSIC Regional Councils (in place until 30 June 2005) to discuss new ways in which Indigenous people could engage with governments into the future. We facilitated consultation meetings with communities to consider options for engagement and representation in the context of the new arrangements in Indigenous affairs.

Through these processes, 10 regions had finalised new representation proposals by 30 June 2005, several other regions were close to completing their proposals, and community consultations were continuing in other areas.

New representative bodies can act as the interface between communities and governments. They will help articulate community views and provide a framework for contributing to RPAs. The community consultations have elicited new ideas on representation and, as a result, the proposals are diverse, reflecting the different circumstances of Indigenous communities. For example, the Kullarri Regional Indigenous Body in the west Kimberley, WA, consists of 12 representatives from four discrete clans. As well as advocating on behalf of the Indigenous community, Kullarri Regional Indigenous Body has a role in offering advice, monitoring outcomes of service providers and drafting regional plans. In Central Queensland, the community has expressed a desire for a three-tiered model that will feed local issues into an overarching Central Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Regional Forum.

back to top

Outcome 5-Administered items



To help communities develop a 20 to 30 year vision as part of the Australian Government's approach to capacity building in Indigenous communities.


Funding is provided:

  • to enable communities to focus on their longer-term aspirations for their children and grandchildren and to identify what is required to reach these goals
  • to build skills and capacity in communities, recognising that sustainable change will take time
  • to facilitate community engagement in the development and implementation of Shared Responsibility Agreements (SRAs), including developing measures that will improve longer-term outcomes for communities rather than short-term palliatives.

Determining longer-term community aspirations is fundamental to the development of SRAs. This bottom-up consultation in communities where priorities are identified as the basis for SRAs will be aggregated into themes to be considered in the development of the Government's longer-term Indigenous policy by the Ministerial Taskforce on Indigenous Affairs.

Analysis of performance

Given its nature, this initiative has to be implemented in close conjunction with the development of SRAs. Effective roll-out requires strong community involvement and support. A comprehensive community engagement plan and community consultations are the necessary first steps to maximise participation and genuine bottom-up determination of long-term community aspirations.

As this initiative was approved in late 2004, the required lead times limited the ability to substantially progress implementation in 2004-05. Preparatory work started in 2004-05, with full implementation to occur in 2005-06.

back to top

Outcome 5-Administered items




  • improve school attendance rates in remote Indigenous communities
  • ensure community participation in implementing and maintaining the program
  • provide added benefits such as improved amenities and health outcomes.


Funding is provided for the construction of swimming pools in remote Indigenous communities, under a 'no school, no pool' policy. Communities will run and supervise the pools and ensure that access to the pool depends on attendance at school. Arrangements to monitor school attendance, pool management and maintenance, and training and support for health and safety are to be put in place. It is based on a successful 'no school, no pool' initiative trialled in the Northern Territory.

Funding is dependent on cost-sharing arrangements with state and territory governments. Community commitments are negotiated through Shared Responsibility Agreements (SRAs) and could include employing local people to build and maintain the pool and run activities for children.

Analysis of performance

The construction of three new swimming pools was negotiated with communities and the Western Australian and South Australian Governments. Funding was provided to the state governments, which will be responsible for managing the pool construction and recurrent costs, with communities agreeing to implement 'no school, no pool' policies.

Given the lead times involved in pool construction and development of SRAs, roll-out will be occurring in 2005-06, including the collection of performance information linked to the implementation of 'no school, no pool' SRAs.


<< Return to Table of Contents