Murdi Paaki Regional Partnership Agreement (RPA)
|Date: ||28 January 2009|
|Date To: ||28 January 2012|
|Sub Category:||Regional Partnership Agreement (RPA) |
|Place:||Murdi Paaki Region|
|State/Country:||New South Wales, Australia|
|This Regional Partnership Agreement (RPA) applies to the Murdi Paaki region in far western New South Wales. This region includes the communities of Bourke, Brewarrina, Broken Hill, Cobar, Collarenebri, Coonamble, Dareton/Wentworth, Enngonia, Goodooga, Gulargambone, Ivanhoe, Lightning Ridge, Menindee, Walgett, Weilmoringle and Wilcannia. |
|Payments:|| - The Commonwealth and New South Wales governments have committed over $2.8 million in funding for housing, education, health, life expectancy, employment, economic development and leadership under this Regional Partnership Agreement.|
|Subject Matter:||Economic Development | Education | Employment and Training | Health and Community Services | Housing, Construction and Infrastructure | Leadership|
|Summary Information: |
|This Regional Partnership Agreement (RPA) was signed on 28 January 2009 by the following parties:
the Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly;
the Commonwealth government, represented by the Hon Jenny Macklin MP (Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs); and
the New South Wales government, represented by the Hon Paul Lynch MP (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs).
Clause 1.3 of this RPA describes its purpose as enabling the parties to 'work together to deliver outcomes that make a difference in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities in the Murdi Paaki'. Pursuant to this agreement, the Commonwealth and New South Wales governments have committed over $2.8 billion in funding towards housing, health, education, leadership and economic development (Department of Aboriginal Affairs, 2009).|
|Detailed Information: |
|Background to this RPA
The Murdi Paaki Regional Partnership Agreement was the first RPA to be signed in New South Wales (Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly, 2009). This agreement sought to build on the following policy and funding commitments:
the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Agenda on Indigenous Reform and the Closing the Gap strategy (as expressed in the National Indigenous Reform Agreement of 2008);
the New South Wales State Plan;
the 2005-2010 Overarching Agreement on Aboriginal Affairs between the Commonwealth government and the New South Wales government, which ratified the NSW Two Ways Together Framework; and
the Charter of Governance of the Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly.
The signing of this agreement followed a two-year negotiation process aimed to develop a "more coordinated and collaborative approach" to service delivery, governance and leadership between the government and the local indigenous communities (Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly, 2009).
Objects of this RPA
As per Clause 1.4, this RPA is intended to use the NSW Two Ways Together Framework to achieve the following objects:
strengthening the coordination and provision of services across the Murdi Paaki region;
supporting the work of five sub-groups established in keeping with the COAG reform agenda to implement the Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly's Action Plan in the areas of environmental health, education, employment, training, economic development, health, families, young people, law and justice, housing and cultural heritage;
ensuring sustainable development and outcomes via targeted investment in the abovementioned areas; and
setting out an agreed Regional Action Plan, which seeks to achieve measurable and sustainable improvements for indigenous people in the abovementioned areas.
These objects are tied to the six target outcomes set out in the COAG Closing the Gap statement, which relate to the gap in life expectancy, infant mortality, literacy and numeracy, employment prospects, year 12 attainment rates and preschool education access between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians (Clauses 2.1 and 3.1).
Contents of this RPA
This RPA will be delivered, monitored and evaluated by the Murdi Paaki Regional Engagement Group, which was set up under the NSW Two Ways Together Framework, and which remains the main regional governance structure responsible for ensuring cooperation between the New South Wales and Commonwealth governments and the Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly (Clause 4.5).
With the support of the Engagement Group, the five sub-groups set up to carry out the Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly's action plan will work to achieve the objectives listed in Clause 1.4 in the areas listed below. Their work will be monitored by the Engagement Group, which will meet quarterly for this purpose, and will also be subject to discussion by the parties to this RPA, who will consider any emerging issues at annual meetings (Clauses 4.10 and 4.11).
Leadership and governance
Pursuant to this RPA, the Commonwealth government is to contribute funding towards up to three leadership training programs per year for Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly Chairs and Community Working Party members. Funding is also to be provided for development and regional strategy monitoring opportunities for the Assembly, and also for the opportunity for its members to take part in national leadership programs run by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) (Cth).
Furthermore, a total of $30,000 is to be provided by the Commonwealth and the New South Wales governments for the development of "more effective working relationships" between government departments and local shires in the Murdi Paaki region.
Funding will also be contributed by either or both the state and the Commonwealth government towards the cost of Community Working Party meetings ($48,000), the development of projects currently delivered by the Murdi Paaki Aboriginal Young Leaders Program ($176,000), the release of a Murdi Paaki Regional Plan every two years ($14,000), the coordination and implementation of local Community Working Party projects ($150,000 in the first year of this RPA) and regional administration support for the Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly ($100,000 in the first year of this RPA).
All these commitments were made after indigenous leaders in the Murdi Paaki region expressed their willingness to take part in local governance structures and consultative forums, and requested leadership training and assistance at regional and local level (Schedules - Part 1).
In order to achieve the relevant COAG Closing the Gap benchmarks in the area of education, the New South Wales government has committed to providing transport assistance in Coonamble to enable more indigenous children to attend preschool. The state government will also be responsible for expanding its Targeted Aboriginal Student Strategy to regional schools. These commitments will be driven and overseen by the Education, Employment and Economic Development sub-group (Schedules - Part 2).
Economic development and employment
In order to achieve the relevant COAG Closing the Gap benchmarks in terms of employment outcomes, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) (Cth) has made a number of commitments intended to increase the employment aspirations and capacity of indigenous people in the Murdi Paaki region, most of which relate to the first year after the signing of this RPA (Schedules - Part 3).
These include the implementation of a comprehensive regional employment and development strategy for the Murdi Paaki region in 2009. The DEEWR has also committed to increasing the number and proportion of indigenous Australians occupying local jobs, providing support for business and economic development through the Indigenous Employment Program, identifying priority industries for indigenous people in the region and increasing the willingness of employers to take on, mentor and support indigenous employees.
The Department of Aboriginal Affairs (NSW) has also had a part in some of these commitments - especially in the plan to negotiate three job compacts with employers in the mining, construction and tourism sectors, and in the negotiation of Aboriginal Participation Plans for jobs relating to major government construction projects.
Housing and development
In order to achieve the relevant COAG Closing the Gap benchmarks in the areas of housing and environmental health, the Commonwealth government has committed to providing indigenous people in the Murdi Paaki region with financial management services intended to support and bring about an increase in home ownership (Schedules - Part 4).
The New South Wales government will also be involved in ensuring the ongoing maintenance and monitoring of water and sewerage systems in the Murdi Paaki region's Aboriginal communities.
Community health and safety
In support of the relevant COAG Closing the Gap benchmarks in the areas of community health, safety, substance abuse and domestic violence, the Commonwealth government will work with the Murdi Paaki Health Steering Committee to oversee the Murdi Paaki Health Project - a project intended to assess health infrastructure needs and improve health service delivery (Schedules - Part 5). The Commonwealth government will also implement the Murdi Paaki Drug and Alcohol Network Project and the Coonamble Family Wellbeing Project, which seek to provide the region with an integrated mental health, substance abuse, social and emotional well-being care system, as well as increase family access to health and community services.
Through the Murdi Paaki Health Project, both the Commonwealth and the New South Wales governments will be involved in implementing the Murdi Paaki Chronic Disease Framework and the A Better Future for Indigenous Australians - Family Centred Primary Health Care Project in Walgett.
Furthermore, between 1 July and 30 June 2010, the New South Wales government will invest in a Safe Families Program that seeks to address the issue of child sexual assault in five target communities.
Local government engagement
The New South Wales government will work with NSW/ACT Indigenous Coordination Centres to implement a best practice guide that had been developed by the Department of Local Government (NSW). This best practice guide is titled A Resource Kit for Local Government in New South Wales - Engaging with Local Aboriginal Communities, and seeks to enable local councils to engage more actively with indigenous communities in their government area (Schedules - Part 6).
In implementing this guide, the Commonwealth and New South Wales governments will develop a strategy for engaging with the Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly's 16 Community Working Parties. They will also set up an evaluation framework to assess indigenous participation in local government, engagement forums, council employment and general local government processes.|