The following are some items of interest:
Mar 2013. Kimberley Regional Economic Development Enterprise and Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation have entered a partnership to help traditional owners achieve fairer development negotiations.
Feb 2013. Appointment of Australia’s first National Children’s Commissioner, Megan Mitchell. Issues she will address include mortality, incarceration and out-of-home care rates of Indigenous children.
14 Jan 2013. Agreement reached after 14 years between the Mirarr people and ERA – Energy Resources of Australia Ltd, majority owned by Rio Tinto. The agreement covers income and employment at existing operations at the NT’s Ranger uranium mine, but not any future activities.
Jan 2013. Inquiry by Queensland Child Protection Commissioner Tim Carmody is looking into the significant over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Queensland’s child protection system, and the under representation of child welfare officials with an Indigenous background. It has heard that Indigenous children make up 38 per cent of children in care, and that unrelated white families are being reclassified as kinship carers for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, undermining a plan to overcome the lasting effects of the Stolen Generations.
11 Jan 2013. Federal Government established the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, with Justice Peter Mclellan heading a six-member team of commissioners, including Professor Helen Milroy, Australia’s first Aboriginal doctor and current Winthrop Professor and director of the Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health at UWA. There are concerns that it will not adequately address abuse in Indigenous communities.
20 Nov. A historic Federal Court native title determination recognised rights of the Jinibara people over 700 sq km of SE Queensland, including the ability to hunt, fish, participate in ceremonies and be buried on the land. It also recognised their exclusive rights to 1.38 sq km of land.
10 Nov. Aunty Isabell Coe died at Cowra aged 61. She was an elder of the Wiradjuri people of New South Wales, whose strength and energy led and inspired generations of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Nov. Landmark ruling by the Federal Court accepting that the Ngarla people retain their native title rights in WA’s East Pilbara when mining ends. There was a dispute over whether a mining lease extinguished native title rights.
1 November. Opening of the W Kimberley Regional Prison at Derby WA – Australia’s first prison for Indigenous Australians. One in 14 of WA Aboriginal males is in custody.
1 November. SBS will launch its new Indigenous TV free-to-air channel on December 12.
October. Indigenous rangers from Australia visit Canada in partnership with the Pew Environment Group to help launch a global network of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities Land and Sea Managers.
28 October. Scott Gardiner becomes the first Indigenous Australian to collect a US PGA Tour card.
19 October. Wurundjeri elder Annette Xiberras received title to the Mt William greenstone axe quarry (N of Melbourne) and Sunbury earth rings from Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin
12 October, Supreme Court of Queensland decision in Emily Kepa; acceptance of claims for the loss of traditional hunting and fishing services provided by a deceased person to his dependants.
10 October. WA Environment Minister Bill Marmion gives environmental approval for Toro Energy’s uranium mining project at Wiluna. The company still needs agreement from the Federal Environmental agreement and the Department of Mines and Petroleum for the mine and transport of 820 tonnes of uranium oxide to SA for export.
5 October. Ella Havelka will leave Bangarra Dance Theatre to become the first Indigenous dancer to join The Australian Ballet.
3 October. Thousands of fossil footprints from over 16 dinosaur types found near James Price Point, site of a Woodside proposed gas processing plant and terminal
20 Sep: SA Parliament rushed through the Petroleum & Geothermal Energy Amendment Bill which retrospectively removes rights of Native Title holders and claimants to negotiate over oil and gas activities. There was no prior consultation with Aboriginal organisations affected.
The South Australian Native Title Services (SANTS) will file a Federal Court appeal against the Act on constitutional and racial discrimination grounds.
20 Sep: Federal Government has put on hold the proposed referendum on changing the Constitution and proposed a process for a referendum within 3 years, to give time to build public support. Government will work with the Labor Opposition and Greens to pass a holding Act of Recognition, closely reflecting recommendations of the Expert Panel.
17 Sep: The Alice Springs Coroner said that Kwementyaye Briscoe’s January death in the Alice Springs watch house while intoxicated was due to ill-treatment and lack of care by police. The NT Government said no action would be taken against the Police Commissioner.
Australia has signed but not ratified or implemented the Optional Protocol of the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and Punishment, which provides for independent monitoring of detention facilities.
Mr Briscoe’s mother died of illness in his infancy; a great uncle was shot by police in 1980 and an uncle committed suicide in a Darwin prison.
13 Sep: SA Government announces a mobile bus dialysis service for remote SA Indigenous communities.
24 Aug: NT elections saw the conservative Country Liberal Party (CLP) replace an 11 year Labor government and Indigenous candidates win 6 seats. Terry Mills, the new Chief Minister, appointed 2 Indigenous Ministers and promised to work for better advancement for Aborigines. Aboriginal people comprise c one third of the NT population and their vote is said to have been a major factor in CLP’s win.
22 Aug: Reported that after protests by Indigenous groups and with falling commodity prices, BHP Billiton has delayed its $30 billion Olympic Dam open pit copper-uranium expansion in SA. They will not approve any major projects until June 2013.