ABORIGINAL LANDS PARLIAMENTARY STANDING COMMITTEE: REPORT 2017-18

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS (16:10): I move:

That the 2017-18 annual report of the committee be noted.

This is the first report of the Aboriginal Lands Parliamentary Standing Committee that I have had the privilege to move as presiding member, and it is a great privilege to serve in that role. There has been significant change in the last year for this committee, as with most committees, due to the election and the nomination of new members to that committee.

I would acknowledge that a significant amount of this report relates to the work of the previous committee, under the leadership of the Hon. Tung Ngo. I would also like to acknowledge the previous committee members: the Hon. Terry Stephens; Mr Jon Gee, from the other place, who at that stage was serving the electorate of Napier and is now the member for Taylor; and Dr Duncan McFetridge, the previous member for Morphett. I also acknowledge the current members of the committee: the Hon. Kyam Maher from this place, of course a former minister for Aboriginal affairs; the Hon. Tammy Franks, who has served on the committee for, I think, probably close to nine years now and has a close engagement with many facets of the Aboriginal community; Mr Eddie Hughes, the member for Giles in another place, who has also served on the committee for some time; Mr Sam Duluk, the member for Waite; Mr David Basham, the member for Finniss, who has served on the committee for a relatively short period and has subsequently resigned due to other commitments; and, his replacement, outside of this reporting period, Mr Fraser Ellis, the member for Narrunga.

The committee had a heavy sitting schedule over the reporting period, with a majority of that being on the follow-up from a trip to the APY lands in June 2017. The committee called a number of witnesses, who provided much needed attention to areas such as police presence in remote areas, funeral and coronial services to remote areas, access to dialysis services on country, and also understanding better the issues faced by community members in the Community Development Program across the APY lands.

Despite cancelled committee trips due to cultural business, and then in the lead-up to the election in March, many members were able to undertake individual trips, meeting with Aboriginal community groups and peak bodies regarding matters of interest for this committee. That work by individual members has continued since the election. Members are grateful for all Aboriginal community organisations and their representatives who have given their time, assisted with visits and provided valuable insight during those occasions.

In October 2017, the committee commenced its review into the operation of the Aboriginal Lands Trust Act 2013. During the reporting period, the committee took written and oral submissions for this review. It has been our privilege to listen to the lived experiences of Aboriginal people across South Australia. We are most appreciative of people giving so freely of their time and stories so that we might better understand their views with regard to this important piece of legislation.

The committee's commitment to Aboriginal affairs and looking into matters affecting the lives of Aboriginal people extended beyond community visits and witness appearances, with members showing support through their attendance at many key events throughout the year, including the City of Adelaide Lord Mayor's flag raising ceremony, the NAIDOC SA Awards, the Premier's NAIDOC Awards and the National Reconciliation Week breakfast, among others. All these events are important to members of the community to remain connected to Aboriginal communities and individuals. I would also like to mention that there have been a number of significant losses or passing of people within the South Australian Aboriginal community this past year, and the committee has paid its respects to these families during those difficult times.

In closing, I would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the work of committee members past and present for their commitment and dedication to the work of the committee, which of course is relatively unique in having its own act. I know that all members are committed to this ongoing work.

I would also particularly acknowledge the contribution of the committee's sole staff member, Ms Shona Reid. I think Shona's knowledge of the Aboriginal community across this state and beyond has been extraordinarily valuable to me, and I understand my predecessor the Hon. Tung Ngo feels the same way. I think the way in which Shona has worked with and for her community but also with the committee has the highest regard of those of us on the committee and all in the communities she deals with. We thank her very much for that. Her particular support for me as the presiding member has been much appreciated not only by me but also by my staff.

Finally, I would like to thank all the Aboriginal communities, organisations and their representatives that have given their time, assisted with visits and provided valuable insight to the committee during the reporting year and also since that time. With those remarks, I commend the motion to the council.