The government is committed to working in partnership with Aboriginal people and organisations, as well as delivering tangible on-the-ground outcomes.
While a change in state government policy direction means that Treaty discussions and further implementation of the Aboriginal Regional Authority Policy will not be pursued, the government remains committed to place-based strategies and recognition and support of Aboriginal governance structures.
For example, the Buthera Agreement with the Narungga Nation is providing capacity-building support for the Narungga Nation Aboriginal Corporation to drive development, economic enterprise and collaborative engagement with government agencies on Guuranda (Yorke Peninsula). As an outcome of previous Treaty discussions, implementation of this agreement has now been embedded into the South Australian Government’s Aboriginal Affairs Action Plan.
The Agreement also includes social service strategies covering youth justice, housing, domestic violence, health, child protection and education and cultural studies, all of which are matters the government will continue to tackle in partnership with the Narungga Nation.
Several other activities in the Action Plan will also be place-based, enabling the government to work in partnership with local Aboriginal Nations to pilot new and innovative activity, which, where successful, will provide a model for implementation across the state.
Aboriginal Regional Authority Policy
The policy was released by the previous government in 2016. Six organisations were recognised as Aboriginal Regional Authorities in 2016 and 2017.
The government will continue to work collaboratively and engage with these groups through implementation of the Action Plan.
In February 2017, Dr Roger Thomas was appointed as Treaty Commissioner to lead initial discussions across the state.
Following the consultation, the Treaty Commissioner provided the previous government with a report, which set out key elements of a Treaty process at the state level.
South Australian Aboriginal groups were then invited to submit expressions of interest to enter into Treaty negotiations with the previous government. Negotiations took place with the Narungga, Adnyamathanha and Ngarrindjeri Nations in late 2017 and early 2018.
Negotiations resulted in the Buthera Agreement with the Narungga Nation; a Statement of Acknowledgement, setting a framework for further negotiations, was signed between the government and the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority; and no formal agreement was reached with the Adnyamathanha Nation.
Given the state government’s new policy direction in Aboriginal affairs, the role of Treaty Commissioner ceased in July 2018.