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South Australia Priority Communities

Amata
South Australia

Amata is an Anangu community on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands situated at the western end of the Musgrave ranges, approximately 500km south-west of Alice Springs. Population estimates range from 290 to 350 but population can increase to 500.

Issues

During my 11 November 2009 visit I met with a number of service providers, the Community Council and the women's group in the Homemaker's Centre.

The community has gone to considerable lengths to identify its priorities in line with the Early Childhood, Safe Communities, and Governance and Leadership COAG building blocks. Identified activities include parenting support; nutrition programs; child care services; a safe house; education about violence; and support for the community council that develops current leaders, and provides education and training for future community leaders and support staff. This work will be used in the Local Implementation Planning process and I look forward to seeing these ventures progress.

The energy and vision of the women of Amata were clear. They have many ideas for community business including a coffee van catering for building workers, handcrafts, and an expansion of their current bush medicine enterprise. The Tjala Arts centre is impressive and the works produced there by local artists have an international reputation.

I am concerned that funding for construction of an early childhood facility in Amata was agreed in 2005 however construction is yet to commence. I understand that State and Commonwealth agencies are now working together to progress the project and a site has been agreed. Discussions are now focussed on ensuring links across early childhood services and ongoing funding.

I am also concerned that the purpose built Substance Misuse facility in Amata has very low rates of occupancy and use. Whilst this can partially be attributed to the success of programs to reduce petrol sniffing in the APY lands and the success of the outreach service rather than the residential service, I urge all agencies concerned with its operation to examine expanding the purpose and use of the centre to ensure that it is fully utilised.

Follow-up

My Office is liaising with the South Australian Department of Premier and Cabinet to ensure speedy resolution of these issues.


Mimili
South Australia

Mimili is an Anangu community on the APY Lands in the north west of South Australia. with an approximate population of 275. It lies 645km south of Alice Springs and approximately 1200kms north of Adelaide.

Issues

During my 10 November 2009 visit, a number of positive things were very apparent. The local school caters to students through to Year 12. Seventy-two students are currently enrolled, including 36 secondary school students and 12 Year 12 students. Students at the school are currently meeting the national Year 3 and Year 5 literacy and numeracy benchmarks. Year 12 students participate in school to work activities including training as lifeguards and attendees for the local swimming pool. Eight young people are employed at the pool after school hours and are instrumental in keeping the pool operating and open to the community.

However, the school is limited in the after hours support it can provide for young people in Mimili. A youth worker would significantly support the positive work being done at the school as well as supporting young people at risk in the community.

The Mimili community has also been working to improve community governance, and this was very apparent in meetings during my visit. The Community Council has restructured and membership now includes representation from the 8 major family groups in the community. All groups were present or represented at the meeting, and all had the opportunity to present their views.

Follow-up

The South Australian Department of Families and Communities has identified youth support worker and community support worker positions for Mimili under the Indigenous Economic Participation National Partnership Agreement.

The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs has funded governance support for community councils. Community governance and leadership will also be supported through the Remote Service Delivery partnership.

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