The Kookaburra

Issue 9 - October 2017 Posted: Wednesday 11 October 2017

Indigenous businesses to benefit under new policy

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders will benefit from more business and employment opportunities, with the launch of a new Indigenous procurement policy.

The Queensland Indigenous Procurement Policy (QIPP) forms part of the Queensland Government’s new, multi-billion dollar ‘Buy Queensland’ procurement strategy, and aims to increase the share of Government procurement contracts awarded to Indigenous businesses to three per cent by 2022.

During 2015-16, the Queensland Government spent around $18 billion on procuring goods, services and infrastructure.

Over the same period Indigenous enterprises successfully bid for around $170 million – just over one per cent of the State Government’s total spend. This amount is continuing to increase thanks to the efforts of DATSIP and State Development and the hard work of businesses.

The QIPP will increase the capacity and capability of Indigenous businesses to successfully tender for State Government contracts and develop a diverse, sustainable Indigenous business sector.

The QIPP took effect from 1 September 2017.

More information is available at

Supermarket switch supports jobs, savings for Indigenous communities

Minister Mark Furner outside the Palm Island retail store.

Minister Mark Furner outside the Palm Island retail store.

A new retail model being rolled out across Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities is generating jobs, training and savings for locals, including on Palm Island.

On 31 August 2017 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Minister Mark Furner officially opened Palm Island’s retail store under the new management of independent body Community Enterprise Queensland (CEQ).

The Palm Island supermarket is the first of six stores to transfer to the new model, aimed at providing better food security and fresher, healthier options.

Palm Island Mayor Alf Lacey welcomed the transition of the store to a more community-based management body.

“Our community and others with similar retail arrangements have been seeking opportunities for more community say and involvement in our stores for many years,” Cr Lacey said.

“This store has single-handedly serviced our community’s retail and supermarket needs since the 1960s and continues to play an important part in community life, including for socialising, work and household items.

“Fresh bread sold instore is now being sourced daily from local Palm Island businesses in a move that is good for our customers and businesses.

“We are excited to now have a modern store just like anywhere in mainland Queensland that is run by local people, for local people.”

In consultation with Indigenous communities, the Queensland Government has successfully transferred ownership and management of 24 retail stores to CEQ in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities, previously owned and operated by the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships.

CEQ’s bulk purchasing power makes essential goods cheaper, increases product range and has secured weekly deliveries of fresh food across its stores.

It is managed by a board with strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation, including Palm Island accommodation provider and former Councillor, Mislam Sam.

Indigenous investment forum comes to Townsville

DATSIP Director-General Clare O’Connor with Mayors and several of the Investing Together forum presenters and attendees.

DATSIP Director-General Clare O'Connor with Mayors at the Forum.

A major Indigenous investment forum held in Townsville recently brought together more than 100 industry leaders, investors, North Queensland Mayors and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander operators and organisations.

The Queensland Government’s Investing Together forum provided a platform for the public and private sectors to exchange ideas and views on Indigenous business investment.

The Forum provided an opportunity to showcase best-practice, analyse case studies and facilitate targeted conversations through panel sessions and workshops focused on unlocking Indigenous business potential in Queensland.

Townsville Region Indigenous Business Network (TRIBN) Acting Chairperson Keith Williams welcomed the opportunity to showcase Townsville’s Indigenous business offerings.

“TRIBN’s networks and delivery partners have been working with its 40 plus members to grow their networks and commercial capabilities. This has increased contracts awarded to North Queensland Indigenous businesses that demonstrate competitiveness in the marketplace,” Mr Williams said.

This year’s topics included the digital economy, supply chain success, microfinancing, marketing for growth, collaborative investment and women in business.


Cherbourg to pilot first social reinvestment program

Minister Mark Furner and Mayor Arnold Murray sign the pilot program agreement.

Minister Mark Furner and Mayor Arnold Murray sign the pilot program agreement.

Queensland’s first social reinvestment pilot program is set to take place in Cherbourg, providing opportunities for young people to be positively engaged with their community.

The Queensland Government has allocated approximately $220,000 to Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council over two years to develop and expand after-school and weekend sport and recreational activities for young people.

This funding will support the Council to employ a sports coordinator, enabling them to deliver positive initiatives for the community.

The social reinvestment pilot supports community-led actions in partnership with government, which not only improve wellbeing, but also increase social and economic participation.

Savings will be reinvested locally, through ‘incentive payments’, which then provide an income stream to deliver even more locally-identified priorities.

Once the community has achieved the agreed targets, the council will use their incentive funding to employ a sports coordinator for another year.

The pilot will build stronger partnerships between communities and government and will include engaging local people to support the evaluation of the program.

Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council Mayor Arnold Murray welcomed the social reinvestment initiative to support local ideas towards engaging and inspiring Cherbourg’s young people.

“As a community we are coming to together so our children and young people can experience an active, happy and positive way of life,” Cr Murray said.

“This program will help our community put ideas into practice so our kids can enjoy safe and supervised sports and activities on the weekends and after-school.”

Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council will work with a range of stakeholders, including the Departments of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships; Education and Training; Justice and Attorney-General; National Parks, Sport and Racing; and Queensland Police Service, as well as a range of non-government and sporting organisations, including PCYC, to implement the initiative.

Mabo Oration celebrates 25th anniversary of land rights decision

The panellists at the Mabo Oration.

The panellists at the Mabo Oration.

The courageous and ground-breaking work of Edward Koiki Mabo was honoured at a special Mabo Oration at QPAC recently, marking the 25th anniversary of the High Court decision to recognise Indigenous land rights.

On 3 June 1992, the Mabo decision overturned the doctrine of “terra nullius” on which the British claimed possession of Australia.

Edward Koiki Mabo and four fellow Mer Islanders – Reverend David Passi, Celuia Mapoo Salee, Sam Passi and James Rice Driven – led the action for recognition of Indigenous peoples’ rights in Australia.

The Oration provided an important opportunity to inform public thinking on Indigenous issues and promote social, economic, civil and human rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders.

This year the Oration took the form of a panel discussion hosted by journalist Stan Grant and featured prominent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as well as native title experts.

Panellists include Professor Tom Calma AO, Dr Jackie Huggins AM FAHA, Dr Bryan Keon-Cohen AM QC, legal practitioner Jayde Geia and Torres Shire Council Mayor Vonda Malone.

The event was presented by the Anti-Discrimination Commission and was proudly sponsored by the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships.

Cherbourg remembers Torres Strait wartime evacuees

Ration Shed chairperson Aunty Sandra Morgan with an historic photograph linked to the evacuation to be hung in the museum.

DATSIP Director-General Clare O'Connor with Ration Shed chairperson Aunty Sandra Morgan.

During the month of September, Cherbourg residents paused to remember the 75th Anniversary of the evacuation of Torres Strait Islander families to their community during the Second World War.

In 1942, the town welcomed more than 200 people from northern communities including Thursday Island, which were ‘beyond the front line of Australia’s defence’.

The remembrance was held at the Historic Ration Shed Museum in Cherbourg and featured a memorial service at the Cherbourg War Memorial and a tour of the museum.

The Rations Shed Museum was home to an exhibition in the form of historical records, photographs, artefacts and a community timeline.

The only all Indigenous Australian battalion ever formed by the Australian Army, the Torres Strait Light Infantry Battalion, was established in the Torres Strait.

The battalion was used mainly in a garrison role defending the islands of the Torres Strait, although in 1943 a detachment was sent to patrol Dutch New Guinea where they carried out patrol operations in search of Japanese occupation.

New academic partnership supports Indigenous voices

A new $200,000 partnership between the Queensland Government and Griffith University will open up more academic opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders.

Two jointly funded PhD scholarships, worth $100,000 each, will be offered to encourage Indigenous Queenslanders to have more input in national policy, research and academic conversations.

The scholarships will assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers to explore and document different perspectives on wages and savings that were controlled under former governments’ so-called ‘Protection Acts’.

Griffith University Professor Indigenous Policy and Director of Indigenous Community Engagement Policy and Partnerships Boni Robertson said the University was delighted to develop the scholarships with the Queensland Government.

“Both of these research projects will inform how Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Queensland understand the impacts of the Protection Acts across a 90-year period,” Professor Robertson said.

“Such a robust and thorough study of our past will help to bring new important perspectives to historical accounts and commentaries, and enrich the future of all Queenslanders in the process.”

The scholarships meets two recommendations made by the independent Reparations Taskforce established to oversee the Palaszczuk Government’s $21 million Reparations Scheme.

Murri Carnival champions Indigenous talent

Murri Carnival Women’s winners the Brisbane Natives.

Murri Carnival Women’s winners the Brisbane Natives.

The annual Arthur Beetson Foundation Murri Rugby League Carnival featuring future Indigenous rugby league stars proved to be a huge success in September with more than 16,000 people attending over four days.

The premier sporting competition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders descended on Dolphin Oval in Redcliffe for the four-day rugby league carnival.

Arthur Beetson Foundation Board Member Brad Beetson said it was the biggest carnival yet.

“It’s part of Aboriginal history, getting together for a sporting event. People travel from all over Queensland, from as far north as the Torres Strait,” Mr Beetson said.

A total of 49 teams competed at the Carnival with Torres Strait Island team the Dhadin Geai Warriors taking out the Open Men’s competition, the Brisbane Native’s winning the Open Women’s, while Under 15s Boys tournament wrapped up with the, now traditional, tour team being selected. This year’s event also featured the first ever Legend’s game with the Broncos Old Boys taking on the Arthur Beetson All Stars.

Congratulations also goes to the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships very own Keysha Roberts who was a member of the winning Open Women’s Brisbane Natives team. Keysha said it was a fantastic weekend, although gruelling with six games over three days, and that she was thrilled to be part of the winning team.

The event was supported by the Queensland Government, including sponsorship from the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships.

Applications opening for Indigenous STEM Awards

Applications for the 2017 Indigenous STEM Awards open on 16 October 2017 and close 10 November 2017.

The Awards recognise, reward and promote the achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people studying and working in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The role of professionals, teachers and mentors is also recognised in supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in pursuing STEM education and careers.

Award winners stand to win a range of awards that provide opportunities to develop their STEM skills further.

To find out more visit


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