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Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

NIC Report to Government formally released

The Australian Government today released the National Indigenous Council Report to Government, January – December 2006.

Minister for Families, Community services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, said last year was a period of major change in the Indigenous affairs landscape and the NIC had made an important contribution to reforms that will provide lasting benefits for Indigenous Australians.

"The report outlines the wide range of activities of the NIC covering key areas like law and order, mental health, early childhood development, education and economic development," the Minister said.

"Members of the NIC, through their expertise and experience in specific fields have been able to bring a new perspective to government policy making. They meet regularly with me and my Ministerial colleagues and departmental officials. Their influence should not be underestimated.

"I particularly welcome the NIC’s input and advice on the Inter-governmental Summit on Child Abuse and Violence in Indigenous Communities; input into the National Mental Health Action Plan; contribution to a significant budget outcome for Indigenous affairs and their work on education and boarding schools as well as the Indigenous arts sector.

"The Government appreciates the hard work, forthrightness and generosity of spirit displayed by all members of the NIC and the leadership of Council Chair. Dr Sue Gordon. My colleagues on the Ministerial Taskforce on Indigenous Affairs and I value the open relationship that we have developed with the NIC.

"This year will be an important year for Indigenous Australians as we mark a significant milestone for the nation – the 40th Anniversary of the 1967 referendum.

"The NIC report sets out an ambitious set of priorities for 2007. I have asked the NIC to also focus on two priority areas, improving access to mainstream services for Indigenous Australians living in urban and rural areas and how to address barriers and promote economic opportunities.

"I look forward to continuing our constructive relationship as we face yet another challenging year."

The reports is available at: www.atsia.gov.au/nic/reports.aspx