Janet (Posted November 5, 2012 at 7:05 am), as usual, …

Comment on Indigenous adults must ‘grow up’ so that Indigenous children can depend on them, says Alison Anderson by Bob Durnan.

Janet (Posted November 5, 2012 at 7:05 am), as usual, understands virtually nothing about the topic, but never lets her ignorance deter her from letting out a set of furious demands. Alison would know very well that it is not as simple or straightforward as Janet reckons.
The royalties to which Janet refers do not belong to governments to do what they want with them, nor to ‘communities’, nor do they belong to most of the individuals living in the communities.
However the traditional owners of the specific estates on which mining (or other resource extraction, such as oil, gas, sand and gravel) occurs, are entitled to receive thirty per cent of any royalties which flow from mining activity on their land.
These traditional owners are only a small sub-set of the Aboriginal individuals who are resident in the remote communities. Most Aboriginal people do not have mining occurring on their traditional lands, and so are not entitled to receive a payout of royalties in cash. As there are actually very few mines on Aboriginal land in central Australia, and not much other development generating royalties, rent or profits on most Aboriginal-owned lands, Janet’s formula would not constitute a way out of welfare for the vast majority of Aboriginal people in central Australia.
Under the Commonwealth Government’s Land Rights Act (NT) the Commonwealth retains ownership of the minerals that lie on or in land which has been claimed and has the status of Aboriginal inalienable freehold title. The Commonwealth, on advice from the Land Councils who act on instructions from the traditional owners of the precise pieces of land under discussion, licenses developers to undertake mining exploration, negotiate about development, and proceed to extract minerals etc, provided they pay agreed royalties to the Commonwealth, and observe other requirements, such as avoidance of disturbing sacred sites, or other requirements agreed during negotiations.
The Commonwealth is then required to distribute those royalties according to a formula: a majority of the royalties are diverted in two streams which benefit Aboriginal people more generally.
About 30% go to the Aboriginal Benefits Account for projects of benefit to Aboriginal communities, such as the leasing of township lands from the Land Trusts, and construction of youth centres, aged care facilities, swimming pools, and other capital items of benefit to the general Aboriginal population (for example, a large sum was released a few years back to help pay for the expansion of the Alice Springs swimming centre, reflecting the fact that Aboriginal people benefit greatly from the availability of this water sports complex).
The Land Councils receive around 40% to cover their administrative running costs, undertake community development activities, support Land Trusts, negotiate with potential developers, research and prosecute land and native title claims, manage huge swathes of land in partnership with the traditional owners, assist in protecting sacred sites, and many other tasks.
The remaining 30% goes to the senior people in the local Land Trusts (i.e. the traditional owners’ elected representatives) to distribute amongst the traditional owner families and/or invest through entities such as Centrecorp for their families’ future well-being, a responsible use of income which is a practice which seems to disgust Janet.
If Janet did get her way, and the ABA and Land Councils were abolished by act of the government, and all welfare – pensions, family benefits and Newstart allowance payments – to Aboriginal people ceased, and all the royalties were cashed out to individuals regardless of the proprietary rights of the individual traditional owners, the net impacts would include a greater impoverishment of Aboriginal people, as the quantum of royalty payouts is much less than the quantum of welfare and Newstart income. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if Janet thought this to be a satisfactory outcome, it would increase individual Aboriginal poverty and alienation, whilst worsening community disempowerment and dysfunction, and achieve no actual benefits, other than making it easier for miners and other entrepreneurs to rip off the traditional owners.
It would undoubtedly ensure a massive compensation claim from the traditional owners of the land on which mining is occurring, as they would legitimately regard the reduction of their royalty shares as a form of theft that the Australian system of law would not permit.
It would also throw NT society into chaos, as traditional owners would have no incentive to agree to development or mining exploration occurring on their lands, and many people would regard others as being thieves of their entitlements.

Bob Durnan Also Commented

Indigenous adults must ‘grow up’ so that Indigenous children can depend on them, says Alison Anderson
I see that my favourite verbal sparring partner Janet Brown (Posted November 14, 2012 at 9:43 pm) is still determined to insist that there are separate laws applying to Aboriginal people who receive welfare payments such as Newstart allowances and family payments. She seems to think they are not required by law to report all their other personal income (such as royalty payments) to Centrelink, every time they lodge an income statement.
Janet also appears to believe that Aboriginal people who don’t claim welfare entitlements but do receive royalties are not required by law to declare these royalties as income when they lodge their tax returns.
Janet, not unusually, is completely wrong in her assumptions.
On the available evidence, Janet possibly also believes that up is down, black is white, day is night, the earth is flat, and space is finite, but unless she is able to show me reasons why these things are true I wouldn’t be inclined to agree with her just because she says so.
However, I am quite confident that Janet and I both will be able to find legislation supporting my contentions if we want to spend the time looking up the relevant acts (I have spoken today to an expert in the field who assures me that I am on solid ground in saying this).
Thank goodness that nobody is relying on her for advice about how to conduct their personal business.
Once again, I say to Janet: If you know of anybody who has broken the law, you are duty bound to report them to the authorities. If you don’t know traditional owners who have broken the law, and are making allegations against a group of people based on hearsay, simple suspicion or pure prejudice, then you need to apologise to them and stop making defamatory assertions.
There are no separate laws applying to Aboriginal people on the matter of needing to declare royalties (or anything else) as income.


Indigenous adults must ‘grow up’ so that Indigenous children can depend on them, says Alison Anderson
Janet (Posted November 12, 2012 at 5:05 pm). Stop playing these snide games with peoples’ reputations and self respect. Of course there are many people who declare royalty payments as income. If you know of anybody who has broken the law, you are duty bound to report them to the authorities. If you don’t know traditional owners who have broken these rules, and are making allegations against a group of people based on hearsay, simple suspicion or pure prejudice, then you need to apologise to them and stop making defamatory assertions. There are no separate laws applying to Aboriginal people on the matter of needing to declare royalties as income.


Indigenous adults must ‘grow up’ so that Indigenous children can depend on them, says Alison Anderson
Thanks for the advice Janet (Posted November 5, 2012 at 5:53 pm), but you are full of humbug. I’ll have a go at figuring out how your cranky statements relate to the arguments I put in my comment. And, by the way, not all traditional owners ‘live in squalor’ or fail to support their communities.
Another thing that will be even more amazing to you: many people on welfare do not ‘live in squalor’, and nor are they ‘welfare cheats’. Please stop inferring that ‘royalty recipients’ equals ‘welfare cheats’. Many do declare their income to Centrelink.


Recent Comments by Bob Durnan

Booze report: What the government is likely to do.
In response to R Henry on Oct 20th, on who gets the extra markup money?
There is very little brand loyalty to the cheap brands of Chardonnay amongst our dedicated alcohol-drinking punters: They are after the cheapest hit of alcohol for their buck, regardless of its host liquid, not for their next taste of the rank Calabrian / Bortoli products.
Since the vast majority of shoppers generally shift their choice to better value for money when confronted with higher prices (and this happened when Clare Martin knocked the cheapest wines and sherries off the shelves in October 2006: there was a massive shift to beer), there is unlikely to be very much windfall profits via extra markup.
To the extent that there are any windfalls, they are unlikely to be anywhere near commensurate with the decrease in profits that are likely to occur because of the overall impacts of a number of the proposed reforms.
To see if I am correct, keep your ears open for the sounds of the interstate alcohol industry cartels – manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and their paid public relations reps squealing about the alleged injustice, unfairness and unworkability of these visionary evidence-based reforms.
It is going to be an interesting war, and the outcome will decide whether the NT has any future worth speaking about.


Elferink and Gooda clash over underage marriage
Peter, Posted June 30, 2017 at 2:30 pm: some young girls may resist promised marriage more strongly these days, but I doubt whether some are in a position to do so.
It has been authoritatively reported by youth workers in Alice Springs and Tennant Creek in the last few years that rape of young women is rife in these towns.


I’m not kungka, I’m arelhe
Does anybody know if the hours when the Arrernte words teaching program is held at the Apmere angkentye-kenhe are available somewhere on the net, or anywhere else?
I thought I had seen it advertised for every Wednesday night at 6pm, but this doesn’t appear to be the case?
I have gone there at this time, found it closed, and no notice or info on the door.
Anybody wanna clarify here?


Judge Borchers’ position should be assessed: CAALAS
Alex, of course one part-time worker with CAALAS is not able to, in your words, “work closely with EVERY SINGLE young person going throughout Central Australian court system, their family, community, lawyer, school and other service-providers to provide the young person with the support they need to get back on track and stay out of trouble”.
That is exactly my point, and why it is wrong for you to lay the blame on that worker, as you did when you wrote “if your PART-TIME advocacy programme co-ordinator did her job after this child’s court appearance in March, then he wouldn’t have appeared in court again in May.”
As I said earlier: That advocacy programme co-ordinator performed her job with great diligence and dedication, and cannot be held to blame for any alleged failure of duty of care, as the case load of such cases far exceeds the ability of one worker to cover even a small proportion of them. She was doing her job very well, covering as many of the cases as she could, but she wasn’t a magician. So your cheap jibe at her reputation is wrongly placed, and you should withdraw it.


Judge Borchers’ position should be assessed: CAALAS
Evelyne Roullet, Posted June 22, 2017 at 1:42 pm: Ralph was not talking about where or how the kid should be housed. He was referring to the bigger issue of the huge trauma in his life, caused by the alleged killing of his mother by his father. Kids who experience this level of trauma need intensive help and support, and we need to make sure that they get it, from wherever it may be best available.


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