NIRS NEWS STORIES 6am-9am 7 FEBRUARY 2014
In a ground breaking decision, a former CEO of a New South Wales Aboriginal Medical Centre has been ordered to pay over $1.2 million dollars in fines.
Damien Matcham, former head of the Katungul Community Medical Service, is now banned from being involved in the management of any ATSI corporation for 15 years.
Mr Matcham now owes seven hundred thousand dollars in compensation to the service, which narrowly escaped insolvency under his watched, has gone on to thrive.
The organisation which launched the case against Mr Matcham says Katungul, which offers health services to Koori’s in the far south coast of the New South Wales now operates at a surplus.
ORIC head Anthony Beven says Katungul has gone on to thrive the ordeal.
The Chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation has described the impact of suicide on First Nation communities as ‘savage’.
It’s been reported in the last three years, there have been an estimated 300 deaths among our communities from suicide.
Justin Mohamed from NACCHO says early intervention and cultural factors can play a part in reducing rates around the country, and immediate action is needed.
To the Northern Territory, a Kuridji elder says too much alcohol is being brought into his community and is calling for tougher sales restrictions on a nearby remote hotel.
The ABC reports the Top Springs Hotel, about 300 kilometres south of Katherine, is the main source of takeaway alcohol for people in the remote communities of Yarralin, Kalkarindji and Lajamanu.
Last year, the hotel was ordered to limit takeaway sales of one carton of beer per person a day, but an appeal by the hotel’s licensee has seen alcohol sales continue without restrictions.
But Kurdiji elder Jerry Jangala Patrick says he and a group of elders is urging the Northern Territory Licensing Commission to enforce the restrictions on the hotel.
To Western Australia’s Pilbara, the Chief Executive of the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation says Roebourne’s Victoria Pub will be turned into a community centre.
The organisation has bought the iconic establishment after its liquor licence was suspended in 2006 and plans include building a café, accommodation, offices and retail space in the development.
The ABC reports if approvals are granted, work could begin on site later this year.
Yindjibarndi CEO Michael Woodley says they’ll to redesign the hub around the old structure of the establishment.
The Chair of the Indigenous Advisory Council, Warren Mundine, has reaffirmed the body’s commitment to address the suicide crisis.
Last year, Mr Mundine said the Council would develop a strategy to tackle the issue in the first six months of its existence.
Mr. Mundine has told National Indigenous Radio he’s consulting a diverse array of experts and reports.
He says recommendations will be presented to the Advisory Council’s meeting next week.
The Chair of the Indigenous Advisory Council, Warren Mundine, says getting kids an education will ensure increased social and economic health for troubled and impoverished communities.
Mr. Mundine has spent three days touring northern and central Western Australian communities in order to highlight the importance of children attending school, alongside Nigel Scullion.
He told National Indigenous Radio it’s vital for our people to have an education.
He says evidence demonstrates that a child who attends less than 80 per cent of the school year will fail.
A sacred burial ceremony that has never been performed off country is set to commemorate the 50th anniversary of AIATSIS – the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies in Canberra next month.
Bill Neidjie was instrumental in establishing Kakadu as a National Park, and he received an Order of Australia Medal for his work in 1989.
His remains have already gone through the first stage of traditional burial.
Kakadu Elder Ronald Lamilami says that while traditionally, Mr Neidjie’s remains would have been held in a cave, AIATSIS will now serve as the leader’s new traditional burial home.
A former Indigenous Australian of the Year says our community is less inclined to listen to our people when they’ve not been chosen to represent them.
Professor Mick Dodson, the recipient of the 2009 award, is a life-long advocate for Indigenous rights and Social Justice.
He told NIRS News that the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council’s appointments are a re-hash of former failed experiments.
In WA, a retired District Court Judge says she’s concerned many judges and magistrates don’t have an adequate knowledge of Aboriginal law and culture.
Mary Ann Yeats, who retired in 2011, was recently appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia for service to the legal system, particularly Indigenous justice.
She convened the Australian Institute of Judicial Administration, which offered judicial officers educational programs on Aboriginal culture.
She says the nation’s colonial legacy is still “very much present” in modern society as long as First Nations people are imprisoned at a greater rate than other groups.
To Western Australia – Noongar traditional owners have urged the Rottnest Island Authority to return fencing to a mass burial site they say is now being desecrated by tourists.
The burial site is believed to be the last resting place of at least 370 Aboriginal men and boys – possibly up to 700.
Senior elder Richard Wilkes, who coordinates the 4000-membership-strong Rottnest Death Group, says the fence must be returned.
The group’s lead researcher, Paul Allardyce, has proposed to the Authority that radar be used to mark out the grave sites and fence the area.
Mr Allardyce says the Authority could then build a road to its new 1.6-million-dollar golf club instead of desecrating the site.
To the south-west of Western Australia, the Rotten Island Authority is defending itself against criticism it took down a fence surrounding an Aboriginal burial ground on the island.
CEO of the Authority, Paolo Amaranti, says the group had to remove the fence due to Section 18 of the Aboriginal Heritage Act.
Mr Amaranti says the decision wasn’t up the authority and was made after extensive community consultation with over 100 Aboriginal stakeholders.
Mr Amaranti says the Rottnest Island Death Group, who sparked the criticism, was part of the consultation.
A PhD researcher at the James Cook University says debating treaties is the way forward in Australia, after Maori and New Zealander celebrated Waitangi Day yesterday.
Kuku-Yalanji woman Michelle Deshong says Australia needs a similar holiday that can be celebrated by all Australians, unlike Australia Day.
Ms Deshong says although the Treaty of Waitangi has been challenged in courts, its existence is a significant sign of recognition.
The Federal Government says an investment in language preservation will support 42 additional activities.
Arts Minister George Brandis and Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion have announced the recipients of 2.6-million-dollars in funding for new language preservation projects.
In a statement, the Ministers say many of the recipients will undertake projects to digitise existing language learning resources, with digital content being created to make language more accessible.
The Nyamba Buru Yawuru organisation in Western Australia has received a grant to establish a web page, a smartphone dictionary and phrase book app.
As New Zealanders and Maoris celebrated Waitangi Day yesterday, Aboriginal activists strengthen calls for a treaty on our own soil.
The debate about has recently made headlines across the country with Warren Mundine and Minister Scullion opening a conversation.
Tasmanian Aboriginal activist and lawyer Michael Mansell says a treaty would ultimately acknowledge Australia’s first people.
As Maori and New Zealanders celebrated Waitangi Day yesterday, the debate continues about our own national holiday.
Waitangi Day marks the signing of New Zealand’s founding Treaty in Waitangi Bay in 1840 on February 6th.
Tasmania-based First Nations rights campaigner Michael Mansell says celebrating Australia Day on the 26th of January is offensive to those that suffered under colonialism.
Michelle Tuahine | News Director
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About the National Indigenous Radio Service
The National Indigenous Radio Service Limited (NIRS) is a national program distribution service that delivers four radio channels of content produced by First Nations broadcasters via satellite distribution and via the internet.
Operating from a central hub in Brisbane, NIRS receives programs from a majority of the 180+ First Nations broadcasting services across Australia.
Arguably, the NIRS satellite footprint is the largest for a First Nations radio network in the southern hemisphere, if not the world. Given this, NIRS and its programs are unique within the Australian media environment. Over 120 Remote Indigenous Broadcasting Services (RIBS) units, 23 Indigenous radio stations and 120 Community Broadcastes receive NIRS. To learn more about our network simply explore our new Google Map interface which show where each and every radio station is located, its website details and even includes a streaming link in some cases.
The reason why NIRS is so important to the sector is because many First Nations broadcasters haven’t the funding support to produce programs for 24/7 broadcasting or possess the funding to employ the number announcers ad producers to make enough high quality programs to support their local community audiences with the style of program that closes the gap.
So for some 15 years, NIRS has delivered its ecletic mix of broadcast programs and a national news service delivered via satellite that all major metropolitan, regional and remote communities via their Remote Indigenous Media Organisations (RIMOs) can receive and add into their regional broadcast schedules.
In this way, NIRS is dedicated to facilitating First Nations voices through broadcasting and internet radio. We achieve this by a mix of programs that provides critical commentary of the strategies directed towards our communities that seek to preserve, promote and maintain First Nations arts, culture, languages and community values. Most particularly, NIRS discusses ‘Closing the Gap’ initiatives that are aimed at achieving quality of life improvements for First Nations communities across Australia.
NIRS also encourages aspirant First Nations broadcasters and RIBS to send their own programs that can be shared and thus opening a “window” to local community issues to a national audience.
For broadcasters who meet the licensing and equipment requirements but lack the funds or resources to provide a full 24-hour service, NIRS will enable them to fill any holes in their schedule with our continuous programming. For community broadcasters who access air time through a CBAA affiliate station, NIRS will provide the opportunity for these areas to hear national Indigenous issues, as well as enabling them to boost local airtime.
The Australia Indigenous Communication Association is also a great way of making contact with First Nations Broadcasters: