Item 11.3 - Attachment 1

Minutes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee Meeting 26 October 2010







John Robertson in the Chair, Bruce Astill, Donna-Lee Astill, Councillor Paul Barber (departed 7.37pm), Phil Bradley, Doug Desjardines, Marcia Donovan, Lyn Leerson (arrived 6.48 pm), Annie Nielsen and Phil Russo.





Grant Davies (Minute Clerk) and Maggie Kyle (Community Capacity Building Officer).





John Robertson made a Welcome to Country, recognising that the land upon which the meeting was being held is Burramatugal and paid respect to Elders past and present.




The Committee welcomed Tracy Appel and Tanya Koeneman from the Department of Planning, Heritage Branch.




An apology was received and accepted for the absence of Bruce Gale, Shalini Kumari, Anne Stonham, Greg Stonham and Doug Wilson and it was noted that Lyn Leerson would be a late arrival.




There were no conflicts of interest at this meeting.




The Committee welcomed Tracy Appel and Tanya Koeneman from the Department of Planning (Heritage Branch) to provide a presentation on the proposal to list the Sand Platform on the State Heritage Register.




Tanya acknowledged that the land on which the Committee was meeting is Burramatugal and paid respect to Elders past and present.


Tanya further noted that Council had acknowledged the Committee as the ‘knowledge holders’ on the subject of the presentation.


Tanya outlined her works at the Heritage Branch and indicated:-

·    Her role included investigation of State Heritage Items that had potential and significance;

·    There appeared to be a lack of Aboriginal items of significance on the heritage register;

·    There is a need to raise awareness of the heritage register with Aboriginal communities throughout NSW.

·    The main aim of tonight’s presentation was to talk on the Parramatta Sand Body Conservation, which is a large natural expanse that sits primarily under the Parramatta CBD.


Tracy then provided details on the Sand Body including:-

·    A definition of the Sand Body which is a previously unrecognised soil landscape that runs along the Parramatta River and through the Parramatta CBD;

·    Maps of its location in Parramatta;

·    An archaeological investigation of the Sand Body had been carried out at the Meriton’s site and at the RTA site in George Street with some 6500 artefacts being recovered from the Meriton site alone;

·    Pictures of artefacts discovered.


Tanya outlined reasons for listing a portion of the Sand Body and advised:-

·    There has been a cumulative loss of the Sand Body through the various developments in the area;

·    The Sand Body is finite and the community has raised concerns;

·    The Sand Body has great conservation potential and is unique;

·    The Sand Body reveals Aboriginal lifestyle and also indicates how changeable the environment is:

·    The listing will provide an opportunity for greater education and awareness of Aboriginal occupation in Parramatta and a tangible link to Aboriginal ancestors;

·    The Sand Body has cultural significance;

·    The listing will assist the Council with strategic land use planning;

·    A  nomination must initially be prepared and potential sites are Robin Thomas Reserve, part of James Ruse Reserve and the front garden and adjacent parkland of Hambledon Cottage;

·    Initial discussions with Council as landowner are quite positive;

·    Nominations can come from the owner, general community or government departments and must include such information as description, historical information and significance of the site;

·    After nomination, Auger hole testing will be carried out to determine the extent of the Sand Body across the proposed listing sites;

·    The views on listing will also be sought from local Aboriginal communities together with the owners of the site;

·    Interested members can be provided with a draft copy of the Aboriginal Cultural Assessment Report that is to accompany the Aboriginal Heritage Permit (in this regard it was noted that a copy of the report would be compressed and centred on the methodology and would be provided to Maggie Kyle for distribution to members);

·    Any comments on the distributed document should be provided asap but in any event prior to 22 November 2010.



Lyn Leerson arrived at the meeting at 6.48pm during the presentation.



Phil Russo sought advice on the chances of listing Lake Parramatta on the State Heritage Register.


Tanya felt that the chances were quite good and noted that a colleague was already working on a project related to this site. Tanya further noted that the Heritage Branch considered Lake Parramatta to be a site of potential state significance.


Maggie commented that the Committee at its previous meeting had recommended to Council that Lake Parramatta be listed on the State Heritage Register and this recommendation had been forwarded to the consultants dealing with the Plan of Management for Lake Parramatta.


It was then agreed that Tanya would advise the Chairperson of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee whether Lake Parramatta had been nominated for the State Heritage Register to date, and if not, discussions could commence in relation to the nomination of the site by the Committee.


Tanya and Tracy were thanked for their comprehensive presentation to the Committee.


RECOMMENDATION         (Robertson/Russo)


That the presentation be received and it be noted that the Committee registers its interest in receiving the draft copy of the Aboriginal Cultural Assessment Report when available.




Councillor P Barber, Tracy and Tanya retired from the meeting at 7.37pm following consideration of the above matter.





A copy of the minutes of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee Meeting held on 28 September 2010 had previously been forwarded to each member.


RECOMMENDATION         (Russo/Leerson)


That the minutes of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee Meeting held on 28 September 2010 be taken as a true record of the meeting.





Corrective Services

Maggie advised that a letter had been drafted and will be forwarded to the CEO for signature regarding the incarceration of a local Aboriginal person at Muswellbrook Correctional Facility.


Youth off the Streets Project

Maggie advised that the Committee’s recent request for Council to give consideration to the placement of Aboriginal Workers under Father Chris Riley’s Youth off the Street Project had been forwarded to Human Resources.


No response had been received to date.


Doug Desjardines noted that regeneration works were being undertaken by contractors at Lake Parramatta Reserve near Lake and Gloucester Streets, North Parramatta and suggested that such works would be ideal for the placement of the requested workers.


Annie Nielsen noted that appropriate training would need to be provided.


Mr Desjardines further requested that arrangements be made for him to meet with Council’s Natural Resource Officer, Ms Sally Williams.


Maggie noted that Sally Williams was also to meet with John Robertson and suggested that both meetings be held simultaneously.


RECOMMENDATION         (Desjardines/Russo)


That Council consider the employment of Aboriginal youth from Father Chris Riley’s Youth off the Street Project as trainees on the Lake and Gloucester Streets, North Parramatta regeneration project.


9   LGAN 2010 Debrief 2


The Committee agreed to hold over this matter pending the attendance of the Chairman of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee.          





Cross Cultural Training

Mr Robertson advised that his group had now submitted an application to provide cross cultural training and sought advice on the present position with regard to this issue.


Maggie suggested that Mr Robertson contact Council’s Manager Human Resources, Mr Ian Fitzgerald, and seek comment on the proposed timeline for this project.


Invitation – “Not Another Statistic”

Maggie invited members to attend the Artist’s Studio on 4 November 2010 at 2pm for lunch to welcome the new Canadian Indigenous Artist who is currently working on the “Not Another Statistic” art project which is a collection of real Aboriginal stories regarding diabetes.


Upgrading of Competencies

Mr Desjardines advised that he had been contacted by an outdoor Aboriginal  Council employee who was having difficulty in gaining permission to undertake training for various competency qualifications (tickets).


Mr Desjardines sought advice on how such employees go about upgrading their tickets and also what support was available when their attempts to increase their competencies were refused.



Parramatta Girls Home

Marcia Donovan referred to the LGAN Conference site visit to Parramatta Girls Home which was run as a NSW State controlled child welfare institution for girls from 1887 until 1974: it was effectively a place of punishment, a prison for thousands of Aboriginal and non Aboriginal girls. The visit which had proved to be extremely significant, powerful and moving with some attendees having seen spirits in the window of the premises.


Marcia noted that this had been very upsetting for some attendees and requested that Council organise a smoking ceremony to cleanse the area and put the spirits at rest.


RECOMMENDATION         (Donovan/Desjardines)


That arrangements for a smoking ceremony at the Parramatta Girls Home be left in the hands of the Community Capacity Team who will work in consultation with the Aboriginal women who attended the LGAN site visit and Bonnie Duric of Parragirls.


Availability of Preschools adjacent to Primary Schools

Donna-Lee Astill noted that certain Aboriginal families were experiencing difficulty in placing their children in affordable preschools.


Donna-Lee noted that certain public schools such as Rosehill Public and Granville Public Schools have pre schools located adjacent to the main schools which cater cost effectively for Aboriginal children and questioned why such facilities were not available at all schools in Parramatta, especially Parramatta East Public School.


Maggie advised that further information would be sought on this issue including who is responsible for the pre schools, how they are accessed and how more of the facilities can be made available.


Mr Bradley noted that funding may still be available for the construction of such facilities from the government.


Reconciliation in Parliament Session

Mr Bradley noted that a Reconciliation in Parliament Session would be held on Wednesday 27 October 2010 dealing with juvenile justice. The session was open to the public.


Aboriginal Employment

Mr Bradley advised that on Thursday, 28 October 2010 between 7pm and 9pm, Mr Mark Fordham would be speaking in the Charles Byrne room in relation to Aboriginal Employment under the Community Development Employment Program in the Northern Territory and the potential for this program to flow on to the rest of Australia.


Darug Language Project

Mr Robertson advised that the Darug Language Project had been launched 2 weeks ago with information being available at the following website



The meeting terminated at 8.17pm