Item 9.1 - Attachment 1

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee Minutes 22 March 2011







Bruce Gale in the Chair, Donna-Lee Astill, Doug Desjardines, Marcia Donovan, Linda McDonald, Phil Russo, Anne Stonham (arrived 6.28pm) and Doug Wilson (arrived 6.28pm).





Jillian Comber (Archaeologist/Heritage Consultant – retired 6.39pm), Grant Davies (Minute Clerk), Paul Kennedy (Project Officer – Land Use and Transport Planning – retired 7.06pm) and Maggie Kyle (Community Capacity Building Officer).





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




The Committee welcomed Paul Kennedy and Jillian Comber to the meeting.




An apology was received and accepted for the absence of Phil Bradley, Shalini Kumari, Annie Nielsen, John Robertson and Greg Stonham.




There were no conflicts of interest at this meeting.




Ms Comber presented to the Committee on the archaeological dig recently carried out at 140 Church Street, a site proposed for the construction of a new substation by Integral Energy.


Ms Comber noted that an invite had previously been extended to members of the Committee to visit the dig; however, this had not occurred due to the discovery of acid sulphate in the soil on site. In addition, asbestos had been removed from the top 2 metres of the site.


The dig process was outlined including advice on the grid setup, excavation in one metre squares at levels of 5cm at a time and the use of the sieve.


Findings during the dig included:-

·    An unexpected well at a depth of 5 metres;

·    A sako badge. A quite rare artefact from the 1790s. Only the 2nd similar badge to have been found in Parramatta;

·    Various Aboriginal artefacts including tool making and cutting implements;

·    The sand terrace on the western side of the site.


Aboriginal artefacts discovered would be forwarded to the Australian Museum in accordance with the relevant Act, though representations could be made by local Aboriginal communities for relocation of the items.


Ms Comber noted that the completion of the archaeology report would take some time due to the 3000 artefacts found but added a copy of the report would be provided to the Committee, the library and local schools when completed.


Mr Desjardines noted that a well had been discovered behind the old army barracks and suggested that the wells may be connected.


In response to further questions, Ms Comber advised that standard notification procedures were undertaken of local residents in relation to the discovery of asbestos.


Ms Comber further added that interpretation signage will be erected on the wall of the new substation, when completed.


The Committee thanked Ms Comber for her attendance.


Ms Comber indicated that she would like to attend a future Committee Meeting when more research on the findings had been undertaken and also to speak on archaeology in Parramatta in general.


Ms Stonham suggested that such a presentation would be welcomed and other interested persons could be invited to attend the meeting.




1.         Anne Stonham and Doug Wilson arrived at the meeting at 6.28pm during the presentation.


2.         Ms Comber retired from the meeting at 6.39pm following the presentation.





Paul Kennedy from Council’s Land Use and Planning team presented to the Committee on the Comprehensive Heritage Review currently being undertaken by Council. He indicated:-


·    A major heritage review was undertaken between 1990 and 1993 by Meredith Walker and associates in conjunction with Terry Kass and Carol Liston. The review led to the listing of some 1000 items that reflected the various themes of Parramatta’s history;

·    Council has been undertaking a further review over the past 18 months with a view to validating the existing listings. Some items may be removed (some due to poor condition or previous demolition) and a few may be added.

·    A major part of the study is to advise on whether items of State significance in the planning instruments should be added to the State Heritage Register. An example of interest to the Committee may be Lake Parramatta. Lake Parramatta is identified in the current Parramatta Heritage LEP as being of State significance but is not on the State Heritage Register.

·    Presently, there are 3 levels of significance; local, State significance and items on the State Heritage Register. Council had recently been informed by the Department of Planning that LEPs could only provide for 2 classes of significance being local and State Heritage register. The subject is still not clear, however, with the reintroduction of a category called State nominated significance.

·    The primary consideration on whether an item should be added to the State Heritage register is whether the item is of significance to the whole state. Proposed listings should be supported by a strong case. It should be noted that Aboriginal Heritage is one of four current themes for listing;

·    Suggestions for adding or removal of items will be assessed by Council’s Heritage Advisor. The recommendations will be presented to a Council workshop in the middle of the year which may result in further consultation. A report to Council will then follow recommending exhibition, at which time further representations by interested parties could be made.


Mr Desjardines noted that the Committee strongly supported the listing of Lake Parramatta Reserve on the State Heritage Register on the grounds of culture and community and due to its significance to Aboriginal persons.

Mr Kennedy commented that the significance of the site to the whole state, just not the local area, must be addressed, including the provision of reasons and rationale.


Mr Gale advised that the Committee was significant to the entire state.


Maggie Kyle noted that the Committee had made a number of recommendations at its previous meeting in relation to Lake Parramatta including its listing on the State Heritage Register.


The Council had subsequently resolved not to make any decision on the issue until the Plan of Management for Lake Parramatta is completed. Ms Kyle noted, however, that any individual or organisation could make representations to the Heritage Council for the listing of Lake Parramatta.


Mr Desjardines noted that Council previously had a representative on the Heritage Advisory Committee but the person had long since resigned.


Maggie added that the Committee could nominate another member if it desired.


The Committee noted the significance of Lake Parramatta and undertook to further discuss the issue. Possible other discussions points raised in relation to the listing included;

·    Importance of site to former residents of Burnside Homes;

·    Gathering site for Cumberland Women’s Health Centre;

·    Possible input from Sue Pinckham.


Maggie added that any representations on the issue could be made through Paul Kennedy or herself.


The Committee thanked Mr Kennedy for his attendance.



Mr Paul Kennedy retired from the meeting at 7.06pm following his presentation.





A copy of the minutes of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee Meeting held on 22 February 2011 had previously been forwarded to each member.


RECOMMENDATION         (Russo/Donovan)


That the minutes of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee Meeting held on 22 February 2011 10 be taken as a true record of the meeting.




7.1       Works at Lake Parramatta Reserve


Ms Kyle referred to Item 8.5 of the previous meeting and advised that Council’s Natural Resource Officer had sought permission for works in Bourke Street, North Parramatta (map displayed) around the perimeter of Lake Parramatta.


RECOMMENDATION         (Russo/Gale)


The Committee raised no objection to the proposed works.



7.2       Cross Cultural Training


Ms Kyle referred to Item 7.4 of the previous meeting and advised that Council’s new Manager Human Resources, Jodi Dickson, had confirmed that Human Resources will continue to develop an appropriate Indigenous Recruitment Strategy and pursue cross cultural training in consultation with the Advisory Committee.


Ms Kyle will continue to hold discussions with Ms Dickson and report back to future meetings.


Mr Desjardines noted the success of the cross cultural training recently provided by Mr Cliff Daylight for the Attorney General’s Department and provided contact details to Ms Kyle.



7.3       President of the Local Government and Shires Association


Ms Kyle advised that a letter would be forwarded in the near future to Councillor Keith Rhodes congratulating him on his appointment as the President of the Local Government and Shires Association.



7.4       Burramatta Walk Leaflet


Ms Kyle referred to Item 7.6 of the previous meeting and advised that no official launch of the subject leaflet would be held as the leaflet had been provided to the Local Government Aboriginal Network prior to its official release.



7.5       Foundation Acknowledgement


Ms Kyle referred to Item 8.1 of the previous meeting and provided a copy of the full Foundation Acknowledgement as adopted by Council on 18 October 2010.


Mr Russo noted that clause (e) of the resolution required consultation with the community, however, the Advisory Committee nor any member of the Committee had been consulted. He restated that he felt the acknowledgement was an insult to Aboriginals.


Ms Kyle understood that the Lord Mayor’s Office had undertaken consultation with certain organisations.


Ms Stonham commented that this issue was one that may have been avoided with appropriate cross cultural training.


RECOMMENDATION         (Russo/Stonham)


That the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee notes that no consultation was carried out with the Committee and requests advice on those organisations that were consulted.



7.6       Lake Parramatta – Placement of Plaque


Ms Kyle referred to Item 8.4 of the previous meeting and advised that the placement of a suitable plaque at Lake Parramatta recognising the role of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee had been referred to Council’s Civic Events section for investigation.



7.7       Reorganisation of Parramatta City Library    


Ms Kyle referred to Item 8.14 of the previous meeting and advised that discussions had been held with the head librarian on the importance of speaking to the Committee in relation to any issues associated with Aboriginal Resources held by the library.




Meetings are held on the 4th Tuesday of the month from February through to November except for the April meeting which, due to the scheduled date being a public holiday, will be held on 3 May 2011 (following discussions with Mr Gale).

The dates are:  22 March; 3 May (26 April is a Public Holiday); 24 May, 28 June, 26 July, 23 August, 27 September, 25 October and 22 November 2011.

Venue: All meetings will be in Ground Floor Meeting Room of Council Chambers except for meetings of 3 May and 25 October which will be held in Dan Mahoney, Level 2 Council Chambers.





9.1       Former Member - Gil Saunders


Mr Russo sought information on the whereabouts of former member, Gil Saunders. He commented that the Aboriginal content of the Committee must be maintained.


Ms Kyle noted that Mr Saunders had not reapplied for membership to the Committee.


Mr Gale advised that he had invited Mr Saunders to attend a recent meeting. He added that he would again contact Mr Saunders.


9.2       Aboriginal Prisoner held for Decade without being Convicted.


Mr Desjardines tabled an article from the Sydney Morning Herald dated 19 March 2011 which reported on an intellectually disabled Aboriginal man who had been held in prisons in Western Australia “for almost 10 years without being convicted or having evidence against him tested in court”. The release of the prisoner could only be made on the order of the Governor.


Ms Desjardines advised that such an incarceration was a disgrace.


Ms Astill advised of her recent appointment as an Advocate and Case Worker for prisoners by the Indigenous Disability Advocacy Service and commented that such issues were close to her heart as there was limited support in place for prisoners.


RECOMMENDATION         (Desjardines/Russo)



(a)       The Parramatta Aboriginal Legal Service be notified of this situation and requested to advise whether any similar situations exist in NSW, and if so, what action was being taken to alleviate the problem.

(b)       The Committee’s concerns in relation to this issue be forwarded to the Indigenous Disability Advocacy Service.


9.3       Support for Prison Inmates


Mr Desjardines noted that the Committee had previously requested that correspondence be forwarded in relation to the intolerable conditions in jails.


Ms Kyle advised that the subject letter had been forwarded some 2 years ago.


Mr Desjardines then referred to the problem of city inmates being placed in regional jails and visa versa. Such action prevented visits to the prisoners and contributed to deaths in custody. He requested that Ms Astill, on visiting regional prisons in her role as an advocate, attempt to ascertain from where prisoners had originated.


Ms Stonham noted the lack of support given to inmates on their release which could contribute to persons reoffending.


Mr Desjardines agreed and referred to a comment made by then Minister for Housing, The Hon. David Borger, indicating that public housing was there to directly support persons being released from prison.


RECOMMENDATION         (Desjardines/Russo)


That Committee notes with concern the lack of housing, psychological and financial support/care available for Aboriginals when released from prison.



9.3       Burnside Public School


Ms Stonham was delighted to inform the Committee of a recent invite received by Mr Desjardines to attend Burnside Public School where he had been informed that his daughter was gifted and was a wonderful support to the other children in her class.


Ms Stonham added that the teacher involved was particularly interested in incorporating Aboriginal programs into the school’s curriculum.


RECOMMENDATION         (Stonham/Russo)



(a)       Council forward correspondence to the Principal of Burnside Public School expressing appreciation at the recent meeting held between 2 members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee and Mrs Date, who had been extremely supportive and enthusiastic in relation to the introduction of Aboriginal projects and culture into the curriculum.

(b)       The Principal and Mrs Date be invited to contact the Advisory Committee if any assistance can be provided in the future.



9.4       Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Project Officer


Mr Gale asked whether a member could be present when the interviews for the subject position took place.


Ms Kyle replied that it was not appropriate for any advisory committee member to be present on a selection panel. It was likely the interview would be conducted by 2 or 3 internal officers together with one external Aboriginal person.


RECOMMENDATION         (Gale/Russo)


The Committee express its concern that a member of the Committee will not be permitted to participate in the selection panel for the appointment of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Project Officer.



9.5       Indigenous Person of the Year


Mr Gale advised that he had nominated former Council employee, Sue Pinckham, for the Indigenous person of the year and was pleased that out of 11,000 nominations, Ms Pinckham had been selected in the final 100.


Mr Gale asked whether the Council could acknowledge this achievement and the importance of Ms Pinckham’s work.



9.6       Assistance for Attendance at Funerals and Carer Cards


Ms Astill noted that many Aboriginal families were unable to attend funerals due to the cost or distance involved.


The Indigenous Disability Advocacy Service has received advice on funding that is now available for such a purpose. The information will be tabled at the next meeting.


Ms Astill added that details are also available on a Companion Card which will assist carers in accessing transport and venues for free.



9.7       Congratulations to Members


The Committee congratulated Ms Astill on her appointment to the Indigenous Disability Advocacy Service as an Aboriginal Advocate and expressed best wishes and support for her future endeavours.


The Committee further congratulated Ms McDonald on her commitment to study and subsequent appointment as a first year teacher at Bidwill Public School.



9.8       Council Website Update


 Ms Kyle advised that the Aboriginal content on Council’s website had been updated over the New Year.


The wording used on the site had been taken from documents previously approved by the Committee such as the LGAN bid.


Ms Kyle requested that members view the website and provide comment at the next meeting.



9.9       NAIDOC 2011


Ms Kyle distributed information pertaining to NAIDOC 2011 and advised that the Committee needed to set a date a for a planning meeting to be held to discuss the issue.


Ms Kyle noted that the NAIDOC Budget remained the same as in previous years but drew the Committee’s attention to the proposed replacement of Burramatta Family Fun Day with a Fellowships Program. This proposed change had arisen due to concerns that the Fun Day did not meet the Council’s objectives when holding a major event.


Maggie added that the Acting Manager of Major Events would also attend the meeting.




That a special meeting of the Committee be held on Wednesday 30 March 2011 to discuss NAIDOC 2011.





Mr Desjardines tabled the following information for the advice of members:-

1.         “I Speak My Mind” – David Bitel, President of the Community Justice Coalition will speak on Sunday 3 April 2011 at 7.30pm at the North Shore Temple Emanuel, 28 Chatswood Ave, Chatswood on recommendations to reform the prison system.

2.         Sunnyfield Parramatta Day Option Program – inviting attendance at the official launch of ‘carmunity’ on 14 April 2011 from 6pm to 8pm at Clarion Hotel on the Park at 18 - 40 Anderson Street, Parramatta. The used car sculpture explores concepts and ideas around the Sunnyfield Creative Team’s culture, heritage, identity and being Australian.





The meeting terminated at 8.01pm.