Item 10.6 - Attachment 1

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee Minutes 22 November 2011







John Robertson in the Chair, Bruce Astill, Donna-Lee Astill, Councillor Paul Barber (retired 7.02pm), Phillip Bradley, Doug Desjardines, Marcia Donovan, Lyn Leerson, Annie Nielsen and Gilson Saunders.





Chris Brown (retired 6.40pm), Belinda Cain (retired 6.40pm), Jillian Comber (Comber Consultants Pty Ltd – arrived 6.33pm and retired 7.34pm), Grant Davies (Minute Clerk), Graham Davis King (Western Sydney Community Forum), Michelle Desailly (Arts and Cultural Project Officer – Parramatta Stories – arrived 6.39pm and retired 7.03pm) and Maggie Kyle (Community Capacity Building Officer)





John Robertson made an Acknowledgement to the Traditional Owners, recognising that the land upon which the meeting was being held is Burramattagal and paid respect to Elders past and present.





Mr Robertson welcomed all to the meeting and invited Chris Brown and Belinda Cain to introduce themselves to members.



3          APOLOGIES


An apology was received and accepted for the absence of Bruce Gale, Shalini Kumari, Linda McDonald, Jay Palmer, Phil Russo, Anne Stonham and Douglas Williams.





There were no conflicts of interest at this meeting.





A copy of the minutes of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee Meeting held on 25 October 2011 had previously been forwarded to each member.


RECOMMENDATION                     (Donna-Lee Astill/Bradley)


That the minutes of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee Meeting held on 25 October 2011 be taken as a true record of the meeting.



6          NEW AGENDA ITEM


Attendance by former employee of Council


A former Council employee was in attendance at tonight’s meeting at the invitation of Mr Doug Desjardines. He had been invited by Mr Desjardines to provide details of his experiences during his employment with Council and the circumstances of his being medically retired from Council.


The former employee explained that he believed that his medical retirement was affecting his life and would affect his family financially.  Accordingly, he sought a letter of support and perhaps some direction from the Committee.


Councillor Barber expressed concern for the former employee but noted that the minutes of this meeting would be considered by Council/Councillors who had no control over staff issues other than those relating to the CEO.


Committee members suggested that the former employee approach a head office union delegate rather than a local delegate in the first instance.


RECOMMENDATION         (Bradley/Desjardines)


That the Committee expresses its disappointment at the treatment of a long standing Aboriginal employee of Parramatta City Council and requests a comment from Council Staff on the possible rehabilitation of this worker.




1.         Ms Jillian Comber (6.33pm) and Ms Michelle Desailly (6.39pm) arrived at the meeting during consideration of this matter.

2.         Chris Brown and Belinda Cain retired from the meeting at 6.40pm following consideration of this matter.





7.1       Interpretation Project – Governor Phillip’s Campsite


Ms Desailly outlined a proposal from the Heritage Advisory Committee requesting interpretation and associated story telling of Governor Phillip’s Campsite at the head of Parramatta River in the Cumberland Hospital Bushland area.


The Heritage Advisory Committee had visited the site and had subsequently requested that stories of the site be shared from a natural environment, heritage and Aboriginal Culture perspective.


In particular, the Committee had requested that a dialogue be commenced with the Aboriginal Community to see whether the proposed action was appropriate and if so, to seek guidance on stories that could be shared from an Aboriginal perspective.


During discussions, it was noted that:-


·    The Darug were keen to expand stories on how the Darug helped settlers.

·    Graham Davis King is a story teller and may be able to assist.

·    Jacinta Tobin is working on a project to tell the story of Darug people in the area.

·    Many traditional stories exist for the site.

·    The production of a leaflet on the area similar to existing leaflets available from the Heritage Centre could be considered.




(a)       That a walk of the proposed site be organised for members and other interested persons on or around 10 December 2011.

(b)       Further, that following the walk, storyline information be collated and forwarded to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee for consideration, such consideration to include the best way to communicate the information.



Councillor Paul Barber (7.02pm) and Michelle Desailly (7.03pm) retired from the meeting following consideration of this matter.



7.2       Jillian Comber (Comber Consultants Pty Ltd) – Updates on Archaeological Works in Parramatta


Ms Comber advised that Endeavour Energy was undertaking extensive works in Parramatta associated with the current network distribution (plans tabled).


In particular, Endeavour Energy is seeking to place underground cables in various streets in Parramatta including from 15 Macquarie Street to 140 Macquarie Street and from Macquarie Street to Guildford. Certain cables may go through the Parramatta Sand Terrace and accordingly, a major archaeological dig will be carried out near Robin Thomas Reserve in Harris Street, Parramatta.


Where cables infringe on the Parramatta Sand Terrace, archaeological works must be undertaken. This will pose some logistical problems relating to traffic and Endeavour Energy must address this issue.


The dig for 140 Macquarie Street (as addressed previously at the Committee) is not completed as yet but many artefacts have been found to date, some of which tentatively indicate that the area may have been occupied during the ice age. Further conclusive evidence will hopefully be available at a future visit to the Committee.


Ms Comber added that discussions are also being held with the Department of Environment and Heritage to consider ways of carrying out salvage archaeological testing rather than just monitoring. A permit is required for these works.


The Committee noted that an archaeological dig in the vicinity of the Governor Phillip’s Campsite would be exciting but would be subject to the provision of appropriate funding.


RECOMMENDATION         (Saunders/Bradley)


(a)       That the Committee gives in principle agreement to carry out  archaeological salvage excavation rather than monitoring in Macquarie, George and Harris Streets, Parramatta and to the application for an appropriate permit.

(b)       That members be invited to visit future digs.

(c)       Further, that Ms Comber be invited to attend the February Meeting of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee to provide an update on archaeological digs being carried out in Parramatta.




Ms Jillian Comber retired from the meeting at 7.34pm following consideration of this matter.









8.1       2nd Annual Zest Awards


Ms Kyle referred to Item 9.8 of the previous meeting and advised that the subject awards were aimed at works/efforts over the past 12 months.


As the bulk of the works undertaken at Lake Parramatta had been carried out 6 years ago, the nomination of these works would not be eligible.


8.2       Update on Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Project Officer Position


Ms Kyle referred to Item 9.6 of the previous meeting and advised that applications for the subject position had closed yesterday. A strong number of applications had been received and it would be likely that interviews would commence next week.





9.1       “Our Generation’


Mr Bradley advised that Reconciliation for Western Sydney had decided at its recent meeting to have a screening of the moving film “Our Generation” regarding the intervention in the Northern Territory.


Ms Kyle advised that arrangements would be made for a Council Meeting Room to be available for the screening.


9.2       Reconciliation Action Plan - ICE


Ms Leerson advised that ICE would be holding a meeting tomorrow from 2.30pm to 6.00pm to discuss the organisation’s reconciliation action planning.


ICE had requested that an invitation be extended to Committee Members to attend the meeting.


Ms Leerson commented that it was time for this Committee to broaden its outlook by working with such organisations as ICE and the Western Sydney Community Forum to ensure the Committee had access to expertise on all Aboriginal issues.


Ms Astill added her appreciation to ICE and the Koori Interagency for a successful program undertaken with Koori children at Cambridge Park. Ms Astill noted that a similar program may be undertaken in the Toongabbie area.



9.3       Appointments at University of Western Sydney


Mr Desjardines noted that the University of Western Sydney had recently appointed Aboriginal persons from the top end to appropriate positions within the University and questioned why local persons could not have been appointed.


RECOMMENDATION         (Desjardines/Donovan)


That Ms Kyle contact David Williams and seek further information in relation to the recent appointments to Aboriginal positions at the University of Western Sydney.


9.4       Parramatta Jail


Mr Desjardines requested that information be provided to the Committee on the closing date for Parramatta Jail.


9.5       Parramatta Heritage Centre Core Interpretation Space


Ms Nielsen noted that the Committee had previously received a presentation on the subject matter and asked for an update on the issue.


Ms Kyle advised that 2 meetings had subsequently been held (invitations had been submitted to Committee Members) and Mr Graham Davis King had been in attendance.


Possible storylines had been discussed with Aiden Rowan also providing excellent information.


Further advice is currently being awaited on the next steps from the Manager of the Heritage Centre.


9.6       Aboriginal Confirmation


Ms Astill advised that the Parramatta Land Council will no longer carry out Aboriginal confirmations. Documents will be provided by Aboriginal Legal Aid; however, such documents will not be accepted by the Department of Housing.


Mr Saunders advised that appropriate documentation can be obtained from the Department of Housing.


9.7       Christmas Party


It was agreed that the Committee hold a Christmas get together at the Parramatta RSL on Friday 16 December 2011 at 7.00pm.


9.8       Colebee Development to go Ahead


Mr Bradley advised that land at Richmond Road given to Darug Elders Colebee and Nurrangingy by Governor Macquarie in 1819 would be considered next month for listing on the State Heritage Register.


The Minister for Environment and Heritage had indicated that the proposed listing would not stop plans for 36 new homes on the site.


It is possible the site may contain Aboriginal remains which may bring a halt to the development.


9.9       Hiring of Apprentices by Coates Hire


Mr Astill advised that Coates Hire would be hiring 45 apprentices this year and requested that this information be communicated through Members’ networks to young Aboriginal persons.


Interested persons should contact the Coates Hire Head Office at Moorebank.



9.10    “Growing Change – A Journey Inside Venezuela’s Food Revolution”


Ms Leerson invited members to a screening of the above film at the Parramatta Town Hall on Monday, 28 November 2011 at 6.30pm.



The meeting terminated at 8.15pm.