• Malcolm Turnbull (L) and Bill Shorten (R) (AAP)Source: AAP
From incarceration rates to treaty – Indigenous affairs have been widely debated in the last week.
Source:
AAP
31 Oct 2016 - 3:57 PM  UPDATED 31 Oct 2016 - 4:05 PM

Indigenous issues have risen to the top of the political agenda. Here is a wrap up on the latest political discussions of the last few days:

1. PM meets SA Indigenous business owners

Malcolm Turnbull is using his South Australian tour this week to meet with Indigenous business owners who have received contracts under the government's Indigenous Procurement Policy, which the prime minister describes as being a "spectacular success".

Since July 1 last year, the IPP has resulted in contracts worth a total of $284.2 million being awarded to 480 Indigenous businesses across Australia.

“These contracts will help South Australia's Indigenous businesses and communities to build economic independence," Mr Turnbull said in a joint statement with Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion.

More than half of the total value of Indigenous business contracts went to the building, construction and maintenance sector.

"What makes the IPP so remarkable is the breadth of goods and services delivered by Indigenous businesses under this policy," they said.

It includes everything from uniforms, to information and communications technology, to recruitment, legal and financial services.

Turnbull kicked-off the second day of his SA tour by having breakfast with Yalata Anangu School students.

2. Bill Shorten talks treaty in Queensland

The federal Labor leader addressed the Queensland ALP state conference on the Gold Coast on Saturday morning, ahead of delegates debating issues ranging from an Indigenous treaty to privatisation.

During his speech, Shorten called the prime minister "morally bankrupt".

Among the proposed changes to the ALP's platform is a commitment to formalise "a treaty between First Nations People of Queensland and the Queensland government as a priority".

Mr Shorten in August said recognising Indigenous people in the constitution would be a "hook" to work on "post-recognition settlement" or a treaty, arguing reconciliation should be both practical and symbolic.

However, Mr Shorten said it was important not to over-complicate the issue of reconciliation.

Ahead of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse reporting next year, the conference debated a motion calling on the state government to "respond legislatively" to the report.

Shorten's speech was well received by the Labor party faithful.

3. Report on the NT's correctional system calls for a complete overhaul to address "devastating" crisis

NT attorney-general and justice minister Natasha Fyles released the executive summary from the review into adult prisons and youth justice on Friday.

A Safer Northern Territory Through Correctional Interventions, also known as the Hamburger report, said the NT's imprisonment rate ranks among the worst in the world, the Territory's population making up just one per cent of Australia but accounting for five per cent of prisoners.

It also found 85 per cent of the NT's adult prisoners and 95 per cent of youth detainees are Indigenous, with both heavily recidivist.

"These tragic outcomes are largely driven by extreme social dysfunction and economic disadvantage in the Territory's indigenous communities," the report said.

It found the NT's Department of Correctional Services (NTDCS) needed a "paradigm shift" to empower Indigenous people to be part of the solution to their "gross-overrepresentation".

The report makes 172 recommendations including the need to create a culturally-informed justice system with rehabilitative work camps, engagement with elders and improved training.

It was commissioned by the former Country Liberals government after boys were gassed and shackled at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre.

It was also ordered following public controversy about the security ratings of adult prisoners on work camps after a convicted rapist and murderer escaped one.

Former chief minister Adam Giles refused to release the report in the lead up to the August election that crushed the CLP.

The new Labor government has accepted its findings but hasn't released it in full either over "privacy issues."

Footage of the Don Dale scandal aired on national television in July and sparked a royal commission into juvenile justice where the full Hamburger Report will be tabled.

The NT government this week introduced legislation to ban the use of restraint chairs on youths and had already moved youth justice out of the corrections and into the families department.

Ms Fyles said staff development has begun and the government will work to support collaborative Indigenous policy reforms over the next 12 months.

The federal government on Friday announced $25 million to reduce violence against Aboriginal women and children.

Federal Indigenous affairs minister Nigel Scullion also announced more than $1.3 million for legal services for domestic violence victims in the sprawling NT seat of Lingiari.

4. Mundine wasn't told about new review

The Turnbull government's Chief Indigenous Adviser Warren Mundine was not told about a new review into Indigenous incarceration before it was announced last week.

"They didn't speak to me at all before this announcement, this is one of the issues we need to deal with," Mr Mundine told Sky News on Sunday.

Mr Mundine was outraged by the announcement from Attorney-General George Brandis last Thursday, and in his immediate response he called it a joke and a waste of money.

Mr Mundine said since the black deaths in custody report 25 years ago there had been hundreds of reviews, inquiries, investigations and royal commissions into indigenous affairs.

He said Aboriginal people were sick of them and wanted to see the recommendations that have already been put out there and dealt with.

"It's a no brainer," Mr Mundine said.

Mr Mundine said the prime minister and the attorney-general may have been successful lawyers, but he knew what the issues were and how to resolve them because of his experiences and research.

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