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ATSIC abolition causing 'confusion'

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 18 November 2004

Northern Territory Labor Senator Trish Crossin says Indigenous people are still unclear about the Government's changes to Indigenous affairs.

The Senate select committee that is reviewing the legislation covering the abolition of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) has reconvened and is expected to submit its report in March next year.

The committee was disbanded in the lead-up to the federal election.

Its inquiry had already held public hearings and received more than 200 submissions.

While few defended ATSIC, there was widespread concern over the transfer of funding to government departments.

There was also extensive support for a nationally elected Indigenous group to lobby Government, rather than the Government-appointed council.

Senator Crossin, who is also a committee member, says changes already made, such as the Indigenous coordination centres, are causing confusion.

"We're unsure exactly how the model is going to work and Indigenous people are very unclear about it," she said.

"This is one avenue in which all of those positions can be put on the table so people can clearly find out what's happening and can voice either support or concern for it."

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