As part of our commitment to acknowledge and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our community an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee (ATSIAC) was created in October 2018.

 

Committee functions

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee provides leadership and direction to Council on:

  • Interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the sector that supports them at a local (Council and the broader community) state and federal level.
  • Best practice models in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sector throughout the Toowoomba Regional Council area.
  • Emerging opportunities and issues relative to the trends and needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the region.
  • The establishment of protocols for working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • The development and implementation of the Toowoomba Regional Council Reconciliation Action Plan.
  • Tourism opportunities which will promote the rich history of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

 

Meeting times

Unless otherwise stated, meetings will be held in the community rooms at Level 3, Toowoomba City Library (Corner of Victoria & Herries Streets).

All ordinary meetings of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee are open to the public. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, capacity for public attendees is limited. We request that members of the public who wish to attend please RSVP by email by 5pm on the Monday prior to the meeting.

 

How to contact the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee

If you would like to contact the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee please send us an email. This email will be received by the Community Development department who will ensure it is forwarded to the relevant committee member.

 

Meeting minutes

To view meeting minutes from previous terms of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee, please contact us on 131 872 or via email.

 

Committee members

The current membership includes representation from sectors including child protection, community services, disability services, education, employment, justice and the broader community.

  • Chair, Councillor Geoff McDonald
  • Deputy Chair, Councillor Megan O’Hara Sullivan
  • Averil Dillon (Barunggam Peoples)
  • Margaret McCarthy (Yuggera Ugarapul Peoples)
  • Tracy McLeod (Western Wakka Wakka Peoples)
  • Regina Munn (Bigambul Peoples)
  • Debra- Lee Anderson
  • Kay Blades
  • Noeleen Dempsey
  • Caitlin Easton
  • Kieren Gibbs
  • Amee Hetherington
  • Judy Hobson
  • Roger Robinson
  • Shandell Washington
  • Adam Wenitong

Detailed membership information can be found beneath in the terms of reference.

The current term of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee will end in March 2024.

 

Background/scope

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee (“the Committee”) is constituted under Section 264 of Local Government Regulation 2012, which empowers the Council to appoint advisory committees.

Tenure of committee

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee is established for the term of the current elected Council, unless disbanded earlier by Council resolution.

(Subject to any Council resolution to the contrary, if a Committee is appointed for a particular purpose or for a limited time, the Committee is abolished and appointment of Members to the Committee is terminated upon the fulfilment of that purpose or the expiration of that time.)

Purpose

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee will provide leadership and direction on the functions and responsibilities listed below.

Functions

The main functions of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee are to provide coordinated advice and recommendations to Council on:

  • Interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the sector that supports them, at a Local (Council and the broader community) State and Federal level.
  • Best practice models in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sector throughout the Toowoomba Regional Council area.
  • Emerging opportunities and issues relative to the trends and needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the region.
  • The establishment of protocols for working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  • The development and implementation of the Toowoomba Regional Council Reconciliation Action Plan.
  • Tourism opportunities which will promote the rich history of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee will also:

  • Encourage and support coordination and cooperation within the Region’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sector.
  • Provide assistance/guidance on specific projects or issues as identified by Council.
  • Assist Council in the dissemination of appropriate materials to aid in the facilitation of community dialogue in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  • Promote positive images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the community and recognition of the contribution our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples make to community life.
  • Assist Council to organise and contribute to key community events for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Membership

(a)  The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee will consist of (17) members, including:

  1. Up to five (5) Aboriginal Parties representatives, one (1) representative from each Aboriginal Party, as directed by the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships (DATSIP) Cultural Heritage database which includes the Western Wakka Wakka, Barunggam, Jagera, Yuggera Ugarapul and Bigambul peoples.
  2. Up to ten (10) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members and
  3. Two (2) Councillors, one Councillor, who will be designated as the Chairperson. Where the Councillor cannot attend a meeting of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee, the other Councillor delegated by Council may act as the chair for that meeting.

(b)  All members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee (excluding Councillors) must identify as Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander, excluding Councillors.

(c)  All members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee may vote on business before the Committee, except where the member has a conflict of interest.

(d)  If any member of the Committee is absent from three consecutive meetings without having obtained leave of absence from the Committee, the member's continued membership of that Committee will be referred to the Chief Executive Officer for determination.

(e)  The Chief Executive Officer may appoint a member of staff to provide administrative support to the Committee however, the support staff will not be a member of the Advisory Committee or have voting entitlements.

Resignation and replacement of committee members

(a)  A committee member may resign at any time by way of written or emailed advice to the Chairperson.

(b)  When a resignation is received, the resigning member may be replaced as follows:

  • Where such resignation is a Toowoomba Regional Council representative (Councillor or Officer) Council may appoint a suitable replacement representative.
  • Where such resignation is from a Community Representative, Council will call for expressions of interest for a suitable replacement unless the resignation is received less than six months from the conclusion of the biennial term of the committee.

Chairperson

If Council does not appoint the Councillor as the chairperson, a chair will be appointed by the Committee. The Chairperson will preside at an Advisory Committee meeting.

Acting chairperson

If the Chairperson is absent or unavailable to preside, a member of the Advisory Committee chosen by the Members present at the Committee meeting will preside.

Quorum

The Quorum of any Advisory Committee meeting will be a minimum of 51% of the membership.

Times and places for meetings

The Advisory Committee may determine the dates, times and places for its meetings. Council will be responsible for providing a suitable venue.

Meeting procedures

Unless otherwise provided in these Terms of Reference, the Advisory Committee will generally adopt informal meeting procedures. Where more formal procedures are required, the procedures described in Council's Standing Orders shall apply.

Voting

(a)  Each Member of the Advisory Committee has a vote on each question to be decided.

(b)  Voting at a meeting must be open and questions decided by a majority of the votes of the Members present however, if the votes are equal, the Member presiding has a casting vote.

Conflict of interest

(a)  Where Committee Members have a conflict of interest, or could reasonably be taken to have a conflict of interest, in an issue being considered or to be considered at the meeting, the member must declare the conflict of interest to the meeting and must not be present while the matter, or a related matter, is being considered by the Committee or otherwise take part in any decision of the Committee in relation to the matter or a related resolution.

(b)  For the purposes of this clause, a member has a conflict of interest in an issue if there is a conflict between the member's private interest and the public interest.

Open to the public

(a)  Meetings are to be open to the public, except where confidential matters are discussed.

(b)  When the Committee proposes to close a meeting to the public, the Chair will direct all persons, other than members of the Committee, to leave the meeting and every person will immediately comply with the direction.

(c)  Non-members may, with the permission of the Chairperson, address the Advisory Committee on any item of business listed on the agenda however, a non-member will not vote on any matter at an Advisory Committee meeting.

Confidential matters

(a)  Should matters of a confidential nature be discussed at a meeting, the meeting may be closed to the public in accordance with Section 275 (1) of Local Government Regulation 20121.

(b)  A person who is or has been a member of an Advisory Committee must not make improper use of information acquired as a Member to -

  • gain, directly or indirectly, a financial advantage for the person or someone else;
  • harm the local government; or
  • release information that the person knows, or should reasonably know, is information that is confidential.

1 Section 275    Closed meetings

(1)  A local government or Committee may resolve that a meeting be closed to the public if its councillors or members consider it necessary to close the meeting to discuss-

  (a)   the appointment, dismissal or discipline of employees; or

  (b)   industrial matters affecting employees; or

  (c)   the local government's budget; or

  (d)   rating concessions; or

  (e)   contracts proposed to be made by it; or

  (f)    starting or defending legal proceedings involving it; or

  (g)   any action to be taken by the local government under the Integrated Planning Act 1997, including deciding applications made to it under that Act; or

  (h)   other business for which a public discussion would be likely to prejudice the interests of the local government or someone else, or enable a person to gain a financial advantage.

Media contact

Media statements will only be made by the Chairperson. 

Reporting

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee will submit a report (Minutes listing actions, responsibilities, timeframes and outcomes) on each of its meetings to the Chief Executive Officer, who will list any recommendations for Council’s consideration on an agenda of a meeting of a Council Committee.

Sub-committees

The Advisory Committee has the authority to establish special interest sub-groups and working groups as required to address specific matters identified by the Advisory Committee. These sub-groups (established under the same terms and conditions as the Advisory Committee) are to report back to the Advisory Committee.

Remuneration

The Council will not generally authorise payment or provide remuneration to members of Advisory Committees however, where special circumstances exist, Council may resolve to pay remuneration, reimburse expenses and/or provide facilities to Members of Advisory Committees.

Insurance

The Council will ensure that all members of Advisory Committees are covered by appropriate insurances (e.g. voluntary workers, public indemnity).

Relevant legislation

Council’s role and obligations are directed by the following laws and regulations:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities (Justice, Land and Other Matters) Act 1984
  • Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003
  • Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld)
  • Council's Planning Scheme.