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The missing piece of infrastructure: Indigenous dispute management, agreement making and decision-making services

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Occasional seminar
Toni Bauman

The nature of Indigenous dispute management, decision making and agreement making processes determines outcomes and their sustainability. Inadequate and inappropriate consultation and engagement processes, core business for all who work with Indigenous people across all sectors, have contributed to failed outcomes for Indigenous people and there is a lack of the necessary specialised communication skills.

This presentation discusses findings from AIATSIS research in the Indigenous Facilitation and Mediation Project, the Federal Court’s Solid Work you Mob are Doing dispute resolution case study project and more recent research. Noting that conflict is nested in webs of systems and structures, it provides the case for a National Indigenous Dispute Resolution, Agreement Making and Decision-Making Service, as recommended by the National Alternative Dispute Resolution Advisory Council to the Commonwealth Department of Attorney General in 2009. This would involve networked local, regional, and national services and a national training curriculum to address the urgent need for more Indigenous mediators and facilitators. While lauded by many in various government departments, this service requires championing and driving.