Former Tamworth TAFE director accepts negotiator role

Let negotiations begin: NRAA vice chair Mark Davies, chair Aunty Jean Hands and lead negotiator Paul Callaghan. Photo: Gareth Gardner 140317
Let negotiations begin: NRAA vice chair Mark Davies, chair Aunty Jean Hands and lead negotiator Paul Callaghan. Photo: Gareth Gardner 140317

Former Tamworth TAFE director Paul Callaghan was back in the region this week, after being named in a new lead role for the Northern Region Aboriginal Alliance.

Mr Callaghan will assume the position of Lead Negotiator for the NRAA, an organisation that covers 14 Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALC) and came about as a product of the NSW government’s plan for Aboriginal affairs, known as OCHRE.

“For the first time in Australian history the NSW state government has provided Aboriginal people the opportunity to participate in decisions made at a higher level which have an impact on Aboriginal people, families and communities and I am proud to be that person chosen by the NRAA committee to lead the negotiation process on their behalf,” Mr Callaghan said.

The NRAA will now lodge the statement of claim through the NSW Aboriginal Affairs office by the end of the month, and it is expected that outcomes from the role will be seen within 12 months of accord negotiations.

“We want to ensure that the needs of Aboriginal people are properly addressed by the numerous government agencies and services in this region,” Mr Callaghan said.

Those needs fall under five key categories as outlined by OCHRE and the NRAA.

They are education, health services, housing, economic development and social development.

“There can be a perspective that we want people doing things for us, but we actually want people doing things with us,” Mr Callaghan said.

“My experience with government agencies is that, although they are passionate, often do not deliver services in a culturally contextualised way.

“They have been trying to deliver services for years, and to be honest, have failed miserably.

“This role gives us a helicopter view to help address services over the long term and improve social and emotional well being of the community for future generations.” 

The NRAA is also currently working on a fourth round of community consultations under its ‘Connecting to Community’ initiative.