Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Stronger Futures delivering more jobs for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory

Joint Media Release with:

  • Warren Snowdon MP
    Minister for Indigenous Health
    Member for Lingiari

Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory are benefiting from more jobs and better services in their communities as a result of the Australian Government’s unprecedented investments under Stronger Futures.

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin and the Minister for Indigenous Health and Member for Lingiari, Warren Snowdon today released the first Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory Six-Monthly Progress Report.

The report shows that between 1 July and 31 December 2012, 760 Aboriginal people were employed in services delivered under Stronger Futures, including:

  • 350 people employed in Community Night Patrols;
  • 189 people employed in the School Nutrition Program;
  • 47 people employed as Youth in Community workers;
  • 28 people employed in playgroups;
  • 26 people employed in cr`eches; and
  • 24 people employed as Indigenous Engagement officers.

Ms Macklin said that since 2007, there have been almost 3,000 real jobs created in government service delivery positions.

“The best thing we can do for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory is to make sure there are good jobs available in their communities,” Ms Macklin said.

“Having a job contributes to better health, encourages young people to get a decent education, and ultimately leads to stronger communities and local economies.

“The investments we are making in the Northern Territory means more Aboriginal families are experiencing all the benefits that a good job brings.”

The report shows progress is also being made in other areas, including in early childhood development and education.

There have been improvements in outcomes for Aboriginal children in the Northern Territory on the Australian Early Development Index, which measures health and wellbeing, social and communication skills.

The proportion of Aboriginal children in the Northern Territory who are vulnerable on two or more indicators in the index fell from 47 per cent in 2009 to 38 per cent in 2012. This fall of 9 percentage points is greater than the equivalent fall for all Indigenous children across Australia.

The COAG Reform Council has also found that the percentage of Indigenous people aged 20 to 24 years who had attained Year 12 or equivalent qualifications rose faster in the Northern Territory than any other jurisdiction between 2006 and 2011.

“The Government’s sustained investment in programs and services will continue to make a big difference in Aboriginal communities over the next ten years,” Ms Macklin said.

“Our long term, $3.4 billion commitment under Stronger Futures gives Aboriginal people and communities an assurance that we are not walking away.”

Services delivered through Stronger Futures since July 2012 include:

  • an average of 2,837 breakfasts and 4,882 lunches for children in 67 Northern Territory schools every school day;
  • Youth in Communities activities in which 12,683 young Aboriginal people have participated to help stay connected with school or training, build confidence and reduce self-harm and alcohol and substance abuse;
  • 92 licensed community stores with funding delivered to stores in 27 remote communities to improve staff training and improve equipment so that communities have better access to fresh, healthy food;
  • the Mobile Child Protection team investigated and provided follow up services to families and children in over 400 cases; and
  • 16 safe houses have continued to operate providing support to 209 women and 236 children who accompanied them.

Mr Snowdon said the Australian Government would continue to work with communities to ensure progress keeps being made.

“We are seeing more young people finish year 12, children are being fed and more people have a decent house to live in,” Mr Snowdon said.

“Our investments mean there are more teachers in our schools, more doctors and nurses in our health services, and more police in our communities.

“But we know that too many Aboriginal people continue to experience significant levels of disadvantage. More needs to be done to achieve the change we all want to see.

“The Gillard Government is committed to working with Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory to build a stronger future, and we know that overcoming the current levels of disadvantage is not a short term task.”

The Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory Six-Monthly Progress Report is available on the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs website at: