Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Aboriginal people clear about their priorities for building stronger futures in the Northern Territory

Joint Media Release with:

  • Warren Snowdon MP, Minister for Indigenous Health, Member for Lingiari

Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory have told the Australian Government that having their kids go to school and get a decent education, having jobs for local people and tackling alcohol abuse are the priority issues for them in building a stronger future.

The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin released the Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory consultation report in Alice Springs today.

The report details the views of the many Aboriginal people who participated in consultations with the Government between June and August this year in more than 100 meetings in remote communities, town camps, regional and major centres.

Hundreds of smaller discussions were also held with individuals, families and stakeholder groups.

These views will be at the heart of the work the Government does next to overcome the unacceptable level of disadvantage still experienced by Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory.

We appreciate the frankness and openness of so many in sharing their stories, suggestions and aspirations for the future.

These were strong voices for change.

Key messages from the consultation report include:

  • Getting more children to school, increasing the number of local people in jobs in communities, and reducing alcohol-related harm are top priorities for local people
  • People believe education is vitally important for children and that parents should be responsible for their children’s regular attendance at school
  • People want more effective and reliable services from all levels of government, including greater availability of police and night patrols; good teachers to stay longer in communities; better enforcement of alcohol restrictions; more specialist health services available in communities.
  • People want the Government to continue work to improve housing, including repairs and maintenance of houses.
  • People want to work better with government – to talk and be listened to.

People have been very clear about the huge levels of need they face, and about the expectations they have of government and of themselves.

Existing legislation for the Northern Territory Emergency Response is due to cease in August next year.

The Government plans to introduce legislation to allow us to act on the issues that people have told us during consultations were the most urgent.

We will continue to talk and work with Aboriginal people as we develop the legislation and respond to what we have already heard . We know Government cannot do this alone.

The consultations were overseen by the independent Cultural and Indigenous Research Centre Australia (CIRCA) which assessed whether they were fair, open and accountable.

CIRCA has confirmed that the consultations met these standards.

The consultation report and the CIRCA report can be found at the following websites: