Sharing ideas to help build stronger futures
The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin travelled to Kaltukatjara (Docker River) near the West Australian border today for community meetings to discuss the next steps in building stronger futures for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory.
Tomorrow Ms Macklin will visit Engawala, north-east of Alice Springs to hear from people as part of the consultations.
Ms Macklin thanked the members and directors of the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Women’s Council who supported the visit to Docker River and have always been strong advocates for community safety.
Improving community safety is essential to help build stronger futures for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory. To do this, I believe it is important to build on the foundations for community safety that have been delivered under the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER).
Across the Northern Territory we have delivered more police and police stations, expanded night patrols, new safe places, a Mobile Child Protection Team and more remote Aboriginal Family and Community Workers. Along with measures to reduce alcohol-related violence, these actions have made a significant contribution to Aboriginal people’s safety and wellbeing.
Of course there is a long way to go before Aboriginal people, especially children, in Northern Territory communities are as safe as other Australians.
We want to hear from local people about what has worked well under the NTER and should be retained and expanded, as well as what hasn’t worked. I also hope to hear some new ideas of what could be done to improve community safety.
This visit is part of a six-week consultation process that includes one-on-one and community meetings with Aboriginal people in remote communities, regional centres and town camps across the Northern Territory.
Last month, the Australian Government launched the discussion paper, Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory, to guide the conversations at these meetings.
Since then, community meetings have been held in 36 communities across the Northern Territory.
We are pleased with the number of community members who have attended the meetings to date, and appreciate the honesty and insight of their contributions.
Through these consultations, Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory are taking the opportunity to speak out about how we can work together to address disadvantage and build stronger futures for families and communities.
So far, participants have talked about the need to encourage children to attend school, to tackle alcohol and substance abuse, to improve access to work and economic opportunities, and to improve service delivery in remote communities.
We know that while the last four years have delivered significant improvements to the lives of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory, there is still a long way to go for many.
There is no easy solution to overcoming entrenched disadvantage – it will take time, investment and a commitment to work together to deliver lasting improvements.
Through this consultation process, the Government will also be talking to Aboriginal leaders and organisations which support Aboriginal people as well as non-Indigenous Territorians and to the Northern Territory Government.
We know that stronger futures can only be built in partnership with Aboriginal people and communities because the issues we want to tackle are the same issues that many Aboriginal people face every day.
To view a full list of the consultation locations and dates, visit: www.indigenous.gov.au/index.php/no-category/the-consultations/
To view a copy of the discussion paper, visit: www.indigenous.gov.au/index.php/stronger-futures-in-the-northern-territory