Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Progress underway in remote Indigenous communities

The Australian Government today released the second six monthly report from the Coordinator General for Remote Indigenous Services, Brian Gleeson, on the progress being made in delivering essential services to people living in 29 priority Indigenous locations across Australia.

The report details the performance of Governments in meeting our commitments to implement the National Partnership on Remote Service Delivery to help close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in remote Australia.

The Coordinator General believes progress is being made, and we are now beginning to see some measurable changes in the living conditions of Indigenous people in the priority communities, including increased employment.

Disadvantage cannot be turned around overnight, and we are committed to do all we can to continue improving these communities in partnership with local leaders.

Under the Remote Service Delivery Strategy, all governments have signed up to a concentrated and accelerated approach to tackle deep-seated disadvantage.

The report highlights the agreement of Local Implementation Plans for many of the 29 priority communities. Local communities have been working with governments to develop Local Implementation Plans that include tailored solutions to priority needs and service delivery.

Against the seven key areas identified by the COAG, the report highlights the following:

  • Schooling – 24 communities will receive a total of 512 computers of which 402 computers had been installed by the end of June 2010.
  • Health – services under the Indigenous Chronic Disease Package Medical Specialist Outreach Assistance Program have been approved for six communities.
  • Early childhood – access to antenatal care, pre-pregnancy and teenage sexual and reproductive health is available in 26 communities.
  • Economic participation – 668 jobs have been created in the 29 priority communities in 2009-2010.
  • Healthy homes – a total of 136 new houses have been completed and 89 new houses were underway in the priority communities as at 30 June 2010.
  • Safe communities – Local Implementation Plans incorporate comprehensive community safety plans.
  • Governance and leadership – Local Implementation Plans identify governance and leadership as a priority.

After decades of uncoordinated, ad hoc actions from government at all levels, a comprehensive and sustained approach is vital to provide residents of remote Indigenous communities with the facilities and services you would expect in any Australian town of the same size, location and need.

The Coordinator General has the authority to coordinate across agencies and cut through bureaucratic red tape to make sure services are delivered effectively.

Mr Gleeson’s first report influenced positive change in many areas, including infrastructure, land tenure, education and governance. The Australian Government has established a flexible funding pool in recognition of the need to be able to quickly respond to priorities identified by communities in Local Implementation Plans. This was a key recommendation of Mr Gleeson’s first report.

The second report will continue to drive change in the 29 priority communities with ten new formal recommendations for the Australian Government’s consideration. The recommendations include:

  • developing a specific governance, leadership and capacity building framework;
  • introducing more effective youth initiatives and establishing education sub-committees to lead policy and program development; and
  • developing targeted training programs for government officers working in Indigenous communities.

The Government will consider these recommendations over the coming months.

The report is available at