Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

NT Government’s framework for reform in remote areas

The Northern Territory Government’s policy document on remote NT regions is another important step forward in tackling Indigenous disadvantage through the effective delivery of services to people living in remote communities.

The NT Government’s A Working Future will focus on the development of 20 growth towns as central hubs with the capacity to deliver essential services across the Territory.

A Working Future is consistent with the Remote Service Delivery Strategy endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments last year.

Under this new Remote Service Delivery Strategy, all governments have signed up to a concentrated, accelerated and coordinated approach to tackle deep-seated disadvantage in remote Indigenous communities.

The benchmark is to progressively deliver in remote communities and townships the same facilities and services you would expect in any Australian town of a similar size.

We are determined to deliver the infrastructure and services that support and sustain healthy social norms so people can reach their potential and communities can thrive.

A Working Future is a blueprint for the provision of better services and employment and economic development opportunities. Importantly, it also incorporates a remote transport strategy vital to expand social and economic opportunities.

The framework also begins the process of clarifying the nature and levels of support for residents who choose to live in small remote settlements known as outstations or homelands.

All Australians have the right to choose to live in extremely isolated regions but this inevitably involves a trade-off in access to both market and government provided services.

Choosing to live in very remote areas must not be allowed to compromise the health, wellbeing and education of children.

By developing 20 remote NT towns as central hubs, the NT Government is working to ensure outstation residents have access to a range of services and children have access to a good education.

This is a complex issue and will require new and innovative approaches from governments and Indigenous people.

We will continue to work across government and in partnership with Indigenous Australians to drive fundamental reform to turn around deep-seated and long-standing disadvantage in the NT.

I congratulate the NT Government for this important step forward in tackling Indigenous disadvantage.