Speech by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Tanami Regional Partnership Agreement

Location: Yuendumu, NT


I’m happy to be here today for this important occasion, the signing of the Tanami Regional Partnership Agreement.

Today marks the outcome of three long years of negotiation.

Many people have worked long and hard to see this through to the end.

Thank you.

The agreement is a tribute to the ability of all of you to sit down and work together to deliver an agreement that benefits all those involved.

And it’s a reflection of the determination of the Australian and Northern Territory Governments, the Central Land Council and shire councils to work with industry to deliver real jobs for Indigenous Australians in remote communities.

The Australian Government has committed more than $400,000 for this agreement.

The Northern Territory Government has provided $60,000 over two years for operational and ongoing project costs.

The agreement’s objectives are to:

  • Achieve long-term job opportunities through training and skilling people for work.
  • Work with State and Federal education departments and WETT (Warlpiri Education Triangle Trust known locally as WETT), to support senior students at school to take up apprenticeships and give people the literacy and numeracy skills required by employers.
  • Work with Newmont Asia-Pacific to explore jobs and business opportunities for people at the Granites and Tanami.
  • Explore opportunities to start an Indigenous-owned business either contracting to Newmont or a community based business in another industry. Already there are many ideas including earth moving, mustering, housing maintenance, vehicle repairs and a bakery.
  • And finally, in each community, we’re aiming to develop a locally-driven economic and social development plan.

But we’re not starting from scratch. There are already runs on the board, including:

  • The completion of the Tanami fence contract
  • Contracting for another fence project at Mt Sanford
  • And the employment of 85 local people from across the region at the Granites mine.

As well, business plans are being prepared for the ranger program at Lajamanu, and an auto repair workshop and a mining company based at Yuendumu.

The Tanami Regional Partnership Agreement has been designed to be a working document and can be added to over time.

Today is just the beginning. Having a job means financial independence and builds a connection with the community. It also builds a person’s self-esteem and a sense of pride in their independence.

We are committed to increasing Indigenous economic participation, setting a target to halve the gap in employment outcomes within a decade.

Agreements like this are central to achieving that goal.