Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Historic Agreement for Groote Eylandt region

Joint Media Release with:

  • Paul Henderson MLA, Northern Territory Chief Minister
    Warren Snowdon MP, Member for Lingiari - Minister for Defence Science and Personnel

Indigenous people in the Groote Eylandt region will benefit from an historic Regional Partnership Agreement (RPA) signed today between the Australian Government, the Northern Territory Government and the Anindilyakwa Land Council.

This is the first RPA to be signed in the Northern Territory and demonstrates a long-term commitment to improving the lives of people on Groote Eylandt and Bickerton Island, particularly in the communities of Angurugu, Umbakumba and Milyakburra.

The Australian and Northern Territory Governments have committed more than $25 million to address housing, education, law and order, health, employment and economic development and leadership.

This RPA provides a solid foundation for development and for improved services for this region.

The decision of traditional owners to grant a long-term lease over the communities of Angurugu, Umbakumba and Milyakburra will pave the way for future development, including a significant number of new houses and housing upgrades.

The traditional owners have agreed to a lease term of 40 years, with an option to renew for an additional 40 years.

At least 26 new houses will be built and Fixing Houses for Better Health project teams will work with community members to improve houses to make them safer and healthier for families. This will start in July.

This project will also identify future work which needs to be done to make further improvements to housing.

A grant from the Aboriginals Benefit Account of $2 million will be provided to the establishment of a construction company. The company will construct a minimum of 10 houses for lease or sale to community members, GEMCO or Government agencies.

Under the Agreement the education and employment needs of the region will be reviewed to identify how to improve education outcomes and employment rates.

Creating and developing employment opportunities, particularly at the local level, is critical to enabling Indigenous people to participate in the Australian economy.

As part of this Agreement, the Australian and Northern Territory Governments will also invest in health infrastructure to improve primary health care facilities in the region, essential to closing the gap in the life expectancy of Indigenous people.

This RPA has been made possible with the determination and cooperation of the Australian Government, the Northern Territory Government, the Anindilyakwa Land Council and the communities.

The continued efforts of all parties will see commitments delivered and the partnership strengthened into the future.