Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Boosting health and environmental safety in NT communities

Practical, on the ground measures to improve the health and environmental safety of Indigenous communities are being rolled out in the Northern Territory as part of the Australian Government’s commitment to the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER).

Government business managers, who are the primary Australian Government representatives working in prescribed communities to implement the NTER, will be able to access $9.75 million in funds to meet the needs of local people.

This includes essential maintenance and repairs in Indigenous communities such as buying community garbage trucks, upgrading fencing around childcare centres and fixing children’s playgrounds.

The projects have been identified for funding after community consultation.

At Wallace Rockhole, in the Central Desert region, a horticulture garden will be re-established to supply fresh fruit and vegetables to the community store and school nutrition program.

This was identified as a top priority by the local community with the aim of improving the health and nutrition of local people and developing a horticulture skills base.

In Lajamanu, a healthy skin community action program to deal with scabies and lice, is being implemented. Working together, staff from the local Council, the Community Clean Up program and the clinic are cleaning up and fumigating houses as part of a preventative and treatment program. Penicillin is also being administered to prevent permanent damage to the hearts and kidneys of affected members of the community.

And at Ramingining a new delivery truck has been purchased so that fuel can be transported to the community power station.

Funding of projects like these reflects the Government’s strong view that practical, tailored measures are essential to turning around the health outcomes of Indigenous Australians.

We realise that there is no single solution to what are systemic, complex problems. What works in one remote Indigenous community does not necessarily work in another.

This is why the Government has located 52 government business managers on the ground in remote communities so that problems can be tackled community by community, with local input and ownership.