Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Howard Government Backs Better Future for Remote NT Community

Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs today announced a Howard Government-funded police station and police house at Galiwin’ku on Elcho Island.

The Minister made the announcement during a visit to the community today.

"I have agreed to fund the construction of the police station and police accommodation as part of the Australian Government’s $40 million national commitment to increase policing resources in remote communities," Mr Brough said.

"The Northern Territory Government has now finally provided data on current policing numbers to allow finalisation of an agreement on other locations in the Northern Territory, details of which will be announced later.

"It’s about time that this community of about 2500 people had its own police station, permanently staffed by sworn police officers."

During his third visit to Galiwin’ku in just over a year, the Minister also discussed township leasing, opportunities for home ownership and a new approach to income management.

"The people of Galiwin’ku tell me they want to be like any other Australian town, with opportunities for future generations to live and work in a safe environment.

"Traditional Owners have indicated they are now ready to move towards more formal negotiations with the Australian Government on township leasing.

"I have said all along local people will set their own pace for these township negotiations. We are now moving to the next stage at the request of the Traditional Owners.

"As an act of good faith, and regardless of the outcome of negotiations for township leasing, funding of $5.1 million will be provided for 10 new houses and land servicing. These houses will feature innovative designs and be constructed by Indigenous Business Australia on a similar basis to those constructed recently in Wadeye."

The Minister also signed a Shared Responsibility Agreement with the Arnhem Land Progress Association which manages the community store.

Under the SRA funding of $135,000 is provided to introduce a new approach to income management to help families develop budgets and set aside some of their income to a store smart card for healthy food and essential household items.

The store has been funded to develop the smart card technology, increase the amount of good value, fresh food and provide a home delivery service to remote outstations.

"This technology will give control back to those who want to make sure their money lasts until the next payday so they can put good food on the table and help improve the overall health of themselves and their kids," the Minister said.