NT Govt. pays the rent, Intervention Mark II, arrest tourism slide, and bid to conceal child abuse?


Nice little earner: Aboriginal owners of private land get, at taxpayers’ expense, essential services – schools, clinics, police stations, and so on. Most  would not argue with this.
But now they will also get rent, from the taxpayer, for the land on which those services are set up.
Indigenous Development Minister, Malarndirri McCarthy, calls this an “historic decision [which] lays the foundation for a proper working relationship between Land Councils, Aboriginal traditional owners and the Northern Territory Government.
“This will allow vital remote infrastructure projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars to proceed.”
Alice News Online reported the demands from the land councils on October 27.
Says Ms McCarthy: “Initially the lease payments will be in the order of $3 million per year and will rise to around $5 million per year when all parcels are surveyed and leased.
“We acknowledge that lease payments are private payments to traditional owners, however we encourage Land Councils and Traditional Owners to direct lease payments towards commercial developments and projects of broad community benefit.”
Intervention Mark II a sign of the failure of Mark I
Aboriginal people in remote NT communities remain locked in poverty and disadvantage because the Federal Labor government has done “nothing” for four years, says Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator Nigel Scullion.
Not acknowledging the spending of around $1b on housing and infrastructure, and results of income management to name just two obvious achievements, he says: “The Stronger Futures legislation is the intervention under another name retaining many Coalition initiatives such as alcohol and pornography restrictions, welfare quarantining, welfare linked to school attendance, and township leasing.
“They are retained because Labor have finally realized the Coalition measures implemented in the intervention legislation worked, or at least would have worked, if only Labor had have been fair dinkum from the start,” Senator Scullion says.
“It has taken Labor four years to stop listening to inner city academics, start talking to remote community residents, and make the tough measures necessary to effect change.
“Sadly, we now have new legislation that is starting off from where we were four years ago instead of where we should be today.”
Bid to hide child abuse?
Shadow Child Protection Minister, Robyn Lambley, condemns the placement of an article about the search for alternative causes of Chlamydia in minors published in the Department of Children and Families annual report.
She says the article creates an impression that the Government is seeking scientific evidence that sheets responsibility for the high incidence of disease in children away from child abuse.
“What we know, and this is cited in the article contained in the annual report, is that the primary cause of transmission of Chlamydia among minors is through sexual intercourse ‘which by definition is child abuse’.
“On that basis, it seemed highly irregular that, in an annual report dealing with child protection issues, the department would highlight research aimed at trying to find an alternative non-sexual cause for Chlamydia in minors,” says Ms Lambley.
Fewer bums on seats
The Government needs to act to arrest the decline in Central Australian visitor numbers.
Shadow Tourism Minister, Willem Westra van Holthe, said the decline in tourists to the region is best illustrated by visitations to Uluru.
“Over the past 10 years, visitors to Central Australia have dropped by almost 25% from about 400,000 a year to 300,000 a year,” he says.
“Over the same period, international arrivals into Australia have increased overall by about one million people.
“And since 1990, international visitors to Australia have almost tripled from about two to six million.”
“It makes sense that in a growing market visitor share should increase at a similar rate to the market itself.”
Mr Westra van Holthe says Tourism Minister Malarndirri McCarthy should listen to people in the tourism industry who are on the ground and take notice of the operators; stop assigning a dollar figure in an attempt to dress it up as an outcome – “tourism operators don’t care how much you spend; they want to see visitors through their doors and bums on seats;” and give operators “something they can promote, something that will reverse the trends of the past decade”.


  1. Re your comments – Nice little Earner.
    I know that you might not publish this comment Erwin and appreciate that fact, but at what point does the taxpayer begin to get a return on their investment?
    Across the country at the moment there appears to be an expectation that workers will pay and pay &and pay. When you look around the Territory – where are the tangible returns for the taxpayer? It certainly isn’t in affordable housing for our young people.
    I think that it might also be time for the NT Government to work out who is going to pay these bills. Given also that we see all and sundry out there telling us how good we will be as a STATE. Don’t we need to be able to generate our own revenue to support that? Or do people still think that the Commonwealth will foot the bill?


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