LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – Claims that the Federal Government wants to close some communities in the NT are wrong and nothing more than deliberate scare-mongering.
The Northern Territory Government already has responsibility for municipal services in the larger Aboriginal communities and town camps.
It was the former Labor Government which in 2012 transferred responsibility for these services in town camps to the Northern Territory Government under its Stronger Futures program.
Labor’s Shayne Neumann needs to explain how this apparently didn’t create uncertainty for communities, yet exactly the same policy relating to homelands and outstations does.
In this week’s Budget, the Commonwealth announced $155 million would be available to support the Territory Government to extend services to remote homelands and outstations, just like it does in other towns and communities.
At present, these funds are provided annually to the Territory to provide these services and it makes sense to reduce the bureaucracy and ensure services reach homelands and outstations.
This is about the Commonwealth getting out of the way and letting the NT Government be directly responsible to the residents of homelands instead of focusing on reporting and administration, and we will support simpler more effective arrangements.
The proposed agreement is still being discussed and both Governments are committed to consulting with the homeland communities on the future of these important services.
I would caution the Labor Party and other mischief makers to take account of the facts, before attempting to whip up fear in communities for their own political purposes.
Nigel Scullion (pictured)
Minister for Indigenous Affairs