By ERWIN CHLANDA
A Territory Alliance government will substantially increase the bureaucracy dealing with services to Indigenous people.
Leader Terry Mills announced in the party’s “Aboriginal Prosperity and Rights Policy” this week that he would establish a Chief Minister’s Aboriginal Reference Group.
It will “advise on all areas of Aboriginal policy with particular reference to Truth Telling, Treaty and Voice”.
Statue by Mark Egan at the Aileron Roadhouse illustrates the policy document.
Each government department will have a senior Aboriginal Advisory Panel.
Housing decisions will be subject to community housing reference groups.
The policy says: “Territory Alliance acknowledges and endorses the Uluru Statement from the Heart and we commit to working to establish a Treaty with the First Nations’ peoples of the Northern Territory.”
There will be education in Aboriginal languages across regional and remote schools.
A Territory Alliance government will create a “prospectus” of economic development opportunities through an Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce; establish business hubs and incubators through a Central Australian Ministerial Forum; involve Aboriginal entrepreneurs in national and international trade delegations; resolve outstanding land and native title claims including negotiations to settle compensation claims; and establish a scholarship program for leaders to gain or enhance business qualifications.
The Community housing reference groups will have a say in tenancy management and maintenance locally to increase services to tenants, reduce maintenance wait times and costs, and foster economic activity; increase local employment and enterprise outcomes; explore opportunities for social housing and private sector investment; and reduce urban homelessness through crisis and supported accommodation.
Aboriginal Housing NT will be delivering services to town camps and Aboriginal communities.
All NT Government remote clinics will be transferred to Aboriginal medical services where the local community supports that option.
Regional and remote health, education, families and housing task forces will be created.
Aboriginal education experts will deliver “education that is adaptable, responsive and focused on achieving education and tertiary attainment in multilingual settings, and support Families as First Teachers programs across remote and regional schools”.
There will be support for a “Grow Our Own” program providing jobs in schools ensuring government procurement policy provides incentives to employ, train and retain Aboriginal employees and enterprises in both urban and remote communities and encourages Aboriginal owned enterprises to build their capacity.
Law and Order measures will ensure “consequence” is applied from the first interaction with the justice system to prevent further escalation of offending.
There will be diversionary programs including boot camps for juveniles … community courts with elders input … exploring justice reinvestment as a primary approach … expanding community sentencing options, work camps and parole options in regional and remote communities.
Better consultation or more red tape?
By ERWIN CHLANDA