ACT treaty needed to right past wrongs made against Indigenous people

The Barunga Statement, despite having been effectively ignored for the last 30 years, has been given life by the Northern Territory government which has announced that it will, consistent with the demands incorporated in the statement, begin negotiations with the Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory for a treaty.

While differing in content and structure, the Barunga and Uluru Statements are in essence concerned with the same issues, namely self-determination, self-management, sovereignty, land rights, truth telling, an historical reckoning and justice. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia are calling for these rights to be recognised and guaranteed through a treaty or a makarrata.

Read Full Story

Australia’s human rights record has been “woeful”

Australia’s human rights record has been “woeful rather than exemplary”, National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples co-chair Jackie Huggins has told a United Nations forum.

She said statements by Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade about Australia’s proud human rights record and support for Indigenous people was “hypocritical in the extreme”.

Independent Northern Territory MP Yingiya Mark Guyula, a Yolngu leader from Arnhem Land, asked the UN to intervene on the behalf of Aboriginal people.

He told the UN Yolngu people had very little control or autonomy and their collective rights were being destroyed by government licensing regimes, the inability to contest government land council decisions and policies that were forcing Yolngu people into hub towns.

“My people are crying out for justice and we are not being heard,” Mr Guyula said.

 

Read Full Story

NEW FUNDING TO BOOST SERVICES IN THE NT

The Turnbull Government will provide new funding to boost services in the Northern Territory, having reached agreement with the Northern Territory Government on future funding for remote indigenous housing, public hospitals, and housing and homelessness. To help the Northern Territory Government deliver essential services, including to remote communities, the Turnbull Government will provide financial assistance of $259.6 million.

NT Indigenous housing funding fuels political standoff, as remote communities face ‘major uncertainty’

People living in poor and overcrowded conditions in remote communities in the NT face major uncertainty as a housing funding impasse between the Territory and federal governments intensifies, the Northern Land Council has warned.

The clock is ticking on the two governments to reach an agreement before June 30, the first expiry date for subleases that give the Territory Government responsibility for all aspects of Indigenous housing, including tenancy management and repairs and maintenance.

Numerous reports have shown that poor and overcrowded housing in remote Indigenous communities contributes to issues such as ill-health, higher rates of child abuse and poor school attendance.

Read Full Story

Media silence: NT Govt caught stealing $2 billion from Indigenous budget

The scathing report from The Australian came at a time when all eyes were on the NT after a shocking case of child sexual abuse hit Tennant Creek. The NT is facing a mountain of problems right now. From Indigenous health to housing, unemployment to education. Indigenous communities really need all the help they can get. The situation is nothing short of a national disgrace.

While many people have their fingers pointed directly at Aboriginal communities, no one seems to be questioning the $2 billion of Indigenous funding that was taken out of Indigenous aid budgets by the NT Govt. Can you honestly say that problems would be so bad in these communities if the $2 billion was invested like it was supposed to be?

Full Story

NT Government agrees to review child services funding, despite pledging not to a month ago

Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner has agreed to a review of his government’s spending on family and child services — despite pledging to “not cooperate” with it less than a month ago.

The apparent backflip was announced on Thursday, after the state and federal government met to discuss their responses to the Royal Commission into Youth Detention and Child Protection in the Territory.

Full Story

Fair Fares NT – Your Voice is Important

Following on from the success of our recent change.org poll (read more here) concerning Gove’s desire for a reliable and affordable air service, MP Luke Gosling OAM has asked for our assistance in gathering your stories and comments. Luke is creating the Fair Fares NT website with the aim of publishing stories from concerned members of the public.

DEAL introduces Thunderdome in which Govites battle for housing

DEAL is set to introduce an innovative approach to the town’s perennial housing crisis – a Thunderdome in which residents do battle for an affordable home.

The Thunderdome, to be built on the outskirts of Nhulunbuy by yet another interstate construction firm promising local jobs, will be governed by one simple rule – ‘two enter, one leaves…with an asbestos-free* (*conditions apply), Rio-owned unit of your choice’.

It is expected that Imparja will secure the rights to broadcast live Thunderdome contests and also a lucrative Saturday night highlights package.

“There’s nothing I like more than watching impoverished plebs batter each other into submission for my entertainment,” said one well-to-do local who asked to remain anonymous.

Some employees from sectors other than mining and government were dubious of the plan.

“Right, so it’s not enough that I have to take out a mortgage to fly in and out of my hometown, that I have to wait 6 weeks for Winellie to regurgitate my mail or that my career prospects are dependent on my ability to look enthusiastic when I hear ‘clean-up on aisle 3′,” said young person Miyala Marika.

“Now the only way I can secure sensibly priced housing is through brutal unarmed combat.”

“The region’s decision-makers couldn’t show me any more contempt if one of them came ’round and shat on my dining room table.”

It is understood that DEAL may have once toyed with the idea of offering a small number of reasonably priced units to local residents who expressed a desire to remain in the region post-curtailment, and continue to plow their below average wages into the local economy, but as that would likely infuriate estate agents and their alleged burgeoning list of businesses falling over each other to relocate to the region, it was decided that the Thunderdome plan was slightly less stupid.

lynne-walker

NT Government criticised for giving top Aboriginal affairs job to former MLA

The Northern Territory’s Labor Government has come under fire for giving a former politician who was abandoned by remote Aboriginal voters in 2016 a job as a top Indigenous affairs adviser to the Chief Minister.

Lynne Walker lost the seat of Nhulunbuy on the north-east tip of Arnhem Land in the 2016 NT election when voters in the electorate’s remote Aboriginal communities dumped Labor and instead voted for Independent Yolngu candidate Yingiya Mark Guyula.

Ms Walker’s new taxpayer-funded position comes after she was moved from the first government job given to her upon the loss of her seat.

The ABC has learned that late last year, the unit’s staffers — which include another failed Labor candidate, Anthony Venes — were also quietly dispersed into other ministerial offices.

Read More