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Northern Territory priority communities

Regional Operations Centre: Darwin

Regional Operations Centre: Darwin

ANGURUGU

Local Implementation Planning Overview

The Angurugu Local Implementation Plan was signed on 3 December 2010 at the Groote Eylandt and Bickerton Island Regional Partnership Agreement Committee meeting.

Along with the Local Implementation Plan for Umbakumba, also located on Groote Eylandt, the Angurugu Local Implementation Plan is based on the Groote Eylandt and Bickerton Island Regional Partnership Agreement. The Regional Partnership Agreement has been in place since 2006 and is achieving positive outcomes in the community.

The Regional Partnership Agreement was developed through close consultation between governments and the Angurugu community, through the Anindilyakwa Land Council. Its aim is to achieve sustainable and measurable improvements for people living in the Anindilyakwa region. It sets out how government, the community and the Groote Eylandt Mining Company will work together to coordinate services and deliver initiatives in response to locally identified needs.

The Local Implementation Plans at Angurugu and Umbakumba will be managed slightly differently to those in other Remote Service Delivery communities. The Regional Partnership Committee will be the main monitoring and decision-making body, rather than the Northern Territory Remote Service Delivery Board of Management.

The Angurugu Regional Partnership Local Implementation Plan has a strong focus on early childhood development and economic participation. The Local Implementation Plan includes new actions to establish a women's centre coordinator and an early childhood coordinator to lead the integration of family services tailored to the Angurugu community.

Other planned highlights include to:

  • establish a taskforce to act upon the recommendations of the New Opportunities, New Responsibilities review of education on Groote Eylandt and Bickerton Island;
  • provide a wheelchair lift for the airport;
  • develop a town centre urban design plan;
  • install traffic signage and develop a road safety awareness campaign; and
  • establish a hazard response plan such as a Cyclone Plan.

Areas requiring attention

  • In my first report, I noted that the people of Angurugu were concerned about limited recreational activities for young people and the negative impact on the community of children and young people roaming the streets, so I will be closely monitoring the development of the Youth Strategy to respond to the needs of local young people.

Meeting local needs through a place-based approach –
The Machado Joseph Disease Foundation


Understanding the specific needs and health risks of communities is as important as broader universal frameworks to achieving better health outcomes in Indigenous communities. A good example of a placed-based approach to health service delivery is on Groote Eylandt, where the Machado Joseph Disease (MJD) Foundation has been established to help improve the quality of life of MJD sufferers and their families. MJD is a rare genetic condition which causes severe physical disability. The disease is relatively unknown within the broader Australian population, but occurs in high incidences in communities on Groote Eylandt and Bickerton Island. To respond to this community specific need, the Machado Joseph Disease Foundation works in partnership with governments, service providers, the philanthropic sector, community and private enterprise to deliver support services and equipment to MJD sufferers on Groote Eylandt, Bickerton Island and across Arnhem Land. This place-based approach has resulted in MJD sufferers and their families across the region receiving practical support in the areas of education and training; research; the supply of essential equipment; advocacy; and improved care.

In 2009/10 the Foundation secured funding for a pool hoist for the Alyangula Pool and the purchase of aircraft wheelchair lifts in Darwin and Groote Eylandt to ensure dignified travel for MJD clients. Most recently, the Foundation has received a $6 million grant from the Aboriginals Benefit Account. This funding will be invested in perpetuity and the earnings from the investment will be used to fund core MJD Foundation costs. The recent funding, along with a previous contribution from the Anindilyakwa Land Council, will ensure that the Foundation can continue its important work into the future.

Yirrandiyama Warka Job Shop

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The Arts Centre that is now at the Dugong Beach Resort

Given that socio-economic factors are a major contributor to the life expectancy gap, increased employment is key to better life outcomes for Indigenous people. The Regional Partnership Agreement has provided support for the establishment of the Groote Eylandt Bickerton Island Enterprises (GEBIE) Yirrandiyama Warka Job Shop. The Job Shop is an employment service provider under the Job Services Australia contract and provides a broad range of local employment options for Indigenous job seekers through tailored assessment, education, training, job placement, mentoring and ongoing support. The Yirrandiyama Warka Job Shop has successfully placed 281 job seekers in employment and plays a key role in linking local people with new job opportunities created by the Regional Partnership Agreement and other programs such as the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP). Throughout 2010, the Job Shop also facilitated a range of projects and training including heavy rigid driver training, first aid training, a landscaping project at Angurugu Cemetery and Certificates I
and II in Hospitality.

As a result of the Regional Partnership Agreement, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations is working with GEBIE to engage a Groote Archipelago Employment Coordinator in early 2011. The project aims to address the lack of resources currently available for skills mapping and job auditing on Groote Eylandt, which can be a barrier to filling positions as they become available. The project will create a dedicated position to identify employment opportunities within the labour market and feed that information back to GEBIE Yirrandiyama Warka Job Shop to assist with forward planning, skills matching and job seeker preparation. This will enable Indigenous community members to secure local employment as opportunities arise.
 

GALIWIN'KU

Local Implementation Planning Overview

The Galiwin'ku Local Implementation Plan has been developed and agreed to by key stakeholders. The Local Implementation Plan was signed on 9 March 2011 by representatives from the Australian and Northern Territory governments, the East Arnhem Shire Council and the Local Reference Group. For the first time, all sixteen clans/ringitj with representatives on the Local Reference came together to sign the plan in recognition of their commitment to work in partnership to improve their community
of Galiwin'ku.

During the Local Implementation Plan development process the people of Galiwin'ku placed an emphasis on ensuring culturally appropriate representation on the Local Reference Group. Through a series of community meetings it was decided that clan leaders would nominate people to represent each clan on the Galiwin'ku Local Reference Group. Following this series of meetings, a further six ringitj (cultural alliances of clans) meetings were held to establish the community priorities for the Local Implementation Plan.

The Galiwin'ku Local Implementation Plan has a strong focus on economic development and community safety. Under the safe communities building block, the Galiwin'ku Local Implementation Plan includes a number of actions to ensure Galiwin'ku people are safe in the event of a cyclone, including the construction of a multi-purpose community hall that can be used as a cyclone shelter and the development of a hazard response plan.

Other planned highlights include:

  • training for parents, especially young mothers and fathers, to be delivered through the Families as First Teachers Program;
  • establishing a cross-cultural training business with a Galiwin'ku service provider to enable two-way cultural education and training for Balanda and Yolngu workers; and
  • incorporating a new mental health program into the local primary health care plan.

Areas requiring attention

  • The Indigenous painting teams at Galiwin'ku (see case study) provide a good model of on-the-job training which may ultimately lead to higher level trade qualifications. However, as noted previously, I would like to see the foundations for training being laid earlier to ensure young people are properly prepared to take up future vocational training and employment opportunities.

Aged and Disability "Model of Service" Reviews –
identifying and responding to local health care needs

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The Galiwin'ku Health Centre

The Local Implementation Plan process has provided the opportunity to work across all levels of government to identify and respond to health needs identified by individual communities in a coordinated way. The Department of Health and Ageing is conducting "Model of Service" Reviews in each of the 15 priority communities across the Northern Territory in order to plan for health service development based on community needs over the next ten years.

At Galiwin'ku the Review has led to the expansion of the Galiwin'ku aged care service. The upgrade will link the aged care facility with the local childcare centre and school to provide opportunities for elderly residents to share their culture and history with local children. To this end, $1.7 million has been allocated from the Aged Care Capital Infrastructure and Support Program to upgrade and extend the aged care facility by constructing a veranda and breezeway and installing sails to provide shade. It is also planned to provide training and mentoring for local aged care workers through a Certificate III in Aged Care. In addition, investment in the construction of new staff housing should help retain aged care staff.

As a result of the review, funding of $500,000 has also been approved for the Miwatj Aboriginal Health Corporation, in partnership with East Arnhem Shire and Ngalkanbuy Health Centre, to build a consult room, washroom, and waiting room onto the Galiwin'ku childcare centre and to establish a child health service in the facility. This will help improve the linkages between health and children's services in Galiwin'ku. Funding of $321,000 has also been approved for the Miwatj Aboriginal Health Corporation to build a one bedroom unit attached to another house in the community for nursing staff.

Other Northern Territory communities where significant funding is being considered as a result of the "Model of Service" Reviews include Gapuwiyak, Ngukurr, Numbulwar, Wadeye, Yuendumu, Lajamanu, Umbakumba and Gunbalanya.

The Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program – delivering housing and employment outcomes at Galiwin'ku

It is widely recognised that living in a healthy home environment which is not overcrowded and has good sanitation is key to better health outcomes. Within the context of the healthy homes building block in the Galiwin'ku Local Implementation Plan, the joint Australian and Northern Territory Government Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP) is delivering 90 new houses and rebuilding or refurbishing more than 70 existing houses. This is a good example of two levels of government working together to improve the living conditions of remote Indigenous Australians. Over 1200 Indigenous families in communities across the Northern Territory have benefited from new and improved housing under SIHIP to date. The program is also delivering other benefits to communities through Indigenous employment targets and workforce and industry development. Local Indigenous service providers are actively involved in delivering the works under SIHIP.

One of the employment opportunities presented by SIHIP at Galiwin'ku is as a member of the Indigenous Painting Team. Twelve local Indigenous men have formed the Indigenous Painting Team with a Galiwin'ku painter working as a mentor and trainer. The team are contracted to Territory Alliance and are producing high quality work which is building a strong sense of achievement among the painting team and the community. All 12 men are currently enrolled in Building Certificate II and it is anticipated that some will go on to complete their apprenticeship.

GAPUWIYAK

Local Implementation Planning Overview

The Gapuwiyak Local Implementation Plan has been developed and agreed to by key stakeholders. Work has commenced to implement the actions in the Local Implementation Plan and an official signing ceremony was held on 14 March 2011.

The Mala Leaders Group is the main mechanism through which the Gapuwiyak community consults and negotiates with government on the Local Implementation Plan. Members of the Mala Leaders Group are community people from across the 15 major clan groups in Gapuwiyak. The Mala Leaders Group includes representation from a range of service providers and stakeholders. With support from the Single Government Interface, the Mala Leaders Group consulted Traditional Owners and sought their agreement on the various issues in the Local Implementation Plan.

The Gapuwiyak Local Implementation Plan has a strong focus on health and economic participation. The Local Implementation Plan includes a commitment to provide business support and mentoring to individuals and groups wanting to start a business and an action to develop a proposal for a Government Business Centre at Gapuwiyak. The Local Implementation Plan also includes a commitment to review the oral health program to improve service delivery and, if appropriate, develop a fluoridation program.

Other planned highlights include:

  • expanding the ‘Born to Read' program to a Family Literacy Program to engage parents;
  • commencing a Saturday morning football competition for young people;
  • implementing traffic management and control on local roads; and
  • establishing a healthy homes working group that will determine the type and timing of housing support that will be provided at Gapuwiyak.

Areas requiring attention

  • There is a need for further investment in community safety services, including the possible use of the current Thermis station as a safe house for victims of domestic violence.

Expanding early childhood services through the Local Implementation Plan

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Play area at the Childcare Centre

In Gapuwiyak, the Families as First Teachers – Indigenous Parenting Support Service (FaFT-IPSS) program is a strong focus for 2011. The FaFT-IPSS Program is an early learning and family support program for remote Indigenous families with preschool aged children. Alongside the local creche, the FaFT program will be running a Family Support Group throughout the year. The Family Support Group will run at the same time as the creche's current program for 0-3 year olds. The Group will offer parents and carers the opportunity to take part in activities with the children during their learning time to support positive interactions between parents and their children. Activities for the family support group sessions over the next year will involve bush medicine sessions with female elders, making family photo albums and family trees, cooking, budgeting and nutrition sessions and writing children's songs.

The Gapuwiyak Local Implementation Plan includes actions to build on the FaFT-IPSS program and deliver a Certificate III in Community Services in the workplace for local Indigenous Family Liaison Officers and Locational Supported Playgroup staff. The Local Implementation Plan also contains a commitment to continue the ‘Born to Read' program and expand to a Family Literacy Program to engage parents.

Safe Communities

Improving law and justice responses, including through accessible and effective policing, is an essential aspect to improving community safety. Ensuring Safe Communities is one of the seven building blocks and is critical for achievement of all the Closing the Gap targets.

In Gapuwiyak, a new permanent police station is being built and the local police remain focused on making Gapuwiyak a safe place to live and fulfilling their role in the Local Implementation Plan. Community members are pleased to see the permanent police presence in Gapuwiyak. The current police officers are keen to build trust with the community and plan to work with the school to deliver a program on good life skills and to work with the health clinic on broader community safety and domestic violence issues.

The development of a Northern Territory Emergency Service volunteer unit, an action in the Local Implementation Plan, will also be a priority over the next year. Work towards establishing an Emergency Service unit at Gapuwiyak will focus on training local volunteers to be prepared for and able to react to known hazards for the community.

GUNBALANYA

Local Implementation Planning Overview

The Gunbalanya Local Implementation Plan was the first formally signed in the Northern Territory. On 10 November 2010, representatives from the Arrguluk Reference Group, the Australian and Northern Territory governments and the West Arnhem Shire Council all signed the Local Implementation Plan as part of a local ceremony to mark the occasion.

The development of the Local Implementation Plan in Gunbalanya was a difficult journey. Shortly after the February 2010 visioning forum where reference group members were nominated by the community, the senior Traditional Owner passed away suddenly. His funeral was held in late May and during the intervening months the community dealt with the grief of their loss. Also during that time important discussions for a successor commenced.

Nonetheless, the Arrguluk Reference Group decided they wanted to continue with the development of the community's Local Implementation Plan. They worked with the community, including Traditional Owners and senior elders, service providers and the Single Government Interface to establish a comprehensive list of community priorities. Over a series of meetings the community priorities were finalised and negotiated with government and the community to develop the first version of the Local Implementation Plan.

The Arrguluk Reference Group's discussions had a strong focus on education and community safety. The Local Implementation Plan includes an agreement by the community that parents and other adults will encourage children and young people to regularly attend school and an agreement from Tourism NT to work with the local people to develop viable tourism businesses.

Other planned highlights include to:

  • construct a 50-place child and family centre to support young children and their parents;
  • enhance job opportunities for local people including an examination of the feasibility of a proposed new arts and culture centre, a mechanics' workshop with an authorised inspection station, and a Government Business Centre;
  • develop a formal town plan to underpin future growth in Gunbalanya; and
  • establish a Community Safety Working Party to work with Gunbalanya community members to develop place based strategies that will address safety concerns.

Areas requiring attention

  • While I am pleased that construction of the Trades Training Centre in Gunbalanya is expected to be completed in August 2011 and operational in Term 4 of 2011, it will be important that this action is included in future development of the Gunbalanya Local Implementation Plan.

New education and schooling initiatives in Gunbalanya

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After School Care at the Sports and Recreation Centre

Reflecting the Local Implementation Plan's focus on education, a major development in 2010 was the combining of the Gunbalanya School and Jabiru School to form the West Arnhem College. The formation of the College has seen the commencement of the Strong Start, Bright Future strategy in Gunbalanya. This strategy was designed by the Northern Territory Department of Education and Training as a result of the Remote Service Delivery partnership and the Northern Territory Government's ‘Working Future' initiative. It is intended to improve outcomes for Indigenous students by building capacity through improved governance, stronger leadership, and integrated service delivery in the education and training sectors.

2011 will see further developments under the schooling and employment building blocks in Gunbalanya. West Arnhem College was successful in Round Three of the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Trades Training Centres in Schools Program and the College was awarded almost $3 million to construct a Trades Training Centre at Gunbalanya and Jabiru schools. Both Gunbalanya and Jabiru schools will host a multifunctional training area. The Gunbalanya School will deliver courses in construction and manufacturing to the Certificate III level and Jabiru Area School will deliver courses in engineering to the Certificate III level. Students will be supported to move into school based apprenticeships and traineeships, successfully complete year 12 and then move into employment while completing their apprenticeship or traineeship with local employers.

New infrastructure to enhance food security –
The Community Store Infrastructure Project

The availability of fresh, healthy food in remote communities is critical to providing the required nutrition for good health. Poor store infrastructure in remote communities can reduce the availability and range of healthy food which may lead to significant consequences for the health of local residents.

In Gunbalanya, the Community Stores Infrastructure Project will provide a new purpose-built community store and store manager accommodation to help ensure healthy and affordable food is available year round. The project is a result of a strategic partnership between the Australian Government and the Aboriginals Benefit Account Advisory Committee to improve the infrastructure of remote community stores.

During 2011, the Department of Families, Housing Community Services and Indigenous Affairs will work closely with the West Arnhem Shire Council and local residents to ensure an appropriate store management structure is established in Gunbalanya and ownership is transferred to Aboriginal community control. It is anticipated that capital works for the new store will commence following compliance with funding conditions and the negotiation of secure land tenure.

LAJAMANU

Local Implementation Planning Overview

The Lajamanu Local Implementation Plan has been developed and agreed to by key stakeholders.
The Local Implementation Plan was signed on 17 March 2011 by representatives from the Local Reference Group, the Australian and Northern Territory governments and Central Desert Shire Council.

The Local Reference Group in Lajamanu, who developed the community priorities for the Local Implementation Plan, comprises well-respected leaders in the community with experience negotiating with all levels of government. To develop the community priorities for the Lajamanu
Local Implementation Plan, the Local Reference Group held six well-attended meetings, including an initial Visioning Forum.

The Lajamanu Local Implementation Plan has a particular focus on economic participation and early childhood development. To increase local jobs and training opportunities, it includes reviewing the availability of adult education training facilities, providing business support and mentoring to
individuals and groups and exploring partnerships with the private sector. In order to ensure that children in Lajamanu are well cared for, the Local Implementation Plan also includes a purpose built creche for 30 children and a commitment from parents and carers to ensure their children attend the health centre for regular check-ups and immunisations.

Other planned highlights include:

  • the construction of a new health centre;
  • upgrades to street lighting, road signs and sections of the Buntine Highway as well as construction of a new sealed aerodrome; and
  • professional development opportunities to build upon the strong community governance and leadership which exists in Lajamanu.

Areas requiring attention

  • I have noted already the need for Local Implementation Plans to include clear milestones and agreed timeframes so that all parties can be held to account. If the agreed timeframes in a Plan change, a transparent process for making changes should be followed that includes consultation with the community and the Local Reference Group. I understand that the Northern Territory Regional Operations Centre has developed a process to manage such changes, and I look forward to seeing that transparent process rigorously applied as the Local Implementation Plans are updated.

Lajamanu Community Governance Project

Aerial view of Lajamanu

Aerial view of Lajamanu

The Lajamanu Community Governance Project is looking at new ways to give community members more control in their community. The project aims to record the views and aspirations of community residents, create a strong community voice, build local leadership skills and ensure that consultations undertaken by governments and other organisations in Lajamanu are effective. The project may also provide a model for successful and legitimate community governance that could be applied more broadly.

The Central Land Council will work closely with the Lajamanu community over the next three years to empower community members and ensure the project is locally owned and controlled. A key feature of the project is the diversity of stakeholders who have agreed to work together to provide support and guidance to the project. The project's Governance Advisory Committee comprises representatives from the Northern Territory and Australian governments, the Central Land Council, Reconciliation Australia and the Office of the Coordinator General. As the project progresses it may later operate in Yuendumu and Ntaria (Hermannsburg).

MANINGRIDA

Local Implementation Planning Overview

The Maningrida Local Implementation Plan has been developed and agreed to by key stakeholders. Work has commenced to implement the actions in the Local Implementation Plan and an official ceremony to sign the Local Implementation Plan will occur on a suitable day for stakeholders.

The Maningrida Local Implementation Plan is the result of many consultations between the Local Reference Group, the Maningrida community, the Single Government Interface, service providers and governments.

A key focus of the Maningrida Local Implementation Plan is health and economic participation. The Local Implementation Plan includes commitments to undertake a strategic health planning exercise to determine health service needs and staffing levels into the future and to conduct education and outreach programs targeting children, youth, parents and the aged. The Local Implementation Plan also includes providing business support and mentoring to individuals and groups wanting to start a viable business.

Other planned highlights include:

  • building a 50 place Children and Families Centre to national quality standards;
  • elders working as role models with young parents to pass on knowledge;
  • training and support for Indigenous staff at the school;
  • upgrading the Health Centre to include a Renal Ready room; and
  • a Memorandum of Understanding between the Maningrida community and Police to increase community safety.

Areas requiring attention

  • As mentioned below, the Northern Territory Aboriginal Interpreter Service provides a much needed service to the priority communities, and in Maningrida they had to work very hard to secure office space. To ensure that accommondation constraints do not undermine the availability of critical services, my Office will contine to highlight the need for further government investment in remote office accommodation.

Building on linguistic diversity and creating local jobs –
The Northern Territory Aboriginal Interpreter Service at Maningrida

In per capita terms, Maningrida is perhaps one of the most multilingual communities in the world. More than 13 different languages are spoken in the community and most people speak three or more languages. Local Aboriginal people are very proud of the linguistic diversity of the Maningrida area and language is an important linkage to kinship networks and ceremony. The level of multilingualism in the Maningrida area is testimony to the strength of Aboriginal ceremonial life, environmental knowledge and social organisation. It is also providing the basis for local employment opportunities.

In 2010, the Aboriginal Interpreter Service established a permanent office in Maningrida. The Maningrida office employs an Interpreter Support and Development Officer, two community based interpreters and provides a hub for a number of casual interpreters in the region. The office continues to be supported by Darwin based staff and during 2010, Maningrida interpreters attended a number of Professional Development workshops with a focus on legal and health issues.

The establishment of the office in Maningrida is important for developing the capacity of current interpreters and will help create local employment opportunities based on community strengths.

Maningrida Night Patrol and Child Safety Service

A number of actions in the Maningrida Local Implementation Plan are aimed at increasing community safety. A group of local women observed that violence and substance abuse were all too common in Maningrida and that children were not safe enough, particularly at night. As a result, the women came together and identified safety issues which were of particular concern to them. The local women then formed the Maningrida Child Safety Service to protect children, educate the community and generate change. The Safety Service is run by the Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation and funded by the Northern Territory and Australian Governments.

The Maningrida Child Safety Service operates two patrols nightly, seven days a week – one run by men and the other by women. During the day, they follow up on events and speak with the families and the school to ensure young people are properly educated about sexual health, positive life skills, substance abuse and protective behaviors through programs that help connect them to their country and culture.

Thanks to this home grown approach to child welfare, and the persistent efforts of Maningrida's women and men, the streets are patrolled each night to make them safer for children and youth.

MILINGIMBI

Local Implementation Planning Overview

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The new Milingimbi Community School infrastructure under construction

The Milingimbi Local Implementation Plan has been developed and agreed to by key stakeholders. The Local Implementation Plan was signed on 11 March 2011 by representatives from the Local Reference Group, the Australian and Northern Territory governments and Shire Council.

The Milingimbi Local Reference Group is the key community group for engagement in the Local Implementation Planning process. To develop the Local Implementation Plan the Local Reference Group and the Yolngu people of Milingimbi worked with all levels of government. Through the Local Implementation Plan the people of Milingimbi will continue to help create opportunities for their children and make Milingimbi a better place to live.

The Local Implementation Plan has a strong focus on schooling and economic participation and development. It includes a range of strategies to enhance local business development such as a proposal for developing a Government Business Centre and conducting a Futures Forum in Milingimbi to provide information on business development, employment opportunities and private sector investment. The Local Implementation Plan also includes a range of local measures to improve school attendance and enhance the cultural knowledge of teachers at the school.

Other planned highlights include:

  • expanding the recreation centre to include a children and family centre;
  • declaring all playgrounds, schools and government buildings and grounds smoke free areas; and
  • developing a regional Animal Management Welfare and Control/Environmental Health Program.

Areas requiring attention

  • As the Checking Road has been welcomed by both Milingimbi and Ngukkurr and received positive reviews from community leaders and an independent evaluation, I would like to see further support given to this approach.

Community driven economic development

Milingimbi's commitment to the economic development actions in the Local Implementation Plan is demonstrated by a range of locally driven initiatives which have commenced recently.

The Milingimbi community has established two micro businesses for the sale of second hand clothing on an ‘op shop' basis. The first business concentrates on the sale of adult clothing and home wares and operates under the umbrella of the Milingimbi Uniting Church. The second supports the Milingimbi Locally Supported Play Group and sells clothing for young children and dress and curtain material. Since the businesses commenced, approximately $1,500 has been raised. Both businesses are now sustainable with products and donations being received on a regular basis from a number of sources, including Anglicare.

Gadupu Indigenous Training Centre Aboriginal Corporation

To further bolster economic participation, the Milingimbi community also established the Gadupu Indigenous Training Centre Aboriginal Corporation (the Corporation) in July 2009. Over the last 12 months the Corporation has focussed on developing its leadership and governance structures and finalising a business plan. A medium term goal is to establish the Corporation as a Registered Training Organisation and possibly a labour hire company in advance of the commencement of the governments' Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP) in the community. The long term goal of the Corporation is to deliver broad based training such as cultural, Occupation Health and Safety issues, food handling, first aid and driver training across the Arnhem region.

To assist the Corporation in becoming a Registered Training Organisation, five directors have recently commenced a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. The training is being conducted under the umbrella of the Community Based Indigenous Training initiative of the Northern Territory and Australian Governments.

Governance and Leadership

Ongoing investment in the Governance and Leadership building block is essential to building capacity and informed decision making in Indigenous communities. Among other things, the Milingimbi Local Implementation Plan highlights the community's desire for additional leadership and governance training. To this end, a successful leadership and governance workshop was held in Milingimbi in late October 2010, facilitated by the Department of Families, Housing Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

At the workshop, community members identified a list of topics they would like to see covered in further community based leadership and governance training, including ‘learning the tricks of government', to contribute to better consultation and collaboration with the different tiers of government, as well as other stakeholders. Participants also developed their vision statement for Milingimbi:

Yolngu of Milingimbi community are a united people who value a safe and vibrant community which provides and encourages good leadership, economic opportunities and education services in a culturally appropriate way.

Since the workshop, the community has commenced discussions on how community governance structures in Milingimbi could be better coordinated and simplified. Another workshop is planned to further build community skills in areas such as communication, financial management, legal issues and policy development.

NGUKURR

Local Implementation Planning Overview

In Ngukurr, the Yugul Mangi Aboriginal Corporation is the key community group which consults and negotiates with government on the Local Implementation Plan. The Ngukurr Local Implementation Plan has been developed and builds on the community's aims set out in the Yugul Mangi Community Development Plan. Yugul Mangi leaders are keen to work with governments to implement the actions under the Local Implementation Plan to make Ngukurr a better place for their people to live.

Yugul Mangi leaders have recently raised concerns with the Australian and Northern Territory Governments about housing needs in Ngukurr. They would like to see these issues resolved before officially signing the Local Implementation Plan. Like other Local Implementation Plans in the Northern Territory, work has already commenced to implement many of the actions in the Local Implementation Plan.

The Local Implementation Plan has a strong focus on economic development, education and health. It includes the implementation of a community developed school attendance management plan which includes training and supporting local people into teaching positions and a trial of three school attendance supervisors. The Local Implementation Plan also includes the development of local strategies to reduce smoking and the construction of a new community owned store.

Other planned highlights include:

  • establishment of a locally managed commercial campground and the involvement of the Yugul Mangi Rangers in other tourism activities;
  • a review of transport requirements and community access roads; and
  • construction of a 50 place Child and Family Centre.

Areas requiring attention

  • The Yugul Mangi Corporation has recently voiced concerns to the Australian and Northern Territory Governments about the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP). While it is encouraging that SIHIP is helping to build the skills of 26 Indigenous trainees in Ngukurr, the Yugul Mangi considers that new houses are urgently needed to address overcrowding. They have asked for an increase in the number of new houses to be constructed in Ngukurr and for an official response from the Australian and Northern Territory Governments. I see this issue as a priority and would like to see it resolved as soon as possible.

The Yugul Mangi Community Development Plan

As mentioned above, the leadership group in Ngukurr, the Yugul Mangi Aboriginal Corporation, has developed their own community development plan which was used as the basis for developing the Local Implementation Plan. The structure and working arrangements of the Yugul Mangi Aboriginal Corporation are uniquely tailored to the characteristics of the community. The vision of the Yugul Mangi Community Development Plan is:

To create one Community that fosters unity, leadership, ownership- and participation by all- while contributing to the social, cultural and economic activities of the wider Northern Territory Community.

Under the Remote Service Delivery partnership, both the Northern Territory and Australian Governments have agreed that engagement with Indigenous people is central to the design and delivery of programs and services. This includes recognition that supporting strong Indigenous leadership and participation in local decision making is an essential element to the new way of working with the priority communities.

Ngukurr provides an example where a proactive community leadership group is building a more robust and effective working relationship with governments to create positive changes for their people. The Yugul Mangi Corporation is committed to working alongside the Australian and Northern Territory Governments and the Shire to implement the commitments in the Local Implementation Plan, while at the same time being proactive in voicing community concerns. The willingness of community groups like Yugul Mangi to engage with governments in helping to drive local priorities is critical to achieving better outcomes in the remote communities.

Economic Development and Housing

The Yugul Mangi Corporation is focused on promoting economic development in Ngukurr. To enhance economic participation, the Yugul Mangi Aboriginal Corporation's community development plan outlines the community's vision:

We want to establish sustainable and profitable businesses that service our own and other communities, and we want our community members managing, working in and profiting from those businesses so we can work towards self-support and self-sufficiency. Business owners and managers will need ongoing training and administrative and financial support so the businesses can succeed.

To further this aim, Yugul Mangi has succeeded in gaining funding from the Aboriginals Benefit Account to employ a Business Manager who is now working with Yugul Mangi members to progress business aspirations in areas such as construction, hospitality, farming and retail.

NTARIA (HERMANNSBURG)

Local Implementation Planning Overview

The Ntaria Local Implementation Plan was signed on 2 March 2011 by the Wurla Nyinta Reference Group, representatives of the Australian and Northern Territory governments and the McDonnell Shire Council.

The Wurla Reference Group was established in Ntaria to help develop the Local Implementation Plan. Wurla Nyinta means ‘one mob' in Western Arrarnta and the reference group comprises local leaders who actively participated in the Local Implementation Planning process.

During the Local Implementation Plan development process, the Wurla Nyinta Reference Group consulted with community members, Traditional Owners and senior elders to establish the community priorities for the Local Implementation Plan.

The Local Implementation Plan has a strong focus on health and employment training for local people. It includes the development of a Youth Strategy to increase participation in recreational and educational activities and a range of actions to support Ntaria residents find and take up jobs.

Other planned highlights include to:

  • provide a purpose built childcare facility for 40 children, including training for local childcare staff;
  • upgrade the secondary school to expand local education pathways;
  • establish a Community Safety Working Party to develop a safety plan, including working with police and developing strategies to minimise alcohol and other drug use; and
  • government working with the community to better coordinate and streamline community consultations including ensuring the use of interpreters.

Areas requiring attention

  • It is encouraging to see many of the actions in the Ntaria Local Implementation Plan focus on economic development. My last report included an overview of the collaborative work being undertaken in Ntaria to improve education outcomes for children and provide an education continuum from birth to job. The critical issue now in Ntaria is taking this work to the final stage – translating local training opportunities into jobs. Early progress against the actions under the economic participation building block in the Ntaria Local Implementation will be very important to achieving this final link in the continuum and I will be closely following these actions.

New State Emergency Service Facility at Ntaria (Hermannsburg)

As mentioned previously, safe communities are key to improving Indigenous outcomes in health, education and employment. Along with critical initiatives such as increased police presence, lowering alcohol consumption and establishing new safe houses, Northern Territory Emergency volunteer units can also assist in contributing to safer remote communities. To provide greater security for community members and travellers west of Alice Springs, a new emergency facility and Indigenous training program for State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers has been launched at Ntaria. The new facility and training opportunities will enhance the ability of the local community to plan and respond to emergencies.

Local SES members have developed a visual training program tailored specifically for Aboriginal SES volunteers. The unit has been called out several times in the past six years to assist at road accidents and land searches.

The new SES shed was partly funded by the Attorney-General's Department and the Department of Families, Housing and Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and came about as the result of a lot of hard work by local volunteers and supporters.

The opening of the SES shed at Ntaria was the culmination of a five year campaign by community members. It also marked completion of one of the first actions included in a Local Implementation Plan in the Northern Territory.

State Emergency Service volunteers Selwyn Kloeden of Ntaria and Max Baliva of Wallace Rockhole, operate the radios at the new State Emergency Services facility in Ntaria

State Emergency Service volunteers Selwyn Kloeden of Ntaria and Max Baliva of Wallace Rockhole, operate the radios at the new State Emergency Services facility in Ntaria

New Renal Services at Ntaria (Hermannsburg)

Progress towards Closing the Gap on life expectancy for Indigenous people is partially contingent on preventing and effectively treating chronic diseases. Work has been undertaken by a number of parties to provide renal dialysis services at Ntaria and the new nurse-assisted renal relocatable facility commenced operation in Ntaria on 20 September last year. The facility now operates two chairs for nurse assisted renal dialysis, six days a week throughout the year.

The new service means that renal patients in Ntaria can now remain close to family, community and country rather than travelling to Alice Springs for treatment. The service is operated by Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Payantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation and has allowed up to 12 patients to return home to the community for treatment. The local renal dialysis service will also help strengthen exisiting social support structures and assist in relieving the pressure on renal services in Alice Springs.

The provision of dialysis services at Ntaria is the result of significant collaboration between a range of government departments across the two levels of government and two local non-government organisations; the Western Aranda Health Aboriginal Corporation and the Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantakt Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation. Work is continuing between these parties to facilitate further office space for the new service. The provision of these new services at Ntaria demonstrates the results that can be achieved when all relevant parties come together with a flexible approach and a genuine commitment to achieve the best outcome for the community.

NUMBULWAR

Local Implementation Planning Overview

Signing the Local Implementation Plan for Numbulwar

Signing the Local Implementation Plan for Numbulwar

The Numbulwar Local Implementation Plan was signed on 3 March 2011 at a ceremony at the local school by the Numburindi Community Reference Group, representatives from the Australian and Northern Territory governments and the Roper Gulf Shire.

The Local Implementation Plan is the result of collaborative efforts between governments and the Numbulwar community through the Numbulwar Local Reference Group, known as the Numburindi Community Reference Group. The Local Implementation Plan was also developed with close support and involvement from the Single Government Interface and service providers in Numbulwar.

The Local Implementation Plan has a strong focus on economic development, health and schooling. The Local Implementation Plan includes community tailored Economic, Commercial and Financial Literacy training to build knowledge in the areas of money management, entrepreneurship, financial wealth and home ownership. It also includes the provision of a grader for the community to maintain access to the airport during the wet season.

Other planned highlights include:

  • parents and the community encouraging children to attend school and the development of a range of localised school attendance strategies;
  • development of a local primary health care plan and a review of local health infrastructure; and
  • nutrition and food preparation training for young mothers.

Areas requiring attention

  • While the purchase of the grader (see case study) is a good example of how the Indigenous Remote Service Delivery flexible funding pool can be used to achieve local solutions, to effectively implement a place based approach, agencies still need to review and revise their broader program funding arrangements to ensure they are responsive to the priorities identified by communities.

Whole of Government approach to Business and Employment opportunities

During consultations to develop the Local implementation Plan, the Numbulwar community identified the need for improved training and business opportunities. As a result, the Northern Territory Government's Indigenous Business Development section has worked with community artists on a whole of government approach to fostering employment. Numbulwar residents could soon have access to more sustainable local jobs in areas such as the arts, fishing, cabinet making and dress making through a coordinated effort with: the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations; the Northern Territory Government Department of Education and Training and Department of Housing Local Government and Regional Services (Indigenous Business Development), Roper Gulf Shire, ITEC Employment (as the job services provider) and the Association of Northern Kimberley and Arnhem Aboriginal Artists.

Grader for Roper Gulf Shire

One of the unique features of the Remote Service Delivery partnership is the availability of flexible funding for some community priorities. As a result of an action in Numbulwar's Local Implementation Plan and a grant from the Indigenous Remote Service Delivery Flexible Funding Pool, a new grader is being purchased by Roper Gulf Shire and located in Numbulwar. Numbulwar is isolated for up to 5 months of the year during the wet season when the roads become unusable and blocked off. The grader will reduce the community's isolation by road and ensure reliable road access to the airport during the wet season. The grader will commence restoring the road leading into Numbulwar as soon as practicable after the wet season which could result in the road opening 4 – 5 weeks earlier than previous years. This is an excellent example of local challenges being addressed through the application of flexible funding to community driven priorities.

UMBAKUMBA

Local Implementation Planning Overview

The Umbakumba Local Implementation Plan was signed on 3 December 2010 at the Groote Eylandt and Bickerton Island Regional Partnership Agreement Committee meeting.

Along with the Local Implementation Plan for Angurugu, also located on Groote Eylandt, the Umbakumba Local Implementation Plan is based on the Groote Eylandt and Bickerton Island Regional Partnership Agreement. The Regional Partnership Agreement has been in place since 2006 and is achieving positive outcomes in the community.

The Regional Partnership Agreement was developed through close consultation between governments and the Umbakumba community, through the Anindilyakwa Land Council. Its aim is to achieve sustainable and measureable improvements for people living in the Anindilyakwa region. It sets out how government, the community and the Groote Eylandt Mining Company will work together to coordinate services and deliver initiatives in response to locally identified needs.

The Local Implementation Plans at Angurugu and Umbakumba will be managed slightly differently to those in other Remote Service Delivery communities. The Regional Partnership Committee will be the main monitoring and decision-making body, rather than the Northern Territory Remote Service Delivery Board of Management.

The Umbakumba Regional Partnership Local Implementation Plan has a strong focus on safe communities, early childhood development and education. The Local Implementation Plan includes a purpose built childcare facility capable of catering for 25 children. The Umbakumba Local Implementation Plan also commits to the establishment of a Northern Territory Emergency Service volunteer unit capable of reacting to known hazards for the community and the establishment of a public cyclone shelter.

Other planned highlights include:

  • establishing a taskforce to act upon recommendations of the New Opportunities, New Responsibilities review of education on Groote Eylandt and Bickerton Island;
  • delivering Certificate III in Community Services in the workplace through the Families as First Teachers Program – Indigenous Parenting Support Service (FaFT-IPSS) Program for Indigenous Family Liaison Officers and other staff;
  • developing a substance misuse strategy; and
  • a training and mentoring program to employ more Groote Eylandt people in the mining industry.

Areas requiring attention

  • In my last report I commented on the need for teacher housing in Umbakumba. I am pleased to note that four duplexes are now completed and housing teachers, and another four are on the way to completion. However, in order to address the acute workforce shortages in early childhood, education, health, and other key services in Remote Service Delivery communities, more staff accommodation is required.

Umbakumba Road

In many Remote Service Delivery communities there is a pressing need for increased investment in infrastructure. Infrastructure to allow reliable access to remote Indigenous communities is important for economic development, health and education opportunities. A key infrastructure project on Groote Eylandt within Stage 2 of the Regional Partnership Agreement is the upgrade of the Umbakumba Road. The road is expected to be completed in 2013 and has a budget of approximately $20 million. Contributions for construction of the road have been made by Groote Eylandt and Bickerton Island Enterprises, and the Northern Territory and Australian Governments. The Groote Eylandt Mining Company and the East Arnhem Shire Council are also providing in kind support where applicable.

In addition to increasing local employment opportunities, the road upgrade has provided the locally based company, Groote Eylandt Bickerton Island Enterprises, with an opportunity to develop a quarry business to provide aggregate for construction of the road.

Expanding early childhood services through the Local Implementation Plan

The early childhood building block is critical to Closing the Gap on all life outcomes for Indigenous people. Evidence shows that investments in early childhood can lead to better outcomes in later life. To this end, the Umbakumba Local Implementation Plan includes actions to build on the Families as First Teachers – Indigenous Parenting Support Service (FaFT-IPSS) program to deliver a Certificate III in Community Services in the workplace for local Indigenous FaFT Family Liaison Officers and Locational Supported Playgroup staff. The Local Implementation Plan also contains a commitment to build a new 25 place childcare facility at Umbakumba.

The FaFT-IPSS Partnership Program is an early learning and family support program for remote Indigenous families with preschool aged children. The program aims to develop place based programs to help families give their children the best start in life. Key contributing factors to promote optimum child development are addressed through the program such as parental knowledge of early childhood learning and development, health, hygiene, nutrition and family functioning. The program takes a strength based approach and is focused on integrating services to support families. It does this by working in collaboration with other agencies and developing strong partnerships with health services, shires, and schools.

In Umbakumba, the FaFT-IPSS is in full swing with activities which focus on parents and children working together, including a popular mobile playgroup on Wednesday. As adequate nutrition is critical to children's health and wellbeing, a major focus of the mobile playgroups is on mothers helping to prepare healthy snacks for the children. The women organise for one mother to bring some damper and then share the preparation of a fruit platter while the children participate in play-based activities. Other popular activities during the playgroup have involved parents creating a poster with their child's photo, handprints and name, and a nature walk where parents and children collect various natural items from community bush land to paste on a tree poster. These activities reinforce the children's connections to their parents and contribute to their learning and development.

The Families as First Teachers Program is also well established at Angurugu on Groote Eylandt and offers families there a range of services, including home visits for new parents.

WADEYE

Local Implementation Planning Overview

The Wadeye Local Implementation Plan has been developed and agreed to by key stakeholders. Work has commenced to implement the actions in the Local Implementation Plan and an official signing ceremony will be held on a suitable day for stakeholders.

Healthy Homes in Wadeye

Healthy Homes in Wadeye

The Local Implementation Plan is the result of a joint effort between Thamarrurr Incorporated in its role as the Local Reference Group, the Wadeye community and the Single Government Interface. Traditional Owners were also consulted during the development of the Plan, both formally and through their representation in Thamarrurr Incorporated.

The Local Implementation Plan has a strong focus on health, community safety and economic participation. A key highlight is a review of the sport and recreational services for youth at Wadeye, and the development of a holistic Youth Strategy to effectively coordinate relevant youth programs in the Thamarrurr region. Thamarrurr leaders have committed to providing advice to ensure the services are culturally appropriate.

Other planned highlights include:

  • Thamarrurr leaders will encourage diverse membership (including women and young leaders) of Thamarrurr Incorporated and encourage participation in leadership training;
  • provision of resources for the new Wadeye health centre to ensure all services and programs can be effectively delivered;
  • development of a health services plan to achieve better health outcomes for the Thamarrurr region; and
  • upgrades to the access road to Wadeye.

Areas requiring attention

In my previous reports I have followed the progress of the new Children's Services Centre and a house for the Centre's Director at Wadeye. Following initial lengthy delays in operation of the Centre, I am advised that the new centre opened in late May 2010 with the existing provider, and the new childcare provider commenced on 1 November 2010. Additional operating funding has also been provided for a position that will facilitate the integration of children and family services (including health services and parenting programs). Ensuring the speedy integration of such services in Wadeye and other priority communities in the Northern Territory is critical, and will remain a focus of my Office.

The new Aboriginal Interpreter Service Office in Wadeye –

'Understanding each other makes a difference'

In many remote communities, Indigenous interpreter services are important to facilitate two-way communication and ensure that local people effectively understand issues that impact on their communities. The establishment of the Northern Territory Interpreter Service in the Remote Service Delivery communities is a key strategy targeted at building capacity of current interpreters and creating avenues for employment at the local level.

In October 2010, the Aboriginal Interpreter Service officially opened an office at Wadeye. The Wadeye office is fully functional with a locally recruited Community Development and Liaison Officer and three local community based interpreters. It also provides support for 25 interpreters from the surrounding region. The establishment of the office at Wadeye is a result of negotiations between the Aboriginal Interpreter Service, the Thamarrurr Development Corporation and the Victoria/Daly Shire Council. In November last year, the successful establishment of the office was a finalist in the Northern Territory Chief Minister's Awards for Excellence.

Interpreting assignments undertaken by the Wadeye office include:

  • Remote Service Delivery Local Implementation Plan consultations;
  • working with private businesses and government staff delivering the Strategic
    Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP);
  • introduction of new tenancy and lease agreements with Territory Housing;
  • changes to the BasicsCard with Centrelink; and
  • provision of interpreters for the Wadeye Bush Court.

The office at Wadeye will play a critical role in facilitating meaningful communication throughout the Thamarrurr region and will continue to make a valuable contribution to the effective implementation of the actions under the Wadeye Local Implementation Plan.

Local Indigenous organisations driving economic development

The Thamarrurr Development Corporation is a local Indigenous company owned by the 20 clan groups of the Thamarrurr region. It was formed in 2008 as the result of the vision of local community leaders. In addition to providing advice to government on issues affecting the Thamarrurr region, the Corporation is also leading economic development in the community. Over the last two years the Corporation has built up the organisation from two employees to now employing 125 people including 71 local Indigenous workers. Business operations successfully run by the Corporation currently include a wide range of ventures such as a mechanical workshop, the Post Office, and Job Network Services.

The Thamarrurr Development Corporation is working with government programs in the region such as the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP). Despite SIHIP experiencing a number of challenges in its implementation, SIHIP will deliver 105 new houses and more than 100 rebuilds and refurbishments of existing houses and that the SIHIP New Future Alliance has sub-contracted over $24 million of this construction work to the Thamarrurr Development Corporation. As part of this work, the Thamarrurr Development Corporation is producing prefabricated tilt slabs for half of the new SIHIP houses in Wadeye and preparing the concrete slabs for the remaining steel frame houses. They will also have input to refurbishment works.

The Thamarrurr Development Corporation was set up to benefit the local community and all profits are used to strengthen existing businesses or for community activities or facilities. Its work as part of SIHIP will provide an unprecedented opportunity for building local employment and economic capacity. It will also help to develop the Corporation into a competitive construction company that may be capable of tendering and winning future large government and privately funded construction contracts.

WURRUMIYANGA (NGUIU)

Local Implementation Planning Overview

The Wurrumiyanga Local Implementation Plan has been developed and agreed to by key stakeholders. Work has commenced to implement the actions in the Local Implementation Plan and an official signing ceremony will be held on a suitable day for stakeholders.

Following community consultation on how the Local Implementation Plan should be developed for Wurrumiyanga, the community decided that a single Local Reference Group would not have the necessary expertise to contribute planning information under each of the seven building blocks. The community decided that existing committees should act as advisory boards to the newly formed Local Reference Group. The advisory boards worked with the Single Government Interface to develop desired community outcomes under each building block which were then considered by the Local Reference Group. The advisory boards will continue to advise the Local Reference Group while the Local Implementation Plan is being implemented.

The Local Implementation Plan has a strong focus on economic development and health. Under the health building block, it includes the provision of education and health promotion materials to schools on hand washing and hygiene and a review of aged care and disability services.
It also includes a review of public toilets at major public areas in Wurrumiyanga.

Streetscape view of Wurrumiyanga

Streetscape view of Wurrumiyanga

Other planned highlights include:

  • working with the Matiyupwi clan on options for a locally run mortuary business;
  • upgrading the barge landing at Wurrumiyanga and investigating the possibility of a passenger ferry terminal; and
  • expanding the local school library to operate as both a school and community library.

Areas requiring attention

  • The local Alcohol Management plan has recently been finalised by the communities on the Tiwi Islands (Including Wurrumiyanga) and is now being considered by the Northern Territory Government and Licensing Commission before being submitted to the Australian Government (as it relates to provisions under the Northern Territory National Emergency Response). Given that alcohol is a significant issues in many communities, I would like to see all of the agreed Alcohol Management Plans accepted and implemented by governments as soon as possible.

Let's Start – helping children and families on the Tiwi Islands

The Wurrimiyanga Local Implementation Plan includes an action under the early childhood building block to continue and expand the Let's Start Program at Wurrimiyanga. Let's Start is a therapeutic, early intervention program for children and families at risk or with difficult behaviours, adapted specifically for the Northern Territory context from the Exploring Together Preschool Program developed at the Austin Hospital in Melbourne.

Over the past four years, Let's Start has delivered eight 10 week programs in three Tiwi Islands communities- Wurrimiyanga, Milikapiti and Pirlangimpi. Following evaluation of the program, the Let's Start Program is commencing a new model on the Tiwi Islands focused on the recruitment, training and support of a community-based Tiwi team to build capacity and local expertise in the area of early childhood. The local team, led by a locally based coordinator, will make important links across a range of community, health and education services on the Tiwi Islands and be supported by the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin.

It is anticipated that four programs will be delivered on the Tiwi Islands in 2011, including two at Wurrimiyanga. As part of the program parents are encouraged to support their child in developing key social, emotional and communication skills, while gaining confidence in managing difficult behaviour and establishing healthy boundaries.

Building on findings of the recent evaluation and in partnership with local communities, the program is now in a stage of refining and further adapting the model with the view to providing a strong evidence base to support a potential roll out of the Let's Start program to other priority communities in the Northern Territory.

YIRRKALA

Local Implementation Planning Overview

The Yirrkala Local Implementation Plan was signed on 8 December 2010 by representatives of the community, Australian and Northern Territory Governments and the East Arnhem Shire Council.

The Local Implementation Plan was formed through a collaborative effort between the Gurrutu'mirri Mala Reference Group, the Yirrkala community, Traditional Owners and the Single Government Interface.

It has a strong focus on economic participation and education. The Local Implementation Plan includes a range of actions to help create opportunities for small business development in Yirrkala and identify jobs, training and further education opportunities for Yolngu people. The Local Implementation Plan also includes using the local school facilities from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm to increase the community's contact with the school and encourage school attendance.

Other planned highlights include to:

  • establish a ‘virtual' early childhood integrated service hub, including Families as First Teachers and other programs in Yirrkala supported by establishment of an early childhood coordinator;
  • commence a passenger bus trial in the Yirrkala region; and
  • upgrade the Yirrkala Buku-Larrnggay library and multimedia facilities.

Areas requiring attention

  • In my first report I noted a concern from the community about poor school enrolments and attendance. I consider this to be an area which continues to require attention, and will be looking for positive results from the Remote Learning Partnership Agreement and education related measures being rolled out in Yirrkala.

The Governance and Compliance Project –
looking at the red tape burden and service provider compliance

There are a multiplicity of funding agreements and acquittal requirements community organisations working in Remote Service Delivery communities need to comply with. The desire to address these issues prompted a project between the Office of the Coordinator General for Remote Indigenous Services and the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs for a place-based, whole of government, corporate governance and compliance assessment trial. This trial is now going ahead in Yirrkala with the support of the Australian Government's Executive Coordination Forum on Indigenous Affairs. The Governance and Compliance Project will provide an opportunity to interact with service providers at Yirrkala from a multi-agency perspective to examine corporate governance, compliance, red-tape and reporting burden issues.

The Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Arts Centre

Further to the Local Implementation Plan's focus on economic participation, the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Arts Centre in Yirrkala is an excellent example of a community driven initiative which builds on local strengths and provides a creative outlet, training and economic development for the Yolgnu people. The works of art and craft available in the centre are drawn from Yirrkala and approximately 25 homeland centres within a radius of 200km.

Buku-Larrnggay Mulka supplies individuals and high range retail outlets nationally and internationally with small carvings, weavings, jewellery and bark paintings. It also shows solo and group exhibitions with prestigious private galleries worldwide and is a source of the most authentic yidaki (didjeridus). Works from Yirrkala were amongst the earliest commercial Aboriginal art marketed by Methodist Overseas Mission. The Yirrkala Church Panels (on display in the Yirrkala Arts museum) and Bark Petition (currently on display at Parliament House in Canberra) are famous within and outside Australia.

The Mulka Project, sponsored by private philanthropists, is a non-profit initiative in which Yolngu People use modern digital media to tell stories about their culture and history. The Mulka Project is an innovative initiative operating in partnership with academia, museums and individual researchers which contributes to skill building and employment of local people.

The Arts Centre

The Arts Centre

YUENDUMU

Local Implementation Planning Overview

The Yuendumu Local Implementation Plan was signed on 10 February 2011 by representatives from the Yuendumu Local Reference Group, the Australian and North Territory Governments and the Central Desert Shire Council.

The Local Implementation Plan was developed through close consultation between governments and the Yuendumu community, through the Yuendumu Local Reference Group. The Local Reference Group comprises 36 self nominated or community nominated members who developed the community priorities for the Local Implementation Plan. In April 2010 members of the Yuendumu Local Reference Group participated in a Remote Service Delivery Governance and Leadership Workshop focused on building the capacity of current and emerging community leaders.

The Local Implementation Plan has a strong focus on health and economic development. It includes a number of actions to ensure the provision of adequate sport and recreation facilities for youth including an upgrade of the sports oval which is contingent on school attendance improving and health education outreach programs targeting children, youth, parents and the aged. To help create local jobs, the Local Implementation Plan also includes small business support and mentoring to individuals and groups such as the Yuendumu Women’s Centre.

Other planned highlights include to:

  • construct a 50 place child and family centre;
  • establish a branch of the Traditional Credit Union at Yuendumu;
  • deliver a Parent and Community Engagement Project through the Women’s Centre; and
  • scope the feasibility for commercial visitor accommodation.

Yuendumu has recently been troubled by a number of episodes of violence between members of the community. Resolving these issues has been the most important matter for the community over the last few months and has taken precedence over events related to the Local Implementation Plan. I am heartened to hear that work is underway to broker discussions between relevant parties and support community management of conflict. I note that the community safety working group under the Northern Territory Board of Management is also focused on helping to develop a community safety strategy for Yuendumu and that a senior officers group has been established to oversee this work, led by the Northern Territory Department of Justice and with representatives from the Northern Territory Police, Northern Territory Department of the Chief Minister and the Regional Operations Centre.

Despite the recent community issues, a number of programs continue, or have recently started, to provide important services in Yuendumu. The results and sustainability of these programs reflect the capacity of the Yuendumu community to overcome challenges and should be a source of encouragement for the community to respond to the current challenges it faces.

Areas requiring attention

  • As mentioned on page 63, securing ongoing operational funding for the pool in Yuendumu is not an isolated issue and I will be carefully monitoring key infrastructure investment in Remote Service Delivery communities to help ensure there are clear lines of responsibility for the long term operation and maintenance of new assets.

Mt Theo – Youth programs

In 1994, local elders established the Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation Mt Theo Program to address chronic and widespread petrol sniffing in Yuendumu. Since then, the Mt Theo Program has grown into a comprehensive youth program in Yuendumu and the wider Warlpiri region including Lajamanu, Nyirrpi and Willowra.

The Mt Theo Program is now a key partner for many of the actions in the Yuendumu Local Implementation Plan, especially in regard to youth and recreation facilities. In Yuendumu, Mt Theo's main youth program is the Jaru Pirrjirdi (Strong Voices) Program. The Jaru Pirrjirdi program is a youth development and leadership program, as well as an aftercare program for 'at risk' youth. The program comprises six levels of growing capacity and responsibility for local youth, or Jaru trainees which include: youth program activities; cultural learning ; projects such as drivers licences, art and media; education and training opportunities; peer mentoring and counseling; and graduation.

Around 50 Jaru trainees have graduated from the program since it started in 2002 and senior Jaru Pirrjirdi are taking on active leadership roles in the community. Between July and December 2010, 28 young former Jaru members were in salaried employment.

In addition to the Jaru Pirrijirdi Program, Mt Theo also operates the Warra Warra Kanyi Youth Counseling and Mentoring service in Yuendumu to assist young people in need of specialised support. The Warra Warra Kanyi program works with young people across a wide range of challenging youth issues such as grief, substance abuse, lifestyle and relationships, and mental health. The full time counseling team engages in early intervention and crisis intervention, as well as ongoing counseling and mentoring support - between July and December 2010 the team worked with over 60 young people. The Program team comprises a qualified counselor, Warlpiri cultural supervisor and Warlpiri youth female and male mentors and has strong working relationships with the local clinic, police, legal aid, night patrols, women’s centre, school, Northern Territory Department of Families and Children and the remote mental health service.

Mt Theo is a leading practice example of a locally created and driven youth program, which provides participants with work experience, activities and specialised assistance in a supportive environment. The success of the program is based on the initiative and support of Warlpiri youth and their communities, as well as the dedication of staff. Under the Local Implementation Plan Mt Theo will continue to develop the Mt Theo Warlpiri Regional Youth Development Complex and develop strategies to reduce substance use and other youth at risk issues as well as the ongoing promotion of positive youth development activities and pathways across the Warlpiri region.

Jaru Pirrjirdi - Music Workshops.jpg

Austin Rice and Huston Marshall taking part in the Jaru Pirrjirdi (strong voices) Program

Yuendumu Pool

In common with a number of remote communities, a key community asset in Yuendumu is the local swimming pool. The pool was built in 2008 with funding from the Yuendumu community, the Australian and Northern Territory Governments and a range of philanthropic groups and businesses.

The pool is now an important part of Yuendumu and is especially popular with children and youth aged 5-16. Community swimming pools in remote communities have been linked with a number of health, social and economic benefits and the pool in Yuendumu serves a strong social and recreational purpose. The Yuendumu School and Childcare use the pool weekly during school hours, and a recent highlight was the Royal Life Saving 'Swim and Survive' Program run in November 2010 for school students. The welcoming environment at the pool has seen over 20 young Jaru trainees assist staff this season, nine of whom are engaged in ongoing Bronze Medallion life-guard training. A Warlpiri Assistant Pool Supervisor has also been appointed and the pool is maintained daily to a high standard.

The Yuendumu pool has a positive impact on health and education outcomes for young people in Yuendumu. However, a critical issue facing the pool is securing adequate ongoing operational funding. The community is keen to see this valuable service supported and has placed this issue in the Local Implementation Plan to ensure it remains a priority.

Nicole Ross and Shequille Presley at the Yuendumu Pool

Nicole Ross and Shequille Presley at the Yuendumu Pool

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