We need a voice to close the widening gap in the Northern Territory New Productivity Commission data shows that the Northern Territory is going backwards on eight out of the 17 socio-economic Closing the Gap targets.

“Business as usual is failing our people,” said Dr John Paterson, APO NT Convenor and Acting CEO of NAAJA. “We need a Voice to Parliament so our solutions can be heard.”

While states such as Western Australia and Victoria are making real progress on Closing the Gap, the Northern Territory is getting worse from an already low baseline.

“The NT has the highest proportion of Aboriginal people, but it lacks a real whole of government commitment to implementing our solutions.

“The Closing the Gap partnership depends on the recognition of our expertise,” Donna Ah Chee, APO NT Governing Group member, and Acting CEO of AMSANT.

Most concerning is the adult imprisonment numbers, which are increasing at the highest rate in the country. The Northern Territory Government has walked away from its commitment to implementing the recommendations from the Don Dale Royal Commission, and instead has reinforced and fortified punitive aspects of the justice system that we know do not work.

The NT is the only jurisdiction where the employment gap is widening.

“We have long presented alternatives to the failed and costly Community Development Program (CDP) that will create real jobs in our communities,” Dr John Paterson said. “It is wasteful and a missed opportunity not to formally partner with us on solutions.”

The gap in the life expectancy for Aboriginal women in the Northern Territory is also getting wider. Aboriginal women die 12.8 years younger than non-Aboriginal women here. Many of the Safe Houses in the Northern Territory are in a state of disrepair and neglect, if they are present in communities at all.

We call on governments to invest in Aboriginal owned and led programs to support women’s safety.

Housing in the NT remains almost twice as crowded as in all other States and Territories. The new National Partnership Agreement on Housing and Homelands is an opportunity for the NT to ensure the investment we need to close this gap.

While Aboriginal youth everywhere else are increasingly getting educated, trained and employed, our young Territorians are experiencing the worst outcomes in the country. Current, mainstream education systems are failing our children.

We call on the NTG to speed up delivering on its commitment to reform school funding so remote schools are not missing out on needs-based resourcing.

“We welcome the opportunity for a new way of working with government. At the moment, there is an inconsistency between the rhetoric and the reality. It’s one thing to be at the table and another to be heard and listened to” said Jerome Cubillo, CEO of NTIBN.

Download the Annual data report | Closing the Gap Information Repository – Productivity Commission (pc.gov.au)

Download the Media Release

For Media enquiries please contact: APO NT Manager, email: secretariat@apont.org.au | Phone: 0473 423 806

Recording of the multilingual PBCmob app.

The largest gathering of native title holder corporation members in Central Australia will this week launch a new phone app in six local languages.

The Prescribed Bodies Corporate Regional Forum, better known as PBC Camp, is a biennial event aimed at strengthening the capacity of members and directors to run more than 30 corporations in the Central Land Council’s region.

Between 100 and 150 participants will today kick off the camp at the Yipirinya School in Alice Springs, where it had to be relocated due to rain.

Tomorrow morning at 10:45am CLC chief executive Les Turner will launch the multilingual PBCmob app, a new tool tackling the literacy and language barriers to understanding one of Australia’s most complex pieces of legislation, the Native Title Act.

“Knowledge is power, and the app promises to return power where it belongs – with the native title holders,” Mr Turner said.

“It will help them cut through the legalese when they negotiate about developments such as mining and horticulture on cattle stations and manage land use agreements.”

“Native title holders in remote communities have poor access to computers and the internet and often limited digital literacy, but many use mobile phones,” said Mr Turner.

“Our highly visual app is simple and easy to navigate and, most importantly, it speaks their languages.”

It explains native title concepts in Arrernte, Alyawarr, Kaytetye, Pitjantjatjara, Warlpiri and Warumungu, and compares them with land rights.
“Native title rights and land rights are very different, yet people often confuse them,” the CLC’s manager of native title, Francine McCarthy, said. “The PBCmob app aims to clear up that confusion.”

“It will also be useful for all the agencies the members and directors of native title corporations deal with, from the National Indigenous Australians Agency to Indigenous Business Australia.”

The app was funded by the Aboriginals Benefit Account and is based on the CLC’s publication Native Title Story.

Ms McCarthy is sourcing additional funding so the CLC can add more languages to the app and also make it available on PC and Mac computers.

The three-day PBC Camp program also includes an information session and discussion about the voice to parliament.

Download the Media Release

Media Contact : Elke Wiesmann | 0417 877 579| media@clc.org.au

 The four NT land council chairs at Barunga

The chairs of the four Northern Territory Aboriginal land councils will visit Parliament House in Canberra tomorrow to deliver the 2023 Barunga Declaration urging Australians to support a Voice to Parliament.

The chairs and members of the land councils are elected representatives of tens of thousands of traditional owners and Aboriginal residents of remote communities, homelands, town camps and towns across the NT.

The four chairs will present the Barunga Declaration to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

On 9 June, members of the Northern, Central, Tiwi and Anindilyakwa land councils signed the Declaration at Barunga on the anniversary of the 1988 Barunga Statement that was presented to then Prime Minister Bob Hawke.

Thirty-five years ago the Central and Northern land council chairs Wenten Rubuntja and Yunupingu addressed the leader of the Federal Government and called for Aboriginal recognition and rights.

The Barunga Declaration

Today, the 2023 Barunga Declaration speaks directly to the people of Australia and calls for “the recognition of our peoples in our still young constitution by enshrining our voice to the parliament and executive government, never to be rendered silent with the stroke of a pen again”.

It invites all Australians to “right the wrongs of the past and deal with the serious issues impacting First Nations peoples…and unite our country”.

Northern Land Council chair, Dr Samuel Bush-Blanasi, said: “This Declaration comes from our people. It is the voice from the bush calling on all Australians to recognise us, support us, and help us make the changes so urgently needed for a better future, together.”

Tiwi Land Council chair, Gibson Farmer Illortaminni, said: “Through the establishment of a Voice to Parliament, we, the Tiwi people, want to be at the table when decisions are made that affect our land, culture, and future. We urge all Australians to join us to ensure our voices are heard and respected when important decisions are being made that affect us”.

“The Barunga Declaration deserves to hang alongside the Barunga Statement on the walls of the people’s house for all times and make future generations of Australians proud,” Central Land Council chair Matthew Palmer said.

Anindilyakwa Land Council chair, Tony Wurramarrba, said: “We want our voices to always be heard in the parliament and by the government before decisions are made about us. Business as usual has failed us. We are here to ask all Australians to help us open the door to a better way of working together and vote yes in the referendum.”

Watch grass-roots members of the land councils signing the agreement

Time and venue of the media event to be confirmed by Prime Minister’s Office.

Watch the video without subtitles

Download the Media Release

Media contacts (at Parliament House): CLC Elke Wiesmann 0417 877 579, NLC Francine Chinn 0427 031 382