Statement on Statehood from David Ross, director of the Central Land Council

Posted: Fri, March 04, 2011

Statement on Statehood from David Ross, director of the Central Land Council

“The Central Land Council isn’t interested in statehood until a Royal Commission is held into the expenditure of funds by successive Northern Territory governments on Indigenous affairs since self government in 1978.

“Numerous reports and studies have shown repeated mismanagement and rorting of funds that were supposed to be spent on addressing Aboriginal disadvantage but were not.

“One of the starkest examples was John Taylor’s report on expenditure in Wadeye that found just eight cents in the dollar intended to be spent there actually was.

“The current dysfunction and anti-social behaviour that people complain about in places like Alice Springs is a direct result of the neglect and mismanagement by successive governments in the Northern Territory.

“The intervention has seen CDEP programs either axed or reduced to mirror work-for-the-dole schemes where participants have no sense of self worth and the Territory Government has scrapped community councils for the creation of the shires.

“These decisions have compounded the symptoms of a broader picture of mismanagement since self government meaning people from remote areas are gravitating to larger centres because they’ve been left with nothing to do in their communities and no sense of ownership of the functions in those places.

“Only a Royal Commission will get to the bottom of how big the problem is and enable a clear way forward.

“Without having that full understanding of the circumstances unfettered by political spin nothing will change whether we are called a territory or a state because the same mistakes will continue to be made.”