Remote communities have highly mobile populations with multiple residences, in …

Comment on NT needs someone to ‘call things honestly’ says Havnen … by Ralph Folds.

Remote communities have highly mobile populations with multiple residences, in several communities, outstations and town camps, confusing names (for whitefellas), overestimations of remote community populations based on actual residence at just about any particular time and, as a result, data that is inaccurate and equivocal enough to be subject to a range of interpretations depending on one’s bent. Against that, remote community men can, in no way, afford to not have an income. Remote community men who are not employed access a range of benefits including a share of family payments and other forms of welfare and there is a very high level of pressure on agencies to ensure that any elgible person is getting a benefit. The failure of a single payment for any reason can produce a storm of protest. What I particularly object to from someone with the assumed credibility of the former NT Coordinator-General of Remote Service Delivery is that her statement has strong implications for policy action to remedy a host of other problems. It’s a false trail, yet another one, and it absolutely needs to be challenged in a forthright manner in the public domain. I do understand that the role of coordinator general has many passionate and articulate defenders, but to be effective it needed to be grounded in the day to day realities of remote community life and it simply wasn’t.

Ralph Folds Also Commented

NT needs someone to ‘call things honestly’ says Havnen …
Annie, so you’re ‘not in any way engaged with the data’ but simply object to the language I use? W.E.H Stanner highlighted the importance of grounding policies in the real lives of Aboriginal people, and wrote in an understated way that you may find more satisfactory: ‘We thus sometimes beg the question whether we have consulted the right reality in the first place’. I would think that this applies rather well to Olga Havnen’s claim that 60% of Aboriginal men of working age (in the NT) have no income.

ED – The ‘60% with no income’ claim was with respect to men living in remote communities in the NT, not the NT as a whole.

NT needs someone to ‘call things honestly’ says Havnen …
Thanks Annie,
I would have thought that the 60% figure is extraordinary enough to require some rigour of its own in the form of credible evidence to support it, and I neither see that in the comments nor can find it in my research of the available data. Please direct me to it. My ‘evidence’, of a couple of decades of working in remote communities and with their residents, tells me that the statement is absurd. That it could be presented by the former NT Coordinator-General of Remote Service Delivery is disturbing, and I think, justifies the claim that she is disconnected with the reality she describes.

NT needs someone to ‘call things honestly’ says Havnen …
‘you’ve got 60% of Aboriginal men of working age (in the NT) who have no income…’ this statement shows the disconnect between the ex Coordinator-General of Remote Services and the reality she is attempting to describe.

Recent Comments by Ralph Folds

Offenders bailed to ‘country’: An option, says police
David, it’s not just Lhere Artepe selling grog but other major Aboriginal groups in town have also tried to make money out of selling grog.
The Memo Club was funded by CentreCorp and behind that was the Central Land Council and Congress.
Yes Congress, recipient of $40m a year from taxpayers to improve Aboriginal health was on the CentreCorp Board that supported grog sales, mostly to Aboriginal people.

Congress call: Put full-time police back at bottle-shops
Local 1: I wouldn’t use the criterion of Aboriginal or non Aboriginal ownership in deciding which outlets should be closed down.
That seems irrelevant.
I would look at the proximity of outlets to tourists and their ability to cater to increased numbers of drinkers once the total number of outlets is reduced.
The NT Police would have an important say in the decision.
Basically, we need fewer outlets and ones that lend themselves to intensive ongoing policing.
The savings to the NT Government in the long term from having fewer outlets to police would be considerable.

Congress call: Put full-time police back at bottle-shops
What will it cost to police each alcohol outlet for a decade? $4m?
They must be policed so what we need to do is to reduce the number of outlets.
The NT Government should buy out a couple of the current licences.
Yes, expensive, but $8m saved in a decade with other benefits as well.
Outlets that contribute to the most social disruption and damage to the Territory’s reputation with tourists should be the ones to go.

Bully buffel barges into natives’ live and let live harmony
The sooner we get the buffel grass seed head caterpillar to work the better.
It’s native to Queensland and eaten by many birds and it should thrive and roll back the buffel invasion.
For all the talk of another cane toad, the grub would need a massive environmental downside for it to do more harm that good.

Town council’s unanimous ‘no’ to fracking
Here in the NT it is an economic necessity that we get get used to the idea of using some of our water for mining activity.
Most of this use will be sustainable and not mined and the NT Government is now applying strict guidelines to ground water use.
A big change is that mines are no longer exempt from the NT Water Act.
This means that mines must now account for ground water draw down.
The recent environmental approval of the Mt Peake mine North of Alice is an outstanding example of the use and protection of ground water resources in developing a world scale billion dollar mine.
Mt Peake will bring more than 500 jobs in the construction place and 250 permanent jobs during the mine life of around 20 years.
This is the Inpex of the Southern Region of the Territory.
Local businesses will be flat out working on the new mine and will rapidly expand over a two to three year mine construction period.
Training of Aboriginal people and employment will be a priority for TNG, the company that will own the mine.
All Territorians will benefit.
Water for the mine comes for an aquifer that is not connected to other aquifers and this is the case for many aquifers that are subject to fracking.
Mining and water conservation can be compatible and having a blanket ban on fracking is just silly.
Every project should be examined on an individual basis.

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