NT, Commonwealth initiative to make homelands more viable

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

 

Sir – The Country Liberals Government is committed to making homelands a viable place to live for Indigenous Territorians with a new funding formula that is focused on equity.

 

The new long term funding arrangements were negotiated with the Commonwealth Government through the municipal and essential services implementation plan guaranteeing funding for ten years.

 

Under the previous arrangement service providers were funded on an inequitable basis that failed to distinguish between occupied or unoccupied, how remote the homeland is, and, if they had power and other services. The old system was more of a ‘flat rate per a homeland’ basis’

 

Some service providers were being funded for homelands with only one house while other providers received the same funding for many houses. This was an inequitable arrangement.

 

There has been an audit of Territory homelands and we have established a new funding formula that will ensure service providers receive the correct funding for the number of houses they are responsible for.

 

Homelands will receive further support through the Country Liberals Government’s Homelands Extra program which is $16m of new money, wholly funded by the Territory Government.

 

Eligible households on homelands and outstations are able to apply for $5,200 worth of works to their home.

 

“This is the first time a Territory Government has made a significant financial commitment, on top of Commonwealth funding, to improve conditions on homelands and outstations.

 

I am strongly encouraging people on homelands to contact their service providers and apply for this program, I’ve been encouraged by the feedback I’ve received from people I have spoken to from my electorate who have lodged applications.

 

Alison Anderson (pictured)

Minister for Regional Development

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4 Comments (starting with the most recent)

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  1. Interested observer
    Posted July 26, 2013 at 6:29 am

    Thanks Paul, I’m not at all advocating that public monies become even more freely available.
    For a start, I don’t think that money should be spent on buying leasehold for millions of dollars to effectively pay for the right to build free new houses, that is a disgrace and lease arrangements should have been handballed straight back to the land councils to work out – or not.
    I wouldn’t build or improve any house on any outstation unless there was clear evidence of long term occupation. I also wouldn’t provide any housing on communities without substantial co-contribution from the community or the direct beneficiaries of that housing.

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  2. Paul Parker
    Posted July 25, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Interested observer (Posted July 24, 2013 at 3:38 pm) appears unaware funding for improvements on privately owned land rests with the owners.
    Land Owners may enter a wide variety of arrangements with others to raise required funds for their desired improvements.
    Conventional financiers are prepared to provide such funds.
    Why are they not being used ?
    A lien upon the property is a standard term for such loans.
    So what are the average unimproved capital values for a quarter acre block in Docker River, Kintore, Yuendumu, and Papunya
    Major barrier to development upon the ALR (NT) lands has been landowners, the corporate Land Trusts, refusing to provide adequate security through leases to receive the funds.
    For three decades the ALR (NT) land-owners allowed developments without the securities, and the Commonwealth provided funds.
    As result the ALR (NT) Land Owners received millions of dollars developments upon their lands,
    What is to show ?
    Now even the Commonwealth requires a degree of security for their providing development funds
    Many pleased to obtain a new house built in Alice Springs paid with Commonwealth Public Monies with them having all control, yet no responsibility and no liability upon them.
    Is “Interested Observer” advocating public monies being made so freely available to anyone with any idea, any hope, like “build a house” without the various expected securities?
    Or does Interested Observer NOT accept the ALR (NT) lands are privately owned ?

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  3. Interested observer
    Posted July 24, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    The basis for funding must be whether or not people actually live at an outstation. To my knowledge Docker River has 9 unoccupied outstations, Kintore has 5, Yuendumu has at least 6, Papunya has 4 etc etc.
    To fund these on the basis of houses left abandoned is a waste of money, they were deserted when they had excellent housing, water and some had solar power, because people did not want to live permanently on them.
    At best they were camps, occupied a couple of times a year when people were on hunting trips in the area.
    Resurrecting them will not bring permanent residents. Money should be spent where people actually live.

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  4. Russell Guy
    Posted July 24, 2013 at 9:52 am

    This sounds like a reasonable initiative at face value. How does the Minister differentiate homelands, outstations and communities? There are quite a few that seem to overlap and are still falling between the cracks.
    Instead of encouraging them to contact their service providers, wouldn’t a visitation serve a better purpose, not only to advise about this program, but to collect other important data, or at least correlate employment potential, clinical health and educational needs?
    A more detailed approach is needed, especially if we are to move beyond government funding for housing and into a new model of private ownership, together with the family aspirations that it provides. This requires solid, multi-tiered leadership.
    Income taxation for individuals receiving more than welfare is a Federal obligation, but it effects the success of NTG programs, so shouldn’t be shrugged off with a “that’s their patch” response.
    A bipartisan approach to humanitarian and fiscal fallibility is not something that has many runs on the board in this jurisdiction, so that legal responsibility to citizens is often lost in translation and we wonder at the increasing complexity.
    The question of land tenure needs to be sorted, so that taxpayers can have some accountability and confidence in government spending of our money.
    The availability of alcohol to these places and their security from roting of “Dry” arrangements requires police reports on a tri-monthly basis. I would welcome a response from our Minister.

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