It is with deep remorse that East Arnhem Regional Council President, Councillors and staff pay tribute to Dr Geoffrey G Yunupingu, and extend our sympathies to his family.

Internationally renowned artist, Australian music icon, and former Yothu Yindi singer, Dr Yunupingu was an outstanding ambassador for Indigenous people and music. 

His music transcended barriers of language, culture and distance, and continued to expose the rest of the world to the soulful sounds of East Arnhem Land.

While his gentle nature and love of music leaves a legacy that will be profoundly missed, he has continued to pave the way for the next generation to follow.

Rest in peace brother, friend and family member, a life lost too soon.

From President Banambi Wunungmurra, Councillors and Staff of East Arnhem Regional Council.


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Public Relations Coordinator - Katherine Hollis, 0457 518 772

Learning Strategy to drive Indigenous employment

East Arnhem Regional Council today launched the 2016 - 2020 Learning Strategy, reflecting Council’s strong commitment to the ongoing skills development of its workforce and to providing career pathways for its employees.

Also announced was an exciting new working partnership with not-for-profit social enterprise, Infoxchange, in an effort to improve digital literacy of Indigenous people and enable increased access to education and training.

The four year strategy focuses on developing a highly skilled Council workforce, preparing people for employment and future careers with Council and the development of communities and businesses across East Arnhem Land.

The Strategy outlines a series key targets to be achieved by 2020 including:
• Employ more than 70% Indigenous people
• Provide training for 100% of employees every year
• Provide opportunity to develop the internet skills of 1000 Indigenous people
• Assist 10% Indigenous businesses to develop their online business
• Facilitate broadband Internet connectivity for all EARC communities and provide individual connections for 1000 Indigenous people

“Digital literacy is key to Council’s ability to deliver accessible, relevant, and valuable training in our communities. If we put ourselves in a position where we can prepare people with job-ready skills for employment with Council, we are creating an even greater employee pool across the region, providing skills for life” said President Wunungmurra.

“Importantly it shows Council’s pledge to provide a blended learning environment, offering flexible, accessible, education and training” continued Mr Wunungmurra.

Infoxchange is a not-for-profit social enterprise that has delivered technology for social justice for over 25 years, and a partner with Australia Post in the Go Digi campaign - a national four year digital literacy program.

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Public Relations Coordinator - Katherine Hollis, 0457 518 772

Download a pdf of this media release
Download the 2016 - 2020 Learning Strategy

Sky is the limit for Council trainee

East Arnhem Regional Council's Indigenous Trainee Technical Officer Jacob Pangquee is continuing to excel in his role with Council's Technical Services team, successfully completing the CASA approved Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) Pilot’s Certificate in Ipswich.

The five day training course, which included an Aeronautical Radio Operator Certificate, enables Jacob to commercially operate multi-rotor aircraft, allowing him to independently assist with Council's inspections of buildings, roads, waste facilities and more.

“I am very grateful of the opportunities I’ve been given and I look forward to achieving more and starting off my career at East Arnhem Regional Council” said Jacob.

Commencing in September 2015, Jacob's traineeship has him working towards a Certificate III in Building and Construction, a position which has been made possible thanks to a $45 000 funding partnership between Council and Developing East Arnhem Limited.

A funding first for both organisations, the DEAL Programme provided $45 000 towards the traineeship, with the programme created to provide support and financial assistance to promote economic development, diversification and sustainability of indigenous and other businesses in the region, support employment and training opportunities for residents, and enhance economic wellbeing within the East Arnhem Land region.

"Jacob has been an extremely valuable addition to our Tech Services team. He has shown a strong thirst for knowledge and experience and his enthusiasm to be involved in as much as possible has been extremely encouraging to see" said Council's Director Technical Services, Shane Marshall.

"The funding through DEAL has enabled us to make this position a reality. Long term we see Jacob as a valuable member of the Council team and hope this traineeship acts as a great catalyst for future partnerships with DEAL.”

Jacob will continue to be involved in a range of programs including building inspections, repairs and maintenance to building assets, and supporting projects like the CDU mosquito larvae collection and adult mosquito trapping for virus testing.

After working across all areas of the Technical Services team and completing training in ARCHICAD, the computer assisted drafting program, Jacob will focus his placement in the Building Infrastructure stream and carpentry, where he will work closely with our Technical Officer Mike Bollard commencing on some big projects in Gapwiyak.

A great initiative from both parties, the funding agreement will conclude in June 2016, with Council maintaining the position moving forward.

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Public Relations Coordinator - Katherine Hollis, 0457 518 772
Director Technical Services - Shane Marshall

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Drone technology taking Council to new heights

Local government’s increasing use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones as they are morecommonly known, is a growing field of interest and one now at the forefront of East Arnhem Regional Council operations in the wake of two devastating cyclones.

It was nearly a year ago that Cyclones Lam and Nathan caused widespread destruction across our region, of which we many areas are still recovering. These events, and the mammoth clean up and rebuild which followed, has created an excessive volume of waste and highlights the significance of waste management as a key Council priority.

East Arnhem Regional Council is currently undertaking consolidation works at the Ramingining Landfill site where waste has been both legally and illegally dumped, with similar captures having been completed in both Milingimbi and Galiwin’ku. Management of this project involved the daily surveillance of the consolidation areas by use of an unmanned aircraft.

East Arnhem Regional Council’s Director of Technical Services, Shane Marshall, is excited by the new prospects this technology is bringing to Council’s arsenal of tools.

“This aerial capture has markedly assisted in our understanding of the progression and outcomes of these works.”

“With over 33 000km2 of land mass under our governance the uses for this technology is endless. Already we’ve identified key benefits of using the drone in other areas of asset management, mapping and disaster management, tree condition assessments, wetlands assessment and feral animal monitoring”.

Due to the overwhelming results seen by the introduction of the drones, an additional three Council staff will undertake the RPAS Remote Pilot Certificate course in the coming months, including our young Indigenous Technical Services Trainee.

Council is conducting a full review of waste services across the region identifying the use of the unmanned aerial vehicle as vital in the collection of information, and is expected to be completed in May 2016.

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Public Relations Coordinator - Katherine Hollis, 0457 518 772

Download a pdf of this media release

'No More' Campaign Launched in Ramingining

Ramingining has joined the growing community movement in saying ‘No More’ to domestic violence.

Driven by East Arnhem Regional Council Youth Worker Mentor Will Gee in partnership with the NT Police, Ramingining locals were joined by No More Founder and domestic violence advocate Charlie King, members of the local football teams, RJCP, ALPA, AFLNT, the local health clinic and the school, linking arms in support of the campaign and saying ‘No More’ to family and domestic violence.

In collaboration with the four teams in the EARC Football League, a domestic violence action plan was developed and a committee made up of traditional owners and the players formed, with the committee overseeing the implementation and engagement of the plan moving forward. Importantly, male students from year five onwards attended and participated in the day.

For Council and community members, it was a great opportunity to have Charlie King and his team in Ramingining to reinforce the community safety work that is taking place and bringing residents, stakeholders and importantly our youth together to discuss this very real problem. Across the nation the issue of family and domestic violence is not going away. The aim of the No More campaign is to reduce family and domestic violence by engaging men in the sporting community at both the grassroots and national level. Ramingining is proud to be a part of this campaign.

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**Photos available**

Chief Executive Officer - John Japp, 08 8986 8914
Public Relations Coordinator - Katherine Hollis, 0457 518 772

Download a pdf of this media release

Community Communications To Benefit In East Arnhem

East Arnhem Regional Council communities will continue to see strong benefits throughthe Federal Government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy funding,with Council recently signing off on a 3 year, $12.8mil grant.

Funding under this grant will support the ongoing delivery of our essential programs in Youth, Sport and Recreation, remote indigenous broadcasting, and the Night Patrol service.

As part of the wider agreement, Council was also successful in securing funding for the installation of community announcement systems in three East Arnhem communities.

After being trialled in Yirrkala with great success, the project now has the financial backing to be rolled out in Milingimbi, Ramingining and Galiwin’ku. Improving communication between Council, community members and other local service providers, the pilot project saw it used to broadcast bushfire threats, mosquito borne disease and spraying information, daily RJCP messages, promotion of school attendance, and community events just to name a few.

Involving the installation of multiple speaker stations around each community, the system provides the capability to broadcast safety messages similar to those broadcast to mainstream communities through text messages by government service providers.

The system will allow Council (with all appropriate approvals) to broadcast on the frequency of local radio stations, extending the reach of broadcast to residents.

The master units will be located in Council’s Community Offices and will include in-built memory units which allow for automatic broadcast of pre-recorded messages. These can be set up for any time, any day, depending on type of emergency or natural disaster.

Council welcomes the funding through the IAS, acknowledging the signing of the agreement is a significant outcome for our communities, ensuring continuation of our existing services and jobs.

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Public Relations Coordinator - Katherine Hollis, 0457 518 772

Download a pdf of this media release

Passing of Mr Wunungmurra

It is with deep remorse that East Arnhem Regional Councillors and staff pay tribute to former Northern Land Council Chairman, Mr Wunungmurra and extend our sympathies to his brother, East Arnhem Regional Council President Mr Banambi Wunungmurra and his family.

A signatory to the 1963 Yirrkala Bark Petitions, Mr Wunungmurra was a senior Aboriginal leader, respected throughout Australia.

Decades of tireless work championing Aboriginal rights was recognised recently, honored at Garma Festival as a Yolngu Hero.

While his gentle nature, love of education and advocacy for indigenous rights leaves a legacy that will be profoundly missed, he has paved the way for the next generation to follow.

Rest in peace brother, friend and family member.

From the Councillors and Staff of East Arnhem Regional Council.

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Public Relations Coordinator - Katherine Hollis, 0457 518 772

Download a pdf of this media release

Draft 2015/16 Council Plan & Budget released

East Arnhem Regional Council has released the Draft 2015/16 Council Plan & Budget. Robust and responsible, the 2015/16 Plan & Budget aims to continue the essential work across our core service delivery areas. Council recognises the impact of Cyclone Lam and Cyclone Nathan on the day to day functioning of several East Arnhem communities, with consideration given throughout our Plan & Budget in assisting with the continued rebuild efforts.

President Mr Banambi Wunungmurra is confident that the 2015/16 budget will continue to deliver on key projects, providing high quality services and sustainable employment and development for the people of East Arnhem Land.

“I’m very proud of Councils 2015/16 Budget. It provides strong direction for our communities, whilst maintaining emphasis on creating and sustaining employment opportunities and continual development of community for our people.”

“I’m excited to announce a new Indigenous Technical Officer Traineeship has been identified which will work directly with our Regional Managers in Roads Infrastructure, Building Infrastructure, Fleet Management and Environmental and Waste Management” said the President.

“Our remoteness is real and Council appreciates the vital importance of reliable access to and from our communities. In the next year we will continue our road resealing program, with key projects identified in Yirrkala and Galiwin’ku.”

“We’ve also been busy working on a Regional Waste Strategy and will focus on further implementation of this as well as landfill upgrades across the region” continued Mr Wunungmurra.

The Budget includes in excess of $5m for Aged and Disability Services, $1,821,881 for Youth, Sport and Recreation, over $900,000 for Children and Family Services, and $2,237,092 for Community Safety services and projects.

The President encourages community feedback and discussion on the Plan.

“This is a very solid and well considered budget. In the past four months parts of our region have suffered severely from the impacts of Cyclone Nathan and Lam, and the Budget takes into consideration rebuild and support priorities, as well as continuing the high level of service delivery that Council is accustomed to providing”.

Council invites comment on the Draft 2015/16 Council Plan & Budget, which will remain available for public consultation for 28 days. We encourage all members of Council’s nine East Arnhem communities to provide their feedback by 4pm Tuesday 30 June. Feedback can be left at any of our community Council Offices, or emailed directly to

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Public Relations Coordinator - Katherine Hollis, 0457 518 772

Download a pdf of this media release

EARC Veterinary Service & Delivery Capacity

East Arnhem Regional Council makes the following statement in relation to the current veterinary practice situation within the township of Nhulunbuy and Council’s veterinary services delivery capacity.

Council recently engaged with the NT Government to appoint professionals to prepare a Feasibility Study reviewing the viability of a stand alone Veterinary Service for Nhulunbuy, of which Council could consider operating. After considering the results of this study, Council has voted not to pursue this service. EARC allocated considerable time and resources in the investigation of viability, working with key stakeholders in the search for a solution, and we are disappointed at any reference suggesting otherwise.

East Arnhem Regional Council supports the need for veterinary services to be available to residents of Nhulunbuy and appreciates the impact that this current service delivery gap is causing. It is not however within Council’s capacity to expand our program to provide veterinary services to the township. Council’s key priority must remain on providing the best possible

Animal Welfare Program to our constituents within our operational locations. Council is committed to providing an Animal Welfare Program which aims to improve the health and wellbeing of companion animals and improve overall health and wellbeing of remote Indigenous communities. The program delivers a range of vet and animal welfare services including education in the following communities:

Council strives for continual improvement and delivery of our Animal Welfare Program, which provides a very limited veterinary service. The program works to develop appropriate policies, consult with community members, explore options for animal population control, educate community members and develop skills and capacity within communities to support the program.

The program extends to “discrete Indigenous communities” and as such does not extend to Nhulunbuy which is not a designated operational community (as previously listed above).

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Director Technical Services - Shane Marshall, 08 8986 8916
Public Relations Coordinator - Katherine Hollis, 0457 518 772

Download a pdf of this media release

The Long Road from East Arnhem to New York

East Arnhem youth have a history of exceptional achievements, with another two inspirational individuals making their mark. Gapuwiyak’s Chris Guyula, 19, and Galiwin’ku’s Jacinta Gurruwiwi, also 19, have been selected in the 12 runner squad training to take on the 2015 New York Marathon as part of the Indigenous Marathon Project (IMP).

A record 143 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander runners applied for this years program, with Chris and Jacinta going the distance, selected in the six male and six female squad.

It’s been more than a year of pounding the dirt tracks around the East Arnhem community of Gapuwiyak for young local Chris Guyula, who has been training under the watchful eye of East Arnhem Regional Council (EARC) Youth Worker Mentor Atnas Maeko. After joining the EARC Sport & Rec Running Club last year, Chris has been guided and mentored by Atnas, with the hard work set to ramp up to new levels.

"My first run with IMP will be a 10km run in Canberra next month and I am training 6 days a week short runs for that. The training will get harder the closer I get to the New York Marathon but I am ready for it” said Chris.

The IMP has far reaching effects, aiming to promote healthy lifestyles, increase pride, instil a sense of achievement and have a positive impact on lifestyle related illnesses. The running clubs established throughout East Arnhem as a flow on effect of IMP have been highly successful and have helped support and encourage our runners as they worked towards selection in the 2015 IMP squad.

Chris knows this all too well. “Some of my friends and family have now joined the Gapuwiyak running club and run with me every week, so seeing the community get more involved in running motivates me too."

"It means a lot because I have trained hard and worked toward this goal. It means I can represent my community and show the young people in Gapuwiyak that if we work hard we can achieve whatever we want."

East Arnhem Regional Council President, Mr Banambi Wunungmurra, is rightfully proud of the pairs selection.

“After the success Evelyna Dhamarrandji had in 2013 with the IMP, it’s fantastic to see a new group of runners standing up to represent East Arnhem. I congratulate both Jacinta and Chris on their selection. Their hard work, dedication and commitment sets a great example for everyone in our communities. We wish them the best of luck” said President Wunungmurra.

As part of the program, Jacinta and Chris will also undertake a Certificate IV in Leisure and Health, and compete in numerous lead up events and time trials before the final team is selected for the New York Marathon.

*Photo available on request
** Link to Indigenous Marathon Project Media Release provided

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Public Relations Coordinator - Katherine Hollis, 0457 518 772

Download a pdf of this media release

Cyclone Lam clean up underway

East Arnhem Regional Council has now moved into the clean up and recovery stage post Cyclone Lam, with efforts underway in East Arnhem communities Milingimbi,Ramingining, Galwin’ku and Gapuwiyak.

To date communications, water and sewerage have now been reestablished in all four communities. Power is currently back on line to power stations and service lines,however updates over the next 24hours are expected relating to customer reconnection.

Water ‘Boil Alert’s’ have now been lifted in all communities.

Roads have now been cleared to all airports, airstrips and barge landings.

Council President Banambi Wunungmurra highlights the pre-cyclone preparations undertaken in reducing the impact and severity of damage by Cyclone Lam.

“Council worked closely with the NT Police, Fire & Emergency Services, PowerWater, RJCP providers, and relevant community stakeholders in each of the affected communities to ensure Cyclone Management Plans were enacted. This has resulted in reduced impact caused by the Category 4 cyclone.

Together we are now working to reduce and remove potential hazards caused by the cyclone’s destruction, and get community life back to normality as soon as possible.

I commend all parties for their hard work in both the planning, preparation and now clean up, and we intend to continue to work with the Disaster Recovery Teams during this phase” said President Wunungmurra.

Extensive damage to both infrastructure and bush growth has seen the bulk of the work created, with Galiwin’ku on Elcho Island the worst effected community. With a population of over 2 000 residents, emphasis is heavily focused on providing running repairs to residencies and ensuring access to clean water and appropriate health facilities.

President Wunungmurra, “We cannot highlight enough the work undertaken by Council staff, stakeholders and community members in their preparations, who understood and acted on the threat that Cyclone Lam posed. This has reduced the potential damage to not only infrastructure, but also ensured there was no loss of life.”

Updates will be continue to be provided as damage assessment and clean up continues.

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Chief Executive Officer - John Japp
Public Relations Coordinator - Katherine Hollis, 0457 518 772

Download a pdf of this media release