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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Contact: 
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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Contact:
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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Contact:
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**

Contact:
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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Contact:
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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Contact:
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 info@eastarnhem.nt.gov.au

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

Download a pdf of this media release

Passing of Gapuwiyak Local Authority Member

It is with deep remorse that East Arnhem Regional Councillors and staff pay tribute to Gapuwiyak Local Authority Member, Mr Marrkula, and extend their sympathies to his family and people on his passing on 3 January 2015.

His contribution will be remembered and missed and we thank him sincerely.

Rest in peace brother, friend and valued community and family member.

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

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Contact:
Public Relations Coordinator - Katherine Hollis, 0457 518 772

Download a pdf of this media release

EARC welcomes new Deputy President

On 26 November 2014, East Arnhem Regional Council Councillors voted unanimously to appoint Councillor Gawura Wanambi as Deputy President, East Arnhem Regional Council.

Elected as a Councillor in the 2012 NT Shire Council election in the Gumurr Miyarrka Ward, Deputy President Gawura Wanambi is serving his first term in Council and first term as the Deputy President.

Deputy President Wanambi was born in the Arnhem Bay area, an area established long before Gapuwiyak was formed. Gawura is a member of the Marraŋu Clan and his homeland is Raymaŋirr.

During the Ordinary Council Meeting on 11 April 2012 Council resolved to approve a 2 year rotation of the Deputy President role, which would be applied for the period of the the current Council Term (at the time 2012 - 2016). Gumurr Marthakal Ward Councillor Mavis Daŋanbarr was the first Councillor to be elected as Deputy President during this term.

Council President Wunungmurra welcomes the appointment of Deputy President Wanambi, recognising Councillor Duŋanbarr for her achievements.

“Councillor Duŋanbarr has represented Council and her people with the highest integrity and dedication during her time as Deputy President. Her contribution was often above the call of duty, an exceptional Deputy, leader, and individual.

I thank her for her work whilst Deputy President, and look forward to working alongside her in Council as she continues to represent and advocate for the people of the Marthakal Ward” said President Wunungmurra.

Newly elected Deputy President Wanambi has hit the ground running.

“I am honoured and excited to be taking on this role. The recognition by my fellow Councillors is humbling, and I look forward to continuing the hard work of my predecessor. This is a proud moment not only for myself, but for my people” Deputy President Wanambi said.

Mr Wanambi continued, “My commitment to advocating and improving services in Gapuwiyak will stay strong, at the same time working for all of our people in East Arnhem Land. I look forward to working alongside President Wunungmurra - together we can achieve great things”.

Mr Wanambi is a father of 4, and grandfather of 3. A full biography is attached to this release

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Contact:
Chief Executive Officer - John Japp, 08 8986 8904
Public Relations Coordinator - Katherine Hollis, 0457 518 772

Download a pdf of this media release
Download Gawura Wanambi's biography

 

Local Authorities Ready for Work

East Arnhem Regional Council has successfully worked with constituents of each East Arnhem Community to establish nine Local Authorities, with all having held their first official meeting.

Under changes to the Local Government Act, which formally recognised the Local Authority in January 2014, each of the nine East Arnhem Communities were required to establish a Local Authority by 1st July 2014.

East Arnhem Regional Council President, Banambi Wunungmurra, and CEO John Japp, spent the early months of 2014 traveling to each Community; Ramingining, Milingimbi, Galiwin’ku, Gapuwiyak, Yirrkala, Gunyangara, Milyakburra, Angurugu and Umbakumba, consulting with local residents, explaining the new structure and encouraging nominations. After receiving an exceptional response in nominations, a final list of 107 Nominated Members were endorsed to positions on the Local Authorities. A further 34 individuals sit as Reserves.

“We worked hard to make sure our residents understood the changes and why the Local Authority would be replacing our Community Advisory Boards. Our Council works closely with our residents and their representative body so it was important to us that we got the consultation and nomination process right” said President Wunungmurra.

The Local Authority has replaced Community Advisory Boards (CABs) which ran successfully in each of our Communities since 2008. Acting as a vital link in the consultation process of Local Government in the East Arnhem Region, they will carry on the strong work CABs undertook as the voice of communities, empowering local representatives, informing Elected Members and stakeholders, and respecting the cultural structures and complexity of traditional society.

President Wunungmurra looks to the future with much excitement. “I welcome our newly nominated Local Authority Members, and thank our outgoing Community Advisory Board Members for their hard work and commitment in working with Council to improve the position of our Communities. We have a bright future ahead of us and together we will ensure East Arnhem is looked at as a visionary, focused on innovation and inspired progress”.

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

Download a pdf of this media release

East Arnhem Regional Council Open and Transparent

East Arnhem Regional Council wishes to respond to the claims made by Minister for Local Government, Dave Tollner, in relation to the Council’s dealings with Latitude 12 and the position of Council members on the company’s Board of Directors.

Council President, Mr Banambi Wunungmurra said East Arnhem Regional Council conducts their operations in an open and transparent manner at all times, in line with the legislative requirements of the Local Government Act.

“East Arnhem Regional Council has and will continue to work with the Department of Local Government in any aspect of investigations they wish to conduct.

The implied suggestion by Mr Tollner that our members may not fully understand their position on the Latitude 12 Board, or the potential implications of Council being involved with a private company, is both condescending and disrespectful”.

A concept of East and West Arnhem Regional Council, Latitude 12 was created to act as an organisation that could provide common services to both Councils; the aim to reduce duplication and provide greater outcomes for Communities and residents. Commencing operation on 1 July 2010, Latitude 12 is a successful entity delivering core services while developing an asset base for East and West Arnhem Regional Councils.

The success of Latitude 12 was recognised at the 2013 National Awards for Local Government, with East Arnhem Regional Council receiving commendation in the category of Regional Collaboration.

East Arnhem Regional Council continues to be committed to providing outstanding services and programs to the residents of our Communities, and will ultimately act in a manner, within legislative boundaries, which will improve our ability to provide these services.

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

Download a pdf of this media release

Our ‘Lifestyle Choice’. Our people. Our Life.

It is with great disappointment that East Arnhem Regional Council President and Councillors feel the need to respond to recent comments made by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

In a recent interview with ABC Radio, Prime Minister Abbott made statements regarding the ongoing financial commitment by Government and subsidising by taxpayers of remote Indigenous Communities.

“What we can’t do is endlessly subsidise lifestyle choices if those lifestyle choices are not conducive to the kind of full participation in Australian society that everyone should have,” said Prime Minister Abbott.

East Arnhem Regional Council President Mr Banambi Wunungmurra is saddened by these and other comments made by the Prime Minister, who recently spent time in East Arnhem Land experiencing the ‘lifestyle’ of our people.

"He is presenting a very narrow view. A view we interpret as a threat to all Indigenous people in Australia" said President Wunungmurra.

"Statements such as these from our PM is embarrassing and on coal face appear highly discriminatory and ill-advised.

Slamming the door on these communities does not close the gap. There are more than than just jobs involved here. To infer that education and health are of little concern to Indigenous people living in remote communities is greatly offensive. We work tirelessly to improve the living conditions and access to these services, our people taking great pride in not only providing these services on the ground, but driving the improvement of community lifestyles.

Spend five minutes in one of our recently cyclone ravaged communities and you will see the community spirit which has shone through. It’s an ‘all hands on deck approach’ which community members, whether as a paid employee, or purely through their will to forge forward through the devastation, have embraced" continued Mr Wunungmurra.

President Wunungmurra concludes, “It is unsettling to hear Mr Abbott reiterate his point, emphasising individuals rights to be free to live where they choose, but within reason and within what is acceptable to the taxpayer. The Prime Minister does not have thousands of years connection to the land, our land and cannot truly expect to speak on behalf of every Australian, especially the first people who have, as history shows, natured and cared for this land.”

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Contact:
Public Relations Coordinator - Katherine Hollis, 0457 518 772

Download a pdf of this media release

East Arnhem Shire Council welcomes new Chief Executive Officer

East Arnhem Shire Council is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr John Japp to the position of Chief Executive Officer. John brings a wealth of ideas and experience to the table and the Council is looking forward to working together to reach our goals.

After spending 17 years in Papua New Guinea as a Senior Lecturer at the Madang Marine College, John returned to Australia with his family, recently completing a three year contract as CEO of Aurukun Shire in Cape York. Prior to this, he held the position of CEO at Kowanyama Aboriginal Shire Council, also in Far North Queensland.

East Arnhem Shire Council President, Mr Banambi Wunungmurra, said “John identified four key strengths of the East Arnhem Shire Council prior to applying for the position; The communities we serve; Our vision; Our capabilities; and the quality of the people he would be working with.”

“He is planning to take time to ‘assess the strategy and operations’ with our Councillors, Executive and myself.”

“I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of Councillors and staff to welcome John, and look forward to working together for the benefit of all the people of East Arnhem Shire’ said President Wunungmurra.

Appreciative of President Wunungmurra’s welcome, Mr Japp said “Recent statistics from the last census have identified the East Arnhem Shire as the eighth most-disadvantaged community in Australia. There are certain reasons for that, and something has to be done to reduce that level of disadvantage. After researching East Arnhem Shire Council I am confident that the Council has tremendous potential in expanding and improving services for its communities and I look forward to working on improving our capabilities together.”.

Based in Nhulunbuy, John will spend the next few months visiting all nine communities, spending three or four days in each, where he will get to know the issues of each community, meeting significant people and observing the role of the shire and other agencies.

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Contact:
Public Relations Co-ordinator - Katherine Hollis, 0457 518 772

Download a pdf of this media release

Chief Executive Officer Tenders Resignation

After more than four and a half years in the top job, East Arnhem Shire Council inaugural Chief Executive Officer Mr Ian Bodill, has tendered his resignation.

President Banambi Wunungmurra paid tribute to Mr Bodill and his significant contribution to the East Arnhem Shire Council since joining in early 2008.

“It is with great hesitation that I have accepted Ian’s resignation”, said President Wunungmurra.

“Ian has worked tirelessly in bringing staff together following amalgamation and implemented changes to council’s operations that have benefitted the organisation and communities of East Arnhem Land.

“East Arnhem Shire Council is recognised as a progressive council within Northern Territory Local Government and this has been achieved under the vision of Ian.

“The council as a whole would like to thank Ian for his invaluable service and leadership, particularly during the early stages of a new council; firstly learning to crawl and now walk.

“We wish Ian every success with his future endeavours”, said President Wunungmurra.

Mr Bodill has enjoyed his time as Chief Executive and praised the dedication, commitment and professionalism of the Council and 300 strong shire workforce.

“It has been a blessing to work with aboriginal communities of East Arnhem Land” said Mr Bodill.

“You are only as good as the team around you, and I have had the absolute honour of working with not only a professional & dedicated workforce, but also a strong & stable council that has lead by example in the decision making process of council.

“I look forward to the new opportunities and challenges that lie ahead and wish everyone all the best,” he said.

Mr Bodill’s tenure has seen through the amalgamation of the community councils to the East Arnhem Shire as well as the implementation of the Northern Territory’s first stand alone Reconciliation Action Plan.

His resignation will allow Mr Bodill, who has spent a number of years working in Executive Local Government Management, to spend much valued time with his wife, plan for his daughters marriage and complete his second Masters degree.

Mr Bodill will leave the position on Friday 19 October 2012. Chief Financial & Operations Officer Mr Kerry Whiting has been appointed Acting CEO.

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Contact:
Chief Executive Officer - Mr Ian Bodill, 0419 917 162
Public Relations Coordinator - Aroha Jennings, 0457 518 772

Download a pdf of this media release

East Arnhem Shire Council launches Reconciliation Action Plan

East Arnhem Shire Council has become the first stand alone organisation in the Northern Territory to declare its commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous Australians, by releasing the inaugural 2011 – 2012 East Arnhem Shire Council Reconciliation Action Plan.

Held at the Mirambeena Travelodge on Tuesday 11 October 2011, on the eve of East Arnhem Shire Council’s Annual Conference, the plan was jointly launched by Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) State Manager, Dave Chalmers, and East Arnhem Shire Council President, Banambi Wunungmurra.

The 2011 – 2012 East Arnhem Shire Council Reconciliation Action Plan was developed in collaboration with Community Advisory Boards, Shire employees and community representatives in each of the nine East Arnhem Shire Council communities.

The document focuses on developing strong multi-dimensional relationships with community members and Indigenous Australians; and in the spirit of reconciliation and cooperation the document will also allow for independent and public verification.

Community members will be enabled to make informed decisions; to move from social exclusion, to inclusion in the development of their communities and their future.

Highlights of the 2011-2012 East Arnhem Shire Council Reconciliation Action Plan include:

Community Identity: Development of an East Arnhem Shire Council Cultural Safety Policy
Leadership: Implementation of Shire Mentoring Program
Youth:  Establishment of Youth Advisory Councils

East Arnhem Shire Council President Banambi Wunungmurra said “The Shire will use this document as a key to open doors in true Reconciliation, to enable us as elected members for our region to lead our people in local governance and self-determination into the future.”

“Reconciliation Action Plan is the first step in a bigger picture, of a better future, based on mutual respect and opportunities on the foundation of strong relationships. It is not about closing the gap. It’s about opening the doors.”

“East Arnhem Shire Councils is dedicated to promoting the power of people, protection of community and respect for cultural diversity.”

“By launching this Reconciliation Action Plan, East Arnhem Shire Council is the only stand alone organisation in the Northern Territory paving the way towards reconciliation.”

A series of community based mini-launches have also been held throughout the nine communities of the East Arnhem Shire Council.

To view a full version of the 2011-2012 East Arnhem Shire Council Reconciliation Action Plan visit http://www.eastarnhem.net.au

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Media Contact – Aroha Jennings 0457 518 772

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Employer of the Year Finalists Announced

Arnhem Land will have a strong contingent at the 2011 NT Training Awards with announcement of Finalists this month.

East Arnhem Shire Council along with the Traditional Credit Union (TCU) and Department of Health (DoH) were announced as finalists for the 2011 NT Training Awards Employer of the Year.

The Employer of the Year award is presented to a business enterprise with more than 20 employees that has demonstrated outstanding commitment and achieved excellence in enabling the provision of nationally recognised training for employees.

East Arnhem Shire Councils application for the 2011 Award was based on the Council endorsed Indigenous Employment Strategy which provides framework for the delivery of improved employment outcomes for Indigenous people throughout the Shire.

The Indigenous Employment Strategy is a holistic approach to employing people and giving them the skill sets they need to be successful. The strategy recognises the need and value of the Indigenous employee’s perspective to the workplace. The Shire aims to increase the employment, retention and advancement of Indigenous employees across all levels of employment throughout the Shire.

A large part of the Indigenous Employment Strategy is the implementation of the Work Readiness for Indigenous People Program, commonly known as the WRIP Project. Outcomes of the WRIP Project will see the issuing of Community Identification Cards and development of Cultural Appropriate Pre-Employment Training.

The WRIP Project was developed in recognition of the barriers that often impede people from getting a job. In many cases, people do not have identification which stops them from gaining basic regulatory licenses such as applying for a Learners Permit for a Drivers License.

East Arnhem Shire Council Community Identification Cards will be acknowledged as a formal piece of identification by the Department of Justice and Motor Vehicle Registry Office. Furthermore, the Shire has developed culturally appropriate resources available to remote communities for Indigenous people with limited literacy and English skills.

East Arnhem Shire Council, Chief Executive Officer, Ian Bodill says in most cases English is the second or third language spoken in communities. By developing interactive ICT educational resources in Yolngu and Anindilyakan, we hope to increase the number of local indigenous people attaining vital qualifications and skills.

“Investing in staff through training is vital to the Shires’ success”.

“We are very proud that 66% of East Arnhem Shire Councils workforce is indigenous. One day we hope to be up there with the Tradition Credit Union, by having over 85% of our workforce filled by local Yolngu and Anindilyakan people” said Bodill.

East Arnhem Shire Council employs over 446 people working in a broad spectrum of services across 12 locations in the Top End. Currently, 104 indigenous employees are enrolled in accredited training through apprenticeships ranging from Cert II & III in Business through to Certificates in Civil Works.

The NT Training Awards are the Department of Education and Training’s (DET) annual premier event recognising training excellence and achievements by Territory businesses, training organisations, apprentices, trainees, trainers and students.

East Arnhem Shire Council, President Banambi Wunungmurra said “The awards are an official recognition of excellence and achievements in gaining the highest standards of knowledge and skills, and contributing to high standards of training and I am extremely proud that only after three years the Shire has gained this recognition from our peers”.

The winner will be announced on September 10 at the Darwin Convention Centre. The winner will travel to Brisbane to represent the Northern Territory at the Australian Training Awards in November.

Media Contact: Aroha Jennings 0457 518 772

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Next Stop, New York

Yirrkala residents Arian Pearson and Jamie Wunungmurra have advanced through to the next stages of the infamous Indigenous Marathon Project securing places in a twelve man training squad for the New York Marathon.

The Indigenous Marathon Project, an initiative of former world champion marathon runner Robert de Castella MBE, provides indigenous athletes with confidence and tools to become leaders within their communities and inspire others to lead a healthy and active life.

East Arnhem Shire Council have extended support to Pearson and Wunungmurra who will be vying to be among the final six runners to board the plane to New York later this year in November. The Shire funded Pearson, Wunungmurra and Boaz Wanambi who is also from Yirrkala to attend the selection stage in Cairns in April.

Shire President Banambi Wunungmurra has praised the young men and on behalf of the whole Council passes on his best wishes for them in travelling the long road ahead to New York.

“The Indigenous Marathon Project is a great initiative to inspire generations of Yolngu, these men will have opportunities to not only undertake a world class athlete training program, but also become role models and gain qualifications in community recreation”.

“The Shire will keep providing strong local support for Arian and Jamie through its Youth, Sport and Recreation staff and support of local community fundraising toward the trip ‘stateside’” President Wunungmurra said.

Pearson and Wunungmurra will now spend the six months to train the worlds most esteemed long distance marathon run the New York Marathon on 6th November. The men have a jam packed training calendar with race meets and intensive training camps throughout Australia.

Arian Pearson who was trained by Cathy Freeman at school, is humble in recognising the challenge ahead to qualify to be apart of the team to go to the Marathon. He also sees this as a great opportunity to show what young Yolngu people can do and says ‘Yaka Gora’, meaning don’t be shy, and believe that you can do anything.

The Indigenous Marathon Project has been in operation since April 2009 and aims to produce an indigenous distance champion who will compete in the 2016 Olympic Marathon team, whilst making running, walking and physical activity a natural and regular part of indigenous life.

Media Contact: Aroha Jennings 0457 518 772

Download a pdf of this media release