East Arnhem Regional Council (EARC) is urging the Territory Labor Government to ensure Council is included in any ongoing discussions relating to the Groote Archipelago Local Decision Making Agreement.
The Groote Archipelago LDM Agreement between the Northern Territory Government and Anindilyakwa Land Council (ALC) was signed by the Chief Minister on 14 November 2018, with the binding agreement outlining Anindilyakwa priorities and timeframes for transition to local control in several areas including local government.
Whilst Council is highly supportive of the recent Local Decision Making Policy announcement by the Territory Labor Government, acknowledging the importance of ensuring Anindilyakwa develop and prosper according to their views and needs, we note our concern at not being consulted during any stage of the Groote Archipelago LDM Agreement negotiations.
As the Local Governing body responsible for the Groote Archipelago communities, specifically Angurugu, Umbakumba and Milyakburra, and the primary service delivery agency across both core and commercial programmes, it would be expected that EARC be involved in discussions around the transition of these services to the ALC.
“This is an exciting time for the Anindilyakwa people and I commend both the NT Government and the ALC for getting to the table together and creating some clear direction for the future” said EARC Acting President Kaye Thurlow.
“But I also urge both parties to ensure all aspects of any transition are considered in full, and that means including East Arnhem Regional Council in these discussions. As the Local Governing Body for the Groote Eylandt our knowledge and expertise in this complex service delivery environment is invaluable to this process.”
“This not only relates to the delivery of core Council services, but the long term funding commitments in place with to deliver essential non-core Council services such as Aged Care services and the National Disability Insurance Scheme” continued A/President Thurlow.
A change of local governing responsibilities must also result in changes to the electoral boundaries which will ultimately have severe impacts on the financial and operational viability of both East Arnhem Regional Council newly formed Anindilyakwa Regional Local Government Council.
Internal planning for such transition will need to commence now with a solid change management structure and mechanisms to support the reduction of population within the boundaries essential. To date none of these impacts have been raised or discussed with EARC by the NT Government and we are now in a position where staff in the Region are reporting a sharp increase in job security fears.
EARC will continue to be supportive of the NT Government Local Decision Making Policy and the works being undertaken across both Groote Eylandt and the Gove Peninsular area, but urges both parties to engage Council in this process in a bid to avoid confusion and disruption of services for residents of the region.
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A/Chief Executive Officer - Barry Bonthuys, 08 8986 8929
Public Relations Coordinator - Katherine Hollis, 0457 518 77