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

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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