NT self-determination lags
Indigenous organisations say there has been little progress on the NT government’s self-determination program.
Since 2017, the NT Government's Local Decision Making program has been used to oversee the transfer of government services like health, education and housing to Indigenous providers under the control of local communities, if they are willing.
Just five agreements have been made in the years since.
The program is being reviewed by a government spending scrutiny committee this week, and submissions to the review say it does not have the resources to be effective.
The NT Treaty Commission, which consults with remote Indigenous people on treaty negotiations, made a submission highlighting the lack of substantive progress several years into the program.
It said many successful and attempted agreements did not align with the goals of the program.
Other Indigenous groups say they have had years of meetings to no avail.
“While there were a number of meetings, there were no clear actions or implementation plans with attached outcomes for the community,” the Laynhapuy Homelands Aboriginal Corporation wrote in its submission.
Aboriginal Peak Organisations NT (APONT) was a partner in the program in its early days, but left after it found its input was not being taken on board.
It withdrew from the program citing “fatigue from policies that don't live up to the promise of real change or reform”.
NT Aboriginal Affairs Minister Selena Uibo said the plans created under the program have each had to go through a “complex process of consultation with each community to provide appropriate support for their aspirations for self-determination”.
She said the Northern Territory government is still in negotiations on a further 17 local decision-making agreements.