Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 10 October 2006
Parliamentary Record 10
Debates for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Tuesday 10 October 2006 3107 representatives and has already put in place policies and strategies to achieve progress with these challenges. The Indigenous Economic Development Strategy (2005) and the Agenda for Action: A whole government approach to Northern Territory Indigenous Affairs 2005-2009 are aimed at meeting the challenges and providing the strong linkages required to achieve enhanced economic participation. The Chief Minister launched the Territory Indigenous Economic Development Strategy in May last year. It was the product of nearly two years of work by a high level task force comprising key indigenous leaders, private sector representatives and representatives from both the federal and Territory governments. The task force took a practical approach to the challenge of indigenous economic development by identifying and developing opportunities in 13 industry sectors. I would like to point out that the Indigenous Economic Development Strategy carries the expectation of many to incorporate sustainability and to value-add to existing industry sectors. In taking this approach the task force also chose to highlight successes and role models so we can build on the successes and offer encouragement and prospects for the future. What we have come to understand is that the Territory has unique opportunities based on the competitive advantages of Aboriginal land ownership and indigenous intellectual property resulting from strong traditional law and cultural practice. The recently released analysis of the share of Territory revenue and expenditure presented to the Indigenous Expenditure Review Report underscores our priority on indigenous development including economic development. More than 49% of our budget expenditure, some $1.34bn, is related to the needs of the Territorys indigenous population. We are working cooperatively with the Australian government through the Overarching Agreement on Indigenous Affairs 2005 to capitalise on opportunities and meet the challenges. Cooperative action, through this agreement, is aimed to ensure that programs to boost indigenous employment and economic development produce real training, employment and business development outcomes for indigenous Territorians, especially in regional and remote areas. Emerging reforms for the CDEP program and removal of the remote area exemption for the unemployed, if appropriately implemented, have the potential to provide additional incentive and strengthen participation in regional economic development. We will continue to work in partnership with indigenous communities, the private sector and the Australian government to create new ways to foster increased indigenous economic participation and stronger linkages with regional economic development. At this point I would like to acknowledge Mr David Ross and the Central Land Council for the vision they had in establishing Centrefarm. Under the management of Mr Allan Cooney, Centrefarm has developed an innovative land use model for Aboriginal land trusts. The model offers developers certainty when making investment decisions and can be replicated across the Northern Territory on Aboriginal land trusts. Community leaders and governance are also a theme in the frameworks regional growth objective. The Territory is blessed with quiet achievers, and people like Mr Duncan Beggs, who are demonstrating how we can build jobs and business on the ground in the regions through mining projects such as Bootu Creek in the Barkly Region and the Frances Creek mining initiative near Pine Creek. Strong community leadership and governance are important for sustainable regional economic development. Leaders must inspire community members with vision and optimism about the future. Take Mr Djambawa Marawilli at Yilpara in Blue Mud Bay in northeast Arnhem Land. Here we have an internationally respected artist working with the likes of Macquarie Bank and Rotary to build a sustainable economic base for his community through a range of activities including arts, tourism, natural resource management rangers, crabbing, and retail. Encouraging community members to be actively engaged in the decisions that affect them and their towns and communities creates better ownership of outcomes and enhances responsibility. A clear message from the regional forum process was the desire for more government and private sector decision-making at the regional level. We are addressing ways to improve this and coordination with government agencies to enhance regional economic development outcomes. Improving city, town, and community liveability is another regional growth theme in the Economic Development Framework. Liveability and perceived liveability are crucial factors in building population, and attracting and retaining new business investors and skilled workers. This is particularly important for regions and remote centres.