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Kempsey fringe dwellers nominate their top fe -

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TONY EASTLEY: There is an expectation here that under a Tony Abbott-led Coalition government, Aboriginal affairs will be prioritised and Indigenous affairs will be brought into the office of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Successive federal governments have tried to improve the lot of Indigenous Australians, particularly in remote communities, but with mixed results.

It's true that more Indigenous students are completing year 12 and achieving post school qualifications and some areas of health are showing signs of improvement, such as child mortality rates.

But jobs for Indigenous Australians are still hard to find.

Brendan Trembath reports from a long-standing, large Aboriginal community in Kempsey in northern New South Wales.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: At Greenhill, where Cecily Lardner lives, kangaroos come to graze at dawn and dusk.

CECILY LARDNER: Maybe I'll see two of three groups. But yeah I'll see them every morning and every afternoon. And then you see the little joey coming out the pouch and they seem more special. So yeah my kids love it as well.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: She says that's the good part about living here. But she despairs about rubbish on the streets and the wrecked basketball court.

CECILY LARDNER: Just been sitting here rotting like this and yeah, it's very sad.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Do you remember when this court actually looked any good?

CECILY LARDNER: Thirty odd years, 35 years ago.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: In this Aboriginal community in northern New South Wales, they're not expecting any attention during the federal election campaign.

But Cecily Lardner says they deserve it.

CECILY LARDNER: They should be actually seeing what it's like here for us. I feel strong about it because I live here, you know, go through it every day. And they don't see it, they're up in their offices.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Cecily Lardner names employment as one of her main concerns. She has a job herself, working part time at an Aboriginal nursing home, but she says the unemployed in the area also need a reason to get up in the morning.

CECILY LARDNER: You got to be feeling good about yourself to be worrying about the community and to do something about the community.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Around the corner lives Barry Claude Roberts, a pastor with the Australian Indigenous Christian Ministry.

Also known as Uncle Claude he wants to highlight the Indigenous housing situation.

The homes here are leased from the local Aboriginal land council.

BARRY CLAUDE ROBERTSON: There is 35 homes here. Most of the homes are overcrowded. I'd just like to see more homes for families and even the youth.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: He nominates Indigenous health as another important issue, pointing next door to a run-down community centre, where they used to go for health checks.

They're now done in town.

Well this is the derelict community centre and it's an absolute mess. There are holes punched in the walls, holes in the windows, broken glass everywhere and on the floors, some of the old artwork.

At one stage this was clearly a place of hope and optimism. There's a sign on the wall that says ‘Aboriginal artists have your say on how you would like your gallery to operate’.

John Smith who lives in the house opposite says the area has become a dumping ground.

JOHN SMITH: You see them going past here and taking all the rubbish out the back then dumping them and then going straight back out again.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: John Smith has lived here 71 years - all his life. He shares the house with his 79-year-old brother Vince who's quick to complain about the Federal Government and its spending priorities.

VINCE SMITH: Well I think they should be spending more on Aboriginal people than what they are on the boat people. Now they're building a big thing up in New Guinea somewhere. And look how much it's going to cost them.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: He says Australia's Aboriginal people need help badly.

VINCE SMITH: We're like the Indians in America, still on reserves.

TONY EASTLEY: Life-long Greenhill resident Vince Smith ending that report by Brendan Trembath.