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Transcript of press conference: Central Australia 18 July 2012: land hand backs; income management in the APY lands



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Land hand backs; income management in the APY lands 18 July 2012 Press Conference Location: Doorstop, Central Australia

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JENNY MACKLIN: I’m very, very pleased to be here with my Ministerial colleague, Warren Snowdon, who’s also the Member for Lingiari, for this very, very special day today where we’ve seen some land hand backs to traditional owners, hand backs that have been, in some cases, been worked on for twenty years. So for those traditional owners who are here with us today, for the traditional owners who’ve passed away but who’ve struggled to get to this very important day, I’d like to say a very big congratulations. It is a very special day and I’m very pleased to have been able to join people here.

JOURNALIST: What does it say from a Government perspective to the people around Alice Springs and its surrounding areas?

JENNY MACKLIN: This is really the Government recognising that this is Aboriginal land. We recognise that Aboriginal people have been here for thousands and thousands of years and Aboriginal people are looking after their land. They have agreed on this land that we’re standing on right here today, that it will continue to be part of the National Park. It’ll be managed with the Northern Territory Government and of course that will give great opportunities for local people to have jobs as well as continue to look after their land.

JOURNALIST: Also with some of these land claims going on for so many years, how does it feel for you to be able to finally give this recognition?

JENNY MACKLIN: I could see in the faces of the Aboriginal people here today what an emotional day it was, and so it’s an enormous privilege for me to be able to come here and to personally hand over the Deeds of Title to this land. So I’m very glad to have had the opportunity.

JOURNALIST: You mentioned in your speech that half the land in the Northern Territory’s now Aboriginal land. How long do you think it might take for the other half?

JENNY MACKLIN: That’s very hard for me to judge but obviously there have been a lot of claims that have been finalised in the last few years and I’ve been very pleased to be part of that.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible) mean that they supported income management. I mean how successful do you think it could be in those areas?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well we’ve certainly been consulting with communities, individuals, families, of course the women in the APY Lands, about income management and they’ve come back with a very strong message that they think income management would be very helpful just as another useful tool to help look after their children.

JOURNALIST: I just wanted to see whether or not there was also raised last night, whether or not people who are on wages, there was some support that was being shown for people who are actually on wages having part of their money quarantined. I mean I know it’s not your Department, but is there any way, under any Department, that that is possible or is that being considered?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well there’s certainly ways that we help people with money management, financial counselling, we’ve put some extra resources into the APY Lands to help people with money management. So we certainly know people have sent this message back to us and we’ll talk with them about the best way that we can work together.

JOURNALIST: But on whether or not it is possible for those people who are on wages to have their money quarantined is it?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well it’s not possible for Centrelink to do that because it’s people’s wages but we’ll certainly talk with people about how money management, financial counselling might help them.

[ENDS]