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Aboriginal consultation must be more than just words from the Prime Minister



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Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs Deputy Leader of the Nationals Country Liberals Senator for the Northern Territory

Media Release

Aboriginal consultation must be more than just words from the Prime Minister

Wednesday, June 22, 2011 3369380841_ae0a13305c_z[1].jpg

An absent Prime Minister with a habit of all announcements and no action will not deliver the changes that are required in Aboriginal communities, said Senator Scullion today.

“The announcement by the Prime Minister to start consultations in the Northern Territory about the future of the Northern Territory Emergency Response, NTER, exposes nearly 4 years of neglect.

“The NTER required the constant attention of government to monitor and direct efforts to address Aboriginal disadvantage, said Senator Scullion.

“Having vilified the Coalition for four years for failing to consult prior to introducing the NTER in 2007, today’s announcement effectively demonstrates that Labor have failed to actively talk with Aboriginal people since coming to office.

“The delegation of implementation or delivery of key NTER initiatives to the Northern Territory government must also be reconsidered, said Senator Scullion.

“To date the NT Government have failed on a number of fronts. School attendance is falling and housing is sub standard, both the direct responsibility of the NT Labor government.

“While the coalition could have better involved Aboriginal people prior to introducing the NTER, it was an emergency in response to the damning Little Children are Sacred report that demanded immediate action.

“A network of government business managers was put in place to create the necessary linkages and relationships that would facilitate a closer working relationship between community residents and government ministers.

“It would appear that this valuable resource was wasted, said Senator Scullion.

“To achieve real change in remote communities, community leaders and residents must take ownership of any initiatives that need to be implemented.

“Some measures will be tough but necessary and will only succeed with community support.

“I would urge the Prime Minister and Minister Macklin to follow the lead of Tony Abbott and the opposition and personally lead the consultations with community members, said Senator Scullion.

For further information contact Senator Scullion:

• Chief of Staff Ron Kelly 0408 906 173 • Darwin electorate office (08) 8948 3555 • Canberra Parliament House office (02) 6277 3241