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The Federal Government yesterday announced that it would make a long-term funding commitment to services for Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory (NT).
The funding will be delivered over ten years as part of the Government's Stronger futures package. It includes funding for both new and established services, and broadly covers the areas of:
Highlights of the government's ten-year commitment include:
There have been mixed responses to the Government's announcement.
The Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT) has welcomed the Government's ten-year commitment to funding Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS).
'This is the first time in history that Aboriginal Community Controlled organisations in any sector have received a funding commitment extending to ten years,' AMSANT CEO John Paterson said.
'Long-term funding has been the absolute desire of Aboriginal people throughout the nation for at least four decades'.
The head of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), Mr Justin Mohammed, welcomed the commitment to NACCHO's member services in the NT but 'believes strongly that this type of government ten year funding commitment should be reflected across all state and territories.'
The announcement that the Government will commit funds to enable the long-term viability of outstations and homelands has been celebrated by both Amnesty International and NT Aboriginal Peak Organisations (APONT).
'The announcement...demonstrates that the Australian Government has not abandoned homelands in favour of larger communities, and this news will be a great relief to many Aboriginal people in the bush,' said Mr Hill of APONT.
Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda has welcomed the long-term funding commitment but has urged the government to change the Stronger futures legislation.
'Long-term funding has got to be a part of the mix and this money announced today is very welcome,' Commissioner Gooda said.
'However, communities have clearly said that one approach imposed by government will not succeed. They've also said they want protection from discrimination.'
'I urge the government to reconsider the Stronger futures legislation in light of the many positive suggestions that have been made to improve it, before it comes before the Senate again.'