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The Animal Management Worker Program (AMW) aimed to give local Aboriginal people in three shires of the Northern Territory (NT), located in East Arnhem, West Arnhem, MacDonnell and Tiwi Islands, the skills and knowledge to deal with the issues that arise from dog management in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The project aimed to shift responsibility and capability back into the hands of the local community.
The NT Aboriginals Benefit Account provided funding for the project, which was managed by Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities (AMRRIC). The project ran for three years and was instrumental in the creation of 48 AMWs. The AMWs were the primary liaison between the community, the veterinarian and regional council staff. They coordinated advice, information, stakeholder participation, community input and operational services relating to welfare and control.
Despite the program's completion, AMRRIC continues to provide mentoring and program coordination advice to both the AMWs and partner regional councils. Two of the three councils have thus far made a commitment to embedding the AMW role as a permanent position within council structures. AMRRIC will continue to lobby for other regional councils to implement the recommendations of the program evaluation in establishing further community-driven direction of animal management programs.
An evaluation of the program found that the initiative contributed to the delivery of improved animal health and management outcomes. The participating councils all noted the importance of having effective animal treatment and management programs in place and confirmed the value of employing local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander AMWs to assist in the delivery of those programs. The outcomes of the program suggest that there is potential value in the NT Government implementing a similar program to support remote Aboriginal communities that do not have an effective animal health and control program in place.
Abstract adapted from Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities (AMRRIC)
Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities (AMRRIC)
P.O. Box 4829
Darwin NT 0801
Ph: (08) 8948 1768
Fax: (08) 8985 3454
Mobile: 0428 485 436