Federal funding sought for upgrades
The State Government is agitating for $25m of Federal funding to add to its regional services reform war chest as it pushes on with plans to earmark 10 remote communities by the end of the year for an upgrade to municipal services.
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the Federal Government had an obligation to fund the reforms, given it was Federal funding cuts that was the root cause of remote community closures.
“It was the withdrawal of Federal funds which triggered some of the earlier discussions, going back about three years now,” he said. “That concerns us because there’s an ongoing responsibility there in my view.
“I’m hoping to have a level of engagement with the Federal Aboriginal Affairs Minister (Nigel Scullion), particularly on housing.”
Labor Senator Patrick Dodson said he would raise the issue of Federal funds in Senate estimates hearings.
“There is probably a history where a lot of duck-shoving has gone on and, of course, the indigenous people have fallen through the gap of the political arguments going on between responsibilities,” he said.
“I think that ultimately budgets in a State are critical for how you respond to the citizens of the State and the services you deliver. I think the Federal Government has an obligation as well to meet some of those matters.
Mr Dodson said greater bipartisanship was needed to make real progress on matters of indigenous affairs.
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman addresses the Yule River meeting. He says the Federal Government should fund municipal services upgrades.