On 14 November 2018, the ALC and NT Government entered into a Local Decision Making Agreement (LDMA).
Under the LDMA, the Anindilyakwa people of the Groote Archipelago now determine the service delivery models that work best for their communities and region. The LDMA covers housing, economic development, law, justice and rehabilitation, education, health services, local government, a sustainable long-term power solution and regional control of other services. The LDMA provides for timelines in which an implementation plan with respect to each service area will be agreed between the ALC and NT Government. Presently, implementation plans have been agreed in respect of housing, economic development, law, justice and rehabilitation and education.
On 19 June 2019, an implementation plan was agreed by the NT Government, the ALC and the Anindilyakwa Housing Aboriginal Corporation (AHAC) under the LDMA to build a community-controlled housing system.
AHAC was established to facilitate decision-making by Anindilyakwa people in respect of the ownership, location, type and occupation of community housing across the Groote Archipelago and to take responsibility for tenancy management, repairs and maintenance and capital upgrades of this housing over time. The implementation plan also envisages that over time the ownership and management of the existing and new houses owned by the NT Government and other providers will be progressively transferred to the AHAC. This is to enable the achievement of the desired outcome, to transition to a single, sustainable, diverse and culturally appropriate community housing system across all towns and satellite communities in the Groote Archipelago that the Anindilyakwa people control and take responsibility for.
On 19 June 2019, an implementation plan was agreed by the NT Government and the ALC under the LDMA to build a viable, culturally rich and sustainable two-stream (diversified) economy in the Groote Archipelago, not dependent upon mining royalty income, which is controlled by the Anindilyakwa people.
The ALC has developed the Future Groote Strategy in partnership with other Anindilyakwa organisations, which sets out a pathway to achieving this outcome.
Key initiatives under the implementation plan are:
- the economic development of the sea-country of the Anindilyakwa people;
- the implementation of a trial Oyster Aquaculture project;
- the establishment of a fishing co-operative;
- facilitated project support for Winchelsea Exploration and Mining project; and
- to create a renewable power source for the ongoing future of the Groote Archipelago.
On 19 June 2019, an implementation plan was agreed by the NT Government and the ALC under the LDMA to give the Anindilyakwa people ownership over their justice system.
Under the implementation plan, the parties have agreed to the construction of a Cultural Rehabilitation Centre, which will provide an alternative to custody for male youths aged between 17-25 years. The facility will provide those persons with access to tailored rehabilitation services that target the risk factors that contribute to criminal behaviour.
The parties have also agreed to establish a Community Justice Group for the Archipelago to oversee the development and operations of the Cultural Rehabilitation Centre, to work with NT Police to educate and positively engage members of the community in ways that aim to reduce the rate of offending on the Groote Archipelago and to work to establish Community Courts.
On 30 April 2020, an implementation plan was agreed by the NT Government, ALC and Groote Eylandt Bickerton Island Primary College Aboriginal Corporation (GEBIPCAC) under the LDMA to build a new, community-controlled, bi-lingual education system in the Groote Archipelago that allows for Anindilyakwa people to control and take responsibility for their own schools, has a curriculum to enable Anindilyakwa people to live in both worlds, and facilitates a single governance model for education.
The key commitments under this implementation plan are:
- Building an independent boarding school for students located in the Groote Archipelago
- Implementing a bi-lingual curriculum across all schools on the Groote Archipelago
- Establishing an ongoing program to develop and grow Anindilyakwa education workers to engage both pre-school aged children and school-aged children who are not in school
- Prioritising early childhood development and education as well as bi-lingual education for children aged 0-8.
GEBIPCAC was established to facilitate decision making by Anindilyakwa people over education, and will have responsibility for the construction of the independent boarding school, and the design and delivery of the bi-lingual curriculum. GEBIPCAC has been recognised by the NT Government as the community voice regarding education, and will have input into all recruitment decisions in the existing government schools on the Groote Archipelago.
Under the LDMA, the ALC and NT Government have agreed in principle to the transition of control and responsibility for health clinics in the Groote Archipelago from NT Health to an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation to be nominated by the Anindilyakwa people. The parties have agreed to negotiate an implementation plan with respect to this initiative by 30 June 2021.
Under the LDMA, the ALC and NT Government have agreed in principle to the Anindilyakwa people taking responsibility for local government in the Groote Archipelago by the establishment of an Anindilyakwa Regional Local Government Council.
As agreed under the LDMA, on 31 December 2019, the NT Government published an Assessment and Analysis report examining key considerations for this initiative, including:
- Legislative requirements
- Transition costs
- Division of available funding sources
- Future viability of both the East Arnhem Regional Council and a newly formed Anindilyakwa Regional Local Government Council
- Other elements and impacts, including on Commonwealth funded services
The parties have agreed to negotiate an implementation plan with respect to this initiative by 30 June 2021.
Visit the Northern Territory Government’s Local Decision Making website for more details.