Remote service delivery is a commitment by governments to work with Indigenous communities to improve the delivery of services to 29 priority remote locations across the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia.
The aim is to improve access to government services and facilities, raise the quality of these services, and better support Indigenous community governance and leadership.
- Priority locations
- Single government interface
- Progress on Remote Service Delivery in priority locations
- Local Implementation Plans
National Partnership Agreement on Remote Service Delivery
In December 2007, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to a partnership between all levels of government to work with Indigenous communities to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage. The National Indigenous Reform Agreement (NIRA) PDF [823 kB] was established to set the agreed objectives, outcomes, outputs, performance indicators and performance benchmarks for Closing the Gap.
The National Partnership Agreement on Remote Service Delivery (NPARSD) PDF [146 kB], signed by the Commonwealth, New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory Governments, is a key component of COAG’s broader Indigenous reform agenda.
Under this agreement the Australian Government, the relevant States and the Northern Territory are investing $291.2 million over five and a half years from January 2009 to change the way they work with Indigenous Australians in 29 priority locations. The new ways of working established under the NPARSD are helping to better harness the benefits of funds and initiatives provided through other National Partnerships agreed by COAG.
The broad objectives of the NPARSD are to:
- improve the access of Indigenous families to a full range of suitable and culturally inclusive services,
- raise the standard and range of services delivered to Indigenous families to be broadly consistant to those provided to other Australians living in communities of similar size and located communities,
- improve the level of governance and leadership within the communities and Indigenous community organisations,
- provide simpler access and better coordinated government services for Indigenous people in identified communities, and,
- increase economic and social participation wherever possible, and promote personal responsibility, engagement and behaviours consistent with positive social norms.
Governments recognise that sustainable progress in remote Indigenous locations depends on community leadership and on working with local Indigenous people and organisations.
The NPARSD requires a two-way commitment:
- From governments and their staff – to cooperate to put in place the resources and planning for better infrastructure and services and to develop the capacity of individuals, communities and local service providers.
- From the community and community members – to work with government to improve the community and to take responsibility for their own wellbeing, in particular the health, safety and education of their children.
The NPARSD is published on the website of the Ministerial Council for Federal Financial Relations. COAG subsequently agreed, in 2010, to amend the initial Agreement to reflect the role of local government.
Coordinator General for Remote Indigenous Services
The Government appointed a Coordinator-General for Remote Indigenous Services, Mr Brian Gleeson, to oversee the implementation of the NPARSD and to monitor contributions to achieving the Closing the Gap targets in the priority locations.
The Coordinator-General formally reports twice a year on the development and delivery of services in the priority locations. He also reports to Commonwealth, state and territory agencies on obstacles within their areas of responsibility, and advises the Minister for Indigenous Affairs of any changes needed.
Bilateral Implementation Plans
To achieve the objectives of the NPARSD , and as a precursor for the development of detailed Local Implementation Plans, Bilateral Implementation Plans were developed in each jurisdiction. Current Plans are published on the website of the Ministerial Council for Federal Financial Relations:
- New South Wales PDF [96 kB]
- Northern Territory PDF [52 kB]
- Queensland PDF [79 kB]
- South Australia PDF [67 kB]
- West Australia PDF [226 kB]
Local Implementation Plans
Under the NPARSD, governments agreed to develop, in close partnership with the communities, Local Implementation Plans (LIPs) to guide government investment in the 29 priority locations.
The LIPs set out agreed priorities, actions, responsibilities and commitments for each location. They detail the services required and how they will be delivered. Government agencies committed resources and timeframes to implement actions identified in the plans, with a particular focus on harnessing potential investment from the other COAG National Partnerships and Agreements.
The signed LIPs for each community are published on the FaHCSIA website at Local Implementation Plans.
The LIPs are living documents and are being progressively reviewed to streamline priorities and ensure their actions meet community needs.
Information was collected for each priority location to provide an evidence base—or baseline—from which to measure improvement. This included:
- an audit of municipal and essential services and infrastructure (part of the wider National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing) and
- 'baseline mapping' of social and economic conditions, existing government investments, service gaps.
Information was also drawn from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and state and territory government agencies providing health, justice and education services. This provided information for each priority location about the:
- current demographic profiles and population projections
- existing facilities such as schools, clinics, playgrounds, meetings halls
- available services in areas such as health, early childhood, schooling and aged care
- community health
- number and condition of houses and
- local economy, including jobs.
The information collected from the baseline mapping and infrastructure audits has been shared with communities and used to inform the development of Local Implementation Plans.
Building capacity in communities and government
The NPARSD provides for capacity building and leadership training in communities, as well as cultural awareness training for government staff. Where needed, interpreters are being engaged to assist governments and community members discuss how to build stronger communities.
- National Partnership Agreement on Remote Service Delivery PDF [146kB]
- Coordinator-General for Remote Indigenous Services
- The Cape York Institute is an independent policy and leadership organisation supporting the development of current and future Cape York leaders.
The Indigenous Remote Service Delivery Special Account
The Indigenous Remote Service Delivery Special Account supports the NPARSD by providing the Government with the resources to fund high priority projects in Indigenous communities, and to deliver immediate improvements to service delivery that are unable to be accommodated through existing programs. The $46 million account allows the Government to respond flexibly and quickly to Indigenous community needs and act on Local Implementation Plans.