Background

Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory

Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory is a $3.4 billion commitment over ten years to provide programs and services to Aboriginal communities in the NT to:

  • help make communities safer and families and children healthier
  • help provide a quality education system
  • help to create jobs in communities
  • tackle alcohol abuse
  • improve the quality of housing in remote communities, and
  • support the delivery of basic services to people living in outstations and homelands.

Complementing this investment, the Stronger Futures legislation came into effect in July 2012 and aims to help deal with the issues that Aboriginal people have said are the most urgent.  The laws under Stronger Futures go towards addressing alcohol abuse and the damage it causes, ensuring that children go to school every day to get a decent education, protecting people against exposure to sexually explicit or very violent material, and continuing to improve the availability of fresh, healthy food through community stores licensing.  

Working in partnership with Aboriginal people

The Stronger Futures package of measures was developed following extensive consultations with Aboriginal people across the Northern Territory. It also takes into consideration the findings from independent evaluations of Government initiatives over the past five years.
The Australian Government will work in partnership with Aboriginal people over the next ten years to make sure Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory delivers results.  The Government will talk with Aboriginal people about how best to deliver local services and to give Aboriginal people more responsibility for services in their own communities.
Creating more jobs for local Aboriginal people is a key priority under Stronger Futures.  Over the ten-year period of the Stronger Futures package, the Government will support more Aboriginal organisations to deliver services and will ensure all service providers employ local Aboriginal people wherever possible.

Stronger Futures funding 

Following is a summary of the Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory package of measures and the funding commitments by the Australian Government. 

Major funding commitments by the Australian Government under Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory are for:

  • Health ($754.4 million over 10 years)
    • Support for primary health care services delivered by Aboriginal community controlled health organisations and the Northern Territory Government - involving more than 200 full-time staff in 80 clinics
    • Hearing checks and follow-up services
    • Preventive oral health services
    • The Remote Area Health Corps which meets short-term workforce shortages
    • Mobile Outreach Plus which provides counselling and education for children, families and communities experiencing trauma from child abuse and neglect
    • New funding for workers to provide alcohol and other drug treatment in 20 communities, supporting local Alcohol Management Plans aimed at reducing harm caused by alcohol and drug misuse
    • Includes $40.9 million to improve community stores including through store licensing.
  • Education ($583.4 million over 10 years)
    • Continue funding for 200 additional teachers as well as education support workers
    • Build up to 100 new teacher houses
    • Provide better training for teachers, including in teaching English as a second language and helping children cope with hearing issues and learning difficulties
    • Continue to develop career pathways for Aboriginal people in the education sector
    • Continue to build the skills and qualifications of the existing workforce in remote schools
    • Continue the School Nutrition Program to provide meals each day to around 5,000 students in remote NT schools to improve concentration, health and school results
    • Funding for the extension of the School Enrolment and Attendance Measure (SEAM), including employment of additional social workers
  • Community safety and justice ($694.9 million over 10 years)
    • Continuation of 60 additional Northern Territory police working in 18 remote communities
    • Four new remote police complexes
    • Support for the specialist activities of the Substance Abuse Intelligence Desks and Dog Operation Units
    • Continuation of community night patrols in 80 communities
    • Continuation of Aboriginal legal assistance services
    • Includes $76 million to support development and implementation of local Alcohol Management Plans giving communities greater ownership over solutions to their alcohol problems.
  • Child, youth, family and community wellbeing ($442.4 million over 10 years)
    • New Communities for Children sites in 15 remote communities
    • Continuation of women’s safe houses
    • Increased number of Remote Aboriginal Family and Community Workers
    • Continued funding for mobile child protection teams
    • Continuation of the Youth in Communities program, with a greater focus on minimising youth suicide 
    • Ongoing support for crèches and playgroups for young children
  • Jobs package ($19.1 million over four years)
    • 50 additional ranger jobs under the Caring for Country program
    • 100 local Indigenous traineeships
    • Working with the Northern Territory Government to guarantee jobs for Aboriginal students completing Year 12 in Territory Growth Towns
    • Help for people to develop business ideas in remote areas.
  • Housing ($230.4 million over six years from 2012-13)
    • To improve existing housing in remote communities
    • In addition to the $1.7 billion already committed to the Northern Territory under the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing
  • Healthy homes ($53.1 million over four years)
    • To remove material containing asbestos, including in homes scheduled for demolition so that new housing can be built.
  • Ongoing funding for municipal and essential services for homelands ($206.4 million from the Commonwealth over ten years and $15 million from the Northern Territory Government in 2012-13)
  • Alice Springs Transformation Plan ($13.7 million over four years)
    • Extension of a number of important projects to support alcohol rehabilitation, early childhood and family services, domestic and family violence services, education support and tenancy management.
  • Remote engagement and coordination ($427.4 million over 10 years)
    • Continued employment of Australian Government staff in remote communities, including an increase in the number of Indigenous Engagement Officers, and reduction over two years in the number of Government Engagement Coordinators  
    • Regional approach to embed a sustainable long-term working relationship with communities
    • Ongoing support for the Northern Territory Aboriginal Interpreter Service
    • Includes $14 million for governance and leadership development.
Content Updated: 13 January 2014