Closing the Gap for Indigenous Australians - Northern Territory - Community engagement 

Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA)

Key Elements

The Australian Government has committed $3.8 million in 2008-09 to build greater engagement with communities involved in the rollout of the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER). Funding will be used to employ up to 20 Indigenous community members to act as community agents, including providing them with specialised training and resources.

This measure will also include $0.9 million to improve access to appropriately trained interpreters.


The purpose of this measure is to facilitate greater engagement and involvement of Indigenous people at the community and local level in policy development and service delivery. The measure is based on the principle that involvement of Indigenous communities at a local and regional level in the design and delivery of programs and services is critical to their success. It is essential that solutions are developed on the ground and driven by the communities who own them.

The measure will involve recruiting up to 20 local Indigenous people to assist communities to engage with government in the Northern Territory. Their role will be to act as a conduit between community and government, to mediate between families and clans to start a dialogue, to provide feedback to communities, to engage families and individuals and work with community groups, to bring about greater community input into government decision making.

The community agents will be supported and resourced through specialised training to take on a coordination and communication role.

The measure also provides funding for improved interpreter services. This will help overcome difficulties flowing from low literacy levels and lack of English spoken in many Indigenous communities. This includes discussions around the implementation of the NTER initiatives, payment entitlements, and complex issues raised in community meetings.


This measure will begin in July 2008. The program will be delivered through locally employed Indigenous people, acting as community agents and interpreters.

Total Government Funding

The Australian Government is providing $3.8 million in 2008-09. Further activity will be informed by the outcomes of the NTER review later this year.

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