Article – Northern development needs Indigenous involvement

9 April 2014
Tyne McConnon
ABC Rural

PHOTO: A cattle station in the Kimberley.

Getting Indigenous communities involved is the key to developing northern Australia, a Top End land management group says.
The North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance says a parliamentary inquiry into the north’s development should be looking at Indigenous employment specifically.
The inquiry is currently touring northern Australia.
The Alliance’s chairman Peter Yu says Indigenous participation is crucial to the north’s success.
“If we don’t factor that in as a major part of the consideration of the component of what happens for development in northern Australia, then something will be drastically missing – the participation of Indigenous people in the economy, the issue of potential compounding of the dysfunctional issues that currently exist, the nature for unnecessary tension between development and Aboriginal interests.”
Mr Yu says it will be no easy task, but the issue needs to be in focus.
“It requires both a government-level consideration of investment, but also the corporate sector as well.
“After all, there will be huge amounts of money required in regards to infrastructure, in regards to labour and making sure the labour market is there.”
Mr Yu says getting people involved in development takes more than just offering jobs.
He believes early training is the key.
“To mentor Aboriginal businesses, to look at training, which of course is a major component of that, I guess in an incubation kind of a model where we are encouraging and we are building the cultural values we have into the new business model.”
The committee is currently travelling through Western Australia and is due to report back to Federal Parliament in July.
Courtesy of ABC Rural