This review by Territory Families, Housing and Communities (TFHC) identifies appropriate approaches to supporting Aboriginal people to live on their ancestral lands. This document and its recommendations have been written to inform the development of a draft new Homelands Policy.
- The review recommends the Northern Territory Government (NTG) re engages with the Commonwealth Government and Land Councils to encourage a more equitable sharing of financial and program responsibilities, in the interests of securing long term and sustainable policy outcomes through a coordinated approach to Homelands’ policy and service provision.
- Based on consultation findings, Field Officers simply do not have sufficient capacity to perform proper oversight of service providers in situ (and unresolved issues tend to be compounded in Homelands that are not frequently visited). Such visits are also critically dependent on Field Officers maintaining trusted relationships with service providers and residents, and rely on the right people being present in a location to provide access when Field Officers are on site.
- Although substantial benefits are likely to be provided through the construction of new housing on Homelands, the challenges of establishing and implementing a co funding program and the risks to which this exposes NTG cannot be met or mitigated by the current Homelands policy. Where there are opportunities available for co funding, these would be best managed on a regional level and through a mechanism outside of the Homelands’ program and Homelands Services Group (HSG). Individual Homelands residents are unlikely to have the capacity to manage construction, and a well functioning Aboriginal corporation would be better placed to manage this and other land use and asset planning and housing finance functions.
- There is a need for re engagement between the Commonwealth Government, Land Councils and the NT Government, to encourage a more equitable sharing of financial and program responsibilities through a coordinated approach to Homelands’ policy and service provision, if long term and sustainable policy outcomes are to be achieved in the interests of residents and the broader community.