In a media release on March 28 this year, the Australian government announced a $221 million “investment” in municipal and essential services for outstations and homelands in the Northern Territory over 10 years — $206 million coming from the Commonwealth and $15 million from the NT government. Evidently, the Australian government is keen to assure Aboriginal people living on outstations and homelands that they will receive access to power, water and sewerage and road maintenance, as well as garbage collection and dog control programs.
Apparently, Aboriginal people have told the government that small communities need continued support to provide these most basic of citizenship entitlements. The media release quite correctly notes that essential services are critical to supporting the health and well-being of families living in these very remote communities, although thankfully the mantra Close the Gap is not bleated on this occasion. And families will now have some comfort in knowing that these services will continue for the next 10 years.