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Chief Minister backs regional bodies to replace ATSIC

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 9 June 2004


Northern Territory Chief Minister Clare Martin believes stronger regional authorities are the key to giving Aboriginal people a voice once ATSIC is dismantled.

Key stakeholders are attending a series of meetings across the Top End this week about ways the Indigenous community can retain representation after ATSIC goes.

The Miwatj Provincial Governing Council is holding a summit today at Gulkula near Nhulunbuy.

Ms Martin believes a regional authorities model should be pursued.

"What it is about [is] building stronger regional authorities and representation on those authorities because they are spread around the Territory and would be predominantly Indigenous," he said.

"We believe this is the most effective way to have Indigenous voice in decision- making through the stronger regions policy, so we've put that forward to the Federal Government."

Ms Martin also says she will use this month's Council of Australian Governments Meeting (COAG) to push for more bilateral agreements on Indigenous service delivery.

She says she wants to see Commonwealth and Territory Government departments working more closely together.

"What we want is bilateral relationships. We want bilateral agreements between the Federal Government and the Territory about delivery of those services and we believe this is the most effective way to go," she said.

"To have a duplication of services has not served our remote communities well."


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