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Central Desert News Heavy rains impact entire Council M any of Council’s services were put under strain and / or interrupted as a result of the heavy rain event that occurred in December and January across the entire region. All of Council’s roads were closed at some stage which is unprecedented in Council’s eight-year history. Council’s Works staff worked long and challenging hours to ensure road safety by assessing and monitoring road damage and closing and reopening roads. Nyirripi, Laramba and Engawala offices were closed briefly with Council staff stuck on the other side of swollen rivers. Similarly, staff and

volunteers across all services were grounded in either Alice Springs or their home communities, unable to visit clients or deliver services. Some services faced food shortages with the store truck unable to access community. Council staff purchased food in Alice Springs and, with the assistance of a local aviation company, arranged for it to be flown to community. Thankfully, whilst the roads were impassable, most airstrips remained undamaged meaning food was able to get in and stranded staff out. The demand for Council services post-rain has also increased with a focus on assisting with fire, vermin and snake management by cutting grass and reinstating firebreaks. Of course, the rains also bought amazing sunsets, flowing rivers, beautiful birdlife and stunning wildflowers.

Streamlined garbage collection in Yuendumu T

hanks to the NT Government’s Special Purpose Grants program the Council took delivery of a new garbage compactor for Yuendumu in late 2016. The new compactor, which replaced an older, smaller and less efficient truck, has already streamlined operations with less trips to landfill, more bins picked up per shift and reduced operating costs. Depot staff travelled from Alice Springs to hand over Yuendumu Works crew the exciting new acquisition and to provide training to celebrate the arrival of their local staff on the hydraulic operations. new garbage compactor. Field officers are thoroughly enjoying their new, more comfortable and extremely well air conditioned vehicle and can often be seen showcasing its mod cons with pride. Council has secured funds to purchase an identical vehicle for Lajamanu.

EDITION NO. 33 / MARCH 2017

INSIDE Heavy rains impact entire Council

1

Streamlined garbage collection in Yuendumu

1

From the President

2

From the CEO

2

Council working to prevent water shortages affecting communities

3

Christmas floods undo extensive road works

3

Fire season warning

4

Next step to independence

4

Intergenerational service delivery

5

Builder–Trainer program

5

$15 M injection into community housing

6

Atitjere road works

4

Imparja Cup fosters strong skills

7

Make sure your voice is heard

8

Communities farewell three valued men

8

Interested in becoming a Councillor?

9

Bush internet speeds to rival Alice Springs

9

Gambling awareness campaign to improve family 10 wellbeing across the region Asbestos warning to residents and visitors

11

Roads crew member recognised for long service

11

Improving family wellbeing in our communities through training

12

Central Desert News is published by Central Desert Regional Council PO Box 2257 ALICE SPRINGS NT 0871 Ph 1300 360 605 www.centraldesert.nt.gov.au Please send your stories to communications@centraldesert.nt.gov.au


From the President I

hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas break and were not effected too much by the rains we had over December and January. I got stuck in Laramba for several days at a time as the rain kept coming and my road turned into a river. I am sure that it was the same for many of you. Now that the roads are drying up we have been able to get back to business. The Council’s graders and Works crew are out doing what they can to ensure that the roads can be used and it is safe for people to travel. I would like to pass my thanks to our hardworking grading team for their efforts. I know they have been working long hours to get the job done. This newsletter has many stories about roads. While this is a very important issue for the Council right now, we, the Councillors and I, can’t take our attention from the bigger picture. This time of the year is always busy as we work through the Regional Council Plan with staff to ensure that what communities want is included. Representing our communities and helping shape what Council staff focus

on is one of the most important jobs for a Councillor. Councillors also play an important role in telling our communities about what is going on in Council and helping our community understand why decisions are made. As your President, I also represent the Council at other events where local government and the NT Government meet to shape the future of the Northern Territory. Very soon, the NT Government will be calling a general local government election. In this election all positions on Council, including mine, will be open for re-election. Nominations for new Councillors will be called in July and anyone who is enrolled within our region can nominate. Enrolling to vote is simple and more information can be found at www.aec.gov. au. Alternatively, your local Council Service Manager can help. There is also more information about why voting is important in this newsletter.

W

fire load in preparation for a difficult fire season. Once again, the contribution of our CDP participants has been invaluable. CDP crews are working alongside our Works crew to cut grass and manage fire issues. Council will conduct fire training in all communities over the next few months. We are also busy getting ready for the next local government general election in August 2017. All Council positions will be open for election. If you have ever had any interest in becoming a Councillor or sitting on one of the Council’s Local Authorities, I would encourage you to attend one the information sessions being held across our communities. It is very important the everyone gets a voice in the election, so if you aren’t already enrolled to vote, please consider getting yourself on the roll. Information about enrolling for voting as well as the upcoming election can be found on Council’s website.

Adrian Dixon President

From the CEO elcome to our latest edition of Central Desert News and I hope that you enjoy reading about some of the issues and projects that the Council is involved in across our vast region. One of the main areas of focus for the Council currently is managing the impact of the extreme weather experienced over the December and January period. With many of our roads damaged and the persistent wet weather cutting off communities, it has been a difficult start to the year. The Council is still managing the process of reinstating roads damaged in 2015 and, unfortunately, these roads have also taken the brunt of the rains this year. Our roads crew, along with contractors, have been focused on ensuring access to communities is restored as quickly as possible and services are supported in these communities. The high rainfall across the region has also resulted in greening of the desert. The grass is growing waist high in some communities and crews work to reduce the

2 • CENTRAL DESERT REGIONAL COUNCIL NEWSLETTER

Cathryn Hutton Chief Executive Officer


Council working to prevent water shortages affecting communities P

A water awareness poster at Yuendumu School.

ower Water Corporation (PWC) recently identified five of Council’s nine communities as being ‘water stressed’. As a consequence, PWC have implemented tight restrictions on the development of new or existing properties or any water-using activities. The affected communities are Yuendumu, Yuelamu, Laramba, Atitjere and Lajamanu. PWC have advised that new developments in these communities can only be considered if the development is water neutral; that is, the amount of water used by the new development is offset by water savings across other Council properties in that community. One of the ways that Council is achieving this is to remove ‘non-essential’ taps and water fixtures in its existing properties, such as garden taps. Council is also reducing reticulation of gardens and, in some cases, community gardens.

In Yuelamu, restrictions have been taken a step further with no new development allowed. Council understands that ‘water stress’ is due to a lack of bore water and / or an increase over time in population which has subsequently created stress for an ageing PWC infrastructure. Council continues to collaborate with PWC and Government to find solutions to prevent communities being further impacted and service delivery being affected, and urges residents and Smart meters installed in Yuendumu in 2016 visitors to do the help conserve water. same.

Christmas floods undo extensive road works I n 2015, 200 km of Council’s unsealed roads suffered extensive damage due to heavy rain. Council spent the better part of 2016 repairing these roads, with an official ceremony in early December 2016 to celebrate the completion of repairs on part of the Nyirripi roads (see Central Desert News, December 2016). Only weeks later, some of those repaired roads and several additional roads were again washed away in an even heavier rain event. The extensive damage left many communities and outstations cut off from

Nyirripi Road.

services and facilities, including access to school buses, food trucks and vehicles moving between communities and Alice Springs. Thousands of local residents were affected as well as the provision of service delivery. Council’s Roads Manager, Nishantha Perera, has been working with an external consultant to audit the new damage and this has been reported to the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangement (NDRRA) program. Council is seeking NDRRA funds to repair the new damage. Council’s first priority has been to re-open access to communities. In some instances this meant minor repairs to existing roads, and on other roads it has meant grading a ‘work around’ solution. This is virtually complete and Council will now focus on the permanent rectification and refurbishment work so that damaged roads can be brought back to quality condition. Council would like to remind all not

Mt Wedge Road after the Christmas floods.

to drive on closed roads and to ensure that vehicles contain reliable recovery equipment. Our thanks go to station owners across the region who have rendered valuable assistance during these difficult times.

CENTRAL DESERT REGIONAL COUNCIL NEWSLETTER • 3


Fire season warning W

ith record rain falls across the region in December and January, grass levels are at a critical point. Council is currently allocating all available resources to slashing, mowing and grading firebreaks; however, it is predicting that a problematic fire season will follow in a few months when vegetation dries out. Residents and landowners are asked to ensure that grass is kept low around houses and other premises on their lots, and that activities that may start a fire are carefully controlled. Council is working with Bushfires NT to reduce the risk and formulate appropriate fire management plans. Thanks also go to CDP participants, such as Aaron Club and friend from Willowra (pictured right), who have played an instrumental role in addressing this issue.

Demonstrating preventative burning on the road verge in Lajamanu.

Fires in community should be reported by calling 000 Current bushfire alerts and fire ban notifications can be viewed on the NT Government website by searching ‘Bushfires NT’.

Fire preparedness training at Laramba.

Next step to independence A s part of their planned July 2018 move to independence, Southern Tanami Kurdiji Indigenous Corporation (STKIC) will make a presentation at the Aboriginal Governance and Management Program’s (AGMP) inaugural forum to be held in Alice Springs in March 2017. The AGMP is an initiative of Aboriginal Peak Organisations Northern Territory (APONT). Supported by Council staff based in Yuendumu, STKIC’s presentation will

include an overview of how Central Desert Regional Council has supported the Mediation Program towards independence and the Corporation’s medium to long term vision. APONT has been working closely with STKIC to achieve a strong governance model and have been delighted by the enthusiasm and participation of the Corporation. STKIC, assisted by Council (remaining

4 • CENTRAL DESERT REGIONAL COUNCIL NEWSLETTER

in its current auspicing role until July 2018), are currently in the process of appointing a business consultant to further steer the Corporation through the transition to a fully independent body. The consultant will take up where APONT left off as part of an integrated risk management strategy to get STKIC fully independent and operational by June 2018.


Intergenerational service delivery I n recent strategic planning sessions, the Community Services Directorate has been exploring ways to provide culturally safe services that recognise the benefits of intergenerational interaction to promote community wellbeing. The premise is that an integrated intergenerational model is the most effective way of delivering better ‘cradle to grave’ services. It is envisaged that an integrated model will be

Children’s Services team in a strategic planning session.

Aged Care team in a strategic planning session.

community led and could service multiple client groups, such as children, youth and the aged. The focus of the integrated model would be on specific issues across the generations with the aim of providing a greater benefit to clients than a stand alone service potentially could. Council will soon undertake consultations with the Engawala community and other stakeholders to gauge interest in exploring an intergenerational wellbeing service delivery model in that community. This could potentially set a best-practice standard that could be duplicated in other communities.

Builder-Trainer program A

Kitchen and living space in the new CDP staff housing facility at Willowra.

t present Council has a shortage of housing in many of its communities, including housing to accommodate CDP staff. As such, some staff are required to travel from Alice Springs on a weekly basis. With thanks to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, this issue is about to be alleviated slightly in two of Council’s nine communities. Council’s builder-trainer has been working with CDP participants in Willowra to assemble a three-bedroom flatpack house which is now complete. This initiative means fewer Council staff on the roads between communities, reduced operating costs, increased face-to-face contact time with job seekers and has facilitated on-the-job training for six CDP participants. A win-win scenario all round. A second house is being constructed in Ti Tree with seven job seekers. Unfortunately, a third builder-trainer house is unlikely to proceed as Council has been hampered by a lack of suitable serviced lots and water in target communities.

The new staff housing facility at Willowra is almost complete.

CENTRAL DESERT REGIONAL COUNCIL NEWSLETTER • 5


$15 M injection into community housing L ate in 2016 the NT Government launched a remote housing program which was to inject $1.1 billion over 10 years into the NT to improve housing outcomes for Territorians. The first phase of this program, called ‘Room to Breathe’ will invest $15 m on remote communities to provide more living space, sleeping spaces and shelter. The Council has welcomed this much-needed injection into remote housing and is looking forward to working with the NT Government in rolling out this initiative to ensure the best benefit for community. Council is certain, however, that implementing this program will be challenging. There are almost no vacant serviced lots on which houses can be built in any of Council’s communities. Already the Council has been impacted and is unable to expand services into some communities due to housing shortages. In Yuendumu, for example, there are no serviced lots available at all, and in both Yuelamu and Laramba new housing has been stopped completely until water issues in these communities are fixed (see ‘Council working to prevent water shortages affecting communities’ story on page 3). A further complication is the lack of town planning in communities. Town plans create the blueprint, or map, for new buildings, roads, and parks. This

ensures that communities are attractive and convenient for the people who live there. Town planning is the responsibility of the NT Government and has not been undertaken in the majority of our communities. Council understands that the Northern Territory and the Australian Governments are both working to address these issues, however, this is likely to be a lengthy process unless significant resources are allocated to achieving timely outcomes. Council is concerned that if these

Atitjere road works R

oad works are underway in Atitjere at present: upgrading road shoulders and constructing corner curbing. These activities help to protect the road surface as well as increase road safety. The shoulder works are also in preparation for resealing which will commence in March–April 2017. The work is being carried out by Council’s Roads crew and being managed by in-house project managers. Funding for this project has been provided by the Federal Government’s Roads to Recovery program.

6 • CENTRAL DESERT REGIONAL COUNCIL NEWSLETTER

issues are not addressed, there is the possibility that allocated housing money will be reassigned elsewhere in the Territory leaving the housing crisis across the region unresolved. Council sees that ensuring that communities can expand and resolving the existing housing issues to be a high priority. Council will continue to lobby on behalf of our community members and remains open to discussions with relevant stakeholders on possible solutions.


Imparja Cup fosters strong skills C entral Desert Regional Council was well represented by the Anmatjere All Stars in the Community Division of this year’s Imparja Cup. Led by Wayne Scrutton Jnr, the team acquitted themselves well, winning four of their seven games – not that results matter! The team was made up of young men from Six Mile / Pmara Jutunta, Station / Nturiya and Wilora, and was ably assisted by Anmatjere’s Youth and Communities Community Coordinator, Andrew Sua. The team trained hard and frequently in the lead up to this annual event, training both afternoons and evenings at Six Mile, Ti Tree and Wilora ovals. Men and women engaged with the cricket spirit with one session in Wilora attracting over 60 people aged between five and 50! Council’s regional competition, the Anmatjere Cricket Cup, was hampered by the region’s torrential summer rains with road closures preventing teams from travelling to games. Unfortunately, this denied the All Stars the opportunity to gain some tough competition prior to the Imparja Cup. The Anmatjere All Stars campaign ended with a day spent at Traeger Park watching the national Indigenous teams play, as well as participating in a cricket clinic with the coach of the men’s NSW state team. The cricket clinic involved improving cricket skills as well as an inspiring and motivating speech by the NSW coach. Competitions such as Council’s Anmatjere Cricket Cup and the Imparja Cup foster fun, fitness and participation, team building, organisational skills, new friendships and, of course, community pride. Both Council and the Anmatjere community should be proud of how the team conducted themselves both on and off the field. They were exemplary ambassadors for their community. Cricket is a simple game made complicated. Seeing it played at the grass roots level for pure enjoyment and fun is arguably the most rewarding outcome. Thanks to NT Government Sports and Recreation Division who help fund remote community sports competitions.

Some of the All Stars pictured with Edin Fleming, Acting Youth and Communities Training Coordinator.

Success!

Anmatjere All Stars pictured with their victorious opponents, the Mission Australian team.

Some of the Anmatjere All Stars celebrate their participation in the Imparja Cup.

CENTRAL DESERT REGIONAL COUNCIL NEWSLETTER • 7


Make sure your voice is heard T his year is an important year for the Council and, potentially, for Australia. In August this year, the NT will hold Council elections. Voting in Council elections is about voting for who decides some key things that happen in your local community. The next Council elections will be held in August 2017. This year may also see the Australian Government hold a referendum on the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution. Both of these issues will shape your future. Constitutional recognition is about recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution, the nation’s rulebook. It is about dealing with the sections in the Constitution that allow for racial discrimination, it is dealing with the racial discrimination in Australia’s highest

legal document. The Central Desert Regional Council is proud to support the Recognise campaign and encourages all Australians to get involved in this historic referendum. Closer to home, your Council elections help decide what happens locally – your now, your future.

To ensure that your voice is heard in these votes, you need to ensure that you are enrolled to vote correctly. Enrolling to vote is easy. It can be done online at the AEC website (www.aec.gov.au) or you can contact your local Council office for assistance.

Communities farewell three valued men C ouncil acknowledges the passing of two valued Local Authority members from Atitjere and Anmatjere and a hardworking and fun staff member from Lajamanu. Former Local Authority Member, Kumanjayi Haines from Anmatjere was farewelled in February. In his early years, Kumanjayi Haines was a station hand and later a police tracker. He has always been very involved in community life either as a councillor, an elder for his community at Nturiya (Station) or as a Lutheran pastor. Mr Haines was a member of the Local Authority from its inception and a member of the board that preceded it. Kumanjayi Haines was well respected and will be missed. The Atitjere community farewelled Kumanjayi Pope in early February. Mr Pope took Council staff member Sue Ware under his wing when she first arrived in Atitjere. Sue describes him as an extraordinary man with a passion for writing and telling stories, history and country music. Sue also recalls many

passionate conversations with Kumanjayi Pope about the land and the impact of buffel grass on Central Australian communities. Mr Pope was born in Alice Springs and has lived in and around Atitjere all his life. He was a member of Atitjere’s Local Authority for many years, through which he was introduced to former Prime Minister Bob Hawke. Ever the lobbyist, Mr Pope talked with Mr Hawke about the state of housing in Aboriginal communities. Mr Pope was a hard-working man who worked in the mines and as a stockman. Sadly, Kumanjayi Sampson from Lajamanu also passed away in February. Mr Sampson was an active member of the Lajamanu Kangaroos and a valued part its 2016 grand final winning team. Mr Sampson has been involved with Council a number of times since its inception in 2008: firstly as a CDEP participant and then as a casual Works Council Field Officer and later as a fulltime Council Field Officer.

8 • CENTRAL DESERT REGIONAL COUNCIL NEWSLETTER

His work colleagues described Mr Sampson as an easy-going man who was very motivated, always looking for extra jobs and a highly valued member of staff. When Mr Sampson started with the Works crew, the level of laughter in the team noticeably increased as he injected a sharp sense of humour into the workplace. Mr Sampson’s friends remember him as a fun but quiet boy who loved to swim in the creek and watch football. He grew into a house-proud man who took great pride in his garden, growing many flowers and trees. Kumanjayi Sampson was a husband, a father and a grandfather, as well as the carer for his disabled father, Thomas Sampson. His loss has affected the community greatly. President Dixon, on behalf of the Councillors and staff, passes his condolences to the families, friends and work colleagues of all three men.


Interested in becoming a Councillor? D

o you want a make a difference in your community and help shape the future of the Central Desert region? You can get involved in your community in a number of ways: by sitting on one of the Council’s nine Local Authorities, or by choosing to stand for election as a Councillor. The Central Desert Regional Council comprises 12 Councillors drawn from four wards. The Council also has nine Local Authorities representing each of the nine major communities. All of these positions will be open for election in August 2017. Information sessions about becoming a Councillor or Local Authority member will be held in each community over the coming months. ‘WHY COUNCIL? STAND UP FOR YOUR COMMUNITY’ INFORMATION SESSIONS Please check Council’s Facebook page or web page closer to the date for final dates.

3 May 9 May 10 May 14 June 15 June 19 June 20 June 21 June

Lajamanu Nyirripi Yuendumu Willowra Anmatjere Laramba Engawala Atitjere

OTHER IMPORTANT DATES

Now 14 July 25 July 3 Aug 14 Aug 26 Aug 4 Sep

Electoral roll open Nominations for Councillor open Electoral Roll closes Nominations for Councillors close Early voting commences Election day Results announced

Bush internet speeds to rival Alice Springs C ouncil is very excited to have been awarded $165,000 from the NT Government to upgrade internet connectivity in Laramba, Willowra, Yuelamu and Nyirripi. This comes on the back of an upgrade in Atitjere and Engawala in late 2016 and a forthcoming upgrade by Telstra in our remaining three communities of Ti Tree, Yuendumu and Lajamanu. The $165,000 will be combined with a CDP grant from Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, also intended for telecommunication upgrades. Council’s Works staff will work with CDP participants to build the infrastructure necessary to house the

satellite dishes in the coming months. It is anticipated that by 1 July 2017 all of Council’s facilities in all of our communities will have internet speeds equivalent to Council’s Alice Springs head office. The improvements promised by these upgrades will change the way Council does business, with a number of innovations in the wings that should see increased efficiencies. As a medium to long term vision, Council is also working on ways to make its bandwidth available to the wider community after hours – a move that is bound to be very popular.

Distant Curve installing a new satellite facility on the Plenty Highway in 2016.

CENTRAL DESERT REGIONAL COUNCIL NEWSLETTER • 9


Gambling awareness campaign to improve family wellbeing across the region G ambling is an issue that is increasingly reported, both anecdotally and through research, as having negative impacts for people, families and communities in the Northern Territory. In the Territory we know that both regulated gambling (electronic gaming machines, sports betting, etc.) and unregulated gambling (card playing) plays a role in the lives of Indigenous people and has a unique historical and social context. Goal One of Council’s Family Wellbeing Strategy states that Council will undertake to assist individuals, families and communities to take control of their lives and make informed decisions that support a healthy, happy and meaningful lifestyle in their community. Amongst several, one of Council’s actions to meet this goal is to ‘support the delivery of campaigns and services that increase public awareness and help reduce the impacts of gambling, alcohol and drug misuse’.

In acknowledging the impact that gambling has on communities and in response to Willowra community’s concerns about gambling, Council resolved late in 2016 that gambling awareness campaigns should be delivered across all communities. It was agreed that Amity Community Services, based in Darwin, be invited to deliver the campaign. Amity espouses a public health view to gambling issues in the Northern Territory. They see the existence of gambling and its related problems arising from a complex interaction between the: • Games people play: such as diversity, type and speed of play; degree of skill vs chance; cost and accessibility; • Individuals: factors within the person that increase or decrease individual desire to gamble; and • Socio-political, environmental or systemic factors: factors and parties within our society and economic

system that encourage and discourage responsible gambling.

In February, Dr Marisa Fogarty of the Centre for Aboriginal and Economic Policy Research (CAEPR), accompanied by CDRC’s Manager Youth and Communities, addressed Willowra and Anmatjere’s Local Authorities. As a result, both communities agreed to invite Amity to conduct gambling awareness campaigns and also provide research evaluation and analysis of the project. Over the coming months, Amity will consult directly with all respective Local Authorities about the nature, extent and timing of their proposed gambling health promotion activities and secure agreement for Amity to work in the respective communities. You can read Central Desert Regional Council’s Family Wellbeing Strategy on our website or obtain a copy by telephoning 08 8958 9500.

Willowra’s Council Services Manager and their Local Authority with Dr Marisa Fogarty of Amity International.

10 • CENTRAL DESERT REGIONAL COUNCIL NEWSLETTER


Asbestos warning to residents and visitors A s part of a project undertaken in conjunction with the Australian Government’s Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency, Council recently completed a legacy asbestos mapping project to ascertain if asbestos was present in some of its communities and outstations. Communities surveyed included Yuendumu, Larjamanu, Laramba, Willowa, Nturiya (Station) and Atitjere. With the exception of Atitjere, asbestos was identified in legacy landfill

sites and illegal dumping areas on the outskirts of communities. Atitjere was found to be asbestos free. As the affected sites are all on designated Aboriginal Land Trust land, detailed reports have been sent to the Central Land Council who will work with traditional owners to address the issue. Residents and visitors to all communities are asked to be mindful of the possibility of the presence of asbestos, especially on the outskirts of

community in illegal dumping sites. Stay well away from illegal dumping sites and report suspected asbestos to your Council Services Manager or to Council’s head office on 08 8958 9553. Once verified, reports will be passed onto the Central Land Council for action. Left and above are pictures of what asbestos may look like; however, it can come in many forms.

Roads crew member recognised for long service B rian Wilson was recently recognised for his long service in a ceremony held in December. Council’s Chief Executive Officer, Cathryn Hutton acknowledged Brian for his contribution to road construction and maintenance in and around his home community of Yuendumu. Brian has worked with Council since its inception and before that he worked with Yuendumu Community Government Council. Brian’s extensive experience has been a valuable asset to Council and to the many coworkers that he has trained and mentored over the years. Brain is currently working as a Roads leading hand for Council’s Road crew.

Brian Wilson honoured for his years of service to Council.

CENTRAL DESERT REGIONAL COUNCIL NEWSLETTER • 11


Improving family wellbeing in our communities through training A s part of the Council’s Family Wellbeing Strategy, the Youth and Communities team have identified a broad range of training aimed at improving staff awareness, comprehension and responsiveness to issues that impact on the lives of people living in our region. The Family Wellbeing Strategy aims to prevent and reduce family and community violence, improve the safety of children, raise awareness of the impact that alcohol, drugs, gambling and other anti-social behaviour can have on community, and improve the health and overall wellbeing of community members. As Council President Adrian Dixon points out, family wellbeing is everyone’s responsibility and appropriately targeted training is perhaps the most significant element that will enable the Family Wellbeing Strategy to achieve success. Training already conducted has included suicide awareness and intervention, counselling, working with alcohol and drugs, youth mental health first aid and domestic violence awareness. The most recent was suicide

intervention and was particularly important and invaluable. All around Australia, but most particularly in remote Aboriginal communities, suicide is a devastating issue. In 2015, suicide was the fifthleading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Indigenous youth make up more than a third of Australia’s youth suicides and Indigenous children make up 80% of those under 12 who take their own lives. The training gave participants the tools and the confidence to be able to recognise people who may be thinking of suicide and to intervene to help that person to stay safe. Training is invaluable in enabling our staff to bring about positive change and real improvements across the Central Desert region. It also enables Council’s staff to develop better coping mechanisms when dealing with, at times, difficult and confronting issues. Participants were taught to help others in times of stress or crisis, as well as how to deal with their own personal issues through self-care and laughter.

Youth and Communities team learning selfcare through laughter during Accidental Councillor training.

Youth and Communities team attending Applied Suicide Intervention Skills training.

What’s on around Council Local Authority meetings:

Council meetings:

Willowra:

12 April

Anmatjere:

13 April

Engawala:

18 April

Atitjere:

19 April

Laramba:

26 April

Yuelamu:

27 April

Nyirripi:

9 May

Yuendumu:

10 May

Lajamanu:

3 May

30 March 31 May 27 July

Committee meetings:

28 April (Finance only) 29 June (Finance plus Audit & Risk Committee)

Central Desert Regional Council PO Box 2257 ALICE SPRINGS NT 0871 Ph 1300 360 605 www.centraldesert.nt.gov.au

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12 • CENTRAL DESERT REGIONAL COUNCIL NEWSLETTER

Central Desert News No. 33, Autumn 2017  

The quarterly newsletter of the Central Desert Regional Council of the Northern Territory, Australia

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