The principle of ‘Treaty’ is about creating a space to make decisions for ourselves and taking back control of our own affairs and being in charge of the resources that support our autonomy. ‘Treaty’ is the path for self-determination/ self governance/ Yolngu Rom Ngurrungu (Yolngu way first). We will continue to pursue a genuine Treaty process that acknowledges the sovereign status of Yolngu people and allows for a diplomatic platform for leaders to enter into Treaty discussions that have real outcomes.
Effective law and order measures in Yolngu communities must rely on direction and leadership from Yolngu elders, men and women, to design and implement practices that work within existing cultural governance frameworks and align with the authority structures that underpin community order.
We will advocate for:
• Resources and partnerships that empower Yolngu authorities for the purpose of policing, mediation and managing community disputes.
• Resources for Raypirri (training in respect, law and discipline) camps for young people on country.
• A focus on illegal drug and alcohol supply into the regions, and secondary supply of alcohol within the region.
• Alternatives to jail sentences, including the use of Aboriginal cultural institutions for rehabilitation and community driven restorative justice programs.
• Increased resources for criminal and civil representation that allows lawyers to meet properly with their client prior to a court proceeding.
To gain economic independence in the region we must:
• Pursue the development of Yolngu owned and Yolngu partnership enterprises on country that creates training and employment for our current and future generations, and economic independence.
• Creation of jobs in the region and training in areas that connect directly with business development.
• Advocate for improved Northern Territory licensing regimes enabling the use of resources on Aboriginal land and sea by traditional Aboriginal owners and their associated groups and kin.
• Advocate for Government preference of local contractors.
• Advocate for the decentralisation of Northern Land Council governance to enable traditional Aboriginal owner's regional control over resources and use of resources.
• Pursue sea rights for traditional Aboriginal owners.
• Establish partnerships with Indigenous nations worldwide including reinstating historic Macassan partnerships.
Despite the great efforts of many teachers in the region, successive Governments have been failing our children for years. In order for effective education we must have:
• Regional control of school curriculum, funding and employment that is led by Yolngu and Balanda working in partnership.
• A two-ways learning curriculum that begins in the child’s first language and progresses to a bilingual mode of education.
• Resources for employment of local elders to assist with local curriculum development.
• Bilingual and ESL accredited teachers, an ESL appropriate curriculum.
• Leadership positions that are accountable to the school governance board and the regional office.
• A local Yolngu teacher education program (such as RATE) on country that is designed for our unique setting.
• Adult education programs that build numeracy, literacy in first language and English for all community members
• Mandatory cross-cultural and language training for all non-Yolngu staff.
Our country and sea are high priority areas for protection. We must fight for:
• RENEWED BAN on gas fracking.
• An increase in support and resourcing for more Rangers on country and for landowners on country to care for country and sea and train future generations in traditional knowledge.
• Recognition of traditional Indigenous conservation practices, and sites of significance, land and sea.
• A regional, national and international effort to address ocean pollution.
• Roll out of solar power and other alternative renewable energy solutions across homelands and towns.
Overcrowding in our communities has enormous impacts on our health, our stability and our social cohesion. For years, Governments claimed to spend money on remote housing and yet we see very little additional housing in our communities. Governments have not managed to address this issue as the crisis that it is. In order to address this crisis we must fight for:
• The inclusion of homeland towns in regional development and service provision.
• The distribution of new housing across homeland towns and hub towns.
• Ensure government housing is appropriate to our climate and environment and considerate of the culture of the community being housed.
• Development of local building teams to construct housing in a continuous fashion, instead of the boom and bust scenario created by irregular rounds of Indigenous building programs.
• Telecommunication infrastructure to ensure effective services across remote regions.
• Improved vehicle and aircraft access to our communities and homeland towns.
Health in remote communities is in severe crisis, we urgently require:
• Bilingual and culturally appropriate health education for adults.
• Improved access to Indigenous language interpreters, with improved health specific training, and more access to two-way health educators to improve outcomes.
• Resourcing of traditional healing centres on country.
• Improved access to renal facilities and renal nurses on country.
• Permanent morgues in every town.
• Resourcing of community controlled drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities on country.
• Improved emergency patient retrieval from homelands and hub towns via helicopter and small planes (many airstrips are not suitable for current patient retrieval aircraft).
Since the NT was created, every NT Government on both sides of politics has undermined the development of Homeland towns. This has resulted in the movement of people to hub towns for services, CDP programs, education and housing. This has compromised health and integrity of our cultural survival. We will continue to fight for:
• Distribution of housing and infrastructure across our country.
• Development of business enterprise on country.
• Training that connects with business enterprise identified by elders.
• Resident control over homeland expenditure to ensure homeland towns can grow and build projects that have been identified by elders.
• Recognise Indigenous language rights.
• Improve accessibility of interpreter services and training of interpreters.
• Improve cultural competency and language training for all Government staff working in remote Aboriginal communities.
• Improve access to Indigenous knowledge and language training non-Aboriginal students.
Nhulunbuy and Alyangula are towns that are unique because they were created by mining companies for the purpose of servicing the needs of associated mines. They have now become established communities contributing to the region. However, when the associated mines are no longer economically viable or close for other reasons, these towns must not be abandoned. We will advocate for:
• Timely negotiations between mining companies, Government and landowners that ensure the handover of the towns will result in a sustainable future: free from ongoing environmental harm, and legacy management issues associated with asbestos contaminated housing, and sustainable power supplies.
• Apprenticeships and strong job creation for young people during the life of the mines, and beyond.
• Affordable rents, rates and cost of living.
• Continued development of business that service and support the region.