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Newslines Radio: Education for a Stronger Future in the NT – part one


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Nathan Ramsay

Mavis Kerinaiua, IEO, Tiwi Islands NT
Dwayne Brilly, Night patrol, Beswick, NT
Deanna Kennedy, IEO Beswick, NT

9 Apr 2013

Through Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory, the Australian Government has made a 10 year commitment to support Aboriginal communities throughout the NT in areas people said are most important to them.

Many Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory have said they want their children get a good education; that parents should be responsible for sending their children to school every day; and that children also need good teachers.

As part of Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory, support for parents and grandparents to get their children to school, and help make many remote NT schools even better will be provided. More teachers will also be put into remote schools and local people will be trained for jobs in education.

In this Newslines Radio program we spoke to prominent members in the Tiwi Islands and the Beswick community in the NT about why they think schooling and education is important for their children and grandchildren.

PRESENTER: Hi, I’m Nathan Ramsay and you’re listening to Newslines Radio, an Australian Government program on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues.

Newslines caught up with community members in the Tiwi Islands, located about 80km north of Darwin, and Beswick, a remote community 400 km south of Darwin to talk about the great things happening in their communities, and some of the positive changes they are seeing which are making their communities even stronger.

Through Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory, the Australian Government has made a 10 year commitment to provide support toAboriginal communities throughout the NT to help people make these positive changes.

Stronger Futures will help with things like housing, jobs and health, education for their kids, and community safety.

We chatted to the Tiwi Islands Indigenous Engagement Officer, Mavis Kerinaiua, about some of the great things she is seeing in her community. One of the changes Mavis has seen is improvements in housing through the National Partnership Agreement for Remote Indigenous Housing, which was formerly known as SIHIP.

KERINAIUA: We had some Tiwi people who have bought their homes. The first private houses and I was one of them and so was my sister, my late sister and that has been a good positive thing because we are breaking away from welfare housing.

We had the SIHIP Program coming through here that gave us some new houses and refurbishment programs and with a lot of Tiwi people going towards buying their own private house, privately owned and breaking away from the overcrowding.

PRESENTER: Mavis says jobs have also been created because of housing construction and refurbishments, with local people helping their family and friends build their homes.

KERINAIUA: We have a couple of Tiwi ladies working for Territory Housing and through the SIHIP program there was a lot of boys working through that getting skilled up and getting their white construction card. Since SIHIP has left a couple of those boys have moved on to the Shire or the Bathurst Island Housing.

PRESENTER: Not only is there employment in housing, Mavis explains that one of the most positive changes in her community is how ambitious Tiwi locals are when it comes to business ideas.

KERINAIUA: We have one of the examples a gentleman wanted to start up his mini-bus hire and also people want to set up coffee shops and laundromats, hairdressers and walking tours and tour guide, the scooter hire also. It is an exciting place to be as we are trying to move towards the future.

PRESENTER: We spoke to Deanna Kennedy who is the Indigenous Engagement Officer in the Beswick community. She explains how the community will benefit from having local organisations run by local people.

KENNEDY: There are big changes happening in the community that will benefit the community as well and the community is looking forward to the changes and hopefully working through it. Most of the people are working at the Shire Council, but there are also other organisations that are working in the community, we have also got the local arts centre that is owned and run by local Aboriginal people. We have also got a school that runs through the Department of Education that has school age kids from primary up to high school that takes kids and students to year 12.

PRESENTER: Community safety is a big part of building strong communities. Dwayne Brilly is the Team Leader of the night patrol service in his community of Beswick. Every night he and his team patrol the community to help make people in the community feel safe.

Dwayne says the night patrol is helping to reduce violence, and it’s an important service for Beswick because it sets a good example to the young people who are the future of the community.

BRILLY: I think it is very important for our future so we looking forward to our children. I used to see violence going on and kids not looked after very well from their parents. Since when I got in we start to make up a night patrol team, it’s worked very well.

PRESENTER: Dwayne has also been attending training courses to increase his knowledge about community safety.

BRILLY: I been there nearly three and a half years at college doing all those courses. When I started to come in I know nearly nothing really but after all my courses that I’ve done I am getting stronger to look after my community and make this community to look better for us.

PRESENTER: Let’s listen to Mavis again as she talks about her hopes for the Tiwi Islands’ future.

KERINAIUA: Never give up our dreams as Tiwi people to run this country and that education plays a big part in it and good family support and also having houses available to people because overcrowding is not a good thing for our people. A lot of negotiation and planning and a lot of talking within the community and land owners, conversations, they all should come together and talk about how to plan for better stronger future.

PRESENTER: To find out more about how the Australian Government is working to support communities across the Northern Territory through Stronger Futures, check out the links on our website,

You can also follow Closing the Gap on Twitter, and like on Facebook.

I’m Nathan Ramsay, thanks for listening to Newslines Radio.

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Find out more

Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory is a $3.4 billion investment and responds directly to what Aboriginal people told the Government was important to them.

Stronger Futures is directed to improving the lives of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory, particularly those living in remote communities and town camps, who experience much higher levels of disadvantage than anywhere else in Australia.

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