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Minister Scullion: Historic agreements reached for states to deliver municipal and essential services

24 Sep 2014

The Australian Government has reached historic agreements with the Queensland, Western Australian, Victorian and Tasmanian governments that will see the states take on responsibility for municipal and essential services in remote Indigenous communities.

Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said he congratulated the state governments of Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria and Tasmania for working successfully with the Australian Government to resolve this matter by finalising agreements.

“The Governments of these states have shown great leadership in taking responsibility for these communities and for their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander constituents. I look forward to seeing the positive work of these governments from these agreements,” Minister Scullion said.

“The delivery of municipal and essential services, including supply of power and water and the management of infrastructure, is a state and local government responsibility.

“Successive Australian Governments have attempted to transition these arrangements to states. Since 2010, funding has been extended to states for 12 months on two separate occasions while new arrangements were being negotiated with states.

"The Australian Government has been supporting these services in remote Indigenous communities for decades. This involvement of the Commonwealth has confused the issue and led to inconsistent and ad-hoc services for residents of remote communities.

“I am disappointed the South Australian Government has not agreed to take responsibility for its residents in remote Aboriginal communities like other states have.

“Our offer to South Australia will remain on the table until 30 September 2014. It is a good offer for South Australia, representing more than three years’ worth of funding for the region and, if accepted, would benefit more than 1500 Indigenous Australians living in remote South Australian communities outside of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands.

“Despite the South Australian Government’s insistence that their Aboriginal communities should not receive similar local government services to other residents in their state, I will continue working with the South Australian Government on improving services to these communities.”

The Australian Government has a separate agreement with the Northern Territory Government as part of the Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory package. Under that agreement, the Australian Government is providing the Northern Territory with $206 million over 10 years.

The Australian Government does not provide support for the delivery of municipal and essential services in NSW.

Find out more

Visit Minister Scullion's website to access this media release.