Members Portal

CLP to Empower the Bush with Local Council Reform

April 18, 2024

Joint Media Release: Leader of the Opposition Lia Finocchiaro and Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Local Government Steve Edgington

Steve Edgington
Lia Finocchiaro

The CLP will empower bush communities through local government reforms designed to return greater community control.

Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro said the CLP was committed to restoring control of communities to Aboriginal people and strengthening service delivery. Control that Labor took away.

“Some communities are telling us they feel disempowered since Labor dismantled Community Government Councils (CGC) in 2008, and feel that under the big councils they don’t have a voice,” Ms Finocchiaro said.

“The CLP will work with communities to co-create a framework that empowers Aboriginal communities that do want a greater say, fostering self-determination and enabling them to have a more active role in decision-making processes.

“This will not be a’ one size fits all’ approach and we won’t make changes where large councils are working well and a number of them are. In areas where communities want change, it may involve clusters of communities coming together to form smaller councils.”

Ms Finocchiaro spoke about the CLP’s plans at a Local Government Association of the NT conference today.

“Labor’s bungled reforms started under Clare Martin, who admitted during a visit to Nauiyu in 2015 that measures including the introduction of shires, which were intended to strengthen communities, had in fact disempowered Nauiyu. Labor has ignored the bush for too long and the CLP will take action to champion the bush.”

Even former Labor Minister for Local Government, Elliott McAdam called on Labor as recently as September last year to work closely with the Shadow Minister for Local Government Steve Edgington to develop a better model than the one currently in place. Mr McAdam said he supported a CLP call to reinstate community councils.

Shadow Aboriginal Affairs and Local Government Minister, Steve Edgington said the CLP had already been consulting with communities in recent months.

“This conversation with bush communities will continue as we hear directly from people who are the most impacted by Labor’s botched council reforms,” Mr Edgington said.

“Some communities are telling us that the shire and regional council model hasn’t delivered. The CLP's focus on local empowerment stands in contrast to the disconnect observed under the Labor Government.”

“People in the bush want local leaders running communities, delivering municipal services, housing repairs and maintenance, roads maintenance and roles that were there before Labor took that away.”

The CLP reforms include supporting communities with capacity-building initiatives and governance assistance to foster skill development and create job opportunities.

The CLP is focused on listening and will implement the common sense changes that communities are calling for.

Read more