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MEDIA RELEASE - ‘No’ result for Voice to Parliament leaves issues unsolved in remote communities

16 October 2023

A ‘yes’ outcome for the Voice to Parliament would have solved many of the problems faced by our most vulnerable people living in remote communities, but sadly this was not the result of the 2023 Referendum.

As a passionate ‘yes campaign’ supporter, West Arnhem Regional Council Mayor Matthew Ryan has voiced strong disappointment for the outcome of the Referendum, stating that for First Nations People living in remote communities, it’s a huge failure.

“This (the Voice to Parliament) could have been the platform to answer the issues we battle in our everyday lives.

“We had high hopes for change and betterment for all remote communities. These people are incredibly disadvantaged on all levels – how do we help our First Nations People who are still disadvantaged today?”

West Arnhem Regional Council delivers core local government services to five remote communities in the Northern Territory and also plays a large role in advocacy for Aboriginal People in the region.

Mayor Ryan said the Voice to Parliament would have bridged the gap with Parliament to further support Councils to advocate for and deliver the services needed most in remote communities.

“As a Council, this result sets us back to square one,” he said.

“We have advocated for years for more funding for infrastructure, better telecommunications, proper roads and a new clinic for the Gunbalanya community. As a Council, we were a part of a delegation which gave testimony to the Joint Standing Committee for the Senate Inquiry into the sunsetting of the Stronger Futures legislation. There, we said that no improvements have been made from this legislation and we told them how Indigenous Peoples in the NT were affected by this and by the intervention.

“To date, we still haven’t seen any improvements and some of these policies are still in place. There needs to be change.”

Mayor Ryan has asked, for Indigenous People, where do we go from here?

“What is the end result for the ‘no’ campaign? How does this fix the big issues we face? Our people are still disadvantaged. We still need more direct funding in remote communities to deliver core services and we still face huge issues with health, housing, community safety and education.

“We need to send a strong message – the issues which affect Indigenous Peoples in remote communities are still unsolved.”




Contact: West Arnhem Regional Council Mayor Matthew Ryan, 0408 959 897.