News: Regional Deal given green light

The Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has told Barkly Regional Council that the ‘Barkly Regional Deal’ will go ahead.

Posted: Friday, 28 September 2018

Mr McCormack and Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion dropped in on Council during an Ordinary Council meeting on Thursday, 27 September, to say the Federal Government is committed to implementing the regional deal.

“One of the last things the former Prime Minister told me before he left was ‘make sure this regional deal gets over the line’,” said Mr McCormack, who is also Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development.

“I’ve since been in discussions with the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and I’m here to tell you that we will make sure that this regional deal actually happens.”

“We want this to work; this must work, not just for the sake of the people of the Barkly but for other regional communities in Australia, too.”

Mr McCormack said he had also been in discussions with the Cultural Authority Group to make sure they were part of the negotiations in the future development of a regional deal for the Barkly.

Mayor Steve Edgington welcomed the announcement saying that the Barkly Regional Deal would help improve social and economic opportunities in Tennant creek and the region’s six Aboriginal communities.

He said there was now a real opportunity to strengthen collaboration and cooperation between the Cultural Authority Group, local business people and other organisations in Tennant Creek and the region as well as provide increased accountability of where the funds are going.

“The proposed deal includes an outline of plans for social and economic development in Tennant Creek and the Barkly and the need for better infrastructure and attracting new industry, business and investment,” he said.

 Some of the ideas the Mayor put forward during the meeting included a new boarding facility (similar to Nhulunbuy) for students that would free up the hostel for visitor use, a new primary school and the delivery of world class education.

 He also suggested improving sports and recreation facilities for youth and more social and public housing across the Barkly.  "We want to create a safer community and sustainable employment. Such a plan would put residents and businesses on a much better track to making the Barkly a better place to live, work, visit and invest in," he said.

The Mayor also sees the regional deal as a way for the three tiers of government – local, Northern Territory and Federal – to work together.

 “The Chief Minister of the Northern Territory has already provided a strong commitment to the ‘Deal’ and today the Deputy Prime Minister has announced the Federal Government’s continued commitment to its implementation. This is great news.”