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The Alekarenge Community Development Working Group
In 2012, the Alekarenge traditional owners received compensation from the federal government. This was for compulsory 5-year leases taken out by the community during the Northern Territory Emergency Response.1In June 2007, the federal government staged a massive intervention in the NT to “protect Aboriginal children” from sexual abuse. Without consultation Aboriginal peoples’ lives were heavily regulated, and many felt ashamed and angry. Despite wide-spread protests the intervention was extended until 2022. The traditional owners decided to use the money to benefit the community. They formed an unincorporated working group to plan projects.
The Alekarenge Community Development Working Group is comprised entirely of Aboriginal residents who live in Alekarenge. The group’s role is to initiate projects for the benefit of Alekarenge community using funds that belong to the traditional owners of Alekarange.
The working group started by planning and prioritising projects. Then getting sign off from the broader traditional owner group. When they received more lease money for community development programs, the owners gave the working group the authority to sign off. This is about the Alekarenge community deciding how to use their resources to benefit their community.2Australian Indigenous Governance Institute, Our People, Our Way: Stories of Indigenous Governance Success (AIGI, 2020), 7.
“Committee members are people who are reliable, and they have something to say – something to share. It doesn’t have to be a big story – you just have to say something that we can understand.”
– Graham Beasley, Committee Member