• Koori man and Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles. (NITV)
Koori man and Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles says he expects a potential migration of people from remote Indigenous communities in Western Australia into the Northern Territory if those communities are closed.
By
Myles Morgan, Andrea Booth

Source:
NITV News
17 Apr 2015 - 1:42 PM  UPDATED 29 Jun 2015 - 6:04 PM

"Look I think there's definitely a risk of population movement from WA across to the NT," Mr Giles told NITV ahead of the Coalition of Australian Governments meeting in Canberra.

He also referred to South Australian residents heading to Central Australia to receive more services, such as health or education ones.

"Alice Springs is certainly the place to service Middle Australia, but we need to have the right services, transport routes and responses to when there are issues and how we meet those needs," adding that sufficient housing and an ability to adapt to growing populations must be accounted for.

It has been a turbulent year in the Northern Territory. There have been political leadership changes, including a failed coup of Minister Giles, while in Arnhem Land the mob has been impacted by two cyclones. Just over the border in Western Australia, the threat of community closures has caused immense distress within Indigenous Australia.

Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett in March told Parliament closures had been flagged because they were not sustainable, citing 39 cases of gonorrhoea in Aboriginal children in the Kimberley. He could not clarify if they were from remote communities.

"Those communities, 273 of them, are not sustainable into the future. They cannot look anyone in the face and guarantee the safety of little boys and girls," Premier Barnett told Parliament in 2013.

Mr Giles says he understands the difficulties the Western Australian government is experiencing in regard to its flagged closures of remote Indigenous communities.

But he stressed that development was key to addressing the problem of insufficient services, including health, education and policing, instead of closing communities down.

"I'm not justifying Western Australia's decision but I do know some of the challenges faced"

"I'm not justifying Western Australia's decision but I do know some of the challenges faced," Minister Giles said. "We have them in the Territory, where there are very small and discrete isolated communities.

"In the NT, more than anywhere else, do I appreciate the cultural connection in terms of language, law and culture, to land; and I think that's important. That's why our policy isn't going to reflect Western Australia because I want people to live and work on their country, that's why I support a development agenda more than anything else."

Without development, jobs and investment from the private sector lacks, "And that's when things start to go backwards and that's where you have a lot of these social issues," he added.