The federal government has promised ongoing funding for a Northern Territory Aboriginal corporation which provides vital services to the disadvantaged.
By
Elliana Lawford

Source:
AAP
28 Nov 2016 - 7:17 PM  UPDATED 28 Nov 2016 - 7:25 PM

Larrakia Nation was facing imminent closure after racking up a $1.8 million debt under it’s Return To Country Program, which helped people travel back to remote communities after receiving medical treatment in Darwin.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion has extended Larrakia Nation's special administration period from December 6 until March 31 next year.

The organisation has already managed to reduce its debt to just $500,000 since first going into special administration back in June, by cutting back on programs.

Scullion has also announced his government will provide ongoing funding for the organisation, as well as funding for short-term staffing needs.

"The commonwealth has been working closely with the Northern Territory government and Larrakia Nation on options to address the long-term sustainably of the organisation and ensure vital services to the local community continue to be provided," Senator Scullion said.

"I am committed to supporting the ongoing delivery of night patrol and early childhood support services currently delivered by Larrakia Nation."

The move comes after Larrakia Nation rallied outside Northern Territory Parliament, calling on the Territory’s Chief Minister to waive the debt.

“Have a bit of respect for the people whose country you’re sitting on. You acknowledge us each day in Parliament when you sit, it’s a bit ironic that you’re in there acknowledging us while we’re out here possibly losing our jobs and begging for assistance,” Larrakia Nation’s Donna Jackson said at the rally last week.

“It takes the pressure off for a little bit, it doesn’t mean the other stuff or the debt is resolved but it gives us a little more time to resolve it,” Donna Jackson said. 

“A lot of people were going to lose their jobs, so the staff are relieved they now have jobs till March.”

Larrakia Nation runs a night patrol service, ranger and homelessness services throughout Darwin. It’s also the biggest Aboriginal aged care provider in the Northern Territory.

Senator Scullion says he's working with fellow Senator for the Northern Territory, Labor's Malarndirri McCarthy, to ensure governance matters at Larrakia Nation are improved.

But Labor has blamed the million-dollar debt on red tape ignored by the federal government.

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