• People from a remote NT island community sheltering in Darwin to escape Cyclone Nathan. There are fears the communities will now be closed under a Federal deal being offered to the Territory Government (AAP)
There are fears more remote communities will be closed, this time in the Northern Territory, after the Federal Government handed $155 million to the NT Government in last night's budget for services to remote communities.
13 May 2015 - 8:20 AM  UPDATED 29 Jun 2015 - 8:29 PM

The NT Government has not yet indicated if it will agree to the offer, but already Labor NT Senator Nova Peris has said the deal looks like that offered the West Australian Government last year.

"We saw the Abbott Government give [WA Premier] Colin Barnett a one-off payment of $90 million to deliver those services to remote communities," Senator Peris told the ABC. 

"Colin Barnett came out and said 'we can't do that, it's impossible, so we're just going to shut those communities down'."

NT Chief Minister Adam Giles said his Government supported keeping homelands open and rejected Senator Peris' comments as "unhelpful".

Last year the Federal Government announced it would no longer provide services to West Australian remote communities and gave the WA Government a one-off payment of $90 million towards the costs. Within months the WA Premier Colin Barnett revealed as many as 150 remote communities would be facing closure.

According to the ABC there are 10,000 people in more than 500 remote communities in the NT who would be affected by the changes.

A Federal Government decision in September to discontinue Commonwealth funding for basic services and hand responsibility to the states and the Northern Territory is the origin of the current situation. 

Different compensation arrangements for the transfer of service responsibilities were made with state and territory governments.

The Barnett Government announced it would not fund up to 150 of the 274 remote communities in WA, saying they were unsustainable due to isolation and small population size.

Since that announcement in November, accusations of racism, a return to the era of government intervention in Indigenous communities and attempts to link the issue to the sexual assault of children have all added to the tensions surrounding the decisions. 

South Australian Indigenous communities were also facing closure under the same transfer of responsibility for services to the State Government, however the Federal Government backed down after the SA Government refused to fund services to the communities.