Remote service delivery is a commitment by governments to work with Indigenous communities to improve the delivery of services to 29 priority remote communities across the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia.
The aim is to improve access to government services and facilities, raise the quality of these services, and better support Indigenous community governance and leadership.
- Priority Communities
- Single Government Interface
- Progress on Remote Service Delivery in Priority Communities
- Local Implementation Plans
National Partnership Agreement on Remote Service Delivery
The National Partnership Agreement on Remote Service Delivery (RSD NPA) was signed by the Commonwealth, New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory in January 2009.
Under this agreement the Australian Government and the relevant States and Northern Territory are investing $291.2 million over six years from 1 July 2009 to change the way they work with Indigenous Australians in a number of priority communities.
New ways of working will help to better harness the benefits of funds and initiatives provided through the range of National Partnerships agreed by COAG. The broad objectives of the RSD NPA are:
- to improve Indigenous families' access to a range of government services
- to raise these services to the standard provided to other Australians living in communities of similar size and location
- to improve governance and leadership within the communities, including among Indigenous community organisations
- to achieve better coordinated government services
- to increase economic and social participation wherever possible and promote personal responsibility and positive behaviours.
Governments recognise that sustainable progress in remote Indigenous locations depends on community leadership and on working with local Indigenous people and organisations.
The Remote Service Delivery National Partnership Agreement requires a two-way commitment:
- From governments and their staff – to cooperate to put in place the resources and planning for better infrastructure and services and to develop the capacity of individuals, communities and local service providers
- From the community and community members – to work with government to improve the community and to take responsibility for their own wellbeing, in particular the health, safety and education of their children.
Coordinator General for Remote Indigenous Services
The Government has appointed a Coordinator General for Remote Indigenous Services, Mr Brian Gleeson, to oversee the implementation of the Remote Service Delivery National Partnership Agreement and to monitor contributions to achieving the Closing the Gap targets in the priority locations.
The Coordinator-General formally reports twice a year on the development and delivery of services in the priority locations. He also reports to Commonwealth, State and Territory agencies on obstacles within their areas of responsibility, and advises the Minister for Indigenous Affairs and the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) on the need for any changes.
Local Implementation Plans
Under the Remote Service Delivery National Partnership Agreement, governments have agreed to develop Local Implementation Plans (LIPs) to guide government investment in the 29 priority RSD communities. LIPs are produced in close partnership with proirity local Indigenous communities.
The Local Implementation Plans set out for each community agreed priorities, actions, responsibilities and commitments. They detail what services are required and how they will be delivered. Government agencies have committed resources and timeframes to implement actions identified in the plans, with a particular focus on harnessing potential investment from the other COAG National Partnerships and Agreements.
As the LIPs are living documents, there will be continuing discussion and negotiation with community members about their vision for the community's future and how to achieve it. This will mean exploring community governance and determining with community what representative structures work best.
The signed LIPs for each community are published on the FaHCSIA website at Local Implementation Plans.
For each RSD priority community information has being collected to provide an evidence base—or baseline—from which improvements can be measured. This includes:
- an audit of municipal and essential services and infrastructure (part of the wider National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing)
- 'baseline mapping' of social and economic conditions, existing government investments, service gaps.
Baseline mapping information has also been drawn from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and State/Territory Governments agencies providing health, justice and education services. This provides each RSD location with information about:
- who lives in the area – the number of people and their ages
- how many people might live in the area in five years time
- existing facilities such as schools, clinics, playgrounds, meetings halls
- available services in areas such as health, early childhood, schooling and aged care
- community health
- the number and condition of houses
- the local economy including jobs.
The information collected from the baseline mapping and infrastructure audits is being shared with the community and used to inform the development of Local Implementation Plans to guide future government investment in the communities.
Building capacity in communities and government
The Remote Service Delivery National Partnership Agreement provides for capacity building and leadership training in communities, as well as cultural awareness training for government staff. Where needed, interpreters are being engaged to assist governments and community members discuss how to build stronger communities.
- National Partnership Agreement on Remote Service Delivery (RSD NPA)
- Coordinator General for Remote Indigenous Services
The Indigenous Remote Service Delivery Special Account
The Indigenous Remote Service Delivery Special Account supports the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Service Delivery by providing the Government with the resources to fund high priority projects in Indigenous communities, and to deliver immediate improvements to service delivery that are unable to be accommodated through existing programs. The $46 million account allows the Government to respond flexibly and quickly to Indigenous community needs and act on Local Implementation Plans.