Enhancing community self management

$1.5 million over the next three years, provided through the Commonwealth's Local Government Development Fund, has lead to the development of the Remote Area Management Project (RAMP).

RAMP is a training program designed to increase the skills of Aboriginal elected members in remote area Councils. The aim is to enhance community self management practices.

The Department of Housing and Local Government and Local Government Association of the Northern Territory (LGANT) have joint responsibility for this project.

The Department has also committed a further $1.8 million through in kind support. This will largely involve its Field Officers assisting RAMP Project Staff in participating committees and assisting with training in each region.

In September, the pilot stage of the project commenced. It involves five communities in the Katherine region, including Yarralin, Lajamanu, Timber Creek, Daguragu and Barunga. The project is being managed by contract staff located at Darwin and Alice Springs.

The approach used is that the trainer works with elected members to pinpoint several issues of particular interest or concern. Training is then designed to increase the understanding or identify problem solving strategies for these concerns.

With the assistance of the Northern Territory University, a curriculum covering a range of Local Government topics is being prepared. It will be tailored to suit each particular community's needs.

Internet access, through community information centres established by the NT Library Service in the five communities, will be used for information sharing and training purposes.

Resources are also being developed, including a CDROM with voice overs in major Aboriginal languages. Interpreters are also used in training sessions were appropriate. This month, training commenced with 20 other communities in the Darwin, East Arnhem and Alice Springs regions.

For further information contact Michael Banks at DHLG, telephone (08) 8999 5054 or Martin Lunzaat at LGANT, telephone (08) 8941 1730.