NLC Regional Councils shout out on water security crisis in the bush

Date: Aug 21, 2019

Publication Type: Media Releases

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This week’s 42nd joint meeting of the Northern Land Council’s Borroloola Barkly and Ngukurr Regional Councils at Robinson River heard more details about an impending water security crisis in remote communities and homelands in the NLC’s area.

The joint council meeting met with representatives of the Mungoorbada Aboriginal Corporation, which provides social and employment services to the Robinson River township and surrounding outstations, 1100km south of Darwin and 800km south-east of Katherine.

Mungoorbada representatives told the joint regional council meeting that after two dry years
the water security situation at Robinson River is dire.

“We have been told that we are in the top five on the critical list for water supply in the Katherine region,” said Mungoorbada director Freddy Jackson.

“While we are all working hard to bring social and economic development to our community, all our work may be for nothing if we haven’t got any water for community members to drink or to water our community gardens and cattle and horses.”

Chairman of the NLC’s Borroloola Barkly Regional Council, Richard Dixon, said the regional council noted that residents of Robinson River and surrounding outstations were worried about the future of their country.

“These are the traditional lands of the Garawa people and we need to live here to look after it,” said Mr Dixon.

“We want to develop our country so that our children and our children’s children have a strong, stable community and healthy country to live in.”

NLC CEO Marion Scrymgour told the joint regional council meeting that water security across the NT was a serious issue.

“Last week the NLC Chairman Samuel Bush-Blanasi and I attended a meeting of all NT land councils, attended by senior NT and Federal Government officers, and one of the biggest issues we heard about from land council representatives was water security in remote townships and homelands,” Ms Scrymgour.

NLC Chairman Samuel Bush-Blanasi told the meeting he had heard of similar problems with water supply at Milingimbi, Goulburn Island and other communities along the northern coastline.

“Governments can talk about economic development and local decision-making all they like but if people haven’t got water to drink they can’t live on their country,” said Mr Bush-Blansi.

“We need urgent action to identify and then address these issues.”