A message from the Council President

(from the 2017 – 2021 Regional Plan for the MacDonnell Regional Council)

Hello and welcome. As I prepare this message, preparations are also underway for Council’s election, held every four years. So there might be a new President after this year’s election.

I’ve enjoyed my time as Council President. The work is hard but worth it. My message to all who might be elected on to Council this year is simply be strong, be honest and stand up for your communities.

Roads, housing and outstations will continue to be priorities for our communities. More housing and outstations support can help address severe overcrowding. Our Council has an important role here, though not a central role. Through Northern Territory Government contracts, we help with some outstation maintenance and upgrades and some housing works.

Some of our residents want to move back to outstations but they lack water and power. Water is the main thing. You can’t live in the desert without water. Our elders might know the springs, soaks and waterholes but carting the water to their outstation homes is not always possible now. They need tanks and bores.

We can and do speak up strong to both other levels of government on all these priorities. Enough funding to help Council to do our bit will be an ongoing challenge.

Another priority will be to continue to keep our Local Authorities strong and our communication with them clear. They are giving us a voice from the communities. They are on the ground. We should be listening to our Local Authorities more, now and into the future.

As Council President, you learn a lot from the Local Authorities and communities, travelling around them and attending their meetings. And in return you can help the Local Authority members and community leaders to make our communities better places. People out there really appreciate it.

We need to teach our younger generation to be our next leaders – and through the Local Authorities is a good place to start.

The funding for projects provided by the Northern Territory Government and decided by the Local Authorities in each of our 13 remote communities is very important. The projects are discussed and decided with advice from Council staff where needed. Council staff track all our projects to give the Local Authorities updates. And the staff manage the projects to make sure they are safely implemented and maintained.

Through these Local Authorities projects, the communities do get what they asked for. This can be everything from playgrounds, to upgrades to sports facilities, parks and public toilets, to paved walkways and solar street lighting, and more.

MacDonnell Regional Council’s vision is: Many voices, one dream, building a quality desert lifestyle. I feel we are generally fulfilling this vision, though some communities have their problems from time to time. That is natural. The Local Authorities and their project decisions are just part of Council’s hard work to fulfil this vision.

Roxanne Kenny
MacDonnell Regional Council