In May 2009, the Northern Territory released its first-ever policy for homelands/outstations, setting out how the Government intends to provide services and much-needed infrastructure to assist communities living on Aboriginal-owned lands. The Government claims that its new approach will improve transparency of service delivery and ‘introduce a new disbursement model based on a more realistic framework for the allocation of limited government resources.’
Part of the much broader Working Future strategy, the Government’s plan hinges largely on the creation of centralised ‘economic hubs’ across the Northern Territory. It is a development that has been widely criticised by Aboriginal people throughout the region. Looking briefly at the history of the homelands/outstations movement and policy responses from various levels of government, this paper examines why the Northern Territory’s announcement has elicited such a negative response from homeland residents.