Basic services failing in remote communities

17 March 2019
Basic services failing in remote communities

Mimal Land Management says the Northern Territory Government needs to change how motor vehicle services such as registration inspections and licensing are delivered in remote communities.

Mimal Land Management chief executive officer Dominic Nicholls says the Northern Territory police are failing to provide the basic services they’re responsible for delivering.

He says it’s creating costs and stress to local businesses and community members.

“When you’re running an organisation you have basic needs - you need vehicles on the road and you need staff to have their licences,” Mr Nicholls says.

“Currently, the basic services to meet these needs are so minimal and ad hoc, we’re forced to drive hundreds of kilometres from Bulman to Katherine on rough roads to get cars registered and our staff licensed.

“If an organisation like ours finds this system unworkable, you can only imagine how hard it must be for people in the community with limited resources.

Mimal Land Management, board director and landowner John Dalywater says people are being penalised for a lack of services.

“There used to be a set time every couple of weeks when you could go to the police station,” Mr Dalywater says.

“It wasn’t much time but it was regular - now there is no regular time.

“Then, sometimes if you go to the station but then something happens and police are called away, you have to wait for the next time”.

“It doesn’t give people a good chance to get their paperwork sorted.”

Mr Nicholls says the government needs to recognise there’s a real issue.

“Police are the facilitators, but their lack of service then results in an increase in unnecessary traffic-related fines which increases social pressures on an already financially strapped group of people,” Mr Nichols says.

“The snowballing effect results in being caught in the criminal justice system, and at worst charges from unpaid fines and even potential jail time.

“Late last year Mimal was fined by police for an unregistered vehicle that had gone through proper registration inspection, but the paperwork wasn’t completed properly by police and one of our rangers was given a fine or had to face court.

“These kinds of stories are countless across remote areas in the Territory and its been going on for decades.

“We’d like to see the government put the responsibility in the hands of another on-site agency, like the local shire or government business manager, or increase the capacity of police so they can guarantee a regular, consistent service.”

“We want to work with government to find a solution because the current system isn’t working.”

Media enquiries:

Emma Masters - 0410 100 268