Tag Archives: Media Release

Media Release: Visiting vets help Council share remote animal health message

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NEW APPROACH: Roper Gulf Regional Council veterinarian Dr Sam Phelan gets a helping hand to treat a puppy.

NEW APPROACH: Roper Gulf Regional Council veterinarian Dr Sam Phelan gets a helping hand to treat a puppy in the remote community of Bulman as part of the organisation’s new-look Animal Health Program.

It is a scene more commonly associated with a school fundraiser or sporting carnival, but a production line buttering bread is one element of an innovative strategy that is improving animal health outcomes in remote communities across the Roper Gulf region.

The novel approach is part of Roper Gulf Regional Council’s new Animal Health Program, which was rolled out in late 2016 under the guidance of in-house veterinarian Dr Sam Phelan.

Previously, the Council engaged a private veterinary service to carry out biannual community visits within its 186,000 square kilometre Local Government Area, but the switch to the new format is already paying dividends on several fronts, including owner education and local employment.

As part of the program, Dr Phelan is training Animal Management Assistants (AMA) who can assist her during remote visits, and also provide local support and treatments when communities are cut off during the wet season.

“Because I don’t have a vet nurse working with me like you would in a traditional vet practice, this program opens up the door for Indigenous employment in communities,” she explained.

Animal Management Assistant Kaylene Runyu injects buttered bread with a parasite treatment.

Animal Management Assistant Kaylene Runyu injects buttered bread with a parasite treatment.

“The community feedback has been really good, because having an AMA available to each community during the wet means there will be someone there to treat animals for tick burden when that water comes up, which will create better outcomes for animals and owners.”

The success of the program was on show in Barunga, Beswick and Bulman earlier this month when Dr Phelan was joined on the road for five days by AMA Kaylene Runyu, and two vet volunteers, who travelled to the Northern Territory through the Council’s partnership with not-for-profit group Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities (AMRRIC).

Using buttered bread soaked with a parasite medication is being utilised as the preferred treatment method by Dr Phelan, who said that it let the team cover the dog population a lot faster than if an invasive treatment technique was used.

She added that having the vet volunteers available to lend their expertise meant more of a focus could be put on educating owners about their obligations to their pets.

“We’re finding a lot of the desexing has already been done by the vets who were previously contracted to do the program, which frees up time for education, and that’s the next phase,” Dr Phelan said.

“Part of that education is getting a photo, medical record and history of each dog in a community and putting it into the Council’s database, which is an iPad-compatible app donated by AMRRIC.

AMRRIC vet volunteer Dr Linda Bradbury updates animal data in Roper Gulf Regional Council’s mobile database during a house-to-house visit with Dr Sam Phelan.

AMRRIC vet volunteer Dr Linda Bradbury updates animal data in Roper Gulf Regional Council’s mobile database during a house-to-house visit with Dr Sam Phelan.

“It’s helping to build familiarity between me, the animals and their owners, and that helps a lot with improving dog health and identifying problem dogs.

“Council is committed to improving the health of animals in remote communities, and the comments we are getting from owners during our visits so far suggest the new Animal Health Program is on the right path to achieving that.”

View the full Media Release here.

Media Release: CDP construction creativity to shine at 2017 Katherine Show

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GOING ON SHOW: Barunga residents Travis Tiati, Nathan Runyu and Ronald Blitner put the finishing touches on the bar that will be on display at the 2017 Katherine Show at part of a Roper Gulf Regional Council Community Development Program project.

GOING ON SHOW: Barunga residents Travis Tiati, Nathan Runyu and Ronald Blitner put the finishing touches on the bar that will be on display at the 2017 Katherine Show as part of a Roper Gulf Regional Council Community Development Program project.

An estimated 15,000 people will witness the skill and creativity of Roper Gulf Regional Council’s Community Development Program (CDP) participants when gates open at the 2017 Katherine Show this week.

As anticipation builds ahead of Katherine’s biggest annual event beginning on July 21, CDP participants from Barunga, Beswick, Mataranka and the remote community of Numbulwar have been applying the finishing touches to the construction and art pieces they hope will secure top honours in their respective show categories.

The entries include an eclectic mix of woodwork and art, and are expected to turn the heads of show patrons when they are unveiled.

Numbulwar participants have created stunning lamps, coffee tables, television cabinets and woomeras as part of a joinery project, and Builder Trainer Miguel Zahoran said he was incredibly pleased with how the men had embraced utilising recycled materials in their work.

“It’s been great working with the men and seeing them so active and keen with this project,” he said.

“They are very talented with the tools and it’s impressive to see how their skills and confidence have grown.

“I love to see how proud they are about their projects and the workshop we built together.”

The sentiment was echoed by participant Leroy Nunggarrgalu, who explained that the project had allowed the men to develop a new skillset, while using the show to offer patrons a glimpse at life in Numbulwar.

“There is a good environment in the workshop, where we can learn, have fun and enjoy our work,” he said.

CATTLE CREATIVITY: Mataranka Community Development Program participants are all smiles as they show off the cattle skulls they have adorned with artwork to enter in the 2017 Katherine Show.

Mataranka CDP participants are all smiles as they show off the cattle skulls they have adorned with artwork.

While female participants in Mataranka have decorated cattle skulls with intricate artwork for the show, Beswick and Barunga participants have built clocks, and a one-of-a-kind bar using old pallets.

The bar will be hard to miss at the show, as it features transparent inserts that can be backlit.

Barunga participant Travis Tiati said he couldn’t wait to see the reaction of patrons when they saw the bar.

“We wanted to do something different,” he said.

“It will be good to let people at the show see what we are doing in Barunga.”

NUMBULWAR PRIDE: Stunning joinery created by Community Development Participants in the remote Roper Gulf community of Numbulwar will be on show – much to the delight of its proud creators – when gates open at Katherine’s biggest annual event on July 21.

Stunning joinery created by CDP participants in the remote Roper Gulf community of Numbulwar will be on show – much to the delight of its proud creators – when gates open at Katherine’s biggest annual event on July 21.

The Council’s CDP Regional Manager, Janelle Iszlaub, urged patrons to take the time to look at the participants’ creations while soaking up the atmosphere of the show.

“The Community Development Program is about finding employment for participants, but it’s also about helping them develop the skills and self-confidence they will need in the workforce, as well as undertaking projects that build the capacity and pride of remote communities,” she said.

“Show organisers have said there will be more than 15,000 people attending this year’s Katherine Show, so I can’t think of a better way to build that pride than by letting everyone who comes through the gate see what amazingly talented participants Council has.”

The Council runs CDP projects in its Local Government Area on behalf of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The Federal Government initiative assists jobseekers in remote communities to find employment as they contribute to their communities and gain new skills in the process.

View the full Media Release here.

Media Release: Binjari books reinforce Indigenous languages matter

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NEW CHAPTER: Through Roper Gulf Regional Council’s Community Development Program, Binjari resident Marilyn Firth has created a book in Kriol called Fishing – lenimbat ola biginini, which will teach children about fishing in the Indigenous language.

NEW CHAPTER: Through Roper Gulf Regional Council’s Community Development Program, Binjari resident Marilyn Firth has created a book in Kriol called Fishing – lenimbat ola biginini, which will teach children about fishing in the Indigenous language.

With many traditional dialects languishing across Australia, the NAIDOC Week 2017 theme of “Our Languages Matter” is being lived in the community of Binjari as part of a Roper Gulf Regional Council Community Development Program (CDP) project sharing Kriol with the next generation.

For the past two years, female CDP participants have been training to use the Kriol spelling system with Australian National University linguist Denise Angelo, and their determined efforts have paid off with the announcement that nine of the children’s books they have written will be distributed through the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF).

In June, the ILF supported artist and illustrator Julie Haysom to visit the community, about 15 kilometres west of Katherine, and work with the women to create three board books, three picture books and three chapter books.

The six aspiring authors had additional creative support from fellow participants Karen Manbulloo, Halrisha Hodgson, Daniella Carlton, Natasha Waterloo, Tasiana Douglas, Sylvia Birdum, Rozelle Frith, Sarah Lewis and Marisa Smiler-Cairns, who provided paintings and sketches to illustrate the books.

Binjari CDP participants Bernadine Booth and Sylvia Birdum inspect the progress of their books with artist and illustrator Julie Haysom.

Binjari CDP participants Bernadine Booth and Sylvia Birdum inspect the progress of their books with artist and illustrator Julie Haysom.

Chief Executive Officer Michael Berto said the project had allowed the CDP participants to develop self-confidence through literacy, adding that he was thrilled to see the final drafts of the books.

“The women speak Kriol mostly as a first language, but like the majority of Kriol speakers, they did not learn to read and write the language at school,” he explained.

“This project has provided an introduction to the way Kriol is written, and the ladies’ confidence with written Kriol has increased as the books took shape.

“I’m extremely proud of what they have achieved, because it is helping to build capacity for their community, and that’s exactly what the Community Development Program is designed to do.”

The books are:

Board books

  • Olkainawan kalawan loli (Lollies of All Different Colours) by Milly Raymond
  • Yakai! Beibigel! (Baby Girl! Stop!) by Maureen Hodgson
  • Ola kala en namba (Colours and Numbers) by Bernadine Booth

Picture books

  • Moli det bigibigi (Molly the Pig) by Karen Manbulloo
  • Tudei en longtaim (Now and Then) by Stella Raymond
  • Fishing – lenimbat ola biginini (Fishing Know-How – Teaching Children) by Marilyn Frith

Chapter books

  • Roki det kenggurru (Rocky the Kangaroo) by Maureen Hodgson
  • Hanting gada biliken (Hunting with Billycans) by Maureen Hodgson
  • Hanting gada trekta en treila (Hunting with a Tractor and Trailer) by Maureen Hodgson
Daniella Carlton and Natasha Waterloo are just two of the Binjari illustrators whose work will be published in nine children’s books by the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

Daniella Carlton and Natasha Waterloo are just two of the Binjari illustrators whose work will be published in nine children’s books by the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

Once the books have been published, ILF will distribute copies to CDP participants and other community members in Binjari, as well as to schools, childcare centres and health services across the Katherine region.

The Council runs CDP projects in its Local Government Area on behalf of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The Federal Government initiative assists jobseekers in remote communities to find employment as they contribute to their communities and gain new skills in the process.

View the full Media Release here.

Media Release: Community shares rich history of Beswick through heritage trail

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TRAIL TALES: The next generation of Wugularr residents pose for a photo with Member for Arnhem Selena Uibo, Roper Gulf Regional Council Mayor Tony Jack, Chief Executive Officer Michael Berto, Director of Council and Community Services Sharon Hillen, and Council Services Coordinator Brenda Donges after the Beswick Heritage Trail was officially opened on July 6.

TRAIL TALES: The next generation of Wugularr residents pose for a photo with Member for Arnhem Selena Uibo, Roper Gulf Regional Council Mayor Tony Jack, Chief Executive Officer Michael Berto, Director of Council and Community Services Sharon Hillen, and Council Services Coordinator Brenda Donges after the Beswick Heritage Trail was officially opened on July 6.

The unique Indigenous and pastoral histories of the Beswick region will be shared with visitors to the Roper Gulf region after an interactive heritage trail was officially opened on July 6.

The push to create the 1.6-kilometre trail was led by Roper Gulf Regional Council after its Beswick Local Authority identified it as a potential community engagement project several years ago, and oral histories and information sourced from the Northern Territory Library have been used to create signage that tells the story of the establishment of Beswick Station, and the settling of local Indigenous families in the area.

Set among picturesque paperbark trees, the trail loops around a waterlily-filled billabong and lets visitors learn more about the remnants of the station that shaped the structural aesthetic of Beswick as it stands today.

Almost 100 Beswick residents converged on the community’s iconic Sidney Williams hut to watch Member for Arnhem Selena Uibo cut the ribbon spanning the trail.

Ms Uibo praised the Council’s municipal services team and Community Development Program participants, whose work creating the trail has ensured Beswick’s cultural and historical past has been preserved, and linked to the natural landscape.

“I think the trail is important, because the community has the pride to be able to share those stories and to pass them on,” she said.

“You can see there’s been a lot of work done on the trail.

“Having that local story and local knowledge being able to be shared with more than just the community is great.”

WUGULARR WALK: Member for Arnhem Selena Uibo tours the Beswick Heritage Trail with Roper Gulf Regional Council Chief Executive Officer Michael Berto and Mayor Tony Jack on Thursday afternoon.

Member for Arnhem Selena Uibo tours the Beswick Heritage Trail with Roper Gulf Regional Council Chief Executive Officer Michael Berto and Mayor Tony Jack on Thursday afternoon.

Mayor Tony Jack attended the opening and said keeping the stories of the Roper Gulf region alive was something the Council had thrown its full support behind.

“This history is very important to the Beswick community, so Council is happy to have worked with the Local Authority and residents to record these stories in a way everyone who visits can learn about,” he said.

“I’d like to see more projects like this across the region, because they help to promote cultural tourism that benefits our communities.”

The Beswick Heritage Trail was funded through a Federal Government Community Heritage Program Grant.

View the full Media Release here.

Media Release: New citizen welcomed ‘wholeheartedly’ into Mataranka family

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LATEST CITIZEN: Mataranka resident Yen Nguyen is congratulated by her husband, Bruce Ross, and Roper Gulf Regional Council Deputy Mayor Judy MacFarlane after she made her pledge of allegiance and became the Northern Territory’s newest citizen on Monday.

LATEST CITIZEN: Mataranka resident Yen Nguyen is congratulated by her husband, Bruce Ross, and Roper Gulf Regional Council Deputy Mayor Judy MacFarlane after she made her pledge of allegiance and became the Northern Territory’s newest citizen on July 3.

It was a family affair in the gardens of Roper Gulf Regional Council’s Mataranka office on July 3 when a much-loved member of staff became an Australian citizen in front of more than 20 colleagues and friends.

Yen Nguyen, who is a member of the Council’s Commercial Services team in Mataranka, was the third resident of the Roper Gulf region to be conferred citizenship in 2017, following a ceremony in Borroloola on Australia Day.

Deputy Mayor Judy MacFarlane presided over the ceremony and congratulated Ms Nguyen on her decision to become an Australian citizen.

“Yen is a well-known part of our community down here in Mataranka, so it was pretty significant to be able to carry out the duties of Presiding Officer as she completed her journey to becoming a citizen,” she said.

“Taking part in these types of civic events hosted by Council is a privilege as an Elected Member, and on behalf of the Council family, I’d like to welcome Yen wholeheartedly as an Australian.”

Ms Nguyen’s conferral was watched by her husband, Bruce Ross, who also works for the Council’s Commercial Services Directorate in the town.

Deputy Mayor Judy MacFarlane embraces an emotional Yen Nguyen after she became an Australian citizen during an intimate ceremony.

Deputy Mayor Judy MacFarlane embraces an emotional Yen Nguyen after she became an Australian citizen during an intimate ceremony.

After the ceremony, Ms Nguyen thanked those who had turned out to support her and said it had been a “truly emotional” event.

“This is something that is very important to me and my family,” she said.

“I have always planned to become a citizen, and to be able to do it in front of my family and friends at home in Mataranka makes it even more special.”

View the full Media Release here.