Tag Archives: Media Release

Media Release: Borroloola welcomes newest citizens during Australia Day celebration

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CITIZENSHIP SMILES: Roper Gulf Regional Council Mayor Tony Jack congratulates Borroloola’s newest Australians, Lesley and Mark Wakeling, after the well-known couple took part in a citizenship ceremony in the remote community on Australia Day.

CITIZENSHIP SMILES: Roper Gulf Regional Council Mayor Tony Jack congratulates Borroloola’s newest Australians, Lesley and Mark Wakeling, after the well-known couple took part in a citizenship ceremony in the remote community on Australia Day.

There are few similarities between the bustling streets of London and the unhurried pace of life in the remote Roper Gulf community of Borroloola, but it is a contrast that has been embraced by two of Australia’s newest citizens.

As part of Australia Day festivities in the community, approximately 650 kilometres south-east of Katherine, Roper Gulf Regional Council hosted a citizenship ceremony at which British ex-pats Mark and Lesley Wakeling pledged their commitment to their adopted home.

Mr Wakeling, who is the Council’s Pool Municipal Supervisor in Borroloola and former professional soccer coach, explained that obtaining citizenship had been the final step in a journey that began when the couple first arrived in Australia in 1999.

“For us, becoming citizens was about being in the right place to settle down and get it done, and now’s the time,” he said.

While the tyranny of distance and wet season weather prevented the affable couple’s family from attending the ceremony, Mr Wakeling thanked the Borroloola community for welcoming him and his wife with open arms.

“It was special becoming citizens out here in front of our friends,” he said.

“We don’t have any family here for the day, but they were here in spirit.

“Citizenship kind of means that we belong now; this is our home now.”

Mayor Tony Jack said Australia Day was an opportune time to unite communities, learn from the past and forge a sustainable future for every Australian.

“January 26 means something different to every person who calls this part of the Top End home, but I truly think it is a day that we should take advantage of to strengthen our resolve and open an honest dialogue to create a greater community, both at a local level and as a country,” he said.

“Today will be remembered as an extra-special Australia Day celebration for two well-known members of the Borroloola community after they pledged their allegiance to Australia and became the Roper Gulf region’s newest citizens.

“On behalf of the Council, I’d like to congratulate Mark and Lesley on their decision, which is not one made lightly.”

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Roper Gulf Regional Council Deputy Mayor Judy MacFarlane is embraced by Member for Arnhem Selena Uibo on January 26 after being named Mataranka’s Citizen of the Year for her service to the community.

The celebration continued across the Council’s 186,000 square kilometre Local Government Area when recipients of the 2017 Australia Day Local Government Awards were announced.

Presented to the individuals and events that have provided outstanding contributions to their respective communities during the past 12 months, Mayor Jack said the awards recognised those who had been “prepared to step up because they understand that a community cannot reach its full potential if people sit on the sidelines”.

The winners are:

Barunga
Young Citizen of the Year: Jeffrey McDonald
Citizen of the Year: Peter Wordsworth
Community Event of the Year: Joint Barunga and Manyallauk Community Development Program Katherine Christmas street party parade entry

Beswick
Young Citizen of the Year: Harrietta Forbes
Citizen of the Year: Leon George
Community Event of the Year: Walking with Spirits Festival

Borroloola
Young Citizen of the Year: Nikita Baker
Citizen of the Year: Jacky Green
Community Event of the Year: 130th anniversary celebrating the arrival of the Magistrate and Mounted Police in Borroloola

Bulman
Young Citizen of the Year: Cordell Scrubby
Citizen of the Year: Richard Forbes
Community Event of the Year: NAIDOC Week Festival

Jilkminggan
Young Citizen of the Year: Shadonia Baker
Citizen of the Year: Desmond George
Community Event of the Year: Jilkminggan School football competition

Mataranka
Citizen of the Year: Judy MacFarlane
Community Event of the Year: Mataranka Fishing, Sporting and Recreation Club barra competiton

Manyallaluk
Citizen of the Year: Alison Andrews
Community Event of the Year: Joint Barunga and Manyallauk Community Development Program Katherine Christmas street party parade entry

Ngukurr
Young Citizen of the Year: Alexis Roberts
Citizen of the Year: Kathy Huddleston
Community Event of the Year: Yugul Mangi Festival

Numbulwar
Young Citizen of the Year: Declan Murrungun
Citizen of the Year: Dale Murrungun
Community Event of the Year: Numburindi Festival

View the full Media Release here.

Media Release: Council WHS team clocks up 50,000 remote kilometres to sell safety message

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SAFETY FOCUS: Part of Roper Gulf Regional Council’s success in notching up a 100-day recordable injury free milestone can be attributed to taking the Work, Health and Safety message to staff with a roadshow during National Safe Work Month in October 2016.

SAFETY FOCUS: Part of Roper Gulf Regional Council’s success in notching up a 100-day recordable injury free milestone can be attributed to taking the Work, Health and Safety message to staff with a roadshow during National Safe Work Month in October 2016.

Keeping 400 staff and 1300 Community Development Program participants scattered across 186,000 square kilometres of the Northern Territory safe is a logistical problem that would be a nightmare for most organisations, but Roper Gulf Regional Council has overcome the challenge with innovation and the equivalent of one-and-a-quarter trips around the earth.

With 12 sites in its Local Government Area, the Council’s Work, Health and Safety (WHS) team spent the past year tailoring the delivery of procedures and training programs to a culturally diverse workforce.

Acting WHS Co-ordinator Renae Jarrett said the key procedural change had been the implementation of the Take 5 risk assessment booklet, which provided staff with a user-friendly tool for identifying potential hazards.

“The beauty of Take 5 is that it is an easy-to-use system for staff to asses a job’s risk before they start it,” she explained.

“The pocket booklet walks staff through the five steps needed to undertake a task safely, including spotting hazards and making changes to work practices to circumvent identified risks.

“Take 5 has allowed the WHS team to nurture a cultural change that means safety is at the forefront of everything our people do.”

TAKING FIVE: The Take 5 risk assessment pocketbook has helped Roper Gulf Regional Council overcome the tyranny of distance as it developed a culture focused on the importance of Work, Health and Safety in its 186,000 square kilometre Local Government Area.

The Take 5 risk assessment pocketbook has helped the Council overcome the tyranny of distance as it developed a culture focused on the importance of Work, Health and Safety in its 186,000 square kilometre Local Government Area.

The success of the approach can be measured by the fact that 2016 was the safest on record for the Council, a result highlighted by a milestone 100-day recordable injury free run and five months without an incident reported.

Face-to-face training was identified as the most effective way to drive home the WHS message, with driving the key word as the team clocked up more than 50,000 kilometres on some of the NT’s remotest roads in 12 months.

During National Safe Work Month alone, the team drove 10,000km in order to present a roadshow that transformed a barbecue into an interactive learning experience for staff.

Chief Executive Officer Michael Berto said the staggering statistic demonstrated the Council’s commitment to safety.

“WHS is a critical part of any organisation’s operation, but managing it in an area as remote as the Roper Gulf region presents a unique challenge,” he said.

“We have been able to get around it by hitting the road to deliver onsite training, because staff told us they preferred to discuss things like alcohol and other drugs in a face-to-face environment.”

“It’s taken an incredible commitment and a rethink on how we do things as a Council, but the results speak for themselves.”

View the full Media Release here.

 

Media Release: Food security, tourism and youth sport big Community Grant winners

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GAME ON: Netballers from the remote community of Ngukurr will receive training and a once-in-a-lifetime sporting trip to Melbourne thanks in part to a $2000 funding windfall through Roper Gulf Regional Council’s 2016-17 Community Grants Program. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

GAME ON: Netballers from the remote community of Ngukurr will receive training and a once-in-a-lifetime sporting trip to Melbourne thanks in part to a $2000 funding windfall through Roper Gulf Regional Council’s 2016-17 Community Grants Program. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

A sports camp for some of the Northern Territory’s most isolated children and a garden-to-table sustainability plan in Ngukurr are two of the seven projects that will share $15,000 in funding through round two of Roper Gulf Regional Council’s 2016-17 Community Grants Program.

The Council announced the recipients at its final Ordinary Meeting of 2016 on December 14, with the NT branch of the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association (ICPA) set to receive a $3000 major grant that will assist with running a two-day sporting event that will offer a “sense of community” for rural families.

ICPA Katherine branch President Kerrie Scott said the inaugural sports camp, which will be held in Mataranka in April 2017, would bring distance education students together to try their hands at team sports they would have otherwise had no exposure to because of geographic isolation.

“This much-needed camp will focus on team sports that remote children have very little exposure to,” she explained.

“It will develop gross motor skills, introduce team building, promote physical activity and healthy lifestyle choices, promote good mental health through social interaction with peers, promote equality in sport, encourage collaboration between organisations, and most importantly, instil a sense of community for isolated families.”

Mrs Scott added that the grant would allow families to make the journey to Mataranka without some of the financial burden associated with long-distance travel.

“It is always our aim to make our events accessible to every child without adding further financial pressure to families,” she said.

“It is not just a 10-minute drive on a Saturday morning for our kids to participate in sport; some of these families will travel long distances across dirt roads, and may be the only sporting activity they can be involved in.

“I would sincerely like to thank the Roper Gulf Regional Council for awarding us $3000 through the Community Grants Program that will enable us to hold our very first ICPA sports camp in Mataranka.”

The Ngukurr community is also celebrating its success in the round two allocations after the school and netball team received major grants of $3000 and $2000 respectively to help fund a food security project and a once-in-a-lifetime netball trip to Melbourne.

The Council’s Chief Executive Officer, Michael Berto, congratulated recipients and said the diverse range of projects that were successful in securing funding were at the core of what the Community Grants Program aimed to facilitate.

“The Community Grants Program is a way for Council to provide financial assistance for projects that will enhance the liveability, economy and environment of the Roper Gulf region,” he said.

“The fact that Council has contributed $30,000 to 12 projects in just two rounds demonstrates how successful the program is, and that organisations see it as a trusted pathway to securing the funding needed to turn community project concepts in remote areas into a reality.”

The seven recipients are:

Major funding category (up to $3000)
• Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association NT branch – 2017 sports camp ($3000)
• Ngukurr School – Sustainable Garden to Table project ($3000)
• Mataranka Tourism Working Group – Stay, Play and Explore Mataranka and Surrounds project ($3000)
• Minyerri Arts and Cultural Centre – Young Makers project ($2000)
• Ngukurr netball team – netball training and trip to Melbourne ($2000)

Minor funding category (up to $1000)
• Never Never Festival Committee – Stay, Play and Explore Mataranka and Surrounds project ($1000)
• Big River Hawks – participation of girls’ team in under-18 NTFL competition ($1000)

Roper Gulf Regional Council’s Community Grants Program provides financial assistance of up to $3000 for projects that will benefit community events and activities, economic development, or the physical or natural environment.

The next round of applications will be announced in July 2017.

View the full Media Release here.

 

Media Release: Council adds strength to Katherine flood response

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IN THE KNOW: Katherine Emergency Committee Acting Chair Superintendent Lauren Hill and Roper Gulf Regional Council Director of Council and Community Services Sharon Hillen familiarise themselves with the new Flood Safe Katherine guide at the Council’s 2 Crawford Street site, which has been designated as an emergency vehicle compound in the guide.

IN THE KNOW: Katherine Emergency Committee Acting Chair Superintendent Lauren Hill and Roper Gulf Regional Council Director of Council and Community Services Sharon Hillen familiarise themselves with the new Flood Safe Katherine guide at the Council’s 2 Crawford Street site, which has been designated as an emergency vehicle compound in the guide.

Roper Gulf Regional Council has furthered its commitment to the Katherine community by providing its 2 Crawford Street site as an emergency shelter during flood events.

With the wet season now upon Katherinites, the Council confirmed that the site – which was purchased this year and will be redeveloped into the Council’s operations hub – had been formally designated as an emergency location and vehicle compound in the new Flood Safe Katherine guide.

Director of Council and Community Services Sharon Hillen explained that the organisation had a large footprint in Katherine, and an obligation to assist the community in emergency situations.

“We have 87 staff in Katherine who are Katherine residents, and who are all willing to pitch in and assist in the time of an event,” she said.

“Council has been involved with the Katherine Emergency Committee (KEC) since its inception.

“Being outside the flood zone, the site is a strategic location for us as an organisation in preparing our remote communities that are flood and cyclone prone, but also for us to provide significant support to Government agencies, Katherine Town Council and residents of Katherine when the town does flood.

“The yard at 2 Crawford Street has historically been the laydown area for people’s domestic vehicles, and agency vehicles and plant, and we expect that we will be able to provide that same level of support to the community of Katherine.”

In addition, the organisation’s Technical Services and Contracts Workshop, located at 63 Chardon Street, will be used as an overflow emergency location if the Katherine Town Council pound – the primary animal shelter listed in the Flood Safe Katherine guide – is overwhelmed by pets.

The guide includes information on flood warnings and what to do in the event of an emergency, and KEC Acting Chair Superintendent Lauren Hill said it was imperative that Katherinites were familiar with its contents.

“Any area across Katherine that has general public access will have these flood brochures available,” she said.

“My mantra for this is to plan, prepare and survive, so know your flood plan, get your emergency kit together and be prepared to evacuate yourself, or ensure you and your family are safe.

“Extreme thanks to Roper Gulf Regional Council for making available the old Landmark site for the residents of Katherine.

“It’s really important that people who need to remove and secure their assets from their home have a place that they can safely secure those assets.”

The Flood Safe Katherine guide is available at several locations in the town, including Roper Gulf Regional Council headquarters at 29 Crawford Street, the Katherine Civic Centre and the Katherine Visitor Information Centre.

View the full Media Release here.

Media Release: Council congratulates latest cohort of Community Night Patrol graduates

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SAFER COMMUNITIES: Roper Gulf Regional Council staff are congratulated by Deputy Mayor Judy MacFarlane and Chief Executive Officer Michael Berto before taking time out to consider their educational success, and what it means for safety in their respective communities, after graduating with a Certificate III in Community Night Patrol on November 24.

SAFER COMMUNITIES: Roper Gulf Regional Council staff are congratulated by Deputy Mayor Judy MacFarlane and Chief Executive Officer Michael Berto before taking time out to consider their educational success, and what it means for safety in their respective communities, after graduating with a Certificate III in Community Night Patrol on November 24.

Eight Roper Gulf Regional Council staff that converged on the classroom to help improve safety in their respective communities have been lauded at a special Charles Darwin University graduation ceremony on November 24.

The staff, who are based in Borroloola, Ngukurr, Beswick, Barunga, Manyallaluk and Jilkminggan, completed the Certificate III in Community Night Patrol and were presented with their qualification in front of more than 300 people at the CDU event, which was held at Katherine’s Godinymayin Yijard Rivers Arts and Culture Centre.

Community Night Patrols play a vital part in minimising antisocial behaviour and alcohol abuse in 11 communities in the Roper Gulf region, and Chief Executive Officer Michael Berto said the qualification provided the staff with a nationally-recognised pathway to add capacity to the Council’s service delivery.

“Community Night Patrol is an extremely important part of what Council does in our remote communities on behalf of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet,” he explained.

“It is more often than not the first line of defence against antisocial behaviour and promoting community safety, which comes with a complex set of challenges made tougher by the tyranny of distance.

“Our Community Night Patrol staff are seen as role models in their communities, and the eight that graduated this week now have a formal qualification that adds to the skills they have learned in the course of their duties.”

The graduates are Alistair Andrews, Dwayne Gordon, Nicodemus Farrell, Vanessa McCale, Adrian Doctor, John Sigai, Ian Daylight and Russell Agalara.

View the full Media Release here.