APO NT was established in October 2010 in response to a longstanding need in the Northern Territory for effective collaboration amongst Aboriginal organisations on issues affecting Aboriginal communities. The abolition of ATSIC early this century removed an important voice, both in the Northern Territory and nationally. When the Northern Territory Emergency Response – the Intervention – was imposed on our people and our lands, the need for a rejuvenated and united voice became acutely urgent, especially as the need arose to negotiate new ways forward for our peoples.
Alongside this was a need to be able to coordinate engagement between us in responding to the plethora of government actions – and inactions – that we experience.
APO NT was established by the Central and Northern Land Councils, the Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service, the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency, and the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory. Between us, we act in the interests of our people a number of times over: in health, justice and land issues. It works for our peoples from the very remote parts of the Territory through to urban areas.
APO NT’s principal roles are:
- providing effective and proactive responses to policy issues affecting NT Aboriginal people;
- increasing Aboriginal involvement in policy design and implementation;
- expanding opportunities for Aboriginal control; and
- strengthening networks between Aboriginal organisations in the NT and nationally.
APO NT has already achieved a great deal in its short history, and this is due to the strong commitment and support of the member organisations. APO NT also acknowledges the financial support of the Fred Hollows Foundation and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
We consider APO NT to be a very significant development in creating a strong and credible Aboriginal leadership alliance in the Northern Territory that effectively engages with government and other Aboriginal organisations on a local and national scale.
We seek to work collectively on a social determinants approach to Aboriginal policy, and on striving to set the agenda, rather than simply respond to government policy initiatives.