The 2018 Developing Northern Australia Conference is almost here again and will this year be held at Alice Springs Convention Centre over Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 June. 

Mr Robert ‘Bo’ Carne, Director – Local Decision Making at the Regional Network Group, Department of the Chief Minister, Northern Territory Government joins us at the Conference to discuss ‘Local decision making’.


In its true form, Local Decision Making (LDM) provides an opportunity for people to make decisions about matters that affect their lives, in this case it’s about remote Aboriginal communities. The Northern Territory Government has a 10 year commitment to make LDM a reality that will formalise some of the good programs already underway, and, implement many of the aspirations that Aboriginal communities have had since self-government 40 years ago. Aboriginal communities have proven resilience by adapting to every changing government policy, which is mostly driven from a centralised model. LDM will change the way government works with communities, with a vision of Aboriginal people determining their own future.

A long term plan that will see government expenditure move away from ‘band-aid’ solutions to more proactive and productive solutions.
In the spirit of LDM, the implementation will be delivered using a place based approach, through the Regional Network Group within the Department of the Chief Minister. This will include agency coordination and a support framework suitable for individual communities. Since February 2016, DCM has worked across agencies and a number of organisations to help guide the LDM Framework. This Framework consists of three parts: Policy; Operational Guidelines; Tools and Templates.

This provides certainty and direction for government and community. Managing community and government expectations will be a challenge, however, using a staged approach will help minimise risks and provide an ‘action learning’ environment.

What does this mean for short and long term business development in the NT? The opportunity for community control means there will be a need for skill and capacity development in communities. This includes, but not limited to; governance, leadership, financial management, legal responsibility, trades, construction and civil works, tourism, and, land and sea management capacity. It’s recognised that some of this already exists, but when this is truly realised then there will be greater opportunity for business partnerships in communities or across regions. Small and large businesses already established would have access to local skilled workforce in communities.
Ambitious, but achievable.


Robert ‘Bo’ Carne has been the Director Local Decision Making (LDM) with the Northern Territory Government Department of the Chief Minister (DCM) since June 2017. LDM will drive change to the way government programs are delivered with Aboriginal communities. Prior to joining DCM, Bo had 17 years with NT Fisheries, influencing the development of many of the Indigenous engagement strategies (both Territory and National), including Indigenous employment, economic development, resource management and research. Some of which have been recognised by a number of Territory and National Awards. One of his proudest achievements within NT Fisheries has been raising the Indigenous employment rate from 2% up to 22 %.

For more information on the 2018 Developing Northern Australia Conference and to secure your spot in Alice Springs this June please visit the conference website.