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Our Waste Program gains national recognition

Central Desert, Barky and MacDonnell Regional Councils have jointly won a prestigious National Award for Local Government for their program 'Creating great landfills in central Australian remote Aboriginal communities'.

Central Desert Director of Works Glenn Marshall said "In 2012 the NT Department of Health approached the Local Government Association of the NT seeking improvements in waste management in NT remote communities. Central Desert, Barkly and MacDonnell Councils joined forces and used some Health Department funding to set about strategically cleaning up our landfill sites, installing public drop off and recycling areas, digging safer pits, fencing them off from the general public, and training our Indigenous works crews in covering and compacting the rubbish. We now recycle tyres, batteries, scrap metal, car bodies and waste oil into Alice Springs, and will soon be adding electronic waste to that list. Yuendumu also now has an EPA-approved asbestos disposal facility, the first in any NT remote community".

"The change has been remarkable". said the Director of Environmental Health at NT Health, Xavier Schobben "we congratulate the three Councils on their resolve and sustained efforts".

One of Yuendumu's Council Field Officer's Kasmin Spencer said "Our landfill used to be dirty and dangerous, we didn't like coming up here. Then we cleaned it up three years ago and we have kept it in good condition ever since. We workers are really proud of our landfill now".

Mick Cafe, Regional Waste Coordinator said "This is local empowerment in action – government highlighted a problem, provided resources and allowed Councils to develop the local solutions. Onground works have been driven by our local Indigenous works crews. We have recently developed a monthly audit app aimed at our semi-literate local workers for Council's compliance reporting. We are focused on local solutions for local realities".

The program has gone from strength to strength in its three years; Yuendumu and Lajamanu communities won the Tip Top Tip awards at the Territory Tidy Towns awards in 2013 and 2014, matched by Titjkala winning the overall Territory's Tidiest Town award in both those years.

The award will be presented at Parliament House, Canberra on 16 June, 2015 by the Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss.

For more information contact Mick Cafe on 8958 9566, 0428 823 910 or mick.cafe@centraldesert.nt.gov.au