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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 41704

Remarks at Papulu Apparr-Kari Language Centre

Photo of Turnbull, Malcolm

Turnbull, Malcolm

Period of Service: 15/09/2015 to 24/08/2018

More information about Turnbull, Malcolm on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 22/07/2018

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 41704

Location: Tennant Creek, Northern Territory

PRIME MINISTER:

Thanks Nigel, where’s Ronald? There he is, you were very kind. Ronald was very kind, he said that he thought that my remarks in language at the airport clearly were from a language group ‘distantly connected’ to Warumungu.

[Laughter]

I'm exaggerating, he was very kind. I want to thank your father for his help. I just want to say, this has been a bit of a whirlwind visit today and I know we’ve got a lot more to do tomorrow. But going to the Language Centre was fantastic. Going to the Rehabilitation Centre was fantastic, going to see Karen. You and your brother do an amazing job there and I just want to thank all of the cooks, all of the cooks and the servers. Anita thank you so much. We had a great discussion with you and all your team there.

Look, it’s been a very, very important visit for me. I’m here, as you know with Nigel and Dan Tehan, with the Chief Minister Michael Gunner and Gerry – where’s Michael, he’s here somewhere - and with Dale. The object is to listen, but to listen with respect and with keen attention. That's why I take lots of notes. A lot of very, very important messages have come across. The housing problem in Tennant Creek, or lack of housing, is clearly, that’s the single biggest issue that's been described in every encounter we've had, whether it's in a group or whether it's in a quiet chat one on one. That's a huge priority.

Generally I think there is a big opportunity for us to take the advice from the Cultural Authority Group – and Glenys thank you so much for your address at the outset, very eloquent - to take that advice, which is that we need to work together more effectively.

Now one of the innovations that I've brought in to the Federal Government since I became Prime Minister a few years back, is to set up what we’ve called City Deals. We’ve been rolling them out from one centre to another, Launceston, Townsville, Western Sydney, Geelong will be one, it’s under negotiation, Hobart, we were talking to Michael about Darwin. But the concept doesn't have to be limited. This is what the concept is and this is not just a concept, this is practice, this is actually happening now. Fiona and I, Fiona has gone I think to get the night patrol organised, but we were just talking about how well it's going in Launceston in Tasmania.

What we do is, get, in a given area, get the Federal Government, State Government or Territory Government, local government and other important stakeholders, which will be obviously the Aboriginal corporations here, the Cultural Authority Group for example, in Launceston for example, the University of  Tasmania is a party to that. You sit down and you say; “Right, what is it that we want to do? Let’s work out what our agenda is.” Then you make sure that having agreed on what the plan is - it might relate to housing, it might relate to economic growth or relate to educational issues -  you agree on that and then you make sure that everybody is working together and pulling in the same direction. Because you see all too often that different levels of government have got the same good intentions and they're often generally moving in the same direction, but they can be a bit like ships passing in the night. There's not enough coordination, so that's what the big idea was. It is working successfully where we've set it up.

But you know, amidst all of the challenges and difficulties that Tennant Creek has had, you’ve got some great strengths, strong culture above all. You've got some terrific economic opportunities. You’ve got a great local council, local government and congratulations to the Barkly Shire - is that the right term? The Barkly Regional Council. Your worship, congratulations.

But clearly, I mean you and your team, who we met this morning and we met earlier in Canberra of course, you've got a real vision for the region.  You’ve got an understanding there, you've got a very keen local member of the state parliament, you’ve got Nigel and Jacinta was here earlier. She's headed back to Alice. You've got strong local leadership at every level of government.

I think this is a, you know, Barkly region is an area where we should be looking at – you couldn’t call it a City Deal obviously – but a ‘Regional Deal’ where we actually make sure that we sit down and take the advice, Glenys, that you were giving us on behalf of your Cultural Authority Group, that we have to work together and get everybody involved. That was your punch line of your speech which I took careful note of as you know. So I think that's very good advice.

Anyway I'm looking forward to discussing that further while I'm here and later, but think about that. How we can work, really, more seamlessly together, agree on what we want to achieve. When I say that, it’s ultimately a decision that will have to be taken by local people. But in other words, you work out what you want to achieve, we work out how we can support it and then make sure that the three levels of government work together. It does oblige you, it obliges everyone to focus on what their priorities are, because we obviously can't do everything. But I think having done that, it's a great opportunity for further cooperation.

So thank you very much, I just thank you very much for dinner again. I know we're going to go out with the night patrol shortly, but I really want to thank you for the very, very warm welcome and thank you also for sharing some of for your culture and your language with me, I am fascinated by language and languages. I’ve got my textbook. Now the first word of your Centre, that means ‘house’ doesn't it? Does that mean ‘house’? Yeah, good, see? I picked up another word, I figured that out, good.

But thank you so much. I look forward to learning some more Warumungu and next time I’m here maybe it’ll be more recognisable as a part of the language, as opposed to a ‘variation’.

So thank you all very much, it’s been wonderful to be here. Thank you for the warm welcome you’ve shown to me and all of the party that have been travelling with us for these couple of days.

[Applause]

[ENDS]

Transcript 41704