Cherry Daniels on ‘inside work’ at Ngukurr

“Looking at decision making. Whose roles are there? Whose roles are there in the community to make the decisions? It should be people in the community. They need to have choice… We have cultural beliefs and things in the community and history background in the community, inside. When government coming in they want to do the work from the outside, not from the inside. You see, things work from the inside, (we) should be working from the inside, not from the outside. Outside is getting information in. And you got funding coming in too… We’re getting people from the outside doing those jobs and making those decisions. Not from people in the community. They should give us the choice and the opportunity for picking from our own community. They can’t just come in and tell us ‘You gotta do this’. … The government gives us the funding but in a different way. You gotta go through the rules and policies and regulations… using the funding, it’s gotta be for that purpose.

Look at this language centre. I like the way it runs. Every month we have a meeting they show us how much we spent, how much the government gives us and what we spend it on and the leftovers. We talk about it, we got to use it for the language centre, not for ourselves. That’s what we would like to see more in the community. They’re the stakeholders, that’s what we call them. Language Centre has board members. We choose them in a meeting from each of the seven languages.”

  • Decision making needs to take into account ‘cultural beliefs, things in the community, and history’.
  • Decisions need to be made by ‘stakeholders’ representing the diverse governance groups, not by outsiders.
  • We do understand the ‘rules, policies and regulations’.
  • And we have demonstrated that we can work effectively and collaboratively managing funds and projects through a board.