Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Western Australia, 16–18 November 2021 2021

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Robert ‘Bo’ Carne

Director Local Decision Making (LDM) and Director Aboriginal Interpreter Service, Northern Territory Government Department of the Chief Minister and Cabinet (DCMC)

Robert ‘Bo’ Carne


Bo Carne is of Jabirr Jabirr and Bardi decent from the Dampier Peninsular in WA. He is the Director Local Decision Making (LDM) and Director Aboriginal Interpreter Service with the Northern Territory Government Department of the Chief Minister and Cabinet (DCMC). During this time, Bo led a team in the design of the LDM Policy through extensive engagement with government agencies, peak Aboriginal organisations and community leaders. Bo was also part of a team responsible for the development and implementation of the Barkly Regional Deal, Australia’s first regional deal between the Commonwealth Government, Northern Territory Government and Barkly Regional Council.

Prior to joining DCMC, 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.

Achievements 2001-2021


Local Decision Making – Delivering Aboriginal Economic Development in the Big Rivers

Local Decision Making (LDM) is a 10 year Northern Territory Government commitment that provides a pathway for Aboriginal Territorians and organisations to have more control over their own affairs, including service delivery based on a community’s aspirations and needs.. It comes from a recognition that is that building, supporting and investing in strong Aboriginal governance is necessary to ensure local people drive local solutions and that Aboriginal organisations are supported in the management of their local communities.

The Big Rivers region covers 326,327 km2, which is 25% of the Northern Territory. The population of the region is 21,203 with 49% of the region’s residents living in Katherine and the rest in the surrounding towns and communities. There are 23 remote Aboriginal communities and over 100 homelands across the region.

Local Decision Making Agreements in the Big Rivers Region have created significant new economic development opportunities for regional Aboriginal communities and created new, sustainable jobs through long term funding agreements. This in turn has created new opportunities for training, Aboriginal economic leadership and local investment. Local Aboriginal owned organisations are now successfully supplying services including road maintenance, housing construction and tourism infrastructure projects that have previously been supplied by businesses from outside the region.

This presentation will share the learnings and outcomes from Local Decision Making Agreements across the Big Rivers region and opportunities for other governments and communities to apply to their own local areas.