Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Driving change in the Northern Territory

Joint Media Release with:

  • Warren Snowdon MP, Minister for Indigenous Health, Member for Lingiari

Over the last three years the Australian Government has improved community safety and increased jobs for Indigenous people in the Northern Territory, as programs and services under the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) have been ramped up.

Since coming to Government in November 2007, we have been driving real and lasting change for Indigenous people in the Northern Territory.

The latest Closing the Gap in the Northern Territory Monitoring Report highlights the increased service delivery over the last three years in regional and remote communities and the outcomes being achieved.

Community safety continues to be a key priority under the NTER.

Since November 2007 the number of additional police on the ground has risen from 38 to 62 at June this year.

There is now a police presence in 18 communities which did not have a police presence prior to the NTER. We are building five additional permanent police stations in Gapuwiyak, Ramingining, Yarralin, Arlparra and Imanpa. We have also built four extra facilities in Titjikala, Milingimbi, Docker River and Umbakumba so that police can stay overnight in these communities.

These police are working to build trust and relationships with local communities.

Greater numbers of police in remote communities means that people are more likely to report crimes.

This latest report shows that the number of convictions for assault across the NTER communities rose from 343 in 2006-07 to 401 in 2009-10, a 17 per cent increase.

To encourage local communities to play a part in stamping out violence, the Australian Government has increased the number of night patrols, from 18 in November 2007 to 80 at June 2010. Currently 354 local Indigenous people work with night patrol services to help make their communities safer.

Since coming to Government, we have taken action to increase the wellbeing and safety of children in the Northern Territory, including delivering a mobile child protection team and mobile outreach services to work with children and families affected by child abuse and neglect.

The mobile child protection team was established in 2008. Since then the team has progressively increased their visits to remote communities each year. Between 1 January and 30 June this year the team visited 56 communities and investigated and provided follow up services on 666 matters of child abuse or neglect.

Sexual assault mobile outreach service teams were also established in April 2008. These teams have conducted extensive visits to remote communities and helped hundreds of children and their families.

We know that driving change in people’s lives requires more than just delivering additional services. Having a job encourages people to take personal responsibility.

Indigenous employment in remote communities has been boosted under the NTER over the past three years. In November 2007, 235 jobs were funded under the Jobs Package, compared to 2241 jobs as at June this year. These are now properly paid jobs which were previously supporting government service delivery through the CDEP program.

As part of our commitment to improving early child education, the Australian Government has provided more than 250 child care jobs for Indigenous people – jobs that did not exist prior to 2008.

Other services delivered under the NTER:

  • Over 10,600 health checks for children and more than 19,000 follow-up specialist services;
  • 7000 meals to school children in remote communities each day under the School Nutrition Program;
  • 478 short-term placements of health workers, such as doctors, nurses and specialists and 202 new health worker positions; and
  • More teachers on the ground than ever before, with140 additional teachers currently working in remote communities.

The Australian Government has strengthened the NTER to make it effective for the long term, including re-instating the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 and rolling out a new non-discriminatory income management scheme as part of broader welfare reforms.

Of course there is much more to be done and we are committed to continuing to progress much-needed change on the ground.

Services delivered under the NTER are providing a base for real and lasting improvements.

A summary of service delivery since the commencement of the NTER is attached.

To view the full report visit: