Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Investing to reduce the number of young Territorians in jail

Joint Media Release with:

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

The Gillard Government is investing almost $30 million to help reduce the number of young people in prison and improve community safety in the Northern Territory.

More than 80 per cent of prisoners in the Northern Territory are Indigenous and many of them are young offenders.1

All young people need to know what unique potential they have as individuals to achieve and contribute to Australian society.

The Gillard Government is committed to helping communities support their vulnerable youth through education, leadership and cultural activities.

More than $28 million of the funding will be provided to the Youth in Communities program to support youth services that work with young Indigenous people.

The Youth in Communities program will employ about 30 youth workers and about 30 trainee Indigenous youth workers to work in Indigenous communities throughout the Territory to provide guidance and encouragement to get involved in study, work and the community.

This will also include $2 million for five new infrastructure projects across the Territory.

Some of the other projects supported under the Youth in Communities program include:

  • Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council in Alice Springs will receive more than $2.5 million to deliver early intervention services, education programs, health and safety activities, and youth case management to youth at risk in Imanpa, Kaltukatjara, Apatula and Mutitjulu.
  • YMCA in Katherine will receive over $884,000 to support youth at risk of isolation by developing their manual art skills, such as wood and metal work and technical drawing, as well as fostering their self confidence and reintegrating them into the education system.
  • In Elliot, Julalikari Council Aboriginal Corporation will receive $169,074 to run youth education programs, training and employment programs, as well as alcohol and drug awareness programs, court advocacy and police support.
  • East Arnhem Shire Council will receive more than $3.1 million to support communities to deliver a variety of programs, including music workshops, sports and youth leadership initiatives, bush trips, and self-harm intervention services. Other communities supported by East Arnhem Shire Council will use the funding to repair and renovate their local sporting facilities to encourage health and fitness among young Indigenous people.

Community safety projects

A range of other community safety projects will be delivered with a further $1.5 million.

The additional funding will pay for much-needed upgrades to safe houses, improvements to data collection on vulnerable communities and the development of local alcohol management plans. It includes:

  • $373,900 to upgrade and refurbish the Women’s Resource Centre Project in East Arnhem. The project delivers culturally based programs aimed at empowering women to build strong families and communities. With more space and better facilities, these programs will reach more women offering them a wider support network and greater access to health professionals and specialists.
  • $326,000 for the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Women’s Council to establish a records management system in the NPY Lands, which will enable the Council to better monitor and respond to incidences of violence and to employ a senior case worker to provide critical support to their growing number of clients.
  • $250,000 to refurbish five containers for the Northern Territory Police Child Abuse Taskforce to conduct traditional investigations.
  • $250,000 for safe houses, including the establishment of a women’s safe house and the refurbishment of a men’s place in Beswick, and the expansion of the women’s safe house in Ngukurr.
  • $300,000 to support local initiatives for alcohol management including supply reduction strategies and community education initiatives.
  1. ABS 4517.0 – Prisoners in Australia, 2009