Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Australian and NT Governments’ response to NTER Review

Joint Media Release with:

  • Paul Henderson MLA, NT Chief Minister

The Australian and Northern Territory Governments today released a joint response to the recommendations of the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) Review Board.

In 2008, the Review Board, comprising Chairman Peter Yu, Marcia Ella Duncan and Bill Gray, conducted an independent and transparent review of the NTER to assess the effectiveness of measures and the impact on individuals and communities. The review has been an invaluable resource in framing our reform agenda and identifying funding priorities. We thank the board members for their hard work and commitment.

The Australian Government provided its interim response on 23 October 2008, accepting the Review Board’s three overarching recommendations that:

  • the Australian and Northern Territory Governments recognise as a matter of urgent national significance the continuing need to address the unacceptably high levels of disadvantage and social dislocation experienced by remote communities and town camps in the Northern Territory;
  • Governments reset their relationship with Indigenous people based on genuine consultation, engagement and partnership; and
  • Government actions respect Australian human rights obligations and conform with the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (RDA).

Both the Australian Government and the NT Government support the majority of the recommendations of the Review Board.

In the recent Budget, the Australian Government announced $807.4 million in funding over three years for measures started under the NTER. These funding decisions have been guided by the Review Board’s recommendations.

Both governments are determined to consolidate the progress achieved over the last 18 months to improve safety for women and children and reduce alcohol-fuelled violence.

This includes providing substantial funding to improve community safety and health, tackle child abuse and rebuild the positive social norms essential for strong communities.

Our reform agenda in Indigenous affairs is underpinned by our determination to forge a new relationship with Indigenous Australians based on trust, respect and engagement.

The Australian Government is moving the NTER to a sustainable development phase to ensure measures will be effective in the long-term, including stronger engagement and partnerships with Indigenous communities.

We are committed to providing more ways for Indigenous voices to be heard. As part of the Budget, we are providing considerable resources for practical initiatives to improve communications and engagement with local people.

In October, the Australian Government will introduce legislation into Parliament to lift the current exemption from the RDA. There will be extensive consultation with Indigenous communities to encourage their input into the legislation.

A detailed summary of the actions agreed by the Australian and NT Governments on each of the seven NTER measures and their component programs can be found at: Australian Government and Northern Territory Government Response to the Report of the NTER Review Board