Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Child protection measures help close the gap

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Marion Scrymgour MLA, NT Minister for Family and Community Services, Indigenous Policy and Child Protection

A mobile child protection team has begun operating across the Northern Territory – one of two new child protection initiatives supported by the Australian and Northern Territory Governments to tackle child abuse in remote Indigenous communities.

“The protection and safety of children is the Australian Government’s greatest responsibility,” Ms Macklin said.

The mobile child protection team, with seven child protection workers and a coordinator, will be working in regional areas where there has been an increase in child protection reports.

A further three child protection workers will be recruited for the mobile child protection team.

As well, local people are being recruited to fill 11 Remote Aboriginal Family and Community Worker positions and they will start work in the next few months.

Based in Gunbalunya, Nauiyu, Numbulwar, Galiwin’ku, Beswick, Nguiu, Ti Tree, Mutitjulu, Hermannsburg, Yuendumu and Papunya, they will support Aboriginal families and communities that are experiencing or at risk of family violence.

“These initiatives in the Northern Territory are aimed at breaking the cycle of violence in Indigenous communities and making these communities safer for families and children,” Ms Macklin said.

“By employing local people in these positions, we can build a local workforce to support the delivery of child protection services in that region,” Ms Scrymgour said.

“The Northern Territory Government has committed $700,000 to this package for this financial year and will manage the delivery of these measures.”

The Australian Government has committed $12.3 million this financial year to the Family Support Package with the Northern Territory Government. This includes three initiatives – the Mobile Child Protection team; the Remote Aboriginal Family and Community workers; and the delivery of 22 safe houses in 16 Aboriginal communities across the Northern Territory as well as one each in Darwin and Alice Springs.

The Australian Government has committed a further $9.5 million to the Family Support Package for 2008/09.