Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

New Substance Abuse Intelligence Desk and Dog Operations Unit

Joint Media Release with:

  • Paul Henderson MLA, Northern Territory Chief Minister
    Warren Snowdon MP, Member for Lingiari - Minister for Defence Science and Personnel

The Australian and Northern Territory (NT) Governments are joining forces to reduce criminal activity and illegal trafficking of drugs and alcohol in the Katherine region and in the north of the NT, including East Arnhem, Nhulunbuy, Groote Eylandt and the Milingimbi areas.

The Australian Government is providing $2 million from funding provided for law and order activities under the Northern Territory Emergency Response for a new Substance Abuse Intelligence Desk (SAID) to be based in Katherine.

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, and Northern Territory Chief Minister, Paul Henderson, said both governments recognised the tremendous toll substance abuse has on Indigenous communities.

The SAID will have NT police devoted to reducing illegal substance supply to Indigenous communities and will be supported by a sniffer dog team based in Katherine.

The initiative is based on a successful Southern SAID model in Central Australia.

The recent annual report of the Southern SAID highlighted key achievements including identifying traffickers and their methods of operation, better responses to intelligence and improved public and community awareness of the SAID and its operations.

Ms Macklin said communities recognise the need to take urgent action against the scourge of drugs.

“Indigenous communities want a greater emphasis on substance abuse reduction activities because they recognise the impact of drugs on their communities” Ms Macklin said.

“These new resources will help achieve a long-term positive impact on Indigenous communities by reducing the supply of, and the harm associated with, substance abuse,” Mr Henderson said.