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Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Permit system no protection for the vulnerable

Some of the arguments used in defence of the permit system fail the commonsense test Minster for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, said today.

Mr Brough said he was particularly disturbed by the suggestion from the Central Land Council that permits were a substitute for police which are few and far between.

“It is demonstrably clear that permits have not stopped carpet baggers, drug pushers, abusers and corruption in a number of closed communities,” Mr Brough said.

“To suggest that the permits have worked to protect the vulnerable is patently ridiculous and the suggestion that they are in any way a substitute for police is a dangerous proposition.

“These communities deserve the protection of real police.”

Far from being a substitute for proper law enforcement the system serves to resist external scrutiny while those with unlawful intent will never be deterred by a paper system.

“After 30 years it’s clear that permits have not contributed to prosperity and safety in many of the closed communities – if anything it has hidden the dysfunction from public view, silenced victims and witnesses through fear of expulsion and made the vulnerable even more vulnerable,” Mr Brough said.

Mr Brough said that the Northern Territory should ensure more sworn police constables were present in the communities rather than them supporting the permit system.