Allegations of Abuse at Mutitjulu
Following reports of alleged abuse and other incidents in the Northern Territory township of Mutitjulu, and follow up reports on the ABC AM program, my office has been asked for details of information provided to the Northern Territory Police by my Department.
I have been advised that, for legal and confidentiality reasons, I am unable to disclose detail about the document forwarded to the Northern Territory Police. What I can say is that:
- A series of allegations contained within a five page document that had been reported to Northern Territory Police by an individual was passed to the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination which is part of my Department.
- In accordance with agreed processes for the passage of intelligence on such matters, that report was provided to the Northern Territory Police for onforwarding to the Substance Abuse Intelligence Desk (SAID) at Alice Springs.
- The Northern Territory Police in Alice Springs were forewarned by phone on 3 February 2006.
- The document was sent on 7 February 2006. I have seen the fax confirmation confirming transmission and receipt of the document.
- The Northern Territory Police have today confirmed they have possession of that document and they have the information available for intelligence purposes.
There was never a suggestion that the Northern Territory Police used that information inappropriately – as prosecutions and follow-up might rely on information from diverse sources. I was simply asked whether my Department reported what it knew and it did.
As to whether people in Mutitjulu have appropriate protection – they demonstrably do not and only the Northern Territory Government can respond to that.
I welcome the announcement today that the Northern Territory Government will be investigating the allegations.