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Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Parliament Supports Vital Reforms to Protect Aboriginal Children

“The passage of the Northern Territory Emergency Response legislation today by the Senate is welcome and a move that will allow us to move to the next phase of protecting Indigenous children in the NT,” Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, said today.

“We can now move forward decisively and focus on improving the lives and futures of thousands of Aboriginal children who deserve a better start in life,” Mr Brough said.

Some of the major initiatives commencing the day after Royal Assent (RA), include:

  • Alcohol restrictions, with offences for breaching the conditions commencing 28 days later;
  • Acquisition of townships through five year leases over 26 communities commencing on the day after RA;
  • Licensing of community stores, with penalty provisions beginning 28 days later;
  • Audits of publicly funded computers, with offences for breaches commencing 28 days later; and

In addition:

  • The ban on prohibited (pornographic) material commences 28 days after RA;
  • Income management can begin the day following RA; and
  • The changes to the permit system will commence on Proclamation or six months after RA, whichever is earlier.

“Together with the legislation, the Howard Government’s commitment of more than $587 million in the first twelve months provides a solid base for us to make a real difference to the lives and well-being of Aboriginal children across Northern Territory.

“The level of financial commitment in just the first year of the emergency response also reflects the extent of the Government’s commitment to this important task.”

The Minister stressed the NT Emergency Response, supported by the legislation, was not a short-term measure.

“We know long-term, sustainable change won’t happen overnight and that is why the Howard Government is committed to being involved for the long haul,” Mr Brough said.