Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

NT Child Abuse Inquiry

"The report into child abuse in Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory is a damning indictment into the failure to protect children," Federal Minister Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, said today.

"The findings of the report are nothing short of shocking and appalling, particularly in the enormity and extent of the problem.

"That the inquiry finds child abuse occurring in every Indigenous community and that there are sex trades and juvenile prostitution occurring is something that should sicken all Australians.

"These are issues that I raised soon after taking over the Indigenous Affairs portfolio 18 months ago as a direct result of parents telling me of their concern about violence and child abuse in Indigenous communities and desperately wanting someone to listen and act.

"Child protection is absolutely a state and territory responsibility. However, recognising the need for leadership, I convened a summit on this issue 12 months ago and secured funding of $130 million to help tackle some of the issues related to child abuse.

"Key amongst these was additional resources for police infrastructure and I have already announced a new police station at Galiwinku and late last year opened the new station at Mutitjulu. Further announcements about policing in the NT will be made in the near future.

"Months and months have been lost as a result of the Territory Government’s refusal to cooperate with the Valentin review of policing until just May 16 this year when it finally provided the information required.

"Although I was not provided the report or its findings ahead of its public release today, I am committed to working with the Northern Territory Government to do whatever is necessary to bring an end to this insidious behaviour in Indigenous communities.

"I urge the Northern Territory Government – and other governments – not to be afraid to take the tough and sometimes difficult decisions desperately needed to end this appalling abuse of children."