Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Australian Government invests $3.7 million to tackle violence in Wadeye

Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough today announced two new measures to strengthen and protect families in Wadeye in the Northern Territory.

The Minister announced the $3.7 million commitments today during a visit to the NT community.

"Violence in any community is unacceptable, particularly when it is against women, children or the elderly," Mr Brough said.

"The measures I am announcing today are a direct result of personal pleas to me from women, particularly grandmothers, in Wadeye and they will go a long way to helping break the cycle of violence and protect the community.

"It’s an unfortunate reality that some young men threaten violence, particularly against women and more vulnerable members of their communities when demanding money for drugs – money which should be available for the welfare of children and families.

"A safe house will be constructed in Wadeye to provide emergency accommodation for victims fleeing violent situations and to provide a means to escape potentially violent situations.

"In addition, a children’s services centre will be established to help break the cycle of violence. It will provide child care and other associated children’s services, such as playgroups along with health and parenting support services.

"Funding will be provided to house staff of the children’s services centre and safe house."

The Minister said violence was an issue affecting many communities in Australia.

"Violence is not something that is exclusive to Indigenous communities, but in urban and major regional centres there are stronger support services for victims and programmes that can substantially help curb violence," Mr Brough said.

"Unfortunately, this same level of service is not available in remote communities and I’m determined that Indigenous Australians should have the best services we can provide."

The Minister said these commitments for Wadeye built on two other projects in the Northern Territory where the Howard Government is contributing $640,000 to tackle violence. They include community patrols across the Top End, commencing with Milikapiti. The second programme involves recruiting and training Indigenous people to work in remote communities with victims and perpetrators to try to break the cycle of violence.

"These projects bring the total Commonwealth funding provided in the last two years to address Indigenous violence in the NT, to more than $8.6 million," Mr Brough said.

"These are major commitments by the Howard Government and yet another demonstration of our determination to improve the circumstances of Indigenous Australians."