16 April 2011

Second NT intervention on table

from The Australian 6 Apr 2011

A SECOND federal intervention into the Northern Territory is being considered by Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin.

Ms Macklin said significant action was still needed to improve conditions on remote communities.
In Adelaide yesterday, Ms Macklin said the Gillard government would not rule out a another federal takeover of key services when the intervention, initiated by the former Howard government in 2007, ends next year.
"The legislation for the NT emergency response goes until August next year, so all of these issues will be considered over the next year or so," Ms Macklin said.
"If we look around the Northern Territory, we can see that there has been some significant improvements," she added.
"But I'll be the first person to say there needs to be a really, really serious long-term investment by the commonwealth and the Northern Territory in services and support."
Ms Macklin said indigenous communities needed a good police presence, strong school attendance rates and healthy children.
The NT government refused to comment on the possibility of another intervention.
However, Opposition Leader Terry Mills said he would support one if Aboriginal people were involved in the development of programs, and it was carried out "with conviction" by the people on the ground.
"There is no question as to the requirement of an urgent response," Mr Mills said. "We can't afford a casual or a delayed response."
Both the Central and Northern land councils refused to comment.
The Howard government launched the intervention in 2007, on the back of the Little Children are Sacred report, which identified high levels of child abuse in indigenous communities.
Last month, Tony Abbott called on Julia Gillard to work with him on developing a new intervention, which would see more police and teachers sent into the Territory, compulsory work-for-welfare programs established and stricter enforcement of alcohol restrictions.
Ms Macklin's comments yesterday comes as the Australian Federal Police's role in the intervention and a trial program to boost school attendance rates wind down.
Officers from the AFP were sent into remote communities in 2007, with the goal of establishing police stations and building trust between law enforcement and locals.
The officers will leave the Territory by July 1.