Sunset on Intervention in 10 years

The Australian Government’s Stronger Futures legislation – essentially a further Intervention – will “sunset” after 10 years, says Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin.

When its measures achieve their objective, they will not continue. An independent review will commence after seven years, with its findings to be tabled in parliament.

In her second reading speech, introducing the Stronger Futures Bill into the parliament, Ms Macklin says:

“The timeframe for the review has been planned so that we could reasonably expect to see changes in the key priority areas that were outlined in the Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory discussion paper – outcomes such as education, jobs, alcohol related harm, and housing.

“Across each of the Closing the Gap targets, the gap remains the greatest for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory.

“Progress is being made but much more remains to be done.”

She cited the progress as:

• greater community safety, thanks to more night patrols ad police stations;

• introduction of the basics card, stabilising family budgets and making sure that money is spent on housing, food and clothing for children.

• new housing – 350 built, 275 are underway – and 1,800 rebuilds and refurbishments completed, benefitting more than 2,000 Aboriginal families in the NT.

• more people working – in properly paid jobs – than three years ago.

However, “some children are still not receiving proper care, and that is completely unacceptable”, says Ms Macklin.

“The child protection substantiation rate has doubled for Indigenous children in the NT since the start of the Emergency Response.

“Three in four of these cases related to child neglect.

“The increased rate in reporting reflects our increased investment, with the Northern Territory Government, in child protection services” but with the increased “visibility” of neglect  “must come our reaffirmed commitment to do all that we can to ensure that children are safe”.

Ms Macklin reiterates the government’s commitment to 40 year leases as the “foundation stone” for its work on improving housing. However, compulsory five year leases will end. Instead, the government will negotiate longer term voluntary leases.

The legislation also provides the Australian Government with the ability to make regulations removing barriers in NT legislation to leasing on town camp and Community Living Area land.

Says Ms Macklin: “Currently, there are restrictions on how this land can be used – even where the community agrees they want to put it to different uses.

“This will enable the Aboriginal land holders of town camps and Community Living Areas to make use of their land for a broader range of purposes including for economic development and private home ownership.”

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  1. Paul Parker
    Posted November 24, 2011 at 7:40 am

    Commonwealth needs look in the mirror. Commonwealth’s compulsory five year leases will end, claiming government (which?) is now to negotiate longer term voluntary leases.
    What have they been doing to date? The Commonwealth refuses to acknowledge the problems.
    The Commonwealth refuses to address causes of the problems.
    After decades of Commonwealth abuse of authority, their clearest result is their failure to ensure effective tenancy leases for residents, and their failure to enforce public health, safety and other standards.
    Shame on the Commonwealth!
    Commonwealth failure to ensure tenants provided with valid residential leases is result of Commonwealth legislation.
    Required is amending sections in Commonwealth legislation.
    Commonwealth EXEMPTIONS enable, indeed encourage, certain NT corporate landowners to be EXEMPTED, from their responsibilities as landowners and as landlords.
    Commonwealth EXEMPTIONS prevent them being held accountable, particularly in housing and tenancy matters.
    Commonwealth EXEMPTIONS discourage resolving the problems, indeed prevent them being resolved.
    Australians at federation, then again in 1967, overwhelmingly declared their intent that no legislation within their Commonwealth shall qualify the rights and or responsibilities of any Australian using racial identification.
    Still the Commonwealth cites racial identification for its methodology.
    Shame on the Commonwealth!

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