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Compulsory income management to continue as key NTER measure.
Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
Compulsory income management to continue as key NTER measure
The Australian Government will continue comprehensive, compulsory income management as a key measure of the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) because of its demonstrated benefits for women and children.
The Government will continue and strengthen the NTER to protect women and children, reduce alcohol-fuelled violence, promote personal responsibility and rebuild community norms in Northern Territory (NT) Indigenous communities.
Last week, the Government released the report of the independent Review of the NTER which found that the situation in remote NT communities and town camps remained sufficiently acute to be described as a national emergency.
For this reason, the current stabilisation phase of the NTER will continue for the next twelve months before transitioning to a long-term, development phase.
The Government accepts the three overarching recommendations of the Review Report.
The Government is determined to improve the safety and wellbeing of children in remote NT communities and make real in-roads towards closing the gap.
Achieving this will require careful transition from the first phase of the NTER.
Long-term success through the development of communities requires that key NTER measures are able to generate greater individual and community responsibility.
This means that long term measures cannot rely on the suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA).
The development phase of the NTER will commence when increased levels of personal and community responsibility are demonstrated.
The development phase will maintain and strengthen core NTER measures including compulsory income management, five year leases, alcohol and pornography controls, while placing a greater emphasis on community development and community engagement.
The current comprehensive income management system will be extended for at least twelve months. We will design a compulsory income management policy which does not require the suspension of the RDA. This will involve consultation with Indigenous communities.
Legislative amendments to bring existing NTER legislation within the scope of the the RDA will be introduced in the Spring Parliamentary session next year. The Government will respond in full to the Review Board's recommendations, including future funding arrangements, over the coming months.
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AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT INITIAL RESPONSE TO THE NTER REVIEW
On 13 October 2008 the Government released the report of the independent review of the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER).
The Review Board concluded that the situation in remote Northern Territory (NT) communities and town camps remains sufficiently acute to be described as a national emergency and that the NTER should continue.
It also emphasised the need to improve engagement with Indigenous people in prescribed communities, to provide the basis for long term and sustainable change.
The Government's continuing support for the NTER stems from our obligation to protect children from violence, abuse and neglect and expand their life chances.
In partnership with the NT Government and Indigenous communities, we want to ensure Indigenous children are growing up in a safe community, living in a decent home, eating healthy food and are supported by a strong family.
They need better education and health services and must have more opportunities to get and keep a job. Each of these elements is integral to our wider Closing the Gap strategy on Indigenous disadvantage.
The NTER has been making important progress: