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Brough blocks child safety funding fro Wadeye.

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MEDIA RELEASE Senator Chris Evans Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services

11 September 2006


Minister Mal Brough should come clean on why the women of Wadeye have been denied funding to stop violence and protect their children says Labor's Spokesperson for Indigenous Affairs, Chris Evans.

Minister Brough has intervened to block the women's application to the Attorney-General's National Communities Crime Prevention Program - an application which his own Department supported and facilitated as the lead agency in the Wadeye COAG trial.

The remote Northern Territory community of 2500 people hit the headlines in May this year when there was widespread rioting and gang violence. An estimated 300 people became homeless as a result of the rioting.

After the riots, Minister Brough publicly vowed to ban any new Commonwealth funding to Wadeye until law and order was restored.

Ironically because of this ban the women of Wadeye are being denied the chance to make their community safe.

Women and children were the victims of this violence yet it appears they are being unduly punished by the Minister for what happened.

The women of Wadeye made this application in October 2005 and have waited nearly a year for the Government to come clean on its intention to do nothing.

Earlier this year it was revealed that Brough's Department changed the objectives of the COAG trial to focus on women and children's safety, after it was highlighted as a community priority in April 2005.

The gap between Government rhetoric and action is painfully stark, particularly for a community that is supposed to be getting special attention.

Contact: Tim Friedrich 02 6277 3233, 0417 753 219