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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Aboriginal Intervention a Failure

Threre was a feeling of hope when John Howard's Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough introduced the NT intevention in mid 2007. We were appalled at the reports of child sexual abuse, domestic violence and substance abuse in remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory. But Mal Brough has now declared that the intervention is a failure. He says that violence and dysfunction is so out of control in Alice Springs, the fringe dwellers are killing themselves and their kids.

He lost his seat in Parliament in 2007 and says that the Gillard government has left it "stagnant", allowing dysfunction to grow. "Because it wasn't the Labor Party's policy, they just adopted it for political reasons. They failed to take it to the next level. It has become stagnant and buried in bureaucracy, it is no longer working."

Mr Brough said he supported an extreme proposal for a large prison farm to be built outside Alice Springs, where drinkers could be rehabilitated through craft-learning, trade schools and manual work. He said it should be compulsory for substance abusers to be sent there."The drug and alcohol dependencies need to be dealt with, but not in a voluntary way," he said.

This proposal was first put forward by Adam Giles, member for the Territory seat of Braitling, which takes in parts of Alice Springs. He said his plan was to get people to move where there was economic opportunity rather than perpetuating the "myth" that economies could be created where there were no real job opportunities.

The Northern Territory intervention cost $1.2bn over three years and involves 73 remote communities. Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin said this week tackling the situation in Alice Springs was at the top of her priority list.

So once again, back to square one.