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Government discussion paper will keep NT Intervention architecture in place 22-6-11

Media release 22 June 2011 -                                                                    For immediate release


Government discussion paper will keep NT Intervention

architecture in place


The Stop the Intervention Collective (STICS) in Sydney says a government discussion paper 'Stronger Futures' will leave the architecture of the failed NT Intervention in place.

Paddy Gibson, an organiser with STICS says the government's report fails to acknowledge clear evidence of deteriorating social conditions under the NT Intervention.

Mr Gibson says the government should adopt an 11 point program launched in Darwin yesterday by Aboriginal leaders from across the NT, "Rebuilding from the Ground Up: An Alternative to the NT Intervention". The program calls for full repeal of NT Intervention laws and community controlled development.

The Stop the Intervention Collective is organising a demonstration in Sydney this Saturday June 25 to demand support for 'Rebuilding from the Ground Up' and protest four years of Intervention.

"The government's discussion paper talks about the importance of education, but fails to mention the 5.4 per cent decrease in school attendance in the last year alone".

"In 2007 the Australian Education Union said that $1.7 billion extra investment was required over 5 years to provide 1360 extra teachers, as well as 585 extra school staff, to address chronic under-resourcing in remote NT schools. But hundreds of jobs have been lost in schools as CDEP and bi-lingual programs close down".

"This paper gives no indication of serious investment in teachers to address the crisis in Aboriginal education or the restoration of bi-lingual education programs as demanded in ‘Rebuilding from the Ground Up'. It just has more rhetoric about the need to force children to attend chronically underfunded schools", said Mr Gibson.

Mr Gibson says that the proposals in the government report continue the current policy of stripping resources out of remote communities and forcing migration of Aboriginal people.

"There has been a 30 per cent increase in Indigenous incarceration under the Intervention, a near doubling of rates of attempted suicide and self harm. All the statistics point to chronic social breakdown".

"The paper says that 2240 new jobs have been created to replace CDEP. They don't mention that there were up to 8000 CDEP positions in 2007. They say that 1050 jobs have been created through the SIHIP program, but omit that only 14 per cent of those positions were held for more than 26 weeks. What Aboriginal people are demanding is a new employment program to replace CDEP which pays proper wages and allows for community driven development".

"Under Stronger Futures there will be no new housing for the vast majority of Aboriginal communities despite dire overcrowding. The government is proposing support for accommodation for Aboriginal people who leave their communities in search of work. They are continuing with their strategy of choking the bush and forcing migration".

Mr Gibson concluded, "the government must stop empty rhetoric about "consultation" and hand control over community land and development to Aboriginal people".

"Stop blackmailing communities to sign long term leases which deny local people any rights to make decisions over development on their lands. Re-establish local Aboriginal councils to allow Aboriginal people to set their own priorities and ensure local needs are met".

Paddy Gibson 0415 800 586

'Rebuilding from the Ground Up' was initiated by the Intervention Rollback Action Group (IRAG Alice Springs) and STICS. Along with broad support from Aboriginal community leaders, a range of organisations and prominent individuals have endorsed the statement including Tangentyere Council, North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA), ANTaR and Olympic champion Ian Thorpe.

For a full copy of the 'Rebuilding from the Ground Up' statement and a list of current endorsements see

A website where you can explore background information, video and supporting research is now online at


The Sydney launch of the'Rebuilding from the Ground Up' Statement will take place at a demonstration:
Rally 1pm Saturday 25th June,Town Hall Square, marching to Belmore Park.

Speakers include:
Marie Elena Ellis, Amoonguna community
NT Lee Rhiannon, Greens NSW Senator Elect
Rebel Hanlon, CFMEU
Jack Johnson, Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council (South-West Sydney)
Paddy Gibson, STICS
Nicole Watson, Jumbunna Research


Media Coverage:

SMH - MP slams NT Intervention discussion paper - 22 June 2011 -

9 News - Intervention repeating, says report author - 22 June 2011 -

The Australian - The Gillard Government has asked for ideas for the next stage of the NT intervention - 22 June 2011 -