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Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney Media Release      -  for immediate release   -         21 June 2012

Horror statistics mark 'fifth anniversary' of NT Intervention

The Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney has reiterated calls for 'Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory' legislation to be abandoned, following the release of damning statistics yesterday in the 'Closing the Gap in the NT Monitoring Report July - December 2011'.

A selection of statistics from the Closing the Gap report and other official reports are detailed at the bottom of this media release.

STICS spokesperson Paddy Gibson said:

"Today marks five years since the announcement of the NT Intervention - surely one of the darkest days in Australia's political history. The policy has unleashed a wave of racism and devastation. These discriminatory laws were supposed to expire after five years. But disgracefully, the Labor government is pushing ahead with a ten year extension through the misnamed Stronger Futures legislation".

"The government's own statistics demonstrate shocking increases in incarceration, there is more unemployment, there is an acute self-harm crisis, domestic violence incidents are rising, less children are in school, more children are being submitted to hospital for malnutrition and being taken away from their families".

"Sadly, the dramatic deterioration in conditions facing Aboriginal people under the Intervention was predicted by NT Aboriginal leaders back in 2007. The government must listen to the desperate cries now coming from NT communities for Stronger Futures legislation to be immediately withdrawn".

"More than $1 billion has been wasted on control measures such as income management, Government Business Managers and incarceration - this money should have been directed to towards community based, Aboriginal led development. But Stronger Futures will only lock in a further decade of failure and discrimination".

"Minister Macklin can not face the truth. Rather than acknowledge these horrible statistics, her press conference yesterday focussed on deceiving the nation about progress in Aboriginal employment in 'prescribed areas'. In reality, waged CDEP positions are disappearing every week."

"The 1000 job placements by Job Services Australia from July - December 2011 trumpeted by Macklin is, more than anything, evidence of disturbingly high turnover of Aboriginal staff in already existing positions."

"The Closing the Gap report clearly shows that over this period, there was an increase in Aboriginal people put on the NewStart allowance, continuing a five year trend. Over the same period 8,243 job seekers were on the active caseload of Job Services Australia", concluded Mr Gibson.

For comment contact:
Paddy Gibson 0415 800 586

5 years of NT Intervention by statistics

Child welfare:

69% increase in children getting taken into out of home care since 2007. Most are cases of "neglect", which is occurring at a rate far higher than other jurisdictions (Closing the Gap monitoring report part 2), and can in many cases be attributed to extreme poverty.

The NT has lowest rate of "out of home care" placement with Aboriginal families in Australia, less than 20% (Productivity Commission annual report on government services).

There is no evidence of substantial improvements in the welfare of children in the NT. Indeed, the Closing the Gap monitoring report part 2 details some worrying statistics which indicate a break with long-term trends towards improvement that have been evident since 2000, including:

Children admitted to hospital for malnutrition
10.9 per 1000 in 2006-07
11.1 per 1000 in 2009-10

Children under 5 who are underweight
7.1 per 100 in 2007
8.2 per per 100 in 2010

Children under 5 who are wasting
4.4 per 100 in 2007
4.8 per 100 in 2010

Attempted Suicide and self-harm:

Reported incidents have increased by almost 500%. In 2007 there were 57 incidents. In 2010 there were 183. In 2011 there were 261 (Closing the Gap monitoring report part 2).

School attendance:

Rates are down in preschool, primary and secondary schools. Overall, attendance rates have dropped from 62.3% just before the Intervention (NTER monitoring report 2009) to 57.5% in 2011 (Closing the Gap monitoring report part 2).


As of March 2011 there had been a 40% increase in Indigenous incarceration since the Intervention (NT Justice Department quarterly report). Recent news reports suggest this number is now greater than 50% - with particularly large increases in the last 12 months.

The NT prison officers association says prisoners are currently being held in 3rd world prison conditions, 12-14 in a cell in Alice Springs - mattresses on the floor and one hand basin and toilet between inmates.


Aboriginal people are one of the most incarcerated on the planet. If the NT was a country, it would have the second highest rate of incarceration after the USA.


There has been a consistent increase in Aboriginal people receiving unemployment benefits (NewStart allowance) since 2007, including a 14% increase from 2009 - 2011.

New positions created through the Intervention are far below levels of waged employment that existed under CDEP.

In 2007 there were more than 7500 waged CDEP positions. In April 2012 this number was only 1,667. These positions are disappearing fast, with the government refusing to employ new people on the waged scheme if existing workers break their relationship with their employer.

The government claims 2,241 positions were created to replace lost CDEP positions under the NT Jobs Package. Also that 865 Aboriginal people are employed through NTER programs (Closing the Gap Monitoring Report part 2) - though there is overlap between a number of these positions such as Night Patrol.


Before the Intervention the rate of overcrowding was 9.4 people per home. The government's 'target' following SIHIP works is 9.3 (NTER evaluation 2011).

Domestic Violence:

Police reported incidents in "prescribed areas" have dramatically increased since the Intervention and continue to increase  - from 939 in 2010 to 1109 in 2011 (Closing the Gap Monitoring Report part 2).


Number of police incidents involving alcohol has consistently increased. Number of domestic violence incidents involving alcohol has consistently increased (Closing the Gap Monitoring Report part 2). The government has no hard evidence that less alcohol is being consumed in "prescribed areas".

Links to referenced reports:

Closing the Gap in the NT Monitoring Report July - December 2011

Previous Closing the Gap in the NT and NTER Monitoring reports

Northern Territory Emergency Response Evaluation Report 2011

Northern Territory Department of Justice Quarterly Report March 2011