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Facts & Info


Myths and Facts


Northern Territory intervention 'fails on human rights' and closing the gap - 8 Feb 2016
...Prof Jon Altman, from the Alfred Deakin Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation, said the Castan Centre’s evaluation of the intervention was too generous. The government deserved a zero out of 10, he said, for its attempts to improve education, and a negative score on employment rates which had gone backwards since the decision to abolish the community development employment projects (CDEP) program, which employed about 33,000 Indigenous people, particularly in remote communities....

...The Castan report paints a bleak picture of the impact policies associated with the Intervention have had in the NT, where outcomes remain particularly poor. With an Aboriginal population of around 30 per cent, the Territory boasts a juvenile detention population that is close to 97 per cent Aboriginal. Given numbers like that Dr Gray awarded the intervention a score of 0/10 for lowering incarceration rates, which have continued to rise since the policy was implemented. ...
“Mounting evidence shows measures like compulsory income management and the Basics Card do not reduce disadvantage, and in fact make life more difficult for those forced onto the card. Report after report shows the measure has largely failed in its objectives,” Siewert said in a media release.
“The NT Intervention and Stronger Futures policies have been expensive, wasteful and ineffective, they have not delivered the health, social, education and employment outcomes we need.”...

Issues with Evaluating the Intervention – how did we work out our grades?
...Independent reports and government commissioned reports have often contradicted each other, with the government seeking to discredit independent reports rather than gathering additional data. This includes independent reports by researchers at Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at the University of Technology Sydney, 'concerned Australians' and the Equality Rights Alliance, all of which have often come to different conclusions than government reports....

STICS and other submissions to the Stronger Futures legislation inquiry - 2014

Sixth Anniversary of the Intervention - Striking the Wrong Note - 21 June 2013
Aboriginal advocate Olga Havnen, in her Lowitja O’Donoghue oration, has asked a critical question. She asks what has been the psychological impact of the Intervention on Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory. It is surprising that so little attention has been given to this critical, yet in some ways tenuous, link before now.
Even before the Intervention began in June 2007, government had long planned a new approach to the ‘management’ of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory. It was no longer part of government thinking that self-determination and Aboriginal control over land could be allowed to continue.
Please click here to read the full document

UTS: Jumbunna - Report: Listening but not hearing - 2012
A response to the NTER Stronger Futures Consultations June to August 2011
Full Report: please click here
Stronger Futures Consultation Process Report Card: please click here

Excerpt from STICS Media Release of 21 June 2012

Horror statistics mark 'fifth anniversary' of NT Intervention


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

For the full media release: please click here

Articles by Paddy Gibson 2012/13 


Australian Lawyers Alliance

Stronger futures in the Northern Territory

Coalition moves to abandon review of Northern Territory intervention policy

Confronting Indigenous injustice in the Northern Territory - 2014

Stronger Futures ‘fundamentally racist’ - 2013

Stronger Futures is a "war on democracy": Rev Dr Djiniyini Gondarra


For a compilation of facts of 2010 please click here