Nt emergency Intervention Olga Havnen Combined Aboriginal Organisations, nt

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NT Emergency Intervention

  • Olga Havnen

  • Combined Aboriginal Organisations, NT


    • NT context
    • Legislation and funding
    • Land – 5 year leases & permits
    • Governance Changes/ Business Managers
    • Alcohol and Pornography
    • Bail and Sentencing
    • Welfare Reform – Income Management / CDEP
    • Community Stores
    • Racial Discrimination Act

NT context

  • High number of short term residents

  • 40% turnover in voting population between elections

  • No interest or long term commitment to NT’s future

  • Know little about Aboriginal people or needs

NT context

  • 30% of NT’s population (12.5% national) - 40,000

  • 38% Territory’s Aboriginal population children under 15 yrs

  • 40% increase in remote areas past 20yrs

NT context ..cont’d

  • 641 discrete communities

  • 9 towns (1,000 – 2,000+)

  • 50 communities (200-999)

  • 570 communities <200

  • 72% NT Aboriginal population lives on Aboriginal lands outside urban centres


  • Northern Territory National Emergency Response Act, 2007

  • Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Welfare Payment Reform) Act 2007

  • Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Other Legislation Amendment (Northern Territory National Emergency Response and Other Measures) Act 2007

  • Appropriation (Northern Territory National Emergency Response) Act (No. 1) 2007-2008

  • Appropriation (Northern Territory National Emergency Response) Act (No. 2) 2007-2008


  • $587 million this financial year in “additional” money - 2007/2008 (Minister 7/8/08)

  • 700+ new public service positions

  • $88m Income management

  • “The emergency measures will last for up to five years while longer term approaches develop.” (23/8/07 FACSIA)

What does it do?

  • Acquisition of land / property

  • Changes to permit system

  • Management of communities

  • Welfare & other income support

  • community stores

  • Sentencing in Criminal law and bail

  • Alcohol and pornography

Where will it apply?

  • to all Aboriginal people living in prescribed areas including:

  • ALRA communities – 47

  • Community living areas – 16

  • Town Camps - 36

5 year leases – acquisition dates

  • Communities will be in three groups:

    • Group A – acquired at commencement
    • Group B – communities in NLC/TLC region at a date to be proclaimed
    • Group C – communities in CLC region at a date to be proclaimed.
  • Other communities will be added by disallowable instrument

5 year leases

  • Freehold title remains with traditional owners but Minister has right of exclusive possession of community area

  • Minister will control who can live in the community under the 5 year lease

  • Minister may/may not pay rent - his decision

  • 5 year leases cease if 99 yr lease negotiated

  • Native title suspended

Compensation to Land Owners

  • Compensation for the taking of 5 year leases will be paid to traditional owners if required by the Australian Constitution

  • As we are a Territory existing High Court case law is that compensation doesn’t have to be paid in a Territory

  • NT Law Self Government Act changed so that compensation not required unless High Court says it is required by the Constitution.


  • Australian Government has existing powers through funding agreements and rights as leaseholders over the land and fixtures.

  • The powers are reserve powers intended to ensure rapid improvements in the prescribed communities.

  • Delegations will be held at very senior levels

Governance …cont’d

  • Giving directions to entities delivering government funded services in relation to non-fixed assets.

  • Giving directions to entities to perform specific tasks or actions.

  • Appointing external managers to Community Government Councils and incorporated associations

  • Non-voting observers can be appointed to service organisations in relevant communities

Governance …. cont’d

  • Termination of AG funding agreement in the absence of a breach of conditions

  • Vary funding agreements without consent of the funding recipient

  • These powers to be exercised by the AG agency responsible for the funding agreement

Pornography – Computer audits

  • It will be an offence if the person in control of a publicly funded computer fails to: 

  • install, and keep in place, a content filter;

  • maintain an acceptable use policy;

  • keep records that identify each user;

  • undertake regular audits; and

  • provide to the Australian Crime Commission the outcome of any audit undertaken.

Compulsory Income Management

  • Covers all welfare benefits including

  • Social security benefits

  • Social security pensions


  • Defence Service pensions

  • Income support

  • Defence force income support allowance

Compulsory Income Management

  • Gov’t Department will take out 50% of welfare benefit in a listed community for next 12 months

  • Will apply to everyone living in a prescribed community

  • No right to appeal – SSAT or AAT (internal review only)

Compulsory Income Management

  • For 12 months, half of all income-support and family-assistance payments will be income managed - money can be spent only on food, rent and other essential items

  • Only the Minister has power to ‘exempt’ people from these arrangements

  • One hundred per cent of advances, lump sums and baby bonus installments will be income managed

    • FACSIA Fact Sheet 14

CDEP reforms

  • CDEP will be phased out in the Northern Territory by 30 June 2008, with participants moved to income support.

  • changes will occur on a community by community basis.

  • CDEP provider will be issued with a transition date at which time CDEP Scheme participants will cease to be paid CDEP Scheme payments.

Community Stores

  • 6 month licences will be issued to community stores that:

  • are able to participate in the requirements of the income-management scheme

  • have a reasonable quality, quantity and range of groceries and consumer items, including healthy foods

  • can demonstrate sound financial structures, retail practices and governance.

  • Minister can take over store if cant meet licensing conditions

  • FACSIA Fact sheet16

Racial Discrimination Act

  • Government say the laws are not discriminatory

  • Intervention law says the RDA sections 9 & 10 that make discrimination unlawful and NT Anti-Discrimination Act won’t apply

  • Government says the Northern Territory emergency response is a ‘special measure’ and for the benefit of the affected Aboriginal people

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