Debates Day 6 - Thursday 19 October 2017
Parliamentary Record 8
Debates for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2018; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Thursday 19 October 2017 2709 four will have at least one substantiation, usually for neglect, by the time they are 10 years old. We have to invest in the early years to turn these statistics around. Being reasonable will not fix this. We need to be bold; we need to be investing; and we need to be acting in partnership with the federal government, not at odds with each other. We have to be investing right now if we are to avoid longer term costs of ill health and children en tering the child protection system or the youth justice system, and if we want to break this multi -generational cycle of vulnerable families and families in the justice system. Members of this Assembly are aware that the government is undertaking a major overhaul of the youth justice system, with a focus on rehabilitation and trauma informed care. We are investing, to the maximum of our fiscal ability, in developing a contemporary justice system. The costs of turning this hugely flawed child protection and youth justice ship around are huge. Any drop in GST will impact on our ability to keep to the time frames and the breadth of changes that are needed. We ask our partners, who also co-funded our Royal Commissionthey need to move past funding inquiries and be a part of the solution, and part of the solution is maintaining our GST income. I will also pick up on the neglected domestic and family violence sector. Domestic and family violence has been spoken about very clearly by the Prime Minister, by the minister for womenas a national priority. The Northern Territory has the highest levels of domestic and family violence in the nation. Aboriginal women are recorded as having the highest rates of victimisation in the world. Almost two women a week die in our country and, unfortunately, too many Aboriginal women in the Northern Territory end up in hospital with severe injuries. The impacts on health, the impacts on the Closing the Gap data on health, which is not gendered and does not actually look at domes tic and family violenceanother major issue with that policy. The harm this has is not reasonable and we will not fix it with reasonable levels of service delivery. The Minister for Housing has touched on housing, but until you have spent time in remote Australia I do not think you can truly understand the impact housing has on everyone in those communities. Overcrowding and homelessness is at the root of so much that goes on in Aboriginal communities. Health, safety and wellbeing needs; early death; Third World diseases; and kids who cannot get to school because they cannot sleep are some of the ongoing issues we need to tackle. We have put our best foot forward in terms of long-term, significant investment, with the biggest investment the NT has ever seen. We need the federal government to be our partners in this to make sure those Territory Australians get access to fairly basic housing needs. Do we no longer care about meeting our obligations to human rights or to the United Nations? Clearly not. The UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child talks about providing each child with equal opportunity to develop their abilities. Shall we replace this with an unequal or unreasonable opportunity to develop their abilities? I want to be really clear that this is not just about Aboriginal children. I live in Alice Springs. I have a white middle class child who has less opportunities thanshould he have less opportunities than his cousins in Melbourne? That does not make sense. Fortunately, I have the resources to make sure he can access everything he wants, but many Territorians do not. Many Territorians are doing it hard and are worried about their childrens future. We will not have people moving to the Northern Territory with the intellectual and workforce capacity we need if we cannot provide that level of service to all Territorians so that people are part of what is a great story in the future in the Northern Territory. We have much higher rates of disadvantaged kids who are behind their peers in terms of development. We need to provide them with the highest quality of services the Minister for Education has also talked about thisif we are to make those changes. Going back to my hometown of Alice Springs, it cannot afford this policy. It is a small town that provides a service and is in the middle of a huge geographical area. Over many years we have been able to develop an excellent hospital, great sporting facilities and good education infrastructure, but we also have significant deficits . Our road infrastructure in particularthe Member for Stuart has talked passionately about this as wellis chronically underfunded since self
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