Closing the Gap in the Northern Territory

For the latest developments in the Northern Territory, go to the Stronger Futures pages.

Closing the Gap in the Northern Territory aims to enhance services to Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory in relation to the protection of vulnerable children, provision of law and order, and delivery of quality education and health services.

Closing the Gap in the NT provides for the continuation of core measures commenced in 2007 by the previous Australian Government under the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER). It strengthens the central NTER measures while placing a greater emphasis on community engagement and partnerships and on building capability and leadership within Indigenous communities.

The Closing the Gap in the Northern Territory National Partnership Agreement commits the Australian and Northern Territory Governments to working together towards the Closing the Gap targets and to resetting the relationship with the Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory. The Agreement covers the period July 2009 – June 2012. It is part of the Council of Australian Governments’national commitment to Closing the Gap on Indigenous disadvantage. The objectives of the Closing the Gap in the NT National Partnership Agreement are to:

  • ensure the protection of women and children
  • reduce violence and improve family and community safety
  • improve the quality of education
  • increase school participation and employment outcomes
  • improve health and wellbeing, particularly that of children
  • promote positive behaviours among Indigenous young people, and
  • promote personal responsibility.

Resetting the relationship between governments and Indigenous people is a further objective of the Agreement and key to the sustainability of progress in Closing the Gap in the Northern Territory. The objectives and outcomes of the Closing the Gap in the NT Agreement will be achieved through the following measures.

Income Management and Welfare Reform

  • Maintenance and extension of income management consistent with the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 to eligible welfare recipients in prescribed communities
  • Assessing, licensing and monitoring community stores and ensuring food security in communities without a store
  • Additional Language, Literacy and Numeracy training places to enhance sustainable employment prospects by improving skills  
  • Financial management services to help individuals and families manage their income effectively.

Law and Order

  • Provision of Northern Territory Police to replace Australian Federal Police as part of the NTER
  • The construction of new police stations and continued operational funding of temporary Themis police stations
  • Establishment and/or continued operation of around 80 night patrol services
  • Development of alcohol-management plans and targeting alcohol-related health and social issues, alcohol-related offending and anti-social behaviour
  • Continued provision of legal assistance to Indigenous Australians for matters arising as a result of the NTER
  • Continued support for the Northern Territory Aboriginal Interpreter Service
  • Continued support for the Welfare Rights Outreach Project.

Family Support

  • Support for 22 safe houses that have been established in Darwin, Alice Springs and 15 remote communities
  • Continued operation of the Mobile Child Protection Team
  • Continuation of the existing Remote Aboriginal Family and Community Worker Program in at least 13 communities
  • Youth projects, services, organisations and infrastructure to promote positive behaviours among young people in the Northern Territory.

Early Childhood

  • Services to improve the skills of families and to educate young people about pregnancy, birth and parenting including through ongoing funding of playgroups
  • Continuation of the operation of the nine crèches established under the NTER and capital funding to finish construction of one crèche and to provide upgrades to two existing crèches.

Improving Child and Family Health

  • Continuation of the expanded primary health care services initiatives
  • Provision of ear and hearing services, in particular, the completion of Ear, Nose and Throat specialist care
  • Continuation of follow-up dental care for children
  • Substantially strengthening the Mobile Outreach Service to address child-abuse-related trauma.

Enhancing Education

  • Construction of extra houses for teachers in remote communities
  • Continuation of the School Nutrition Program supporting improved school attendance and children’s learning and engagement in education
  • Continuation of Accelerating Literacy and Numeracy programs and Quality Teaching initiatives.

Remote Service Delivery

  • Continuation of Government Business Managers (GBMs) in prescribed communities
  • Building capacity of interpreter services to support engagement between Indigenous communities and government and non-government agencies
  • Outreach visits to remote Indigenous communities by the Commonwealth Ombudsman
  • Implementation of the Remote Service Delivery National Partnership Agreement (RSD NPA) which involves governments working together to implement a new remote-service-delivery model in 15 remote communities in the Northern Territory: Angurugu, Galiwinku, Gapuwiyak, Gunbalanya, Hermannsburg, Lajamanu, Maningrida, Milingimbi, Nguiu, Ngukurr, Numbulwar, Wadeye, Yirrkala, Yuendemu and Umbakumba.

Resetting the Relationship

  • Leadership development, engagement and community development workshops to build local capacity and support people on the ground
  • Employment and training of additional Indigenous Engagement Officers (IEOs) in priority locations in the Northern Territory.

More information on Closing the Gap in the NT

Media 2010

Content Updated: 20 September 2012