About the Northern Territory Emergency Response

The Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) was announced on 21 June 2007 by the former Australian Government in response to evidence of abuse and potential neglect of children in the Little Children Are Sacred report to the Northern Territory Government.

The current Government has continued the NTER and undertaken an independent review. It has made two responses to the review report: an interim response  in October 2008 and a final response in May 2009.

The NTER has a wide range of measures designed to:

  • protect children and make communities safe
  • create a better future for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory.

The legislated period of the NTER is five years. The main measures are set out below.


  • Government Business Managers to live in and work with communities
  • Community engagement, including the employment of Indigenous Engagement Officers
  • Ombudsman support to the NTER
  • Northern Territory Emergency Response Taskforce (to 30 June 2008)
  • Logistical support from Defence (for initial implementation)

Law and Order

  • More police in remote communities
  • Bans on alcohol and pornography in prescribed areas
  • Expanded night patrol services
  • Additional legal services and interpreter services
  • Child abuse intelligence desk (through the Australian Crime Commission)

Supporting Families

  • New and improved safe houses for families experiencing violence
  • Additional child-protection workers and Aboriginal family and community workers
  • Children’s services and family support
  • Diversionary activities for young people

Welfare Reform and Employment

  • Income management of half of people’s welfare payments to ensure children’s needs are met
  • Licensing of community stores
  • Creating jobs in communities outside Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP)
  • Increased participation in remote areas including Work for the Dole activities
  • Community Employment Brokers in communities

Improving Child and Family Health

  • Health checks and follow-up treatment for children
  • Specialist support for children who have been abused
  • Extra drug and alcohol rehabilitation and treatment services

Enhancing Education

  • Extra teachers
  • Extra classrooms
  • Expansion of literacy programs
  • Quality Teaching Package
  • School breakfast and lunch program
  • School boarding facilities (outside the NTER framework)

Housing and Land Reform

  • Five-year leases on Aboriginal townships
  • Community clean ups
  • Building new houses, upgrading houses and new arrangements for the management of public housing in communities (outside the NTER framework)

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