The Australian Government will provide $80.2 million for community justice measures as part of Closing the gap in the Northern Territory to improve family and community safety. This includes the provision of night patrol services, interpreter services, legal assistance providers and the Welfare Rights Outreach Project.
The law and order measures are central to achieving the the Government's Closing the Gap targets, in particular the safe communities building block.
Night patrols assist people at risk, including intoxicated people, juveniles, victims of violence and the homeless. The services patrol local community areas, identify people who may be at risk of coming into adverse contact with the criminal justice system and take them to an appropriate place, for example home or hospital.
The implementation of specific law and justice measures under the Northern Territory prescribed communities, has imposed increased demand on the existing resources of the Northern Territory Aboriginal Interpreter Service (NTAIS). The funding will increase the capacity of the NTAIS in explaining Closing the Gap in the Northern Territory, measures and initiatives such as income management.
Indigenous Australians in the Northern Territory with limited English will benefit from interpreting services to help them obtain access to information and advice regarding these measures.
The funding also meets the Government’s commitment to address the increased demand for legal services by Indigenous people following the introduction of the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER). Funding will allow legal assistance providers to assist high‑need clients, including those requiring legal representation as a result of prosecutions in relation to measures introduced under the NTER. It will also provide assistance for clients requiring advice and support in regard to income management.
The Welfare Rights Outreach Project will receive funding to address the legal assistance needs of Indigenous clients relating to welfare payments issues.
The funding will be provided over three years, beginning 1 July 2009 and concluding 30 June 2012.
Total Government Funding
Total of $80.2 million, including approximately:
- $67.9 million for night patrol services;
- $7.6 million for legal assistance services;
- $1.7 million for interpreter services; and
- $3.0 million for Northern Territory Welfare Rights Outreach Project.