Government takes further step in keeping NT children safe

The Government has today released terms of reference for a Productivity Commission Study on improvements to the way initiatives supporting families and children are funded in the Northern Territory.

The Study responds to a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into the Detention and Protection of Children in the Northern Territory. The Productivity Commission Study will review Commonwealth and Territory Government expenditure in the area of children and family services relevant to the prevention of harm to children.

The Royal Commission highlighted the need for greater coordination of government funding to ensure expenditure is effective in improving the safety and wellbeing of children in the Northern Territory.

"The Government welcomes the opportunity to look at how to best fund programs to make a positive difference to the lives of Australian Children," Assistant Minister for Children and Families, Michelle Landry said.

“The Commonwealth invested $24 million in family and children’s services in the Northern Territory during 2017-18, and we will continue to work in collaboration with the Territory Government to ensure that joint investment is targeted and effective."

"The Government is particularly focused on investment in place-based initiatives, which allow local communities to have a say in how programs are delivered to best address local issues.

"We are seeing positive outcomes to this approach in places like Logan (Qld) and Bourke (NSW) and we are investigating opportunities for this type of investment in the Northern Territory," Minister Landry said.

In conducting the Study, the Productivity Commission will undertake public consultation including with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

The Study will begin in April 2019 and the Productivity Commission is due to report within 12 months.

Outcomes of the Study will inform the development of a joint Commonwealth and Territory Government funding framework. The funding framework will also be informed by advice from the community sector and key Indigenous stakeholders in the Northern Territory through the Children and Families Tripartite Forum.

"While the Productivity Commission Study is ongoing, the Commonwealth, Northern Territory and local governments will continue to work together to improve outcomes for vulnerable children," Minister Landry said.