NT Royal Commission: Federal leadership welcome, now it’s time for Australia-wide change

In response to reports that Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion said the Federal Government will release in the “very near future” a “fully funded” response to the final report of the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory, Amnesty International Australia’s Indigenous Rights Advisor Rodney Dillon said,

“We’re pleased that Minister Scullion has indicated that the Federal Government will release a fully-funded response to the NT Royal Commission that will have ramifications for all states and territories.

“The horrific, inhuman abuse of children in Don Dale laid out in the NT Royal Commission is happening in every state and territory. Often to Indigenous kids, who are 25 times more likely to be locked up nationally than non-Indigenous kids, with rates as high as 44 times more likely in WA.

“Any response must include minimum conditions of children’s prison that comply with human rights standards, alternative bail accommodation to address the sky-high rates of children in prison on remand, an increase in the age of criminal responsibility to 14 and funding reinvested into comprehensive strategies to keep kids from getting stuck in the prison system in the first place.

“While these comments are welcome, leadership means making sure the work gets done. Minister Scullion must ensure all levels of government are held accountable for the implementation of these important reforms, and where necessary, to help fund the changes that are desperately needed in the youth justice system across Australia.”