PM Turnbull fails Indigenous kids across Australia with weak NT Royal Commission response

Prime Minister Turnbull has wilfully ignored the cries of hundreds of children still being abused in Australian youth prisons outside the NT, by failing to show national leadership in the response to the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.

“The Federal Government’s response has supported in principle its shared responsibility for reforms within the NT, and committed funding for those reforms. But PM Turnbull’s government promised national leadership on widespread youth justice reforms, and today it has failed Indigenous kids around Australia,” said Roxanne Moore, Indigenous Rights Campaigner.

“Today the Turnbull Government has again ignored the calls from Indigenous leaders to commit to a National Plan that overhauls the broken youth justice system across the country. A nationally coordinated plan of action would hold States and Territories to account for supporting children and families to thrive in their communities, not traumatising them in prison.”

“Every day our Prime Minister sits on his hands, children as young as 10 years old are suffering in every jurisdiction – especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids, who are 25 times more likely to be locked up.”

A month ago, Minister Scullion stated that he would ensure every jurisdiction had a response to the Royal Commission and indicated Federal leadership on “everything from the training of guards to the level of amenities” inside youth prisons.

This followed his earlier commitment that the Commonwealth Government would provide leadership “not only … in the Northern Territory, but across every jurisdiction in Australia”.

Today’s response comes as the Federal Government is set to release the 10th Closing The Gap report.

“We welcome the Federal Government’s commitment to nationally lead on youth justice data collection as part of the Closing the Gap refresh. We hope this is an indication that justice targets will be included in the refreshed strategy.

“It’s well past the time for this Government to show national leadership on ending one of Australia’s greatest injustices – the rates that we lock up and abuse Indigenous kids in prison.”