The Northern Territory Intervention is the colloquial name for the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) which was introduced by the Howard Government in August 2007. The catalyst for this suite of measures was the release of the ‘Ampe Akelyernemane Meke Mekarle Report’ (‘Little Children are Sacred Report’) which outlined then current allegations of widespread child abuse and family violence in Aboriginal communities, and recommended that ‘child abuse…be designated as an issue of urgent national significance’. It is a wide range of complex and controversial measures enacted through the Northern Territory National Emergency Response Act (NTNERA) with bipartisan support.

This evaluation shows that the Intervention is still failing to achieve Australia’s goal of closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Key points:

  • Progress on Indigenous incarceration received a score of 0/10 
  • Recommendation to increase the age of criminal responsibility for children
  • Government should allow courts to consider customary law in sentencing 
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