Outlined in this submission are SNAICC- National Voice for Our Children's (SNAICC) responses to specific findings, draft recommendations and general comments to the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry on Children in the Northern Territory (NT).
SNAICC welcomes this opportunity to contribute to the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry on Children in the Northern Territory (NT). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the NT experience high levels of disadvantage and are 11 times more likely to be in out-of-home care than non-Indigenous children. It is essential that the service system enable children and families to have access to a full range of culturally safe and accessible universal services that strengthen communities and families.
- SNAICC believes the $538 million figure described as being spent “directly relevant to the prevention of harm to children” in the NT is misleading. There are a high proportion of services included within the quoted figure of $538 million that are primarily tertiary level service responses and do not have a dedicated prevention goal or focus, and there is a lack of information about the quality of included services and whether they actually engage families effectively and serve to prevent harm. Many of the services included in the scope may have little or no impact on prevention, given the lack of information regarding service quality, and the inclusion of many services that are not prevention focused.
- SNAICC supports the report’s recommendation to enable greater involvement of Aboriginal communities in the design and delivery of approaches to improve safety and wellbeing for children in the NT. The success of the recommended approach is dependent upon a commitment to building deeper, respectful and more genuine relationships between governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
- The development and publication of data to better measure the situation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children is critical for tracking progress against the things that matter most for improving safety and wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. We agree with the Productivity Commission that there are significant data gaps in areas that are critical to assessing safety and well-being outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, their families and communities.