Who Can Deliver Economic Growth and Social Prosperity for the NT?
NTCOSS presents its 5 elections asks ahead of the Northern Territory election in August.
Today the Northern Territory Council of Social Service (NTCOSS) calls on all political parties to commit to five key areas of reform.
Deborah Di Natale, CEO of the Northern Territory Council of Social Service (NTCOSS) said as we head into this election, the Territory faces immense economic and social challenges, but it also presents an incredible opportunity to rebuild for the benefit of all Territorians.
“NTCOSS calls on all political parties to ensure that the opportunities promised by their policies and plans for reconstruction, do in fact provide equity. As the politicians focus on jobs, they also need to commit to investing in training and reskilling, and on supporting industry so that our vulnerable Territorians are not left behind.”
This election, NTCOSS has focussed on five key areas where government can help ensure Territorians can live a life free from poverty and disadvantage.
“As we continue our national campaign to have the Federal Government raise the Jobseeker and Youth Allowance rate for good, we also call for the NT Concession Scheme to encompass those who are most in need, including those eligible for Jobseeker,” said Ms Di Natale.
“We also see immense opportunity to reduce the cost of living by improving the Territory’s poor record – the worst in the country – on energy efficient building construction.
“Those that bear the brunt of costly, inefficient buildings are those least able to pay, and as the Government assists people in renovating their kitchens or landscaping their gardens, surely economic stimulus focussed on energy efficiency retrofits and upgrades to public housing would be enormously beneficial to the NT in reducing emissions, supporting jobs, and saving money on energy costs.
“When it comes to child protection and youth, so much work has been done in the past term of Government to support children and families rather than intervene at the end. We are starting to see the results of diversionary programs in a reduction of reoffending, and NTCOSS calls for the reforms to be continued and expanded to deliver the safer and stronger communities we all want.”
Ms Di Natale said Aboriginal Territorians have a right to live safe, fulfilling lives and to be treated fairly without discrimination. The Aboriginal Justice Agreement (AJA) is the result of years of consultation with Aboriginal leaders, communities and organisations and needs to be fully implemented as a matter of priority.
“Long overdue, delivery of the AJA offers genuine improvement to justice services for Aboriginal Territorians, in partnership with Aboriginal people,” said Ms Di Natale.
In addition the Territory needs an anti-racism strategy including public campaigns and the introduction of legislation criminalising racial vilification and racial harassment.
“It is a disgrace that the NT is the only jurisdiction in Australia where no racial vilification laws exist,” said Ms Di Natale.
“The Territory is also early days into a ten year plan to reduce domestic, family and sexual violence and this complex and vitally important issue needs sustained focus and commitment from Government.
“Currently you are 3 times more likely to experience domestic violence if you live in NT than anywhere else in Australia. We need to address this.
“And finally, climate change remains an urgent concern, because while it presents a serious risk to all Territory lives and livelihoods, it clearly has a greater impact on the poor and marginalised who have significantly less capacity to respond.
“These election asks reflect complex and detailed work undertaken by NTCOSS, and we call on all political parties to work with us and our members across the community and social justice sector to ensure the growth of the NT both socially and economically.
“We look forward to hearing the leaders respond at the NTCOSS Election Debate on Wednesday 29th July at the Darwin Convention Centre.”
For media enquiries contact Kate Sieper: 0466 745 615 firstname.lastname@example.org
NTCOSS 2020 NT Election Asks
- In the next term expand the eligibility criteria for the NT Concession Scheme to encompass those who are most in need, including those eligible for Jobseeker.
- Greatly expand the requirements and compliance of energy efficient building construction in the NT, including incorporating public and commercial works, and lifting the required energy star rating, which is currently below the national standard.
- Child Protection and Youth Justice
- Deliver in the next term a Single Act for children across the Northern Territory incorporating care, protection and justice.
- In the next term, increase the investment in prevention and family support programs, so that it matches the investment in child protection
- Expand on the commitment to diversionary and preventative reforms, including increased support for programs proven to deliver successful reintegration into the community.
- Aboriginal Justice
- Fully fund and deliver Stage 1 & 2 of the Aboriginal Justice Agreement in the next term, including establishing an alternate custody model and reintroduce community courts.
- Introduce an anti-racism strategy including public campaigns and the introduction of legislation criminalising racial vilification and racial harassment.
- Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence
- Maintain commitment to the 10 year framework to reduce the impact of domestic, family and sexual violence and adequately fund and deliver Action Plan 2, including increasing the capacity of men’s behaviour change programs and partner support.
- In addition in the next term, deliver an independent Resource Centre to deliver best practice and consolidated workforce training to front-line workers across government and not-for-profit sectors.
- Climate Justice
- Introduce a Climate Act in the next term that requires consultation with Aboriginal communities and legislates a timetable to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and 50% renewables by 2030.