Following extensive consultations with Indigenous people in the Northern Territory during 2009, the Australian Government is currently implementing a range of changes to measures that are part of the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER). The changes are in summary:
The Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (RDA) is being reinstated in respect of the NTER measures from 31 December 2010.
- From this date, people will have their full rights under the RDA in relation to all the measures under the NTER legislation.
A new non-discriminatory system of income management took effect from 1 July 2010.
- Income management is not limited to Indigenous communities and is no longer an element of the NTER.
- The RDA applies to the new income management system from when it commences i.e. prior to 31 December 2010.
The NTER alcohol restrictions remain in place, but …
- Individual communities may ask to have local restrictions tailored to their circumstances, based on agreed alcohol management plans.
The NTER pornography restrictions remain in place, but …
- Individual communities may ask to have them lifted.
- The Minister for Indigenous Affairs will consider the wellbeing of the community, views of the community and advice from law enforcement authorities in making a decision.
Five-year leases will stay in place until they expire in August 2012.
- Some changes have been made to clarify their purpose and operation.
The community stores licensing arrangements are being retained and strengthened.
- Roadhouses and takeaways will now need to be licensed if they are the main source of food for a community.
- Stores will normally be required to have a licence to participate in income management.
The auditing of publicly funded computers in communities is being continued.
- This is to ensure they are not being used to access pornography or other inappropriate material.
The law enforcement powers of the Australian Crime Commission will continue to be exercised by the National Indigenous Intelligence Taskforce.
- The purpose is to gather intelligence on violence and child abuse.
- The legislation has been amended to clarify that these powers apply where violence or child abuse is committed against Aboriginal people—irrespective of whether the perpetrator is Aboriginal or not.