Monday, 17 February, 2020


Don Dale centre to close after Royal Commission findings

Aboriginals make up about three percent of the national population of 24 million people but are among the most disadvantaged Australians with many living in the Northern Territory Don Dale centre to close after Royal Commission findings
Bennie Garza | 17 November, 2017, 17:12

"It will live as a stain on the Northern Territory reputation", he said.

The inquiry began after the Australian Broadcasting Corporation aired footage of teenage inmates being tear-gassed and strip-searched at the Don Dale centre.

The Northern Territory government will shut down Darwin's notorious Don Dale Youth Detention Centre within three months, on advice from the royal commission into child protection and detention.

The final report of the $54 million inquiry, which was sparked when footage of boys being tear gassed, wearing spit hoods and shackled was aired on television previous year, was released today.

The commission also advocates for the age when children can be charged, brought to court and imprisoned be lifted from 10 years to 12 years.

The commission also pushed for a major policy shift favouring rehabilitation and community-led measures over electorally popular "tough on crime" solutions. Ms Lamoin said that an ongoing failure to listen to and act with children and Aboriginal communities lay at the core of so numerous issues addressed by the Northern Territory Royal Commission - we arrived at this situation because we failed to listen to Aboriginal children and their families.

Youth detention facilities "were not fit for accommodating, let alone rehabilitating, children and young people".

"The tragic conclusion we have drawn is that not only have the systems failed to address challenges faced by children and young people, that have in some cases made the problems worse".

"We can not let this report sit on the shelf gathering dust like so many that have come before", he told a community event for the final report's release.

"For this I am sorry".

With Australia recently appointed as a member of the UN Human Rights Council, and soon to appear before the Committee on the Right of the Child for global treaty reporting, Ms Lamoin said a commitment to the full implementation of the Commission's recommendations would provide a meaningful demonstration that our governments are taking their responsibilities very seriously.

"Because our youth justice and child protection systems are supposed to make our kids better, not break them".

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, the attorney-general and indigenous affairs minister said most of the royal commission's recommendations are matters for the NT but the federal government will carefully consider the findings.

"Importantly, numerous recommendations have wider implications for all jurisdictions", he said in a statement.

"Human costs dwarf financial considerations and if no action is taken these will continue to escalate beyond the already unacceptable levels", White and Gooda said.

Mr Voller's lawyer Peter O'Brien said the 20-year-old and other former detainees who had the fortitude to give evidence to the royal commission have been vindicated.

Children and youths like Mr Voller were incarcerated, ignored and deprived of their basic needs, they said.

In its report released on Friday, the commission called for children under 14 to not be ordered to serve detention unless they've been convicted of a serious and violent crime against a person.

The NT's peak Aboriginal organisations want the commission's recommendations implemented fully, with National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations chief executive Pat Turner calling on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to "put his money with his mouth is".

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