|By ERWIN CHLANDA|
Chief Minister Adam Giles (pictured) took over the portfolio of Correctional Services from John Elferink yesterday amidst public outrage over treatment of young people in NT prisons – now an issue that is making news around the world.
Mr Giles said in a statement that the NT Police has started a major investigation and his government would collaborate in a Royal Commission announced by the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
“I have made it clear that I want the Royal Commission to look into the whole of the youth justice system, not just the issue of youth detention. I think it’s important that we look at the child protection system, not just youth detention,” said Mr Giles.
He also announced that the Territory Government will build a new youth detention facility and set up a new prison farm at Mataranka Station “to give the justice system an alternative option to custodial detention”.
Said Mr Giles: “I am concerned about the level of faith the community now has in the Department of Corrections. A culture of cover up exists in this department. I intend to appoint an independent Inspector General for Corrections.”
All this, of course, will be depending on the re-election of the Giles Government on August 27.
Meanwhile Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion (at left) says he is “deeply shocked and appalled.
“We need to establish why the two investigations into the incidents alleged to have occurred in the Northern Territory’s Don Dale Youth Detention Centre on 21 August, 2014, failed to uncover the evidence presented by Four Corners,” says Senator Scullion.
Dalton Dupuy (at right), NT Greens’ candidate for the Chief Minister’s seat of Braitling, has called for Mr Giles to stand down.
“Mr Giles, this happened on your watch and you covered it up,” said Mr Dupuy. “You have brought shame upon all Territorians. Show some courage Mr Giles and step down, you no longer have the right to govern.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander justice commissioner Mick Gooda called for the Federal government to sack the NT government.
“But if the Prime Minister won’t, Territorians will at the end of August.”