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HomeIssue 9Children in care management system to cost $229m

Children in care management system to cost $229m

Client Management System Alignment dealing with an estimated 2000-3000 children and their families* and costing $66.9m initially will top out at $229m while the NT Government is considered to be broke.
Acting Minister for Territory Families, Ken Vowles, gave this response to questions from the Alice Springs News Online.
He says the CMSA “will better protect children from abuse and improve youth justice. The need for this new system was highlighted in the Royal Commission report and also in recent reviews by the Children’s Commissioner.
“Crucially, the new system will increase information sharing between agencies, significantly improve record keeping and reporting, and provide a single source of truth for frontline workers in child protection and youth justice.
“The tender has not yet been awarded.”
Meanwhile Minister for Tourism and Culture, Lauren Moss, whom we asked whether the Red CentreNATS would continue to receive government support despite the fiscal crises, quoted crowd figures demonstrated to be false.
Ms Moss said: “In 2018, participation numbers increased at the Red CentreNATS. More than 15,000 people attended, which saw a return of $4.2 million in estimated visitor expenditure.”
In fact an investigation by the News, with information obtained through a question in Parliament by Araluen Member Robyn Lambley, revealed that just 6100 tickets were sold.
The government has repeatedly quoted “through the gate” figures as numbers of people attending, while most individuals undoubtedly passed through several gates during the course of the various event stages at the NATS.
p2201-Lauren-MossMs Moss (at left) says: “The government’s record $103m Turbocharging Tourism stimulus package has seen an investment of an additional $20.78 million into festivals, events and other tourism experiences.
“As part of the stimulus package, $650,000 was invested in upgrades at the Alice Springs Inland Dragway, (scene of a horrendous accident last year) to enhance the spectator experience and safety for both the burnouts and drag racing competitions, which, in addition, will attract more events and visitors to the Territory.
“Our festivals and events are critical for the Territory, as they cement our reputation as an exciting place to live and visit, boost our economy and create many local jobs.”
Ms Moss also says the National Aboriginal Art Gallery will still go ahead despite the record government deficit and “deliver significant economic, social and cultural benefits to the people of Alice Springs.
“Our government will also fund the construction of a new rugby facility in Alice Springs, in consultation with Alice Springs Town Council and sporting groups.
“The Territory Labor Government’s number one priority is creating local jobs.”
* As no information has been provided about the number of clients this system will cater for, this figure is an estimate based on Territory Families annual report figures (p 16): 2007 children and families receiving casework services in 2016-17; 1061 children in out-of-home-care in 2017-18.
CORRECTION December 19:
The $66.9m funding for the Client Management System Alignment is part of the Territory Labor Government’s $229m response to the Royal Commission. The Alice Springs News Online regrets the error.


  1. Ken and Lauren: “What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.”
    I am broke, run out of credits on my numerous credit cards, my house is mortgaged to the hilt, can I still go shopping for Christmas?
    Government is leader; leaders supposedly show example. Therefore, what is good for you is good for me.

  2. Stupid Labor Party people spending money they don’t own, building more socialist temples for their own (Do Right, Fix Nothing, Criminal Pandering S/S Groups, that reward all their own money making juvenile criminal client groups). Anyway, Stupid Is As Stupid Does.

  3. I don’t get it.
    After announcing that the Territory’s financials are a basket case, and projected to get far far worse in the future, the NT Government is still going ahead with an art gallery most people couldn’t care less about and even more people are against its proposed location.
    And yet this government can’t get its act together to effectively tackle the out of control youth crime destroying this town.

  4. $229m to maintain good record keeping for 2000 to 3000 kids: Not sure about the worth in that when these kids need human support and interaction.
    A computer system to keep paid employees up to date with situations sounds a bit out of touch to me. For less than that amount four very big 24/7 youth centres could be built and that gives children safety, food people to interact with.
    These kids are not toys to bring out when you have time to access them. They need support and care.
    The money should be going to assist the kids, not the paid social workers who sit at their desks from 8am to 4:20pm.
    Government is a joke and are definitely neglecting our kids.

  5. Evelyne Roullet asks the pertinent questiin. Wayne Swan in 2007 made government credit spending the new mantra, fiscal responsibility and only spending what was in the national kitty was expected by the people from governments since Federation.
    When Whitlam briefly opened the floodgates 1972-1975 the people spoke in a landslide and pulled governments back on track.
    However, the shackles came off that thinking completely under Rudd, Swann and Gillard. The Liberals were expected to pull it back on track under Abbott but expectations were not met.
    As for Shorten, witness the Labor Conference promises.
    The Gunner NT is only a symptom of what has been in the pipeline for most of this millennium so far.

  6. I am in total agreement with you, Janet.
    We need 24/7 youth centers that gives children safety, food, people to interact with.
    If social workers fear for their jobs, they are wrong.
    Volunteers will need them to run the centres.

  7. It would be nice to hear more about any action plans to deal with the causes and not just the results of these misguided children.

  8. Unfortunately, Janet and Evelyn, even volunteers are not exempt form the health and safety laws and the general duty of care that would apply looking after these kids.
    It would be a lawyer’s wet dream, and believe me, they love to sue at the drop of a hat.
    If they decide to hit another kid, why did the volunteer fail to protect that chid, if you expell one be cause they are assaulting staff or other kids, what options did the volunteer have except for expelling them, because when they ran away, they ran in front of a car.
    If you grab them to stop them bashing another kids, that’s assault.
    Dealing with these kids who have virtual 24/7 access to free legal representation is a absolute nightmare.
    There is a reason why half the youth workers have quit, and they have the youth justice act to help them. Your ideas are commendable, but wow, a gateway for personal ruin in this day and age.

  9. Local 1: Thank you for your advice, but I am well aware of this, having worked with children and teenagers for quite a long time.
    The rules are: Do not touch, even putting your arm across the shoulder to give comforting hug is prohibited.
    To give first aid, you must have a witness.
    That is now the life we are living and not only with Aboriginal children.

  10. Unfortunately Evelyn you are quite incorrect with what you have said.
    That may have been a policy of an organisation you worked with, but are not based on any law.
    If you are volunteering at a proposed 24/7 drop in centre, and one kid starts bashing another, you may need to use force, and yes that is completely legal.
    Many of the youth workers at the NT youth centred have given the kids hugs.
    So that is not an issue, as do many certified teachers, without an issue.
    First aid without a witness?
    Once again policy, maybe not a bad idea in some circumstances, but not ARC policy.
    Unfortunately your post has just demonstrated how things could go horribly wrong.

  11. I would rather my hard earned tax contributions be spent on programs to get more kids out of dysfunctional communities during school term, or funding for boarding schools to run holiday programs for remote indigenous kids, than spend another pointless $$$ on supporting the abusive and neglectful behaviours of alcoholic parents too selfish to care more about their kids than themselves.

  12. Re Meg, Posted December 24, 2018 at 1:26 pm: It is easy to understand and agree with your suggestion.
    # Re Local 1 Posted December 20, 2018 at 10:07 am
    Exists a flow of lawyers with clients for criminal events, not for NON-Criminal cases.
    This follows Judicial Decisions which require Fair Trials for those facing Criminal charges.
    So Governments make sure those charged with Criminal offenses are represented.
    Governments ignore, hide away other -particularly inconvenient to them, legal issues to remain unresolved.
    The legal profession fails to represent clients in civil matters because funding is hard to find.
    Even when all parties, and Supreme Court acknowledge need for High Court to resolve Constitutional issues raised, the cases can sit forever on ‘stay of proceedings’, unable to progress, unable to be resolved, until the legal aid provided.
    Such is a victory for one side, disadvantaging the other.
    # Inequalities found within the NT are often – erroneously, predicated on race, then gender, then other labels.
    These ‘labels of convenience’ do not identify basic causes creating the various socially disadvantaged groups.
    One NT problem is two quite different social approaches to life and living.
    Earlier Hunter-Gatherers wandered around grasping whatever their felt needs required, from wherever found.
    Often this required limited consideration, or concern, of how their taking may impact on others.
    In every community today, many still wander around struggling to consider others.
    They struggle with modern ‘social norms’ which often require focused education to create understanding.
    Until better education with earlier identification of those failing to understand these ‘social norms’ is difficult to expect better compliance with wider Australia’s various “social limits” required to maintain our mostly modern longer-term viewing co-operative society.

  13. @Paul Parker. I understand where you are coming from Paul, however to understand where I am coming from, have a chat to any ex-youth workers and ask why they left. When your every action or reasoned reaction is able to be scrutinised by a lawyer it makes it very difficult to do your job. What I was getting at was the free access to lawyers these kids have. They can lie, embellish the truth and put the worker’s actions under scrutiny, even when there is no fault found, the stress and worry that it causes is phenomenal.
    Take for example the case where a worker was tried for assault in Supreme Court, found not guilty, then retried on appeal, and found not guilty again, then grilled again at the Royal Commission. The stress of that would have been phenomenal. What financial or personal cost to the kid? Nothing. Then the detailed reporting about the extortion these same lawyers tried on the government? The government rightly refused silly offers, then suddenly the 4 Corners story broke.
    This happens all too often, and sometimes it is easier to walk away.


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