Review of Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory Act 2012 and related legislation

Final report

The committee has now completed its examination of the Stronger Futures measures. The final report can be viewed here.

Role of the committee

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights examines bills and legislative instruments for compatibility with human rights, as defined by seven international human rights treaties specified in the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011).

The committee is also able to examine Acts for compatibility with the rights and freedoms recognised by those international treaties.

Previous examination of Stronger Futures legislation

On 26 June 2013, the committee tabled its Eleventh Report of 2013, which examined the Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory Act 2012 and related legislation (the Stronger Futures package). The report focused on the human rights compatibility of three measures introduced by the Stronger Futures package: tackling alcohol abuse, income management and school attendance.

A background to the report can be found here, as well as in the introductory chapters of the report.

The report broadly acknowledged the legitimacy of the policy intent of the Stronger Futures measures, being to reduce disadvantage and promote equal enjoyment of human rights, particularly in relation to Indigenous Australians.

However, the report noted that a number of Indigenous and other groups had expressed significant concerns about the compatibility of the Stronger Futures measures with human rights, as well as doubts in relation the efficacy of the measures. The committee noted the particular importance therefore of ensuring that the Stronger Future measures were subject to ongoing evaluation of their impact and effectiveness.

Current review

In light of the report's findings, the committee determined to undertake a 12-month review (in July 2014) to consider the latest evidence and test the continuing necessity for the Stronger Futures measures.

The closing date for submissions was 10 October 2014.

The committee tabled its final report on 16 March 2016.

Submissions to the inquiry can be found here. Correspondence between the committee and the Minister for Indigenous Affairs can be found here. The final report can be found here.

Terms of reference

There are no formal terms of reference for the inquiry. The committee’s first report focused on three key measures: the tackling alcohol abuse measure, the income management measure and the school attendance measure. Submitters are invited to address both the measures covered in the report on the first inquiry, as well as any other measures in the Stronger Futures package of legislation which may raise human rights issues.

For further information contact:

Committee Secretary
Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

 Phone:  +61 2 6277 3823
 Fax:  +61 2 6277 5767