Officials stonewall Yuendumu violence report



The responses received by the Alice Springs News into a survey of government and NGOs dealing with out-of-control youths in the township of Yuendumu are offensively shortcoming.

We asked Byron Matthews, Regional Manager of the National Indigenous Australians Agency, to arrange an interview about how many children are involved and what kind of involvement there is.

After a delay a spokesperson answered: “Unfortunately on this occasion we don’t have an appropriate person” to be interviewed but the News could say “the NIAA funds a number of activities in the region to support community safety.

“This includes a community safety patrol, a mediation and community justice program as well as programs to encourage young people to attend and engage at school.”

NIAA participates in fortnightly meetings with police and “seeks to address patterns of anti-social behaviour,” the spokesman stated.

Our survey started at the top: The Chief Minister and the Minister for Territory Families Kate Jane Worden gave no reply, and neither did police, prison in Alice Springs (some 600 inmates), schools nor Congress.



  1. They stonewall because the high level of crime demonstrates the abject failure of youth programs in the community.
    Yuendumu receives far more youth oriented funding than any other community in Central Australia.
    Millions over the past five years.
    There are many snouts protecting that funding trough.

  2. I find it amusing that organisations in Yuendumu have an open check book to funds when local youth organisations barely have staff to run programs!
    How on earth can people keep giving out millions of dollars to organisations that don’t have staff to run a program?
    I’d love to see a royal commission into the greed of organisations putting their hands in their pockets while watching tens of millions of dollars disappear! Biggest rort of all time in Yuendumu.

  3. If a funding body notified a visit to the community they would see all the programs running. The night patrol would be busy patrolling etc etc.
    But if they popped in unannounced nothing would be running.
    Smoke and mirrors describes the programs.
    But the funding is real enough.

  4. @ Jye Lee: A royal commission into snouts in the trough – what a good idea!
    But fair go you guys. Yuendumu “the biggest rort of all time”?
    I don’t have to look very far to perceive far bigger troughs and rorts. Try Alice Springs, Darwin and Canberra for starters.
    One of the problems I see with a Royal Commission, is that a Royal Commission is itself one of the troughs that attract snouts.

  5. To me, one of the biggest issues is the lack of staff. It’s all very well to suggest rorting, (and I know it goes on) but if there are no staff, it’s impossible to do anything!
    So the blame lay with the pollies as they are the ones that made and perpetuate this issue. Unfortunately, it started many many years ago when we stopped training people. Then in recent times, its oh my gosh, we have a skill shortage. So we start bring in skilled migrants by the bucket loads. The fallout is Australians are without jobs.
    BUT we mange to allow a huge volume of foreign students in because they pay extraordinary amounts of money to keep our educational institutions funded.
    Fast forward to recent times, the Government neglects remote areas and neglects to give real incentives to come and bang, we are where we are. Many people are sent here as a part of their employment conditions, but it’s more like a prison sentence. Perhaps we should be enticing people here, as different from coercing them. But we need real incentives for them.
    It’s all very well to have a shortsighted look and blame the NGOs, but the real failing is the Federal and state governments, not the NGOs or staff.
    Does anyone have a long term plan for for the benefit of all of Australia and Australians?

  6. @ Surprised: The difficulty getting staff to work with youth at Yuendumu is not only because of the general staff shortage.
    Two youths from the community brutally murdered their white mentor, the pool manager, in 2015.
    It was an unprovoked attack to steal his car.
    Would you work there?

  7. Kieran,
    Your accurate, unbiased, unjudgemental, informative and insightful court reporting, as exemplified in your book ‘Trouble’ was sorely missed during the recent trial.
    The same can’t be said for the alternatives that were available to us.

  8. I was a resident of the NT at the time Father Percy Smith was active in promoting the welfare of young Aborigine children, in particular their education.
    I served on his committee for running the hostel of St John and the mini training farm out at the Gap of St Mary’s.
    I can assure everyone that these children were never stolen from their mothers under Father Smith, infant mothers all asked Father Smith for his assistance in having their kids educated.
    I can say Father Smith in most cases helped out with personal assistance sometimes at his own family’s cost. He had a beautiful wife and a son John who all supported his work for the Aboriginal
    population of the NT and South Australia.
    This is all covered in a number of books and publications.
    Any references made by politicians of today are political inventions for their own gain only.
    There was no stolen generation during my time involving young Aborigine children.
    Any child whose mother wanted them to be looked after while they received higher education was asked for by the mother.
    This is the truth and Father Percy Smith the founder of the Anglican Church in Alice Springs would not have had it any other way.

  9. @ Ron Teague. You are correct in respect of Aboriginal parents asking for their children to receive a church mission education.
    The literature specifies this in many historical accounts, e.g. my history of the Daintree Aboriginal Mission, Baptised Among Crocodiles. 1940-1962, published by Boolarong Press, Brisbane. 2015. While the Stolen Generation is an historical fact, there are many shades of grey.


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