• The Northern Territory's Aboriginal Affairs minister Selena Uibo announced the changes. (AAP)Source: AAP
The Northern Territory has released its long-awaited Aboriginal Justice Agreement, with hopes the reforms will reduce crime and Indigenous imprisonment rates.
9 Aug 2021 - 3:59 PM  UPDATED 9 Aug 2021 - 3:59 PM

The NT government and Aboriginal and community organisation leaders on Monday signed a plan to make the justice system fairer for Aboriginal Territorians.

The seven-year agreement aims to improve the way the justice system responds to Aboriginal Territorians by supporting their leadership.

It also provides courts with more sentencing options to better address Aboriginal offending and reoffending, Aboriginal Affairs Minister Selena Uibo says.

"This agreement is a momentous step towards improving the lives of Aboriginal Territorians and the safety of all Territorians," she told reporters on Monday.

Ms Uibo says the reforms will ensure Aboriginal Territorians who are in contact with the justice system are treated fairly, respectfully, and without discrimination.

"Together we can ensure that decisions are led by Aboriginal people to make the changes needed across our communities," she said.

The reforms include establishing local law and justice groups, introducing community courts and expanding access to programs that address the root causes of offending.

The NT government developed the AJA with Aboriginal organisations and NGOs.

Over three years, the Aboriginal Justice Unit visited more than 160 communities to talk with stakeholders.

About 30 per cent of the NT's 246,500 strong population are Indigenous.

In 2018, 84 per cent of the NT's adult prisoners were Aboriginal.

This is the largest proportion of Aboriginal prisoners in any state or territory, according to the NT government.

The NT has the highest imprisonment rate of any jurisdiction with 955 prisoners per 100,000 adults.

The national average is 221 prisoners per 100,000 adults.

Mistreated NT youth secure $35 million settlement
Former detainees of Northern Territory youth detention centres hope a historic settlement will help drive improvements in the system they say has left them damaged.