• Aboriginal youth under the care of BushMob. (AAP)Source: AAP
The Northern Territory government is establishing another early intervention wilderness camp for at-risk children after BushMob, the only remote alternative to youth detention, announced it would shut down.
18 Jul 2017 - 1:01 PM  UPDATED 18 Jul 2017 - 1:03 PM

Territory Families Minister Dale Wakefield says diversion organisation Operation Flinders Foundation will work with the government's youth outreach workers to combat youth crime and social disadvantage.

Operation Flinders services will not replace BushMob's boot camp program at Loves Creek, 90km east of Alice Springs, which announced last week it was shutting down due to lack of resources and government inaction.

Ms Wakefield says Operation Flinders will add "another string to our youth diversion bow" as Labor opens a tender for another company to run the boot camp out of the Loves Creek facility.

The same week of the BushMob shut down announcement, it also transpired that more children are currently being held at Don Dale Youth Detention Centre's notorious high security (HSU) unit than at any point in the past year.

For years, HSU cells have been known to have little natural light or airflow. But Territory Families says recent upgrades have fitted every room with "improved windows, air-conditioning and individual room water coolers".

NT youth justice system's ‘recipe for failure’: BushMob closes as Don Dale detainees in high security rises
The same week the NT's only remote youth detention alternative BushMob shuts down citing government inaction; it has transpired that more children are currently being held at Don Dale Youth Detention Centre's notorious high security (HSU) unit than at any point in the past year.

Steven Rawson, manager of the Apmere Mwerre or Good Place Program, BushMob’s camp at Love's Creek Station, told NITV News at the time of the program closure that it was no longer safe to run the camp without appropriate funding and infrastructure.  BushMob says lack of maintenance led to security and safety issues, which in turn led to breakouts.

“When we approached Territory families about what they were going to do about it, they assured us that basically nothing was going to get done until the end of December when our contract expires."

But the Territory Families Minister says the agency has given significant support to BushMob and will partner with a new group to deliver diversion schemes.

"They have been provided with $2.4 million over an 18-month period to deliver the program, and I'm disappointed that they feel they can't effectively run (it)," Ms Wakefield said.

BushMob will continue to operate a juvenile rehabilitation centre in the Alice Springs town.


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