• Prime Minister Scott Morrison has spoken about an alleged assault in Tennant Creek. (AAP)Source: AAP
Scott Morrison says he was appalled to hear of another alleged sexual assault of a child in the NT's Tennant Creek.
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Source:
NITV News
4 Sep 2018 - 4:01 PM  UPDATED 5 Sep 2018 - 10:31 AM

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has described the alleged sexual assault of a Tennant Creek child as "sickening", after a 50-year-old man was charged with indecent assault in the Northern Territory community. 

"What happened there in Tennant Creek makes your heart just cry," he told reporters in Townsville.  

"It's important that the law enforcement authorities and others who are dealing with that situation on the ground do just that." 

The child was allegedly assaulted on Friday afternoon and was reportedly known to child protection services. The alleged perpetrator has faced court and has been remanded in custody. 

He was charged with indecently assaulting a child under 16.

It follows the highly publicised rape of a two-year-old girl in the troubled town in February, and comes after the Department of Territory Families revealed one child is being sexually exploited or abused every week in the Northern Territory in a parliamentary estimates hearing. 

In June, it was revealed the Northern Territory government had removed 15 children from their families in and around town when it was deemed unsafe after the alleged assault. 

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"These are the outcomes we want to avoid. These are the outcomes we want to stop," Mr Morrison said.

"There is no more important priority than the children of our country." 

Mr Morrison said getting kids into school will help to turn communities around. 

"It starts really with the young people and getting them into school," he said.

"I think that is true of every single member of parliament - that is a universal, totally understood commitment from everyone." 

He said the recent appointment of former prime minister Tony Abbott as special envoy to Indigenous affairs will focus on school attendance and performance. 

"He is very focused on that and he is very passionate, and one thing I know about Tony is when he is passionate about something, you know, he can really make a difference," he said. 

"I've seen the transformation of young boys through the Clontarf Program, boys who have come from the most horrible of circumstances, lives turned around by getting them into school, getting them into great programs.

"Now they're getting jobs, they're going back to their community and they're changing their communities for one reason - hope, hope - hope is what they need and Tony is going to play a key role in helping us create that hope."

One of the Prime Minister's top advisers on Indigenous affairs, Andrea Mason, says work needs to be done to help communities heal. 

"And to find a way through the trauma," Ms Mason told the ABC. 

Heading the NPY Women's Council, Ms Mason has worked for many years in domestic violence and children's safety. 

"We absolutely see that has front line work. We're keen to talk to the Northern Territory government about those areas of work that we've started to do in recent years because we don't want to be continuing this cycle of waiting for these instances, in fact, we want to see changes in the broader community in Tennant Creek where communities are feeling a sense of gaining control," she said. 

"We're absolutely committed to reducing the harm and the trauma that is in community." 

The NPY Women's Council will be participating in the Northern Territory Community Cabinet in Yulara next week. 

In July, then-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visited Tennant Creek announcing the government was open to a new deal for the region meaning the town would have three levels of government with business to improve local infrastructure and opportunities. 

When asked if he was shocked by conditions in the town the PM said he had been "inspired" by the hard work, commitment and sense of community.

He said he had spoken with local children who primarily asked him how he would make conditions safer.

"The kids were asking me - as prime minister - to ensure they were going to be safe," he told reporters. “We need to work together more effectively."

Mr Turnbull lost his position in the leadership spill a fortnight ago, and then-Social Services Minister Dan Tehan was moved onto the education portfolio after a cabinet reshuffle. 

Paul Fletcher is now the social services minister. 

With AAP 

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