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Scullion proposes NT youth prison farm

AAP logoAAP 11/10/2016 Lucy Hughes Jones

Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion has proposed removing NT children from juvenile detention centres, floating a farm alternative where young offenders could serve their sentences.

Mr Scullion wants to set up a live-in facility at a well-known pastoral station at Mataranka to help rehabilitate young detainees.

Enlisting the help of federal and state governments as well as the Indigenous Land Corporation, inmates would complete an agricultural traineeship and be guaranteed a job upon release.

As the royal commission into juvenile justice kicks off its second day of formal hearings, senator Scullion dismissed pressure to wait until the inquiry hands down its findings and recommendations.

"This is about just simply getting on with it, this isn't anything about Don Dale or what any recommendations can make," he told ABC news.

The probe was announced by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull hours after footage of boys being tear gassed, shackled and spit hooded at Don Dale Youth Detention Centre was aired by the ABC's Four Corners program.

At the time Senator Scullion said he hadn't been aware of the allegations of abuse because the matter hadn't "piqued" his interest and he believed it had been "taken care of" by the NT government.

Northern Territory Labor Chief Minister Michael Gunner confirmed Mataranka was being considered as a potential site.

It comes after Darwin's Supreme Court heard on Tuesday that government child abuse reports were dismissed without investigation and children's human rights were still being routinely breached at Don Dale two years after the gassing incident.

This week's hearings will focus on authors of several reports examining youth detention, child protection and indigenous incarceration.

Witnesses include past and present NT Children's Commissioners Dr Howard Bath and Colleen Gwynne.

Aboriginal leader Professor Tom Calma and Amnesty International Indigenous Rights campaigner Julian Cleary will also give evidence on Wednesday.

The commission is examining the years between August 2006 and August 2016 and a final report is due to be delivered by the end of March 2017.

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