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Tear-gassed boys to face NT commission

AAP logoAAP 3/12/2016 Lucy Hughes Jones

Two of the boys who were tear gassed at Don Dale Youth Detention Centre will give evidence at the Northern Territory royal commission into juvenile justice next week.

Footage of Dylan Voller, Jake Roper and four other young offenders being tear gassed and spit hooded at Darwin's notorious prison shocked the nation this year and sparked the inquiry.

The Voller and Roper families will support the pair during the Darwin hearings, which resume on Monday.

Mr Voller is still in jail and his mother is concerned about his safety in speaking up.

"He is a pawn on a chessboard ... how can he freely give evidence?"Joanne Voller said.

"Every time he goes to open his mouth he'll be thinking 'should I, or shouldn't I be saying this?'"

The December hearings will focus on the experience of vulnerable children in the Territory's protection and detention systems.

It comes after the inquiry visited a remote indigenous community near Uluru, where traditional owners threatened to "close the rock" if their people continue to live in poverty.

Commissioners Margaret White and Mick Gooda visited Mutitjulu in October, where the Intervention started and is still felt to this day.

The Anangu people who live by Australia's most iconic landmark told the inquiry the NT and federal governments have neglected their community and children are denied basic housing, plumbing, food and healthcare.

"The oldest living culture in the world has been kicked to the curb by the government," traditional owner Rameth Thomas said.

"It's disgusting how the government has treated our children. They should be ashamed.

"If they don't start listening to us we will close the rock."

Mr Gooda says people still feel powerless almost a decade after the intervention, and the inquiry is likely to recommend returning agency to communities.

But he's worried the NT government won't be held accountable to implement the commission's recommendations.

"Don't apologise about getting loud and angry - we need to get loud and angry because otherwise we won't get change," he said.

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