Free CDU forum to tackle Territory issues 


The national intervention in Indigenous affairs, the Territory’s population change, and increasing literacy will be discussed in a free public forum at Charles Darwin University on Friday 14 September.

Organised by the School for Social and Policy Research (SSPR) which researches complex social and policy issues relevant to northern Australia, the event at the Casuarina campus is titled: A Forum on Childhood Interventions and Population Change in the Northern Territory.

The forum will showcase the work of SSPR and experts will lead discussion over three main topics: the Challenges of Early Intervention, Accelerated Literacy: A solution to successful literacy acquisition, and Planning the Territory’s Future: Understanding population change and behaviour.

Associate Professor Gary Robinson, Co-Director of the SSPR, will lead the morning session on the challenges of early intervention.
Dr Robinson said that the national intervention in Indigenous affairs was yet to provide an effective structure to meet the needs of parents, families and children.

‘There is too much departmental self-promotion and too little effective work to meet the needs of parents, families and children,’ he said of the national intervention.

Dr Robinson will introduce the Let’s Start program, which is a structured early intervention program for children at risk. The Let’s Start team from SSPR is collaborating with more than 30 schools in Darwin and on the Tiwi islands to help families support their children’s success at school.

Later in the day, discussion will move to the topic of accelerated literacy, in which the co-developer of the National Accelerated Literacy Program, Wendy Cowey, will outline the principles that make this an effective literacy teaching program.

Other experts will present case studies on helping children to become literate, how NT schools have implemented the program effectively, and using the method in adult education.

The mid-afternoon session will focus on understanding population change and behaviour in planning the Territory’s future. Senior Research Fellow with SSPR, Dr Tom Wilson will lead these presentations with his findings from the NT Mobility Project which reveal why people decide to move to the Territory. Other subjects to be included in the afternoon session include the urban and economic development of Darwin, and gambling in the Territory.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Helen Garnett, will open the forum in the Mal Nairn Auditorium at 11am. It is expected to finish about 4pm. For the day’s program, visit People wishing to attend the free forum should register with Karen Hughes on 8946 6965 or