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Northern Territory - Legislation

Community Welfare Act 1983 (1984 - 2008)

  • Community Welfare Act 1983

    Community Welfare Act 1983

Principal Act
Alternative Names
  • Community Welfare Ordinance 1983

The Community Welfare Act 1983 (Act No. 76/1983) was assented to on 28 November 1983 and commenced on 20 April 1984. It was repealed by the Care and Protection of Children Act 2007 (Act no. 37/2007) on 8 December 2008. The Community Welfare Act 1983 introduced the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle. To act in accordance with the welfare of the child the Minister was expected to take this principle into account and, where possible, arrange custody within the child's extended family.


The Community Welfare Act 1983 established a new Family Matters Court in the NT.

The Community Welfare Act was introduced at the same time as the Juvenile Justice Act 1983 - these laws marked a change in philosophy separating the criminal and welfare jurisdictions relating to young people in the Northern Territory.


 1910 - 1918 Northern Territory Aboriginals Act 1910
       1918 - 1953 Aboriginals Ordinance 1918
             1895 - 1959 The State Children Act 1895
             1957 - 1964 Welfare Ordinance 1953
                   1959 - 1984 Child Welfare Ordinance 1958
                   1964 - 1984 Social Welfare Ordinance 1964
                         1984 - 2008 Community Welfare Act 1983
                               2008 - Care and Protection of Children Act 2007

Related Glossary Terms

Related Organisations


Online Resources


Community Welfare Act 1983
Community Welfare Act 1983


Sources used to compile this entry: 'Northern Territory: Legislation', in To remove and protect: laws that changed Aboriginal lives, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, 2008,; Community Welfare Act 1983 [Document]; Law Research Service, Melbourne Law School, Law Library, The University of Melbourne. 'Find and Connect Project - Northern Territory Legislation', 1 February 2013, held in the project files at the University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre.

Prepared by: Karen George and Gary George