JUSTICE AND CHILD REMOVAL TARGETS MORE URGENT THAN EVER

MARK DREYFUS QC MP.
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1 month ago
JUSTICE AND CHILD REMOVAL TARGETS MORE URGENT THAN EVER
MARK DREYFUS QC MP
As National Reconciliation Week draws to a close, Labor is reiterating our call for the Government to adopt clear targets and policies to reduce rates of Indigenous incarceration and child removal.

There have been 432 Indigenous deaths in custody since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in 1991.

First Nations people are still grossly overrepresented in prison – making up 29 per cent of those in jail, but just three per cent of the broader population. In some places, over 80 per cent of those in jail are Indigenous.

Indigenous children are still 10 times more likely to be in out-of-home-care. In some places, 90 per cent of children in out-of-home-care are Indigenous.

This is a direct result of Australia’s failure to properly address poverty and social justice issues, the trauma of the past and ongoing discrimination. 

It is a national blight – reflecting scarred lives and diminished futures.

Almost 30 years on, the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody have still not been fully implemented. And the Government has not responded to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s 2017 Pathways to Justice report, which made 35 recommendations to reduce the disproportionate rate of incarceration of First Nations people.

We also remain deeply concerned by the Morrison Government’s decision to reverse decades of self-determination in the provision of legal services to Indigenous Australians by abolishing the standalone, specific purpose funding program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services. 

We in Labor also reiterate our call for the Morrison Government to reinstate funding to the existing self-determined structure of the National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services Forum which, for years, has worked with and on behalf of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander survivors of family violence and sexual assault.

It is critical that the Government continues to work with the Coalition of Peaks in determining the targets, policies and programs to reduce Indigenous incarceration and child removal rates. 
INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS