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Senate calls for funding of National Congress

The Senate has supported an Australian Greens motion calling on the Government to fund National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples for the next three years for $15 million, with a sinking fund of a further $100 million.

“In 2014, the Coalition broke away from a multi-party approach and cut funding for National Congress as part of the broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples funding cuts and the chaotic rollout of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy, it was a hard year for our First Peoples” Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

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Government has known for too long that the number of Aboriginal kids in out of home care is growing, it is time to act

The Government must urgently respond to the inaugural Family Matters report, which is projecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids in out of home care will almost triple by 2035.

“The growing number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out of home care is a crisis in the system. A near tripling of Aboriginal kids in out of home care by 2035 is a devastating projection, if this doesn’t jolt the Government into action, I’m not sure what will.

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British Museum should return sacred objects

“I wish to again express my support for Rodney Kelly in his endeavour to retrieve sacred objects taken from Gweagal people by a member of Captain Cook's crew when the HMS Endeavour arrived in Botany Bay in 1770”, Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“As Mr Kelly has said, these sacred artefacts were taken by gunfire and the legal title belongs to the descendant Gweagal people.

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Cashless Welfare Card report piecemeal and anecdotal

“The Cashless Debit Card Trial Progress Report released by the Department of Social Services today is a piecemeal report, relying on a large amount of anecdotal evidence”, Australian Greens spokesperson on Family and Community Services Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“This is a policy approach on the fly. The data is not even or consistent across trial sites and the so-called improvements are results from earlier this year which are not  consistently carrying through.

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Australia is leaving the vulnerable behind

“A report released today by the Community Council of Australia is a damning indictment on the Government’s lack of action in addressing poverty, suicide rates and carbon emissions", Australian Greens Spokesperson on Family and Community Services Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
The Australia We Want report shows rising inequality, rising suicide rates and above-average carbon emissions across Australia. 
“We have known about these issues for years now, yet the Federal Government continues to cut funding to social services while giving tax cuts to the rich. 

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We don’t need another inquiry

“I am frankly astonished at the announcement of an inquiry into the incarceration rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by Attorney-General George Brandis and Minister Scullion this morning”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“We have known what we need to do for over 25 years now. The Royal Commission into Deaths in Custody made 339 recommendations, a large number of which have not been implemented.

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Another punitive approach to income support by Government

“Minister Tudge’s moves to tighten the rules on unemployment benefits is yet another attack on those on income support", Australian Greens Spokesperson on Family and Community Services Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“We know that approximately 760,000 people were on Newstart in August and that 430,000 of those were defined as “jobseekers”. But ABS statistics show that the total job vacancies in the June-August quarter was 177,300.

“Minister Tudge is saying that sanctions will be toughened and “high expectations” will be set, but the jobs are simply not out there.

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WA offered Federal funding for CNS but says current arrangements are ‘sufficient’

Estimates has revealed that the Federal Government is offering states & territories funding to help roll out mandatory custody notification services, but the WA Government have said WA's current services are ‘sufficient’.

“Custody notification services in New South Wales have been immensely successful. There have been no Aboriginal deaths in custody since 2000, apart from when sadly the service was not used in July this year because of a loophole in the legislation, and Aboriginal woman Ms Rebecca Maher died.

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Nearly 29 million busy signals for people trying to reach Centrelink last financial year

The number of calls to Centrelink that hit a busy signal has ballooned out to nearly 29 million for 2015-16, up from 22 million the previous year. 

"In addition call waiting times on the main program phone lines remains high causing further frustration.

“I have been tracking this growing problem for some time and every estimates the numbers seem to continually climb.  

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