The Australian Greens said today that they hoped the Government would act on the latest Social Justice and Native Title report by the Australian Human Rights Commission, fearing it would be added to the largely ignored pile of reports that outline policy failings and make recommendations to address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage.
"I urge the Governments not to ignore this one and to sincerely consider the recommendations made", said Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues Senator Rachel Siewert.
“I share the Commission’s view that the Government must introduce justice targets as a matter of urgency to address intolerable rates of incarceration amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Our growing incarceration rates of our First Peoples is shameful and the Government's lack or urgency in this space should be condemned. Justice targets have long been called for across the board and it is time the Government listened.
“I'm glad the Commission again addressed the issue of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) and pointed to the Senate Committee recommendations on how to improve the failing of the IAS. I initiated the inquiry after overwhelming feedback from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders, organisations and communities that the strategy was clunky and harmful in its rollout and locked out local Aboriginal organisations. Outcomes have not improved and I echo the Commission’s point that Aboriginal peoples have identified they should be at the centre of decision making processes to achieve positive outcomes.
“With recent news that the WA coroner will soon hand down her decision on whether to release the CCTV footage of Ms Dhu to the public, I note that the Commission has stated ‘better options must be developed to ensure that fines can be appropriately dealt with, without a custodial response’. I urge the WA Government to take this into serious consideration when reflecting on the sad loss of Ms Dhu, who should never have been jailed for unpaid fines in the first place. My thoughts are with her family and friends as the coroner’s decision looms.
“It is good to see the Commission is continuing to monitor the cashless welfare card and obviously have concerns about it, the Greens would rather see the concept abandoned altogether rather than just watering it down.
“The report covers a wide breadth of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues and I urge every MP to give the report a read so as to fully comprehend the struggles that our First Peoples are facing that urgently need addressing”.