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.
“Western Australia has a responsibility to address a disproportionately high amount of Aboriginal deaths in custody in the state. Deaths like that of Ms Dhu are avoidable and the Government should be proactively working to stop these deaths.
“The WA Government argued earlier this year that an expanded 24 hour hotline was similar to the NSW Custody Notification Service, this has been criticised by WA Aboriginal legal services and family members of people that have died in custody.
“The Minister said today that the WA system is missing an essential part. It is clearly a half-baked version of the service in New South Wales and we can do better.
“The Government now has the opportunity to take up funding being offered by the Commonwealth and move meaningfully to stop Aboriginal deaths in custody in Western Australia. I urge the Premier to take up Minister Scullion’s offer, amend WA's current approach so that like NSW we stop deaths in custody here in WA”.