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2007 Social Justice Report

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Rachel Siewert 20 Mar 2008

I welcome today's release of the 2007 Social Justice Report by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma – it is an influential and pivotal document which I expect will have a major impact on the upcoming review of the Northern Territory Intervention.

The rights-based approach taken by Tom Calma to addressing the complex issues involved in monitoring and assessing the benefits and unintended consequences on the NT intervention provides a solid basis for Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin to progress her commitment to an evidence-based approach to policy in the NT.

Tom Calma's report shows that the Greens were on the right track with the criticisms we voiced at the time of the intervention – of the suspension of the RDA, the need for 'just terms' compensation for the compulsory acquisition of land, and the importance of community consultation and partnerships to ensure effective on the ground action.

The report also supports our advocacy of community-based initiatives to 'turn down the tap' on grog and our calls to reinstate and better focus CDEP. We support his recommendations and hope to see them form the basis for the terms of reference for the upcoming twelve month review of the NT intervention.

Tom Calma has provided a firm and consistent voice of reason throughout this often heated debate. His thoughtful analysis in this report gives us an opportunity to learn from the successes and mistakes of the intervention and to move forward with a more strategic and considered approach.

The Greens congratulate him on his ongoing efforts to make a positive contribution to the health and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

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