This Reconciliation Week the Australian Greens are calling on the Government to begin their term with a commitment to First Nations peoples to address Australia’s unfinished business, close the gap and achieve justice for First Nations peoples.
Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said a commitment to self-determination must be at the heart of closing the gap, and that this approach has been sadly lacking.
“I congratulate Minister Wyatt on being appointed Minister for Indigenous Australians.
“This is a positive step towards self-determination and I look forward to working with my West Australian colleague to achieve justice for First Nations peoples.
“Implementing the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the Voice to Parliament has to be a multi-partisan project and a priority of the new Parliament. First Nations peoples have waited too long.
“We must firmly slam the door on punitive controlling measures like the Intervention, the cashless debit card and the community development program which undermine self-determination of First Nations communities and any chance we have at closing the gap.
“Income management is a failed measure. We need programs that invest in people, not punishes them.
“We are joining First Nations organisations in calling for the adoption of national justice targets to close the gap in the rates of imprisonment of First Nations peoples particularly young people, and to close the gap in the rates of violence against First Nations peoples, with priority strategies for women and children.
"The Closing the Gap targets must also include out of home care and justice targets.
“Yesterday was the anniversary of Sorry Day.
“Sorry was meant to be the start of a journey, not the end. If we are actually serious about addressing these issues and closing the gap, First Nations issues and organisations would have been given priority, long term funding support and certainty.
“Reparations and compensation is a key part of this. State and Federal Governments, as well as the institutions that caused so much harm, must offer redress and funding for healing services.
“It’s been over 20 years since the Bringing Them Home report and most recommendations have not been implemented with half-hearted efforts on some.
"As a nation we need to reset and take a new approach.”
Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie: 0418 401 180