A comprehensive productivity commission report that shows Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples worse off in key areas is unfortunately unsurprising but shameful and should force change, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
“Increased substance misuse, a huge jump in Aboriginal incarceration, increased psychological distress will undermine progress in other areas. While it is good to see progress in some indicators it needs to be remembered that First Peoples remain far behind other Australians and at this rate it is unlikely we will close the gap by the target date.
“When we pursue policy that is top-down and at times discriminatory, when we gut funding from Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander services that would reduce disadvantage, how can we expect not to go backwards on key indicators?
“I am sure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and communities are tired of seeing things go backwards when they have advice on how to improve outcomes falling on deaf ears. The repeated call for justice targets being ignored by Government is a clear example of this.
“Wrap around support services must have Aboriginal control that are culturally appropriate. It is time for Government to listen to leaders who have genuine solutions. We need to act now before we fall even further behind”.