The Greens welcome the steps towards a co-design and community led decision making and control by First Nations organisations in the Closing the Gap Partnerships.
“It is long overdue that the peak First Nations organisations had a seat at the table,” Australian Greens spokesperson on First Nations issues Senator Rachel Siewert said.
“The Coalition of Peaks have put an enormous effort into this agreement and I acknowledge the significant progress that has been made towards First Nations peoples having control over decision making. The priority approach and updated targets will help drive change.
“However, I echo the concerns of the peak body for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Legal Services NATSILS that the justice targets do not go far enough and we will not see results urgently enough.
“How can we be serious about justice targets if there is no commitment to raising the age of criminal responsibility. Ensuring that First Nations children are not in prison or having to go through the trauma of the criminal justice system will go a long way to also getting adults out of prison. Governments must come to the party here.
“Family violence is also a key priority and we hope the issues that are still being addressed are resolved as soon as possible.
“The inclusion of targets for out-of-home-care is a welcome and long overdue target.
“We must see funding tied to this agreement and to each target. Funding must be long term and secure if we want to actually meet targets. The Abbott Government gutted funding and it is good to see a commitment to rebuilding it.
“Decision making processes and funding for First Nations organisations around the country have been ad-hoc at best which has seen many interventions from community to get funding reinstated. First Nations organisations have in many cases thrived in spite of, not because of Government funding.
“When looking at the social determinants of health the Prime Minster still needs to take a good hard look at the programs his Government imposes on First Nations communities like Community Development Program, the Cashless Debit Card and the NT Intervention that are contradictory to the aims of closing the gap and self-determination.”
Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie; 0418 401 180