Indigenous Welfare Reform

Well if there is to be any federal intervention it's not going to help with untrained people up there on the ground as I understand there is now.

I understand that there are people from Prime Minister and Cabinet office in the Territory at the moment. You and I have spoken about this before. Child protection is complex. We saw the terrible report also today of the young child in New South Wales who drowned in foster care. A non-Aboriginal boy.

I think there is a crisis in child protection right across Australia. More and more children are being removed and put into statutory care. There always seems to be an abandonment of the Aboriginal placement principle which is really important to the Northern Territory issues. There are systems just walking away from that. And part of the challenge particularly right across the country, one of the complicating things is what are the levers? It’s states and territories that run the child protection system.

So what is it the Commonwealth can do? I think a national inquiry or something along those lines as recommended in the report that came out on incarceration is something that we need to talk about but more importantly, state and territory jurisdictions have to commit themselves to more Indigenous foster carers and the Aboriginal child placement principle.

Those things are not happening effectively. Now I am not abrogating the responsibility of community and family. But I'm saying it has to be a joint effort and joint effort is not what we're seeing.