MORE DEATHS IN CUSTODY UNDERLINE NEED TO LISTEN AND WORK WITH FIRST NATIONS PEOPLE
A new report today, on the eve of the coronial report into the death of Yorta Yorta woman Ms Day, showing Indigenous deaths in custody have worsened over the past year is a shocking and urgent call to action.
The situation for First Nations Australians in our justice system is dire – with incarceration rates still shamefully high, mistreatment and neglect too common, and access to proper support and legal services too limited.
Today, Commonwealth and state ministers, will meet with First Nations peak service delivery groups, as part of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting to discuss the refresh of Closing the Gap targets.
It is imperative that the Government and COAG genuinely listen to First Nations leaders, and work constructively with them, to adopt a justice target as part of Closing the Gap.
Labor has consistently called for a justice target to be added to Closing the Gap.
A genuine national commitment to reducing the disproportionately high rates of incarceration and ending the pattern of deaths in custody is painfully overdue.
First Nations people having a say in the policies and laws that affect their community is essential to delivering a meaningful and lasting drop in incarceration rates.
As Australia continues the important discussion of a First Nations voice to parliament, this COAG meeting will demonstrate that First Nations people having a say in the policies and laws that affect their communities is something to be embraced – not feared.
FRIDAY, 23 AUGUST 2019