Greens announce package to create a better future for Australia’s First Peoples

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Australian Greens have announced a comprehensive package that aims to reduce Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples disadvantage, move towards meaningful reconciliation, and reduce suicide and incarceration rates around the nation.

“I am very excited to announce today’s package that offers a path to addressing a wide range of issues that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples disadvantage”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

"In Reconciliation Week the message is clear that to achieve true reconciliation we need to address the unfinished business in this country, acknowledge sovereignty was never ceded and start national conversations about sovereignty and treaties. Our package provides funding to do that.

“$30 million has been committed to make sure the conversation begins around sovereignty and treaty as well as constitutional recognition. Increasingly on the ground Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are calling for sovereignty and treaties, but this is not being properly addressed by Government.  

“The package reinstates the half a billion ripped out of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander sector in the 2014-15 budget.

“To have Malcolm Turnbull announce funding during Reconciliation Week that is well below the half a billion ripped out of services in recent years shows this Government is not serious about addressing disadvantage and closing the gap. We must fully reinstate this funding if we are going to close the gap on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples disadvantage.

“If we are to address the appalling incarceration rate of Aboriginal people we need a national target to reduce incarceration. The Minister has scoffed at this proposition despite support from stakeholders and the community, we need these targets to reduce disproportionate incarceration rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander peoples.

“The Greens also want to see the money committed to suicide prevention a number of years ago by Government (now worth $25m) immediately spent, particularly in the Kimberley where we have a crisis situation.

“It is time to stop dragging our feet, we must move towards achieving true reconciliation, and we must close the gap”.