“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
This package reinstates the half a billion ripped out of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander sector in the 2014-15 budget”,
Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert announcing a package to create a better future for Australia’s First Peoples
Download the full policy document here
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.
“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.
“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.
“FUNDING FOR MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES AND SUICIDE PREVENTION
As part of additional funding announced in our mental health initiative, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will benefit from:
- A $400m increase to Primary Health Networks’ flexible mental health funding pool,
- $280m in additional mental health funding for regional, rural and remote communities,
- $40m in funding for a series of strategies to reduce mental health stigma, including a targeted campaign for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
This funding will recognise the needs of regional and remote communities, including allocating at least $24m to regional Western Australia over four years, and a minimum of $17m in additional funding for services and workforce in the Northern Territory, including remote communities.
The Greens are disappointed that funds previously committed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention strategies have not been spent. The Greens want to see this money (now worth $25m) immediately spent on suicide prevention.
Given recent tragic suicides by young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, it is important to build resilience in young people through cultural education programs.
We need to support on-country community-led programs such as mentoring and youth leadership. time to stop dragging our feet, we must move towards achieving true reconciliation, and we must close the gap”.