“Closing the gap requires a coordinated approach at the state and federal levels as the challenges faced by Aboriginal people are interconnected.You can’t improve overall health outcomes without also looking at the social determinants, things like housing, education and poverty. Similarly, you can’t improve health outcomes while the numbers of Aboriginal people in our jails continues to rise,”
Said NACCHO chair Justin Mohamed .(see press release below) pictured above with Shane Duffy NATSILS
“Congress calls upon the Prime Minister to show leadership and understanding of the need for increased capacity in our organisations and communities. He can demonstrate that by ensuring the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services is retained and strengthened,”
Said Co-Chair National Congress Les Malezer.(see press release below)
NACCHO Press release
National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Chair, Justin Mohamed, said cutting legal services made no economic sense when you take into account the wider implications of incarceration on issues such as employment, education and health.
“The fact is people in our jail system often suffer from poor mental and physical health,” Mr Mohamed said.
“Incarceration also can have broader impacts on the health of those left behind – on the imprisoned person’s family and broader community.
“With rates of incarceration of Aboriginal people increasing, we should be doing everything we can to turn around the huge numbers of Aboriginal people in our prisons.
“NACCHO supports the good work of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services – both who play an important role in keeping our people out of jail.
“They provide education and early intervention support and advice which can mean the difference between a life of incarceration and one that makes a contribution to the community.
“The Federal Government need to rethink their position and recognise how crucial a national voice on Aboriginal legal policy is in reducing the disproportionate numbers of Aboriginal people in the justice system.
“Aboriginal peak bodies understand better than anyone the issues their people face and the factors that contribute to them entering the justice system.
“Taking that voice from the mix to save a few dollars will just hamper future efforts to improve outcomes across a range of factors including health, education and employment.”
Mr Mohamed said closing the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people needed an integrated approach.
“Aboriginal people make up more than thirty percent of the prison population, despite being only a fraction of the Australian population.
“Closing the gap requires a coordinated approach at the state and federal levels as the challenges faced by Aboriginal people are interconnected.
“You can’t improve overall health outcomes without also looking at the social determinants, things like housing, education and poverty. Similarly, you can’t improve health outcomes while the numbers of
Aboriginal people in our jails continues to rise,” Mr Mohamed said.
National Congress Condemns Cuts
Government avoids scrutiny by cutting Coordinator-General for Remote Indigenous ServicesGeneral for Remote Indigenous Services.
- NACCHO News: THE Abbott government will strip funding from peak Aboriginal body (nacchocommunique.com)
- More indigenous in jail without legal aid (news.com.au)
- Government defunding NATSILS makes no sense (thestringer.com.au)
- Indigenous legal aid to be cut by $13.4 million (sbs.com.au)
- NACCHO Aboriginal Health News : Media coverage and download AMA Aboriginal health report 2012-2013 (nacchocommunique.com)
- NACCHO 2012-13 Annual Report: Investing in Healthy Futures for Generational Change (nacchocommunique.com)
- Social Justice & Native Title state of the nation report! (thestringer.com.au)
- Aboriginal youth behind bars – gap widens (thestringer.com.au)
- Action plan for Australia’s Aboriginal advisors (radionz.co.nz)
- Abbott urged to visit indigenous in jail (news.com.au)