The Australian Greens say there are significant community concerns that proposed measures under the Stronger Futures legislation will be highly detrimental to Aboriginal people in the NT.
“The Greens have strongly recommended that the Senate rejects this legislation,” Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Issues said today.
“There is an overwhelming sense – from Aboriginal People, their representative organisations, and the community sector that the approach taken in both the Intervention and Stronger Futures undermines and disempowers Aboriginal people and communities.
“Our recommendations seek to reverse the top-down policy approach being taken by the Government, reflecting the international research that shows that empowerment and local governance are essential for improving outcomes.
“I’m concerned by the Government’s commitment to expensive and ineffective policies in the absence of solid evidence that they are improving the lives of Aboriginal people.
“We are recommending that punitive measures such as income management, SEAM and alcohol bans imposed without community consultation are replaced with approaches based on proven mechanisms and developed with community support.
“Our recommendations also reflect the international evidence that communities must be empowered to make their own decisions.
“Until community governance is strengthened in the Northern Territory, measures to improve the wellbeing of Aboriginal people will not be as effective.
“I am deeply disappointed that the Government has not dedicated more resources to this end.
“This inquiry has left me in no doubt that Stronger Futures is nothing more than an extension of the Northern Territory Intervention. It is a deeply flawed approach based on a substandard consultation process.
“Subjecting people to ineffective and damaging policies for a further 10 years is completely unacceptable,” Senator Siewert concluded.
The Australian Greens have produced a comprehensive dissenting report as part of the Committee Inquiry into the Stronger Futures legislation.