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The New South Wales Department of Justice is Failing First Nations Communities, say Greens

Media Release
Lidia Thorpe 13 Aug 2021

This week, an imprisoned First Nations man was tested for COVID-19 at Bathurst Correctional Centre and was released before the prison received his positive Covid result.

The man then returned to his community in north-west New South Wales which has a high population of First Nations people.

“The New South Wales Government and Department of Justice have again failed First Nations people, our Elders, our kids, and those of us living with chronic illness,” said DjabWurrung, Gunnai and Gunditjmara woman Lidia Thorpe, Senator for Victoria and Australian Greens spokesperson for Justice.

"There has been another COVID-positive case at Bathurst jail, it is impossible to socially distance in a jail. Imprisoned people are in grave danger, the New South Wales Government must responsibly begin urgent decarceration and COVID-19 prevention strategies in partnership with our communities.”

“The New South Wales Government is failing our people. In parts of Western NSW only 8% of First Nations people are fully vaccinated despite our people being eligible for vaccines since early June.”
 
"Instead of protecting and providing community led responses to the pandemic, the New South Wales Government is sending in the army and the police into some of our most over-targeted and under-served communities in New South Wales.”

First Nations people, our communities and First Nations owned and run services must be resourced so that we can lead ourselves out of the mess the New South Wales Government has put us in.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we led the way in keeping our communities safe. Some governments sent us body bags before they sent PPE, assuming we would fail. When decisions are in our hands, our solutions work, and we take care of our communities.”

“Our communities, particularly First Nations health, legal assistance, and Elder support organisations must be properly resourced to look after our people, with our own solutions immediately. Our lives are in grave danger because the New South Wales Government didn’t do its job”. Said Thorpe

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