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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Issues

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Any consultation for a proposed cashless welfare card in Port Hedland must be with actual income support recipients

Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said income support recipients must be properly consulted in Port Hedland by local, state and federal Governments if the cashless welfare card is being considered.

“We’ve heard both the Mayor of Hedland and Member for the Pilbara suggest the cashless welfare card could be rolled out in Port Hedland, but neither of them will be on the card themselves”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

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Senate calls for funding of National Congress

The Senate has supported an Australian Greens motion calling on the Government to fund National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples for the next three years for $15 million, with a sinking fund of a further $100 million.

“In 2014, the Coalition broke away from a multi-party approach and cut funding for National Congress as part of the broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples funding cuts and the chaotic rollout of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy, it was a hard year for our First Peoples” Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

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Government has known for too long that the number of Aboriginal kids in out of home care is growing, it is time to act

The Government must urgently respond to the inaugural Family Matters report, which is projecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids in out of home care will almost triple by 2035.

“The growing number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out of home care is a crisis in the system. A near tripling of Aboriginal kids in out of home care by 2035 is a devastating projection, if this doesn’t jolt the Government into action, I’m not sure what will.

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WA offered Federal funding for CNS but says current arrangements are ‘sufficient’

Estimates has revealed that the Federal Government is offering states & territories funding to help roll out mandatory custody notification services, but the WA Government have said WA's current services are ‘sufficient’.

“Custody notification services in New South Wales have been immensely successful. There have been no Aboriginal deaths in custody since 2000, apart from when sadly the service was not used in July this year because of a loophole in the legislation, and Aboriginal woman Ms Rebecca Maher died.

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Government needs to address hearing loss for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids: Greens

Widespread hearing loss amongst Aboriginal kids in Northern Territory should be urgently resolved with increased funding that closes the gap in hearing health, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.  

“Unaddressed hearing loss in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is entrenching disadvantage and worsening life outcomes for those effected. This has been known for a long time yet Governments have failed to act, despite a Senate committee report in 2010 on the issue.

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Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert responds to the review of the Stronger Future Act in the Northern Territory

 “It is hugely concerning that a review of Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory claims the Act has been largely successful despite a lack of evidence and availability of data.

“To review an Act that we know largely takes away autonomy for vulnerable Aboriginal communities without proper consultation is not good enough. 

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Greens call for justice targets, repealing of mandatory sentencing laws following Senate inquiry into Aboriginal and Torres Strait peoples' experience of accessing law services.

The Australian Greens have made additional comments to a senate inquiry that investigated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experience of access to legal services.

“Despite evidence that justice targets were needed to reduce the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples, the majority committee report did not recommend their national implementation. Additional comments by the Greens call for justice targets to be implemented and included in Closing the Gap targets.

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Coalition and Labor reject Greens motion calling on WA Government to lift conditions on Marlon Noble’s release

The Coalition and the ALP have voted down a motion calling on the WA government to lift the conditions on Mr Marlon Noble’s release.

“Mr Noble lives with intellectual disability and despite not being found guilty of a crime, was imprisoned for a decade. This represents a massive flaw in our judicial system that must be resolved. Mr Noble still has conditions to his release.

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Government should listen to Aboriginal stakeholders who have repeatedly explained how to reduce suicide rates in remote communities: Greens

The report calling for a radical rethink in Aboriginal mental health policy should be immediately taken on board by the Government, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“Unfortunately, Aboriginal suicide rates in Australia – particularly in remote areas such as the Kimberley – are cripplingly high and getting worse.  

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Senate supports return of Gweagal shield

The Senate has supported a motion supporting the repatriation of important artefacts to rightful  owners – the Gweagal people – from the British Museum.

“Centuries ago, in 1770, two members of the Gweagal people stood on the shore of Botany Bay and attempted to warn off a boat containing James Cook as it approached shore. What followed was one of the men, Cooman, running for cover and losing his shield after a bullet to the leg.  

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