Special Gathering Statement re: Closing the Gap Refresh – A joint initiative of COAG

COAG_2018ATSILS CEO Shane Duffy was invited to Canberra recently to attend A Special Gathering of prominent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders asked to provide advice to Government on a refreshed ‘Closing The Gap’ agenda. The gathering coincided with the first Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting of 2018.

Shane was one of 64 State and Commonwealth delegates selected to come together to provide advice on future policy priorities, and how all governments can be held to account for driving change. A delegation from the Special Gathering then attended the COAG meeting to provide advice of the gathering directly to First Ministers.

The Special Gathering agreed the next phase of the Closing the Gap agenda must be guided by the principles of empowerment and self-determination as articulated in the 2008 Close the Gap Statement of Intent. The group demanded from government a community led, strength based strategy that enables us to move beyond surviving to thriving.

Priorities
The Gathering agreed that existing targets should be retained and critically reviewed, and that the following areas are of highest importance for setting additional future targets as part of this refresh:

– Families, children and youth
– Housing
– Justice, including youth justice
– Health
– Economic development
– Culture and language
– Education
– Healing
– Eliminating racism and systemic discrimination

We call on governments to negotiate specific targets in these areas with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and our representative bodies.

Here is a link to the full statement from the group:

https://closingthegaprefresh.pmc.gov.au/news/special-gathering-statement 

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2018 – QUT Indigenous Pre Law and Justice Program Students visit ATSILS

QUT 2018 Indigenous Pre Law and Justice Program visit to ATSILS2018 Indigenous Pre Law and Justice Program visit to ATSILS

Last week students from QUT’s 2018 Indigenous Pre Law and Justice Program attended ATSILS Brisbane office to get first hand insight into the work we do advancing and protecting the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The students received a range of presentations covering on our innovative brand of legal service delivery, the critical role of our Court Support Officers in supporting the client/lawyer relationship and removing barriers affecting access to justice and also an overview of the work we do educating communities on their legal rights. The students were hosted by our Director of Communications and Sector Engagement – Graham, Early Intervention, Prevention and Community Legal Education Officer – Kate and Court Support Officer – Lesley. The students also had the opportunity to meet some of our legal practitioners and get insight into what it’s like working for a human rights based organisation like ATSILS.

Bianca Hill-Jarro – Indigenous Project Officer at QUT said “The visit to ATSILS has been welcomed addition to the program and offers something unique for the students. The students always really enjoy the visit and many are often interested in the career pathways offered by ATSILS.”

ATSILS is committed to inspiring the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lawyers and justice professionals and it was great to host these deadly young students looking to pursue careers in the justice sector.

Call for justice targets on 10th anniversary of Apology to Australia’s Stolen Generations

ATSILS supports the strong call by the Law Council of Australia to put Justice Targets back on the national agenda. Justice targets are vital to Closing the Gap & addressing the unacceptable incarceration rates of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples which is a national crisis.

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View full media release here:
https://www.lawcouncil.asn.au/media/media-releases/call-for-justice-targets-on-10th-anniversary-of-apology-to-australias-indigenous-peoples

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10th Anniversary of ‘The Apology’ to the Stolen Generations

Apology10On the 10th Anniversary of ‘The Apology’ and every day we stand with the Stolen Generations and are committed to advancing and protecting their legal and human rights.

In the work we do, we see the ongoing impacts of such policies and we are particularly mindful of the challenges faced by many of our people dealing with the effects of inter-generational trauma.

We will continue to push hard for reform in laws, policies and practices that discriminate and adversely impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and we call for more ACTION from all levels of government to assist the healing process in our communities.

Commemorating The Apology to Stolen Generations is an important part of history and is vital to the healing process, but the words and rhetoric must be backed up with more action.

It is a shameful indictment on policy makers that 10 years after the apology to the Stolen Generations, we’ve seen the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children removed from their families double. Community controlled and led solutions must be designed and implemented to address this devastating trajectory tearing apart communities.

Join:
Family Matters – Strong communities, strong culture, stronger children.
http://bit.ly/2CglhNd

Learn More:
Recommendations: Bringing them home: The ‘Stolen Children’ report (1997) – http://bit.ly/1XUM8Wv

Learn more about the Stolen Generations and the Healing journey at Healing Foundation

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Reconciliation Australia