Wednesday 28 March 2012

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda has welcomed the long-term funding commitment announced today for Northern Territory communities but has urged the government to change the Stronger Futures legislation.

“Long-term funding has got to be a part of the mix and this money announced today is very welcome,” Commissioner Gooda said.

“Sustainability of homelands and outstations as well as community safety are issues that have been raised by Northern Territory communities and it’s encouraging to see the federal and Northern Territory governments responding to these concerns.

“As well as long-term funding commitments such as these, one of the most crucial things in improving life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the NT is to listen to them, work with them and to include them in developing solutions to the challenges they face.”

Mr Gooda said this significant funding could be more effective in the long-term if it is backed up by improvements to the legislation suggested by many organisations.

“Communities have said that they want to work with government to develop solutions to the many challenges they face. They’ve clearly said that one approach imposed by government will not succeed. They’ve also said they want protection from discrimination,” he said.

“I urge the government to reconsider the Stronger Futures legislation in light of the many positive suggestions that have been made to improve it, before it comes before the Senate again.”

Media contact: Louise McDermott (02) 9284 9851 or 0419 258 597

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