National Commissioner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children & young people

National Commissioner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children & young people

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SNAICC started this petition to Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Dear Prime Minister

We write to ask you to establish an independent National Commissioner dedicated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people (National Commissioner).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people experience disproportionately high levels of discrimination and subsequent disadvantage. Unacceptably high levels of developmental vulnerability and escalating over-representation in child protection and youth justice systems around Australia demonstrate the urgent need for change in the systems and services that support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people and their families.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people often fall through the cracks of our federal system. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people are impacted by a lack of coordination and ‘buck passing’ between the federal and state and territory governments, as well as between government departments and agencies. A National Commissioner would play a vital role in providing a dedicated voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people, supporting strategies for more effective collaboration and coordination both between and within governments.

There is increasing recognition by state and territory governments of the importance and value of a National Commissioner dedicated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people. Victoria and South Australia both have dedicated Commissioners for Aboriginal children and young people; there is an Aboriginal Children's Commissioner within the Queensland Child and Family Commission and an Aboriginal Assistant Commissioner in the Northern Territory. Last year, the first Deputy Children's Guardian for Aboriginal Children and Young People was appointed in NSW.

The establishment of a National Commissioner will build on this momentum and contribute to more effective, consistent, efficient and accountable systems and services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.  A National Commissioner’s office would be a key mechanism to support and strengthen Closing the Gap initiatives to keep the child protection system accountable to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and communities and would bring coherence to nationwide efforts to achieve the Closing the Gap child protection target. 

We believe that the establishment of a National Commissioner role is one of the key recommendations of the national Family Matters campaign that will not only evidence your  government’s commitment to this important agenda, but that will also bring real benefits in reducing the numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who are removed from their families. 

Prime Minister, we seek your support in this vital initiative to improve the safety and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.

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At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!