Malcolm Turnbull’s royal commission into the Northern Territory’s youth detention system has been given a second chance with appointment of former Queensland justice, Margaret White, and Indigenous community leader Mick Gooda. Continue reading NT Royal Commission receives new leaders
The Cape York Alliance is currently combating the Cape York Land Council, and its Cape York Claim One which is currently before the Federal Court. The Alliance is acting on behalf of 162 traditional owners who wish to join the claim, but had previously been ignored. The move follows allegations the Cape York Land Council has failed to meet its obligations and responsibility to ensure all people impacted by the claim are consulted. The chair of the Cape York Allowance, Don de Busch, says it’s about establishing trust between all parties.
A pilot program in remote Aboriginal communities has made great progress to improve school attendance by involving community leaders and Indigenous rangers to teach students about customary knowledge, culture, and literacy and numeracy. Dr William Fogarty is head of an ANU review of the program, and he spoke about what this review of the project found.
Despite prisoners having some of the highest rates of mental illness and communicable diseases, Medicare exclusions mean that they are rarely able to access appropriate health services before they return to the community. Researchers have found prisoners are missing out on certain treatments and medications, as they are too expensive to provide without access to Medicare. I spoke to Professor Stuart Kinner, whose research on this topic was published this week.
The Public Health Association of Australia has welcomed the release of the Implementation Plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. The vice president of the PHAA, Professor Carmen Parter, says the plan provides governments, policy makers and service providers with an opportunity to make real change in the health disparities and outcomes experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Amnesty International Australia has previously raised concerns about the treatment of young people at the Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre in the Northern Territory, after initial details emerged of tear gassing late last year. Now, the Northern Territory’s Children’s Commissioner has tabled his report on the incident, as well as the circumstances leading up to, and after, the transfer of six young people to an adult prison in August 2014. Amnesty’s Indigenous Rights Adviser, Rodney Dillon, spoke to me about this, as well as Amnesty’s stance on the issue, and his personal take as an indigenous person.
A new report from the University of Melbourne and the PwC shows that a future 32,000 cases of Indigenous blindness can be prevented. The report looks at the cost of preventing and treating long and short-sightedness, old-age vision degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and the communicable disease, trachoma. I spoke to Professor Hugh Taylor, Chair of the University of Melbourne Eye Health, about the report, and the impact of vision disorders on the economy.
The Block in Redfern, Sydney was one of the first parts of urban Australia to be formally returned to Aboriginal people. The NSW Supreme Court has now ruled that the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy is trespassing on Aboriginal land, after it was established on The Block last year, after the Aboriginal Housing Company put forward a planning proposal for a $70 million dollar commercial development on the site. I spoke to Greens NSW spokesperson for Aboriginal Justice, David Shoebridge, who is calling on all levels of government to step up and ensure Aboriginal housing is funded on The Block.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott is facing criticism following his decision to reject plans for Indigenous led talks on constitutional recognition. Mr Abbott said he is in favour of building a national consensus rather than simply an Indigenous one, to avoid producing a ‘log of claims’. I spoke to Rachel Siewart, the Greens senator for Western Australia, and spokesperson for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues, about this.
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