A cohort of state and territory children’s commissioners are calling on the federal government to establish a national position to oversee Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.
The calls were made during the conference for the national peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children (SNAICC) last week.
Speaking to NIRS News, April Lawrie, a Mirning/Kokatha woman and South Australia’s Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People, says the group’s been talking to the Commonwealth to establish a national position.
“We’ve been able to work together in a really garnered way in to being able to influence the National Safe and Supported Action Plan to develop the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Action Plan for our Aboriginal children and young people, to place within the series of actions to call for a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people commissioner.
I think they have been really important milestones and just recently there was a meeting bringing everyone together with the state and territories and the commonwealth with the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership group to progress discussions and planning around this national position.”
Ms Lawrie says a national role would be able to work with state and territory commissioners in order to target discrimination and disadvantage facing First Nations young people.
“Say for example if we got an issue in a particular sector affecting our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, it could be in relation to family court, which is a federal matter, so that role would have the ability to have powers along with functions, to be able to conduct reviews, inquires, to investigate matters to bring better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children.”