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Justice for Indigenous people needed ahead of apology anniversary

Published: 9 February 2015

In the lead-up to the seventh anniversary of the apology to the stolen generations on 13 February , the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) has called for a greater focus on justice for Indigenous people.

“While the apology was an important step towards reconciliation, little has been done since then by the government to address the major issues faced by Indigenous people,” says AASW National President Karen Healy.

“The rising number of Indigenous children still in out of home care is just one worrying example.”

The latest report on government services published by the Productivity Commission found that in the year to June 30, 2013, five times more Indigenous children than non-Indigenous children were being placed in care, with roughly 14,000 Indigenous children currently living in out-of-home care in Australia.

“The government needs to address this by substantially increasing funding for Indigenous family support and related programs towards increasing housing, education and employment access,” says Professor Healy.

An important issue is the historical and ongoing discrimination against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“One crucial step in ending this discrimination will be formal recognition of Indigenous people within the Australian Constitution,” says Professor Healy.

“The AASW salutes the work of the ‘Recognise’ movement in particular, who have signed up nearly 250,000 people to support the cause.

“As Member of the House of Representatives Ken Wyatt said last year, recognition in the Constitution is important to ‘Complete the social fabric of this nation in which we are all equals."

The Australian Association of Social Workers represents approximately 8,000 social workers.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers