13 February 2024
One of Australia’s largest providers of out-of-home care services, Life Without Barriers, applauds the Federal Government on the appointment of a dedicated National Commissioner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children.
Claire Robbs, Chief Executive of Life Without Barriers, said it is commendable the Federal Government is heeding the decades of lobbying by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership for the role that is certain to create better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.
“Today’s historic announcement is a substantial step towards creating the change that is needed to ensure we turn the tide on history and change the future for generations to come” Mrs Robbs said.
“The appointment of a dedicated National Commissioner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children comes after decades of relentless advocacy by SNAICC – National Voice for our Children, The Family Matters National Steering Committee and organisations like ours to see an independent commissioner appointment tasked with ensuring the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people,” Ms Robbs said.
“Whilst the Apology recognised the Stolen Generations and our nation's intention to never repeat history, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peaks, leaders and communities have publicly stated that we are on the tipping point of a second stolen generation due to the alarming rate of First Nations children being removed from their family.
“We believe the Appointment made today is a major way forward for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to lead the fundamental change needed to realise improved futures for First Nations young people. It is long overdue for First Nations people to be at the table and driving the solutions they know are needed in communities.”
Today 22,328 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are now 11.5 times more likely to be placed in care than non-Indigenous children and are vastly over-represented in the criminal justice system. Current trends indicate that the National Agreement on Closing the Gap’s Target 12 (to reduce the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care by 45% by 2031) will not be met. The Federal Government has around 6 months to respond to the Productivity Commission’s report and its recommendations. Life Without Barriers will continue to advocate for advancements in the Productivity Commission recommendations which are centred around First Nations Leadership.
Life Without Barriers provides out-of-home care services for over 1,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and has embarked on a national partnership with peak body SNAICC – National Voice for our Children (SNAICC) to progressively step away from providing care to Aboriginal children. The partnership will enable Aboriginal children to be supported by Aboriginal community-controlled organisations. This commitment is directly aimed at supporting Close the Gap targets.