As Aboriginal and social justice campaigners gather in Sydney's CBD today, very positive news has been delivered that the Aboriginal Custody Notification Service will be funded until June 2019. The funding grant was due to expire at the end of this year but the Federal Government has committed to completely fund the service.
The Custody Notification Service was a recommendation from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and since its implementation there has not been a single Aboriginal death in a police cell or paddy wagon in NSW.
This is an important win for the Indigenous Social Justice Association, Aboriginal Legal Service and other social justice campaigners who have been demanding that this important service is retained.Read more
The Greens NSW welcome today’s announcement of $5 million in commonwealth funding to ensure Aboriginal housing at the Block in Redfern’s iconic Aboriginal heart. The funding has come after a 15 month community occupation of The Block by the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy (RATE) lead by the indefatigable Wiradjuri Elder, Jenny Munro and in the shadow of court proceedings to evict RATE from the Block.Read more
24 August 2015
Local Member for Newtown, Jenny Leong MP, and Greens NSW spokesperson for Aboriginal Justice, David Shoebridge, are calling on all levels of government to step up and ensure Aboriginal housing is funded on The Block.
This follows the decision of the NSW Supreme Court which ruled against the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy, finding the Embassy was “trespassing” on Aboriginal land at The Block.
Greens NSW MP and Spokesperson for Aboriginal Justice David Shoebridge said:
“Jenny Munro, a proud Aboriginal Waradjuri elder and the Tent Embassy have been engaging in good faith negotiations with the Federal Minister and the Aboriginal Housing Corporation (AHC), and believed they had reached a final agreement last week on Aboriginal housing in The Block.
“Ms Munro made it clear to the Court that she does not accept that the Aboriginal people ever ceded sovereignty of this land to the English crown. In response the Court held:
The Defendant’s aboriginality, and her contention that the Aboriginal people have never ceded sovereignty to the English Crown does not help her.
“The fact that the law can so readily dismiss our first people’s prior occupation and custodianship of this land is proof positive of a fundamental flaw in our legal system.
“When it comes to symbolic Aboriginal land like The Block, Aboriginality and more than 40,000 years of Aboriginal custody and possession, should never be dismissed so lightly by our Courts.
“This is far from the end of the struggle for Aboriginal housing on The Block, which is supported by a cross section of the Redfern community,” Mr Shoebridge said.
Greens MP for Newtown Jenny Leong said:
“This community – and the significance of maintaining Aboriginal housing and community on Gadigal country in Redfern is too important to be ignored.”
“Our neighbourhood is awash with plans to develop and invest in infrastructure projects – with billions for Urban Growth’s development of the Central to Eveleigh site and constant construction by the University of Sydney. And yet there is no money for Aboriginal housing.
“Successive governments have been a part of creating this mess – it’s time for them to step up and help resolve it.
“While it may seem that there is currently an unresolvable conflict – in reality all parties agree that we need to see the funding secured to build Aboriginal housing,” Ms Leong said.
The Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy were established on ‘The Block’ on National Sorry Day last year, May 26, after the Aboriginal Housing Company put forward a planning proposal for a $70 million commercial development on the site.
The Block in Redfern was one of the first parts of urban Australia to be formally returned to Aboriginal people.
Today we acknowledged the fantastic National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee [NAIDOC] celebrations that were held in the Newtown electorate.
The Greens stand in solidarity and support of Adam Goodes. We add our voice to more than 150 organisations and major newspaper outlets in a growing community response to say that the appalling treatment of Adam Goodes is not ok.
The Greens recognise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are the traditional custodians of Australia, and we believe that their history, culture and traditions must be protected and preserved.
The state electorate of Newtown is home to one of NSW’s most recognisable Aboriginal communities in Redfern. The Block is an Aboriginal cultural landmark, and Redfern has become an important symbol of Aboriginal resilience.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples all across NSW should enjoy the same standard of living as all other Australians, however they still face significant issues. These include over-representation in the criminal justice system, land dispossession, lack of access to affordable housing and great disparity in health. Government at all levels should be working to address the blatant inequalities between Australia’s first peoples and the rest of the population.
The Coalition continues to attack Aboriginal land rights in NSW by introducing new laws that will prevent reasonable claims on vacant coastal Crown land. At a Federal level they have removed funding for essential services, which has devastated many Aboriginal families and communities, and put many vulnerable people under even greater pressure. Aboriginal legal services have also been severely cut, reducing capacity for advice, representation, community legal education and law reform.
The Greens are committed to:
- Raising the quantity and quality of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing in in consultation with members of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
- Giving Aboriginal peoples the right to own and control Aboriginal culture and heritage.
- Ending the destruction of Aboriginal sites of heritage significance.
- Identifying and addressing the barriers to healthcare that affect Aboriginal people.
- Ensuring adequate funding to eliminate the mortality gap between Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the wider Australian community as a matter of urgency.
- Recognising the unique educational requirements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and providing adequate resources to meet their needs.
- Addressing the over-representation of Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system in New South Wales as a matter of priority.
Stay up to date with issues in this area at the website of the NSW Greens Spokesperson for Aboriginal Affairs Dawn Walker.