PIAC has joined the call for the establishment of a dedicated, independent, National Commissioner to advance the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children across the country, during the Family Matters National Week of Action.
‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people continue to be over-policed, over-incarcerated and over-represented in out-of-home care across Australia,’ said PIAC CEO, Jonathon Hunyor.
‘Current systems aren’t working for these young people. A strong voice to government at the national level, advocating for reform, could help change that.’
Under the model proposed by the Family Matters campaign, a new commissioner would be appointed to the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) specifically to advocate for the needs, rights and views of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.
The position would be independent from government, filled by an identified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person and be granted appropriate functions and powers to promote systemic change and accountability, including powers of inquiry and investigation.
States and territories are increasingly recognising the important role that a commissioner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people can play in contributing to change. Victoria (2013), South Australia (2018) and Queensland (2020) have all appointed commissioners in recent years.
The Family Matters National Week of Action aims to build public awareness and political commitment for Family Matters’ campaign to make sure all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children grow up strong in family, culture, and community. This years’ theme is ‘Our Mobs Matter’. Find out more and register for events on the National Week of Action website.