A Shorten Labor Government will work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in a renewed push to bring justice, fair treatment and a strong local and regional voice to First Nations people, especially in the Top End.
The Labor member for Lingiari Warren Snowdon, Shadow Assistant Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Senator Patrick Dodson and NT Senator Malarndirri McCarthy met with the Central Land Council at Yulara Pulka last week.
They congratulated the new Chair and Deputy of the CLC, Sammy Wilson and Barbara Shaw, and pledged a Shorten Labor Government will work closely and cooperatively with the four Northern Territory Land Councils.
Senator Dodson said, “It was a Labor Government that introduced legislation for land rights in the NT, and a Shorten Labor Government will continue to work closely with the Land Councils should we be elected in May.
“Here in the Uluru Kata Tjuta National park, we have committed to delivering on the Uluru Statement from the Heart in a consultative manner that respects the roles of the Land Councils in shaping the future for generations of traditional owners in the NT. Under Labor, there will be a Voice to the Parliament, and it will be recognised in the Constitution.
A re-elected Morrison Government will not deliver on this commitment.”
Mr Snowdon said, “A Shorten Labor Government has committed to abolishing the harmful poverty trap of the current CDP program and replacing it with a new program geared to the rights, interests and concerns of Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory.”
“Only a Labor Government recognises and supports the rights of traditional owners in Northern and Central Australia to be true partners in the development of Northern Australia, in keeping with their rights and status as land owners in the Northern Territory,” Senator McCarthy said.
After six years in which the Liberals have sidelined the voices of Aboriginal people, slashed funding for community-controlled services and failed to deliver on the Closing the Gap Framework, Labor has put forward a series of positive policies to make a difference. These include:
- Abolishing the discriminatory and punitive CDP and working with First Nations peoples to replace it with a new program that has an absolute focus on community development.
- Record investments in education
- Doubling the number of fulltime Indigenous Ranger positions, investing $210 million over five years to bring the number of Indigenous Rangers to 1550 full-time equivalent jobs.
- Establishing a Makarrata Commission for agreement-making and truth-telling.
- Delivering justice and compensation for the remaining survivors of the Stolen Generations, by establishing a compensation scheme for members of the Stolen Generations in Commonwealth jurisdictions.
- Convening a National Summit on First Nations Children in the first 100 days of government, bringing experts and governments together to determine solutions to the unacceptably high rate of Indigenous children being removed from the care of their families.
Over the course of the campaign, Labor will announce our full suite of policies that delivers on our commitment to ensure that First Nations peoples are equal and active partners in determining the priorities and decisions which affect their lives.
Most importantly – unlike the Liberals – Labor is committed to working in a meaningful and respectful partnership with First Nations to build the Territory and to build the future.