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Labor welcomes State of Reconciliation report



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THE HON SHAYNE NEUMANN MP SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGEING MEMBER FOR BLAIR

THE HON WARREN SNOWDON MP SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR NORTHERN

AUSTRALIA

SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR EXTERNAL TERRITORIES FEDERAL MEMBER FOR LINGIARI

LABOR WELCOMES STATE OF RECONCILIATION REPORT

Australia cannot become a truly reconciled nation while the gap remains in social, health and economic outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, according to a report released today by Reconciliation Australia.

On the eve of the Prime Minister’s Closing the Gap address to Parliament, the State of Reconciliation Report 2016 found that inequality and racism continue to hamper progress towards reconciliation.

Labor welcomed the report and acknowledged the commitment, effort and good will of all Australians in building strong foundations for progress in our national journey towards reconciliation.

There is more work to be done.

The report found that 86 per cent of Australians believe the relationship with Australia’s First Peoples is important.

Despite this, the report found Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience frequent and damaging racism.

One in three Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experienced verbal racial abuse in the six months before the survey.

The debilitating impact of racism cannot be underestimated and should not be ignored.

Surprisingly, the report found that between 50 to 60 per cent of Australians agree that past wrongs and race-based policies have created today’s Indigenous disadvantage.

To continue our progress towards becoming a reconciled nation, we must acknowledge the true history of dispossession, discrimination and disempowerment of our Australia’s First Peoples.

That is why Labor is committed to the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution.

The report further found that significant and unacceptable gaps remain between Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander peoples and other Australians in health, education and economic outcomes.

Labor understands that while an 18 year old Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander man is more likely to go to prison than to go to university, we cannot be a reconciled nation.

That is why Labor has committed to the development of a justice target under the Closing the Gap Strategy, to reduce Indigenous incarceration rates and improve community safety.

Labor understands that education gives Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children the best opportunities in life.

That is why Labor has committed to extra school funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and invested in the Stars Foundation to help Indigenous girls stay in school.

Labor remains steadfast in its commitment and contribution to the national task of reconciliation and Closing the Gap in Indigenous disadvantage.

TUESDAY, 9 FEBRUARY 2016

MEDIA CONTACTS: ELIZA ATKINS (NEUMANN) 0481 249 828 CHANSEY PAECH (SNOWDON) 0431 810 758

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