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Senator Crossin wrong on indigenous family violence.

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Senator Amanda Vanstone

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Reconciliation

Senator Crossin Wrong on Indigenous Family Violence

vIPS 004/04

Senator Crossin should know that the reason why Indigenous domestic violence was not discussed at COAG was because the Labor premiers staged a walk out on health. (ABC website 9/3/04)

In fact it was the Prime Minister that put the issue on the COAG agenda after a forum that he convened with Indigenous leaders.

If Labor is so serious about the issue of Indigenous family violence, why did the Labor States and Territories walk away from the table?

Senator Crossin is wrong when she goes on to say that nothing has been done since.

Since Labor's walk out, the Prime Minister has written to Premiers and Chief Ministers stressing the urgency of the issue and seeking their agreement to proceed with the report that arose from the forum of Indigenous leaders.

The Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has had a follow up meeting with his State and Territory counterparts to develop a partnership approach across jurisdictions.

Senator Crossin complains about the Government's $20 million family violence package saying that nothing has being done with it.

In fact the four year funding package is on track. $6.1 million has been allocated to 15 projects targeting drug and alcohol abuse, communities have been identified for community in crisis initiatives with $400 000 allocated already, and consultation with communities on the diversion initiatives are on track.

It is surprising that Senator Crossin has tried to take a cheap shot on such an important issue. Instead of wasting time Senator Crossin should be putting forward some constructive ideas on how to address this serious problem.

This Government takes Indigenous affairs very seriously. That's why this Government is spending one third more ($2.7bn) on Indigenous Affairs this year in real terms than was spent in the last year of the Keating Government.

9 March 2004