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Scrapping of indigenous department a serious concern.



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Australian Democrats Press Releases

Senator Andrew Bartlett Deputy Parliamentary Leader and Democrats Senator for Queensland Australian Democrats spokesperson for Indigenous Affairs

Dated: 15 September 2006 Press Release Number: fsikwedh Portfolio: Indigenous Affairs

SCRAPPING OF INDIGENOUS DEPARTMENT A SERIOUS CONCERN

Queensland Democrat Senator Andrew Bartlett today expressed deep concern at Premier Beatties announcement that the state's Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy is to be abolished and folded into the Communities portfolio. "The voices and issues of Indigenous people are already mostly invisible, and this situation could make matters worse," Senator Bartlett said.

"By folding Indigenous policy in with a range of other community services agendas there is a risk of losing a specialist focus amongst staff and a lack of recognition of Indigenous specific issues."

"As much as governments might like the sound of mainstreaming, it is a simple fact that there are issues of history, culture and disadvantage that are unique to Indigenous people and communities."

"It is imperative that the Government works alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to ensure that effective strategies and plans are implemented. We don't want a situation developing in Queensland where we readopt a paternalistic approach which should have been left behind last century."

"Whilst I am very concerned about Mr Beattie's decision to scrap the Indigenous specific Department, what is of greater importance than the bureaucratic structure is the need for Indigenous issues to receive far higher priority from all political parties in Queensland, and I hope the new Minister is able to play a role in making that happen."

"I wish the new Minister well with this enhanced responsibility and offer my support in working with him wherever possible on this most crucial of areas," Senator Bartlett said.