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Chilling findings on indigenous children demand action.

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Senator Chris Evans Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services

18 January 2006

Chilling Findings on Indigenous Children Demand Action

All Australians should be alarmed by the chilling findings of a national survey on child protection released by the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare.

The report paints a grim picture for all children in protection, but particularly for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

The new findings show that Indigenous children are vastly over-represented in the child protection system, with the rate of out-of-home care over six times higher than for non-Indigenous children.

The report attributes an increase in the number of Indigenous children in protection to higher reporting rates, but also to continuing poverty and the legacy of the stolen generations.

Labor's Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator Chris Evans said: 'While Labor acknowledges the sensitivity of these issues, this should never be used to as a reason to justify inaction.

'The abuse and neglect of any child is completely unacceptable.

'Unfortunately, it seems clear that particular problems exist in Indigenous communities, and Labor is committed to working to identify ways forward to improve this situation.

'This is not an Indigenous culture problem, it is a social problem that we need to try and overcome.'

'The report shows that there is a urgent need for coordinated national action involving Indigenous leadership to address these problems in the future.'

Media contact: Mathew Stephenson: 0408 577 617