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> Aboriginal Communities
Ben
post Jun 22 2007, 11:23 AM
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Premier of Western Australia, Alan Carpenter has welcomed the Prime Minister’s commitment to tackle child abuse in Northern Territory Aboriginal communities.

Mr Carpenter said he supported the thrust of measures being proposed. However, he questioned why it had taken the Prime Minister so long to act when the Western Australian Government alerted him to the seriousness of the issue five years ago.

“It is highly hypocritical of John Howard to call on WA to follow his lead when this State Government has been actively addressing the issue of child abuse in Aboriginal communities since 2002 - largely without Commonwealth support,” he said.

“The WA Government established the watershed Gordon Inquiry into domestic violence and child abuse in Aboriginal communities in January 2002.

“Later that year, we allocated $75million towards implementing the recommendations of the inquiry and sought support from the Howard Government.

“The then Premier, Geoff Gallop, sent a copy of the Gordon Report to Mr Howard telling State Parliament that ‘ … the human tragedy it reveals demands a national response as well’.

“However at the time the Federal Government provided nothing but platitudes.

“Therefore the timing of Mr Howard’s announcement, just weeks away from a Federal election, has to be treated with a degree of cynicism.”

The Western Australian State Government has now invested more than $110million towards Gordon Inquiry initiatives. (Of the 125 initiatives identified in the report, 71 have been completed, 17 have been superseded by other initiatives or actions and 35 are still progress.)

The initiatives include:

the employment of an extra 28 child protection workers;
multi-functional police facilities at Warburton, Balgo, Kalumburu, Warakurna, Bidyadanga and Dampier Peninsula;
a multi-jurisdictional police facility at Kintore on the WA/NT border;
the employment of 15 Aboriginal support workers to provide counselling and assistance to vulnerable Aboriginal children;
the employment of eight specialist domestic violence police officers deployed throughout WA;
victim support services for adults and children extended to outlying communities;
the establishment of the Child Death Review Committee; and
co-ordinated agency approach to the reporting of sexually transmitted disease in children


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Ben, Skype "Perth-", Western Australia
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