Aboriginal people in remote NT communities remain locked in poverty and disadvantage because the federal Labor government has done nothing for four years, the Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs Senator Nigel Scullion said today.
“The Stronger Futures legislation is the intervention under another name retaining many coalition initiatives such as alcohol and pornography restrictions, welfare quarantining, welfare linked to school attendance, and town ship leasing,” Senator Scullion said.
“They are retained because Labor have finally realised the Coalition measures implemented in the intervention legislation worked, or at least would have worked, if only Labor had have been fair dinkum from the start,” Senator Scullion said.
“It has taken Labor four years to stop listening to inner city academics, start talking to remote community residents, and make the tough measures necessary to effect change.
“Sadly, we now have new legislation that is starting off from where we were four years ago instead of where we should be today.
“Welfare quarantining may be necessary in some cases to force parents to act on their responsibilities and get their children to school however it remains a simple and unsophisticated approach that we should have long moved on from if Labor had only followed through on the Coalitions measures instead of dithering for years.
“Labor has been exposed through the introduction of this legislation as wasting four vital years that have seen another generation of disconnected Aboriginal children denied an education.
“Township leases are a further vital reform that helps encourage business investment and home ownership but little action has been taken on this. In fact it was only a month ago when Senate Estimates revealed that township leases were to be put on the back burner. Now they are a key initiative and vital reform?
“The legislation has only just been introduced in the House and has to go through the committee process. The Coalition will use this process to investigate just how this Legislation and the Labor government’s new found commitment will actually deliver the changes so vital in remote NT communities,” said Senator Scullion.
Media adviser Russel Guse – 0438 685645
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Labor’s Stronger Futures Legislation recognises four wasted years.pdf