The recent establishment of the Queensland First Children and Families Board reaffirms the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to closing the gap in life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The Queensland First Children and Families Board have met for the second time to discuss ways to eliminate the disproportionate representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the child safety and youth justice systems.
Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Jackie Trad said the new board would guide the implementation of the Our Way Strategy and Changing Tracks Action Plan.
“This is an essential step towards reframing relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders to support positive life outcomes, including for young Queenslanders,” Ms Trad said.
“We are changing the way we work together to ensure cultural perspectives, community insight and lived experiences help shape bright, healthy and powerful futures for our young people.
“The board members bring invaluable cultural understanding along with expert knowledge across fields including child and family support, justice, health and education.
“Each member of the board will support the Government to make real and meaningful change for generations of children, young people and families in Queensland.”
Minister for Child Safety Di Farmer said the Board was largely made up of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members from right across Queensland, bringing with them a wide range of lived experience, work histories and skills.
“We are committed to making sure all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children grow up safe and cared for in family, community and culture,” she said.
“The majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people grow up safe within their families and communities. We want this to be the experience for every child and we are committed to ending over-representation in the child protection system,” said Ms Farmer.
“That is why the Queensland Government led the way and in a national first partnered with Family Matters to co-design and launch the ambitious 20-year Our Way Strategy.
“Realising the vision of Our Way requires close and genuine partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.
“The Queensland First Children and Families Board, with majority Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander membership from across Queensland, will play an active leadership role in driving the implementation of Our Way.”
At the second meeting held in Brisbane on the 5-6 March 2019, the Board acknowledged the great work already underway across Queensland. The key focus for the meeting was the key priorities for the second Changing Tracks action plan.
The 11 members of the new Board, which is co- chaired by Professor Boni Robertson and Mr Mick Gooda, were appointed last year by the Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Jackie Trad and the Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Di Farmer.
Co-chair of the Board Mick Gooda said the members were humbled to be undertaking the work.
“We understand the magnitude of the challenge, but we are optimistic that by Government working with our children, families and communities, great progress and transformational change can be achieved,” he said.
The Board was announced after the Queensland Government supported the draft Closing the Gap targets for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and children considered by the Council of Australian Governments last year.
The targets aim to close the gap in life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including through a commitment to significant and sustained progress to eliminate the disproportionate representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care and to reduce the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in detention.