Today, on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day, the ACT Government has announced that it will establish an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Children’s Commissioner for the ACT following the model co-designed with community.
In 2017, the ACT Government announced the Our Booris, Our Way review into the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the child protection system in the ACT, a systemic analysis into the child protection system.
Minister for Human Rights Tara Cheyne said the Our Booris, Our Way Review provided a clear understanding of how to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.
“One of the recommendations presented was the establishment of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Commissioner to provide monitoring, advice and advocacy on the rights and interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children,” Minister Cheyne said.
“The new Commissioner role has been co-designed with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in the ACT, in a process facilitated by the Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research, to ensure the role meets community needs.
“The co-design process resulted in a proposed model for the establishment of the Commissioner which I have presented to the chamber today, along with the Government’s response to the co-design report,” she said.
“I am pleased to confirm that the Government Response agrees to all aspects of the proposed legislative model for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Commissioner developed by co-design participants.”
The foundations for the role of Commissioner role are informed by key human rights standards, including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The Government is now developing legislation to establish the Commissioner, which is expected to be introduced into the Legislative Assembly later this year.
“This is an important step forward in the ACT Government acting to promote the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in our community”, Minister Cheyne concluded.