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Media Releases

 

Australian Productivity Commission’s Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Key Indicators 2016 Report is a call for action

The Australian Productivity Commission’s Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Key Indicators 2016 Report adds crucial data to the building momentum for change in Australia’s dealings with its First Nations.

Cheryl Axleby, Co-Chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) said that it was deeply concerning that in the quarter of a century since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, justice outcomes for Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander continued to worsen.

 

 

NATSILS welcomes the announcement of a Commonwealth Redress Scheme for Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) welcomes the announcement by the Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC and Community Services Minister, the Hon Christian Porter to establish a Commonwealth Redress Scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse, led by the Australian government with an opt-in for state and territory governments and non-government institutions. 

 

 

NATSILS welcomes the announcement that the Turnbull Government will ask the ALRC to examine factors leading to over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the prison systems but calls for more immediate steps

As the peak body for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services, NATSILS welcomes the announcement as Federal leadership is vitally important to drive a national, holistic and whole-of-government strategy to address imprisonment, violence, and the rates of children removed from their families.

 

Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee (Senate Committee) handed down its long anticipated Report into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experience of law enforcement and justice services, and found that the current breadth and depth of unmet legal needs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is completely unsatisfactory.

A number of leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Organisations met with Minister Scullion to forge a pathway for engagement and to demand that our solutions be co-designed

National Congress in collaboration with leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative organisations as signatories to the Redfern Statement 2016 met with the Indigenous Affairs Minister calling for the Government to urgently continue engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Organisations and peoples to ensure the First Peoples of this country have a say about their future and future success of Australia.

National Aboriginal justice leaders meet in Alice Springs where this week two youth have been remanded in circumstances which amount to a breach of the Youth Justice Act

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander justice leaders from across the country meet today on Arrernte country after receiving reports that this week children in Central Australia have been remanded in circumstances that would amount to breaches of the Youth Justice Act. 

Immediate action necessary to protect children in NT detention

As the Northern Territory’s Royal Commission holds its first public hearing, leading Indigenous and human rights organisations are calling on the Federal and Northern Territory Governments to immediately protect the human rights of young people currently in detention.

The Human Rights Law Centre, Amnesty International and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services are urging both governments to be proactive and ensure children in detention are not exposed to mistreatment while awaiting the Royal Commission’s recommendations.

 

calls for independent oversight following new reports of abuse in Queensland youth detention centres

Amnesty International as well as the ABC's 7.30 Report and Lateline programs have uncovered significant reports of abuse in two youth correctional institutions in Queensland, following a Freedom of Information request where they obtained access to thousands of pages of documents.

NATSILS has called for independent oversight as well as a commitment to the implementation of the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

Ms Maher's tragic death while in a police station cell in NSW requires urgent investigation

On behalf of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) Co-chairs, Mr Wayne Muir and Ms Cheryl Axleby would like to express their sincere condolences to Ms Maher's family, friends and community. Her death requires urgent investigation.

NATSILS joins over 100 organisations calling on Malcolm Turnbull to broaden the Royal Commission

Today the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) joined with over 100 organisations, including other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak representative bodies, in an open statement calling for the Government to broaden the recently announced Royal Commission into the abuse of children in detention in the Northern Territory.

NATSILS welcomes the announcement of a royal commission into the shocking treatment of youth in detention in the Northern Territory

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services expresses shock at the horrifying images of mistreatment aired on the ABC Four Corners program at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre last night. NATSILS welcomes the swift action to call a Royal Commission into the treatment of children in detention. 

NATSILS welcomes funding focus for family violence prevention

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) welcomes the renewed focus on family violence policy with the Coalition’s announcement of $25 million to address violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities yesterday.

NATSILS welcomes renewed focus and attention on fine default reform but notes concern of any proposals to garnish social security payments

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal Services (NATSILS) supports the notion of ending imprisonment for unpaid fines; however, all parties must demonstrate how any reforms will accommodate vulnerable and disadvantaged persons.  

The Redfern Statement 2016: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak organisations unite

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) has united with other community leaders in Redfern this morning to call on political leaders to tackle inequality and disadvantage facing Australia’s First People as a federal election priority.

Sorry Day 2016

It’s Sorry Day and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) acknowledges the pain and continued suffering of those Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children forcibly removed from their families and from country since Invasion. 

NATSILS welcomes Greens commitment to increase investment in front line services by $2.2 billion over 4 years

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal Services (NATSILS) welcomes the Greens’ election commitment to boosting funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS).

Proposed youth bail reform in the NT will condemn our children to a life of institutionalisation 

These proposed bail laws, coupled with the other inequities and challenges already within the system, will condemn our children to a life of institutionalisation and cause further harm to our kids at a time when the rate of suicide and self-harm amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children has reached crisis levels, says the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS). 

Family violence funding: How do we pick one victim over another? 

NATSILS’ Chairperson, Mr Wayne Muir said ‘Funding $10million per year for the Legal Assistance Sector is a start and it is good to see that the Federal Government is taking these steps, but more is needed if Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims are to be protected.’ 

The loss of a unified voice for Australia’s First Peoples will deliver a devastating silence

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (NATSILS) is disappointed that the Federal Government will not demonstrate their commitment to the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples (National Congress) to unify Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations across the country.

Budget 2016-17 denies many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people access to justice

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (NATSILS) is deeply concerned that the Federal Government is decreasing the funding to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) in the 2016-17 Budget.

NATSILS expectations from Budget 2016

In the lead up to the 2016 Federal Budget, NATSILS look forward to the Government showing leadership by providing funding certainty to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS).

Senate Inquiry into the indefinite detention of people with a cognitive or psychiatric impairment in Australia

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) have today given evidence to the Senate Inquiry into the indefinite detention of people with cognitive and psychiatric impairment in Australia.

25 years since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody

This morning NATSILS Deputy Chairperson Cheryl Axleby gathered in Canberra with the Change the Record Coalition members to discuss the lack of progress on this important issue.

NATSILS welcomes Labor commitment to closing the justice gap

Today National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) has welcomed Labor's commitment to addressing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples imprisonment rates and experiences of violence. 

NATSILS says UPR provides an important opportunity to address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment rates

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) hopes that the UPR will place a spotlight on the issue of the over representation of  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the criminal justice system. 

ATSILS meet to discuss critical issues facing Aboriginal and Torrres Strait Islander communitis

Today leaders from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) around Australia met to discuss crucial issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

NT Youth Detention Must be Urgently Addressed

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) the peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) has today called for urgent steps to be taken to address the issues raised in the NT Children’s Commissioner’s alarming report into incidents at the Don Dale Youth Detention in August 2014.

Video of NATSILS at UN Speaking on Indigenous Imprisonment

NATSILS Chair Shane Duffy speaking about a side event hosted by NATSILS at the UN. Shane Duffy and Eddie Cubillo will be speaking about Change the Record, a campaign which aims to provide solutions to the problem of Indigenous imprisonment rates. 

NATSILS funding secured

Today National and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) welcomed the restoration of its funding after one and a half years of uncertainty about its future. 

NATSILS welcomes the reversal of funding cuts

Today, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) welcomed the announcment by the Attorney-General's Department that the announced funding cuts to the legal assistance sector have been reversed.

Open letter: Cuts to legal services will have disastrous impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

The undersigned organisations are writing to request that you urgently reverse the proposed funding cuts to legal assistance services under the Attorney-General's Portfolio, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS), its peak body National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS), Community Legal Centres (CLCs) and Legal Aid Commission (LAC).

NATSILS calls for Federal Government Commitment to Justice Targets on Close the Gap Day - 19 March 2015

Today, on Close the Gap day. the peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, NATSILS called upon the federal government to put justice targets into the Closing the Gap Strategy as a matter of priority.

Frontline legal service delivery cuts planned as funding cuts loom -13 March 2015

Today, the peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services NATSILS, called upon the federal government to reverse their decision of funding cuts to member organisations across the country." 

NATSILS Welcomes Labor Party Commitment to Addressing Family Violence - 4 March 2015

Today National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) welcomed the Labor Party’s commitment to addressing the crisis levels of family violence through additional funding and a National Crisis Summit.

'Smarter, safer approach to justice critical in Closing the Gap' - 13 February 2015

A group of leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, community and human rights organisations meeting in Sydney today have called for national leadership to address the crisis levels of incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and create safer communities. 

Significant impact of funding cuts to legal assistance services emphasised on anniversary of National Apology - 15 February 2015

On the anniversary of the National Apology to Australia's Indigenous Peoples, the peak bodies for Community Legal Centres (CLCs), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) and Family Violence Prevention Legal Centres (FVPLS) call on the Australian Government to end uncertainty about funding and provide direct and adequate levels of Commonwealth funding to legal assistance services. 

Funding cuts 'a blow to the heart of the justice system': NT Chief Justice - 9 February 2015

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) has called on the Prime Minister to intervene to prevent funding cuts that the Northern Territory Chief Justice has said will “strike a blow to the heart of the justice system”.

Productivity Commission calls for $200m funding injection for legal assistance services as cuts loom - 3 December 2014

Today the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) welcome the release of the Productivity Commission’s Access to Justice Arrangements Report which argues against the funding cuts announced by the Commonwealth Government, which are said to be targeted at defunding law reform and advocacy activities, and calls for an annual injection of $200m to the legal assistance sector.  

Leading Aboriginal & rights organisations say Social Justice Commissioner's recommendations must be actioned - 27 November 2014

A coalition of national Aboriginal, human rights and campaign organisations from across Australia have today welcomed the release of the 2014 Social Justice Report, and called on governments around the country to implement the recommendations. The broad based coalition is working together to develop new approaches to tackle the unacceptable rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment and create safer communities in a more coordinated way.  

Government back flips on justice commitment as incarceration rates soar - 21 November 2014

Just as this week’s Productivity Commission Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage report revealed a shocking increase of almost 60 percent in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander incarceration rates over the last decade, NATSILS are disappointed to hear that the Government has back flipped on its commitment to introduce justice targets as part of the Closing the Gap policy agenda, a move which NATSILS along with many other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and organisations have long called for.

Latest evidence shows continued deterioration in justice outcomes - 19 November 2014

Today, as the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Findings 2014 Report is released, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) call for a new and more effective approach that addresses the underlying causes of crime as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander incarceration rates continue to rise.

NATSILS supports reinstatement of direct funding to Family Violence Prevention Legal Services - 22 August 2014

Today the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) strongly support calls by the National Family Violence and Prevention Legal Services Forum (National FVPLS Forum) to have direct funding reinstated.

Good intentions aren't enough to close the gap - 3 March 2014

Today the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) invite Prime Minister Tony Abbott to match his good intent with firm commitment and action.

NATSILS Chairperson, Shane Duffy, said that the Prime Minister has demonstrated his best intent towards addressing the disadvantage faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples but that what is needed now is turning good intentions into strong leadership and real action.

Government cuts support for National Congress - 20 December 2013

Today the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) express concern at the Australian Government’s announcement that it will, in all likelihood, renege on an official $15 million funding commitment in the 2013 Budget towards the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples (Congress).
 NATSILS Chairperson, Shane Duffy, said that Congress fulfils a vital role in representing the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

 

Government to defund Aboriginal Legal Services Peak Body and all Law Reform and Policy Positions - 17 December 2013

Federal Government cuts to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services will mean that even more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will not be able to access essential legal services and will further entrench Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as second class citizens in their own country, says the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services peak body. 

The Abbott Government is set to announce the defunding of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS), the national peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS), and of all Law Reform and Policy Officer positions within each State and Territory based ATSILS, in order to make an annual saving of $3m from the 2014-2015 financial year onwards.

 

Coalition signals 20 per cent funding cut to Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Legal Services - 6 September 2013

Hidden amongst the Coalition’s costings announcement yesterday was a funding cut of $42m to the Indigenous Policy Reform Program, the program which provides funding to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) across Australia. NATSILS Chairperson, Shane Duffy, said that while NATSILS are seeking clarification from the Coalition as to the full detail of the indicated cuts, if such a move is solely targeted at ATSILS funding it would be highly disappointing given the Coalition’s stated commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the fact that such a cut would represent an almost 20 per cent reduction in funding for ATSILS and would signal a significant backwards step to 2008 funding levels.

 

Peak health coalition calls for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander justice targets - 28 August 2013

Today the Close the Gap Campaign for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Equality has launched their platform for key commitments for an incoming Government entitled Building on the Close the Gap platform: Commitments for an incoming government. The plan includes a call for the creation of new justice targets to address the over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples within the first year of the incoming Government’s term. This echoes repeated calls from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and organisations, including NATSILS, for the inclusion of justice targets within COAG’s Closing the Gap policy initiative.

 

Greens launch access to justice election policy - 16 August 2013

Today the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) welcome the launch of the Greens Access to Justice Policy which calls for a funding increase of 50 per cent for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services (ATSILS).

 

Labor to add justice targets to Closing the Gap - 9 August 2013

Today’s announcement by Labor to include new justice targets to address the over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples within the Closing the Gap policy initiative has been applauded by the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and organisations, including NATSILS, have long been calling for the inclusion of justice targets.

 

NATSILS welcome launch of Greens justice reinvestment policy - 1 August 2013

Following a Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee inquiry into justice reinvestment earlier this year, which endorsed the value of such an approach to criminal justice in Australia, NATSILS congratulates the Greens on releasing a policy position which builds on this evidence. NATSILS Chairperson, Shane Duffy, said that all Australian political parties and governments need to acknowledge that tough on crime approaches have failed and that it is now time to get smart on crime.

 

$12m funding injection for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services in federal budget - 15 May 2013

Today the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) welcome the injection of $12m funding over two years for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) around Australia. NATSILS Chairperson, Shane Duffy, said that the new injection of funding recognises the critical role played by ATSILS and the value they add to the legal assistance sector.