A McGowan Labor Government believes that any action to address Aboriginal youth suicide must be led by Aboriginal communities themselves, with full support and consultation from Government.
The Parliamentary Inquiry from 2016 was initiated w hen WA Labor Member for the Kimberley Josie Farrer MLA called for such an inquiry, saying Parliament needed "to determine what more can be done to halt the worrying number of youth suicides among Aboriginal youth in WA," and "define exactly what has been tried, what hasn't worked and what has."
Ms Farrer's colleagues were disappointed that the call for an inquiry was initially dismissed by the Liberal Aboriginal Affairs Minister, however, an enquiry was held and it reported in November 2016.
The Committee's report had 44 recommendations covering many portfolio areas and recommending actions across Government.
It was clear from the report that any action from Government must be across portfolios, coordinated, holistic and above, all in partnership with local Aboriginal communities.
WA Labor has a policy to break down the barriers between Government departments to ensure a more holistic approach to issues like this that require a cross-portfolio plan. This will underpin our approach in Government to the heartbreaking issue of Aboriginal youth suicide.
Josie Farrer's work on the Kimberley Alternative Juvenile Justice Working Group, which led to her call for the parliamentary inquiry, released a report in 2014 proposing much needed improvements to the current Kimberley youth justice system.
A McGowan Labor Government will allocate $1 .2 million over 4 years for the implementation of the 'Improving the Juvenile Justice System, Framework.'
The parliamentary report also highlighted the importance of culture and of improving health, education and employment opportunities for Aboriginal people.
WA Labor is committed to improving the health and welfare of aboriginal people by focusing on improving education and economic opportunities and delivering appropriate health services. The Royalties for Regions program has focused largely on infrastructure and less on the social and economic welfare of regional people, including indigenous communities. WA Labor will keep the Royalties for Regions funding and improve it by focusing on the priorities of the people living in the regions, including creating local jobs in a range of industries.
There is still an unacceptable educational gap between indigenous and non-indigenous students in terms of academic achievement, attendance and retention levels.
Direct support and action addressing literacy, attendance, participation and behaviour management in schools must be put in place to support the schooling of aboriginal children.
WA Labor appreciates the opportunity to hear the concerns of your organisation and to communicate our views to your members.