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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 10 May 2018) . . Page.. 1769 ..


in some way, what I would really like to see is better outcomes and action for Indigenous Canberrans and not just words.

Let us review the score card. Indigenous Canberrans are significantly overrepresented in the justice system. The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics report on crime rates in Australia shows that ACT continues to lead Australia in the arrest and imprisonment of Indigenous residents. Today ACT police apprehend Indigenous Canberrans 35 per cent more often than they did just four years ago. The number of arrests for Aboriginal Canberrans has increased by 64 per cent over the last four years.

Despite making up less than two per cent of the ACT population, Indigenous Canberrans represent over 25 per cent of the ACT prison population. Sadly, recidivism is also high as Indigenous clients from the AMC are twice as likely to reoffend versus non-Indigenous clients. Given the recent outcomes from the Steven Freeman coroner’s report and the Moss review report, we know all too well that when Indigenous offenders enter the justice system, their risk of drug use, assault and even death increases dramatically.

Indigenous Canberrans have significantly worse health outcomes. The age-standardised rate of hospitalisation related to alcohol for Indigenous Canberrans was 3.5 times the rate for non-Indigenous Canberrans. A higher proportion of Indigenous Canberrans aged 15 and over reported being a victim of physical or threatened violence, at 20 per cent, compared to non-Indigenous Canberrans at eight per cent. The rate of Indigenous Canberrans aged 18 and over who have reported high levels of psychological stress has increased over time. The age-standardised rate of disability or restrictive long-term health conditions was almost twice as high for Indigenous Australians as for non-Indigenous Canberrans. For Indigenous females, the age-standardised hospitalisation rate for self-harm was 2.6 times the rate for non-Indigenous females.

Indigenous Canberrans have less opportunity to benefit from economic participation. The employment rates for people aged 15 to 64 continue to be lower for Indigenous Canberrans than for non-Indigenous Canberrans. The proportion of Indigenous households living in dwellings of unacceptable standards has increased over time from 8.4 per cent in 2008 to 17 per cent in 2014-15.

Young people and children are also equally disadvantaged in our national capital. In 2017 the ACT had the nation’s highest rate of Indigenous child care and protection reports as well as the second highest rate of Indigenous children on protection orders. Fewer than three per cent of children in Canberra are Indigenous, but they make up a quarter of kids in child protection systems. Canberra’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students face a two-year NAPLAN gap behind non-Indigenous groups. Similarly, school attendance, retention and completion rates for Indigenous kids in Canberra generally lag behind the rest of the country. What a sad indictment this is for Canberra.

The scorecard I have given today is by no means exhaustive, but it paints a picture of how this government is performing in relation to Indigenous affairs. So, yes, we welcome the implementation of a daily acknowledgement of country. This may be


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