Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the most incarcerated people in the world. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) are critical to ending this injustice by providing culturally safe legal services, managed and delivered by community, for community.
But the Morrison Government announced in their 2019-20 Federal Budget they will walk away from the Commonwealth's almost 50 year commitment to a national program that addresses Indigenous disadvantage in the justice system. ILAP funds frontline legal services and advocacy provided by ATSILS across the country.
In March, an independent review made its #1 recommendation that the Commonwealth should continue to fund ATSILS through a stand-alone, specific purpose funding program.
The decision to walk away from directly funding ATSILS is irresponsible and could devastate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
We call on all sides of politics to commit to self-determined ATSILS, to end unjust incarceration rates.
Dear Attorney-General Christian Porter and Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus,
I call on you to retain the Indigenous Legal Assistance Program (ILAP) as a stand-alone Commonwealth funded program.
Given that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the most incarcerated people in the world, this is an irresponsible decision that will devastate communities and drive up incarceration, as well as child removal rates and more.
Retaining ILAP is in line with a recent independent review that highlights the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) and its #1 recommendation was to retain a stand-alone Commonwealth program that supports them.
The report says that ATSILS are cost effective, efficient, culturally safe and the preferred legal services providers of Indigenous communities alongside Family Violence Prevention Legal Services.
The Commonwealth has funded and supported the ATSILS since 1970. I urge you to honour this almost 50 year commitment.
Your concerned voter,