Natalie currently serves on the National Executive of SNAICC – National Voice for our Children, and is co-chair of the National Family Matters Campaign. She also holds appointments on the Qld Domestic and Family Violence Implementation Council, Youth Sexual Violence and Abuse Steering Committee and the Queensland Policy Leaders Forum. Natalie was an active member of the Expert Advisory Group to the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry and remains strongly involved in the implementation of the reform agenda.
Yet despite numerous legal and policy frameworks protecting their rights, today the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care is almost ten times that of other children, and only continues to grow.
Decades of research, policy and legislative change have been inadequate to shift paternalistic approaches to genuine empowerment and self determination.
This keynote address will speak to the urgent need for transparency and accountability from all Australian Governments to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and communities, and offer community-led, practical solutions to some of the endemic issues faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and communities when they come into contact with child protection systems.
To ensure that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children thrive into adulthood, we must secure:
• Commitment to a COAG target and strategy, developed in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, to eliminate the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out of home care by 2040
• A nationally consistent longitudinal data collection that transparently reports on safety and well-being outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
• Full legislation of each of the five elements of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle in all jurisdictions
• Recognition of the right to self-determination and cultural authority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Governments must learn from mistakes of the past and start to trust Aboriginal people to drive solutions for their children, families and communities.