Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT)

ALS Media

Calling on the Prime Minister of Indigenous Affairs of Australia to reverse massive cuts to Aboriginal Legal Service and keep our children safe

02 Mar 2015

Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT has started a petition to reverse massive funding cuts of nearly 20 per cent to frontline legal services.

Phil Naden, Chief Executive Officer of ALS says he’s hopeful the Prime Minister and Attorney-General will reverse the decision to cut funding from the ALS because of the damaging effect this will have on Aboriginal families, and particularly children.

“Everything we do at the ALS is frontline, so a 20 per cent cut to our annual budget is a 20 per cent cut our frontline services,” said Mr Naden.

“We’re a not-for-profit community organisation running on a shoestring budget and compared to other legal services, we are underfunded .”

“But we provide a professional quality legal service for Aboriginal men, women and children who are striving against all odds to keep their families together.”

“If our frontline services are cut, there will be terrible ramifications for Aboriginal children and their parents and carers.”

“Every day in Australia some forty Aboriginal children are removed from their families, and now there’s over 15 thousand Aboriginal children sitting in out-of-home care.

“Life after removal is not always a happy ending. Evidence shows a large cohort of those kids who were removed end up in the juvenile justice system, and then adult prison.”

“Not only are we experiencing rates of child removal faster than at any time during the Stolen Generation, we’re also determining a path for so many of these kids which is straight into the criminal justice system.”

“ALS frontline services are there for those kids. We operate a care and protection practice that fights to keep children and families together. We run a family law practice that works with families and the best interests of the child. We run a criminal law practice that helps divert young people from the juvenile justice system, and adults from entering prison.”

“If the ALS is cut, more kids will be taken away and more of those kids will end up in detention and then prison.”

“Aboriginal children only make up 1 per cent of Australia’s population. We must look after this generation of children, not remove them and imprison them through no fault of their own.”

“And if ALS is cut, more children will be removed, more of those children will end up in detention, and more of those children will end up in prison.”

“We call on the Prime Minister of Indigenous Affairs of Australia to reverse the massive cuts to Aboriginal Legal Service, so we can be part of the solution.”

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