Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT)

ALS Media

CNS funded for six months

06 Jul 2015

On 30 June 2015 Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) secured six months grant funding for the Custody Notification Service (CNS) from the Australian government Attorney-General’s department.

The Australian government has funded the Custody Notification Service, a 24/7 phone line for Aboriginal people taken into police cell custody, since 2008.

We understand the Australian government is asking the NSW government to supply the additional six months worth of funding towards the Custody Notification Service however we have received no formal notification this will actually occur.

Although we have not achieved our goal of obtaining twelve months or even ongoing funding for the Custody Notification Service, we accept the Australian government’s offer of $263,000 as an extremely serious and top-level acknowledgement of the Service. Evidence continues to demonstrate the Custody Notification Service assists in preventing Aboriginal deaths in police cell custody while providing essential early legal support for vulnerable Aboriginal men, women and children.

We do not wish to become involved in a Federal / State political stoush over future funding for the Custody Notification Service. Aboriginal people’s lives are not a bargaining chip. And Aboriginal incarceration rates for children and adults are already dangerously high.

We look forward to the Australian government sorting the ongoing funding arrangements for the Custody Notification Service at the earliest possible date.

We acknowledge Attorney-General George Brandis for his continued grant funding of the Custody Notification Service.

We also acknowledge Senator Nigel Scullion, Minister for Indigenous Affairs for his continuing public support of the Custody Notification Service. We will lend support towards his aspiration to roll-out the successful Custody Notification Service model to every State and Territory.

We would like to thank everyone for their support in gaining a six months funding reprieve for the Custody Notification Service. That includes nearly 50,000 petitioners, key peak legal bodies in NSW, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services around Australia, sister Aboriginal organisations in NSW and around Australia, and significant number of individuals who helped make the #savetheCNS campaign possible. We may have to call on your support once again.

We would also like to thank everyone who donated funds towards the Custody Notification Service over the last four weeks. Your generosity has been overwhelming and has provided a three week buffer period in the operation of the Service. This will prove essential in our ongoing funding discussions.


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