TALS welcomes the Commission of Inquiry's recommendations

Tuesday 05 September, 2023

The Tasmanian Aboriginal Legal Service warmly welcomes the Commission of Inquiry’s recommendations focused on improving services and support for Aboriginal people and communities in Tasmania.

Firstly, TALS would formally acknowledge and commend the Commissioners on their hard work and dedication to searching for the truth over a very long and difficult time.

For some 29 months, the Commission of Inquiry heard from a huge range of victim-survivors.

We also acknowledge the incredible bravery and strength of the victim-survivors who shared their experiences with the Commission.

There were many victim-survivors who could not give evidence for a range of reasons. But we hope that when the Commission’s full report is released to the Tasmanian public, they will receive a measure of relief and release at the 191 recommendations to make Tasmanian State institutions safer places for children and young people.

TALS welcomes the overview of recommendation, from what we have heard so far, they are what we were hoping to see.

The Commission has now done its job - it is now over the job of the Rockliff Liberal Government, and future governments, to implement and create the changes needed to protect vulnerable children and people in institutional settings.

TALS is extremely pleased to see the provision of culturally appropriate Aboriginal healing services, and we hope to see these services available to all affected Aboriginal people, including those who continue to be institutionalised.

We also welcome the recommendation that there needs to be a specific voice for Aboriginal children and young people in the Commissioner for Childrens Office, which would add to an already very effective Commissioners Office.

TALS will continue to advocate for the urgent closure of the Ashley Youth Detention Centre, which has been the setting and catalyst for so much harm and heartache for many children.

We also welcome the recommendation that there be more therapeutic services to ensure victim-survivors have timely access to supports.

There must be services and programs that are culturally safe, therapeutic, and responsive. This is crucial to this State meeting its expectations from the findings of this Commission and its recommended outcomes. It is not a one size fits all approach.

TALS is a member-based, independent, not-for-profit community legal centre that specialises in the provision of criminal, civil and family law legal information, advice and representation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Tasmania. TALS is led by a local Board of Aboriginal people and is inclusive to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in Tasmania.

We have lawyers on call 24/7 to support people Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in custody. And every day, we are here to care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in Tasmania.

Lee-Anne Carter, Community Engagement and Programs Manager, Tasmanian Aboriginal Legal Service

Media contact: A.Mark Thomas, M&M Communications, 0422 006 732

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