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.
Aboriginal Legal Service (ALS) is 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 in 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.
We provide a professional quality legal service for Aboriginal men, women and children who are striving against all odds to keep their families together.
We’re a not-for-profit community organisation running on a shoestring budget and, compared to other legal services, we are already underfunded. And now the government is proposing a 20 per cent cut to our budget.
Everything we do at ALS is frontline, so a 20 per cent cut to our annual budget is a 20 per cent cut to our frontline services. If our frontline services are cut, there will be terrible ramifications for Aboriginal children and their parents and carers.
More kids will be taken away and more of those kids will end up in detention and then prison.
We call on Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia and Minister for Indigenous Affairs, and we call on George Brandis, the Attorney-General, to reverse the massive cuts to Aboriginal Legal Service, so that we can continue to be part of the solution.