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An Indigenous Treatment Plan Offered by the Labor on Child Welfare

Australia-According to Labors new plan to tackle child abuse in indigenous communities, violent or alcoholic parents would be referred to treatment before their welfare was taken away.

Last week the Federal Government seized control of more than 60 Northern Territory communities and announced it would impose alcohol and hardcore pornography bans, welfare restrictions and compulsory health checks for children.

Police, with military logistics support, will begin operation within a week by entering the Aboriginal townships as part of an initial stabilisation phase.

The government plan has full support of the Lobor. They intend to go a step further by setting up a family relationships commission to refer violent or alcoholic parents to treatment before cutting their welfare.

Opposition indigenous affairs spokeswoman Jenny Macklin wants the parent to be warned so that the communities can take responsibility for their own children.

In the first instance parents (would be) referred to alcohol treatment services, if the parents refuse to undertake the rehabilitation then that's when the families responsibilities commission would step in and recommend that some part of the family payments be conditional on the parents doing the right thing, so parents would no longer have full control over their family payments according to Ms Macklin.

The family responsibility commissions will be new statutory bodies made up of local elders and persons with the standing of a magistrate. It is not be an easy task to set up these commissions as they will require extra fundings. The whole cost would come to $ 15 million a year.

The program would be run on a trail basis in four Cape York communities and on its success it would be expanded across Australia.

But Ms Macklin said the problem does not have a short term solution, it would take a long-term commitment of considerably more than si x months.

I think we all recognise just how urgent the problem is. The levels of child abuse that were identified in the Northern Territory report just a week or so ago, do really say to all of us that we've failed in the past, I think both sides of politics, both levels of government have to take a responsibility and we really do have to act.


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