Thursday, 4 September 2008

Land Council director urges Senate

The director of the Central Land Council has urged Senators to support the reinstatement of the permit system for access to Aboriginal Land.

David Ross says the system protects Aboriginal people from exploitation.

The permit system prevented the general public from entering Aboriginal Land, but was scrapped by the Howard Government in its Northern Territory emergency response.

The new Government is trying to bring it back but with new clauses allowing access for journalists and government workers.

The law has passed the House of Representatives and is expected to be debated in the Senate later this month.

Mr Ross wants the law passed without being watered down and has issued a statement asking Senators to give Aboriginal Australians the same rights as those who own land privately.

He says the permit system is also a tool for prosecuting those who smuggle petrol, drugs or alcohol to remote communities.

The Federal Opposition has said it will not support the bill unless it is amended.


School attendance and welfare: Amnesty
Last week, the Australian Government introduced legislation linking school attendance with welfare payments. Under the new legislation, if children don’t go to school regularly, their principal carer could have their welfare payments stopped for up to three months. The 3-year trial will begin at the start of the ‘09 school year in six Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory.

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