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Indigenous juvenile detention rates need to be a wake-up call

An alarming increase in the number of Indigenous youth in detention should be a wake-up call for the Government to urgently implement policies to address Indigenous overrepresentation in our criminal justice system, the Greens said today.

Numbers in the Productivity Commission’s report on Government services released today show that juvenile detention rates for Indigenous people between 10 and 17 years of age increased by more than 20 per cent in 2009-2010 compared to the previous year, Greens spokesperson for legal affairs, Senator Penny Wright, said.

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Too many deaths, too many Aboriginal people in custody

The tragic death of Aboriginal man Terrance Briscoe who died while in police custody last week shows that it is beyond time the Government finally implemented all 339 recommendations of the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, the Greens said.

“This sad incident shows that more than 20 years after the Royal Commission first released its recommendations, there is still no real improvement concerning Aboriginal deaths in custody. Much more needs to be done,” Greens spokesperson for legal affairs, Senator Penny Wright, said.

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Penny's Blog - Native Title Success in the Gawler Ranges

Yesterday the Federal Court granted traditional owners native title rights over about 35,000 square kilometres of pastoral lands and national parks in the Gawler Ranges on upper Eyre Peninsula.

This eighth South Australian native title determination is one of the most comprehensive in the state to date.

The fact that the traditional Aboriginal owners now have the right to hunt, fish and camp and have a say in the management of this spectacularly beautiful part of South Australia is a great outcome – their connection to this land goes back many thousands of years.

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Native Title System is Failing Claimants

Greens spokesperson for Native Title, Senator Penny Wright, has congratulated the Eringa and Wangkangurru-Yarluyandi people on the recognition of their native title rights but said native title claims generally took too long to settle.

“One of the three applications in this agreement was lodged 15 years ago. This highlights the many hurdles claimants have to overcome when lodging a native title claim,” Senator Wright said.

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Native Title Wins Few and Far Between

The resolution of a major native title claim originally lodged 18 years ago shows that native title reform is urgently needed in Australia, Greens spokesperson for Native Title, Senator Penny Wright, said.

The Kalkadoon people of the Mt Isa region won recognition of their native title rights over almost 40,000 square kilometres of land in the Federal Court on Monday.

"I commend the Kalkadoon people for their perseverance in this case, which again shows that there are too many obstacles when it comes to native title claims," Senator Wright said.

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Time to Act on Aboriginal Imprisonment: Greens

Australian Greens spokesperson for Legal Affairs, Senator Penny Wright, has welcomed the Federal Government’s commitment to tackling the overrepresentation of Indigenous youth in the criminal justice system.

Senator Wright said the Government’s acceptance of all 40 recommendations of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torrens Islander Affairs report, Doing Time – Time For Doing, in whole, in part or in principle, was a strong step in the right direction.

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Greens Welcome Murray River Native Title Decision

Greens spokesperson for Native Title, Senator Penny Wright, has welcomed today's Federal Court decision to grant the First Peoples of the River Murray and Mallee Region native title along part of the South Australian Murray River.

"This significant decision recognises the age-old cultural and spiritual connection between Aboriginal people and one of Australia's most iconic landmark, the Murray River in South Australia," Senator Wright said.

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