SNAICC – National Voice for our Children and the Family Matters campaign have worked together with key partners to build momentum for the establishment of a National Commissioner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Young People in Australia (National Commissioner). In October 2019, SNAICC developed a position paper on the establishment of a national commissioner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people that was supported by more than 80 organisations across Australia. Since the release of the Position Paper, some stakeholders have suggested that consideration of additional models may be worthwhile.
- A dedicated focus at the national level on advancing the rights of the current generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people is essential to end the intergenerational cycle of disadvantage and to promote better outcomes for future generations.
- A key reason that demonstrates the need and imperative for a National Commissioner includes to assist the prevention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people continuing to fall through the cracks of our federal system. There is a clear need to develop and implement unique responses and solutions to address the unique challenges faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.
- Consistent with best practice in self-determination, the National Commissioner should be an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person. The office of the National Commissioner should comprise staff representative of the diverse segments of Australian society, with consideration of gender, ethnicity and minority status.
The call for a National Commissioner builds on the increasing recognition by state and territory governments of the importance and value of a commissioner dedicated specifically to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people, as demonstrated by the establishment of similar bodies in Victoria, South Australia and Queensland.