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Funding boost for South Australian Aboriginal community initiatives

Callan Morse -
sa

The South Australian government has announced a more than $1 million investment to support vulnerable members of South Australia's Aboriginal communities.

Announced during NAIDOC Week, the funding package comprises of three components, with allocations dedicated towards programs offering rehabilitation, counselling and advocacy for members of the Aboriginal community in the state.

The package includes a $100,000 allocation to the South Australian Stolen Generations Aboriginal Corporation, to strengthen advocacy and support for Stolen Generations survivors.

"SASGAC welcomes this funding as we progress our work as a volunteer Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation responding to the identified needs of South Australian Stolen Generations and their descendants," South Australian Stolen Generations Aboriginal Corporation (SASGAC) chair Dr Jennis Caruso said.

Aboriginal population data from 2018 provided by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the Healing Foundation reported there are 2,100 Stolen Generation survivors in South Australia, and Stolen Generations survivors and their descendants account for 46% of the state's Aboriginal population.

"The report also identifies that Stolen Generations and their descendants experience higher levels of disadvantage across all social and economic indicators than the Aboriginal population as a whole," Ms Caruso said.

"It is well known that the best people to find the solutions to problems are those who are experiencing or have experienced the issues.

"SASGAC will seek to utilise the funding from the Government to examine and provide information to the Government on the ways in which these and other experiences of the South Australian Stolen Generations cohort, and their descendants, are impacted by contact with the justice system and, where possible, identify mechanisms to reduce further trauma for this most vulnerable of the South Australian Aboriginal population."

The funding allocation also contributes $140,000 to the South Australian Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation Network to co-design a new support service for female Aboriginal victims of crime, and $945,000 for the Department for Correctional Services to design, develop and deliver cultural programs for Aboriginal people in prison and under community supervision to support rehabilitation.

South Australian Minister for Aborignal Affairs Kyam Maher said SA Government is committed to working in partnership with Aboriginal communities on programs and policies that affect them.

"Funding for the South Australian Stolen Generations Aboriginal Corporation will help strengthen their advocacy for survivors, and boost their capacity to advise Government and other organisations on culturally appropriate policy and resource development," Mr Maher said.

He said a key focus of the DCS funding was to address the rapidly growing female prison population.

"Aboriginal women are one of the fastest growing cohorts in the prison population," Mr Maher said.

"The specialist victim support service for Aboriginal victims of crime, to be co-designed by SAACCON, is being implemented in response to a Government-commissioned advisory group, which warned that Aboriginal women who came into contact with the criminal justice system experienced multiple forms of discrimination, victimisation, trauma and disadvantage.

"The culturally appropriate service will help women break the cycle and also support Aboriginal women who have been victims of domestic and family violence."

Mr Maher said DCS will engage in community consultation with the aim of successful rehabilitation.

"DCS will work in conjunction with senior members of Aboriginal communities to deliver cultural programs for Aboriginal men and women who are either in prison or under community supervision aimed at helping support their connection to their culture, and promote successful rehabilitation and employment," Mr Maher said.

The funding announcement comes in addition to the recent nearly $25 million commitment by the South Australian government to reduce Aboriginal incarceration rates in the state.

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