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Lidia Thorpe slams Federal Government for 'backing away from Truth and Treaty'

Jarred Cross -

Independent Senator Lidia Thorpe says Anthony Albanese and Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney will take the nation backward after breaking their promise to progress Treaty on announcing new policy towards Closing the Gap.

On Tuesday, the Prime Minister canvassed the Government's redirection after the Productivity Commission's report on the National Agreement towards Closing the Gap found measures have largely failed to produce positive outcomes.

It came on the 16th anniversary of the national apology to the Stolen Generations.

Between them, Mr Albanese and Minister Burney announced the establishment of a National Commissioner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Young People and a $707 million investment to create 3000 jobs in remote Australia among broader plans.

Mr Albanese told Parliament the government will "take the time needed to get Makaratta and truth-telling right" and "the work of treaty goes on at a state and territory level" among efforts to reach reconciliation and improved outcomes for First Peoples.

Senator Thorpe said it was a "huge disappointment" to see Labor's intent to "kick the can down the road, dodge questions, delay progress…and hope people forget that they've broken yet another promise".

"The Productivity Commission's Report on Closing the Gap called for a wholesale overhaul of the way First Nations policy is developed and implemented," she said.

"We don't need more over-paid commissioners, ignored reports, and token advisory bodies that governments don't listen to.

"Truth and Treaty are the only viable pathway forward. Labor committed to implementing the Statement from the Heart in full, yet they're breaking that promise."

Senator Thorpe, with the Blak Sovereign Movement, consistently campaigned for a focus on Treaty and truth-telling ahead of a Voice to Parliament in the lead up to last year's referendum.

She reaffirmed this on Tuesday, stating without Treaty, and the grassroots decision-making it would produce, "we will spend the next election cycle watching the rise and demise of more expensive bureaucracies, whose advice the government will continue to ignore".

Following the Productivity Commission's report last week, Senator Thorpe said treaties were the "pathway towards peace" with community's equipped to provide solutions.

"Labor needs to recommit to Treaty and Truth, clarify the a timeline for these, and come clean about whether Makarrata is still being progressed by the National Indigenous Australians Agency, or whether it has been shelved," she said on Tuesday.


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