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"Turned their back on the First Nations people" : Queensland's Treaty Minister slams LNP during question time

Dechlan Brennan -

Queensland's Treaty Minister has accused the state opposition of abandoning First Nations people after withdrawing their support for the treaty process.

Last year, the Liberal National Party back-flipped on their previously bi-partisan support for the treaty process, with opposition leader claiming in the wake of the Voice to Parliament referendum that the "path to treaty will only create further division".

On Wednesday, Quandamooka woman and Treaty Minister Leeanne Enoch addressed Queensland Parliament in response to a question from LNP MP John-Paul Langbroek about whether tax exemptions would form part of the government's path to treaty process.

The Minister criticised the opposition, arguing they had voted in favour of the legislation and then "within moments of a completely different decision, backflipped on Treaty and turned their back on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people".

"[They] turned their back on the First Nations people of this state, and any question from them [LNP] on Treaty, is about undermining Treaty," Ms Enoch said during a fiery sitting of Parliament.

"That is the nature of the LNP."

She said the legislation made clear there were bodies of work underway, including the establishment of a treaty institute and a truth-telling and healing inquiry.

"That is part of the legislation that this whole house backed, and those opposite have backflipped on," the Minister said, and argued through legislation, it was known what those two bodies of work currently being finalised would look like in Queensland.

"We will allow that work to occur and that will be a part of our pathway to Treaty."

Minister Enoch said the process formed an "important part" of closing the gap and argued the LNP previously cut funding to areas such as health and justice only contributed to a "widening of the gap."

"We know the unacceptable life outcomes of life outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people compared to non-Indigenous Queenslanders…it's just unacceptable," she said.

The Queensland government themselves has been consistently under fire by human rights, Indigenous and legal groups for their handling of youth justice, including twice suspending the state's Human Rights Act last year.

The state now houses more Indigenous youths than anywhere else in the country, and recently saw two disabled Indigenous children die in the immediate aftermath of being housed in isolation in youth detention facilities.

However, sources who worked in these spaces during the last LNP government in Queensland have told National Indigenous Times under promise of anonymity that they are fearful of cuts to services designed to help Indigenous people - especially children - if the opposition wins the October state election, having seen the results under the Newman government.


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