Advocates have begun a petition for a Royal Commission following concerns towards reforms to an act proposing greater powers to remove indigenous and culturally and language diverse children from families and place them into care.
The National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project petition on change.org has called for an urgent need for the Royal Commission into child removal removal rates, as amendments to the Child and Community Services Act are proposed.
Changes to the act would see enhanced application of Aboriginal child placement principles and reforms for better outcomes for children in state care.
The project said that the changes affected all people and not just indigenous families.
National Suicide and Trauma Recovery Project director Megan Krakouer said the changes would have “disastrous consequences” and a greater “profound impact on our community.”
“There’s 60,000 kids across Australia that are in care, 23,000 Aboriginal children in Western Australia, just over 6000,” Ms Krakouer said, stating it was a world highest rate.
“The rates have gone from 2000 in 1997, when there was Bringing them Home report. In 2008, there was the Kevin Rudd apology. There were over 8000, today 23,000. Now, something’s not working.”
“What this is suggesting to me and to others is that there’s systemic failures in that system.”
Ms Krakouer said it was a serious situation across the country.
“It’s incredibly damaging, in the sense that people have no hope, they have no help, they’re not having any support,” she said.
“We’re seeing the consequences at the coalface working with the National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project where we come into contact with 200- 250 people per week.”
She said the change.org petition was making people aware of the issue.
“It’s really quite important, it’s again highlighting what the issue is across this country, 60,000 children removed. That is unprecedented,” Ms Krakouer said.
She said it had received “good responses” from people who had signed, with people “sharing heartfelt experiences” from people who had children taken into care.
However, she urged WA Premier Mark McGowan and Prime Minister Scott Morrison to do what was right for the community.
“Courage up,” she said in a message to Mr McGowan and Mr Morrison.
“We can’t continue to have the world’s highest child removal rates. There needs to be intervention.”
“Our people need to be able to tell their story because we’re talking about unaddressed traumas, and right now there’s laws across his country which oppress a person from telling their stories person and that can’t continue.”