Federal Youth Affairs Minister Larry Anthony has conceded more
needs to done to protect Indigenous children.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has produced
new figures showing the number of children removed from their parents
home for the own protection rose to nearly 19,000 last year.
It says the rate of Indigenous children in care is about six
times the general population.
Mr Anthony says that is of grave concern.
"A lot of that is due to drug and alcohol issues, regrettably
many of those remote communities [are] more dysfunctional" Mr
"Indeed, what we found in the past is putting extra money
into Indigenous issues hasn't necessarily solved the problem and
a lot of it comes down to community empowerment, course mentoring
or through elders.
"The Commonwealth Government is running a number of pilot
projects with more remote communities, but nevertheless in Indigenous
issues, it's a very poor record and we need to do more."
Mr Anthony says there has been an alarming increase in the number
of children who have been removed from their parents home for their
He says that is partly due to people being more prepared to report
their concerns about the welfare of children.
"Perhaps in the past it might have been swept under the
carpet or people didn't talk about it," Mr Anthony said.
"It's a lot more open today and so it should be, and I think
the recognition as well if there is a very poor family situation,
there's an onus on DOCS (Department of Community Services) in New
South Wales or other agencies, they have to remove those children
from those risk area."