The Australian Torres Strait Islander Commission
(ATSIC) says a report into the welfare of Aboriginal people contains
some shocking statistics.
The report was commissioned by the Council
of Australian Governments.
Central Zone commissioner Alison Anderson
says the report shows the life expectancy of Indigenous people is
20 years lower than other Australians, suicide rates are significantly
higher, and numeracy and literacy skills are lower.
Ms Anderson says
there needs to be a major effort to improve the wellbeing of Indigenous
"I think it's about giving a lot more power
over to people to determine their own future and we're just there
as a mechanism for them to fall back on," she said.
"And we know that this kind of thing is going
to take a long time but we've got hope now that we've highlighted
some of the major problems."
Ms Anderson says the report puts
pressure on governments to address the disadvantages identified.
says it is the first time the federal, state and territory governments
have an agreed framework to improve the living standards of Indigenous
"ATSIC's been saying for years now that we need to strengthen our monitoring
functions to make sure that we monitor properly the Commonwealth and the state
agencies in real service delivery to Indigenous people throughout Australia," she
"I think that this is the mechanism that ATSIC's
been waiting for, which we welcome now."