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Beattie draws fire in Indigenous foster care debate

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 24 December 2003


An Indigenous leader says overturning the system of placing at-risk Indigenous children with Indigenous foster families will not work.

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie has questioned whether the current practice should continue.

ATSIC commissioner Robbie Williams says no new system will work unless it is implemented after consultations with the Indigenous community.

"Other commissioners all throughout the state have been concerned and a bit outraged by what Mr Beattie has said and they're addressing these issues within their own regions," Mr Williams said.

"But to just have off-the-cuff remarks will not help, will not satisfy how to address this appropriately, not only for our people but the whole community."

Mr Beattie says he stands by what he said and is anxious to find a solution.

"[A total of] 47.1 per cent of all children who are the victims of abuse are Indigenous children - now that's frightening and that should be frightening for everybody," he said.

"I'm not going to accept hiding or playing ostrich on those issues ... I'm happy to work with them, I want to come up with a solution but they should be as horrified about that as I am."


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