Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Will Rudd Stand up For Abused Indigenous Kids in NSW?

New Labor Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd should condemn the reported failure of New South Wales to fund a plan to address child sex abuse in Indigenous communities exposed by a New South Wales Government report.

Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister, Mal Brough, said that this was the first test for Mr Rudd to demonstrate his new found commitment to practical Indigenous policy as the ALP national leader.

“New South Wales was in denial over the extent of these issues when they attended the Summit in May – despite the fact we knew they were sitting on this explosive report,” Mr Brough said

“Then Police Minister, Carl Scully, claimed they were policing these issues adequately – but they had problems getting people to report. Now the State Treasurer, Michael Costa, is reported to be refusing to fund measures to respond to the report which creates doubt about how Labor feels about tackling the hard problems in Indigenous communities.”

“In the interests of Labor’s new found policy of supporting practical responses over ideology, I am asking Kevin Rudd to join with me to appeal to Premier Iemma to overrule Treasurer Costa and provide real funding to tackle this problem which pervades indigenous communities.”

Mr Brough said it was hard to disagree with the comments of the New South Wales taskforce chairman, Marcia Ella-Duncan
“I’d be incredibly disappointed if the Government fails to allocate new funding,” Ms Ella-Duncan said. “This is one of the biggest issues facing the Aboriginal community and if the Government is not prepared to invest in it, it is disturbing.

“It is very disappointing to find that it is coming down to an argument about dollars. This Government says it wants to be considered humane. I don’t think that this is very humane behaviour.”
(source SMH 14/12/06)

“Its time we saw real commitment from Labor that recognises that Indigenous women and children deserve the same level of protection as other children,” Mr Brough said.

“It is ironic that the very day Rudd and Macklin suggest Labor has changed its way on Indigenous policy – the cat gets belled by the New South Wales Treasurer.”