This Invasion Day is a time to reignite the political conversations on First Nations Justice in this country.
This is a National Day of Survival and Mourning and is the first major national moment since the referendum to show solidarity with First Nations people and put pressure on our Governments to continue the crucial work of securing First Nations Justice.
On this day, and throughout our work this year, it is paramount that ,we recommit to healing together through Truth Telling and Justice and ensure we continue on a pathway towards Treaty in NSW that extends beyond myopic election cycles.
Now, more than ever, we need to show solidarity and continue to show up and fight side by side to bring about better outcomes for First Nations' people in NSW and across the country.
This must be the year the Minns Government comes good on their election promise to enter Treaties with the First People of NSW. To do this we need to ensure and extend crucial funding in order to begin a Treaty Consultation process.
This process must be underscored by the principle of Free, Prior Informed and ongoing Consent (FPIC) and self-determination as underpinned by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
We must deliver real outcomes for First Nations children who continue to bear the brunt of a racist system that rips them from their families and culture.
The solutions already exist within communities, and our systems must make strides to empower and resource community led strategies for First Nations child protection. It is time to fully implement all of the recommendations from the Family is Culture (FIC) report and once and for all end the forced removal of children and the harmful outcomes the system has on First Nations children and families.
It is time too, to push further and harder to reform the criminal legal system in this country, which continues to disproportionately impact and imprison First Nations people and children. One of the many ways we can do this is continuing to campaign to Raise the Age of criminal responsibility to at least 14. Currently, over 50% of children in prison in NSW are First Nations. Raising the age is just one of many paths that must be taken to ensure better outcomes for young First Nations people.
Every day First Nations communities are impacted by the destruction of cultural heritage, sacred places and entire landscapes because we have the most broken laws in the country. The few laws that should protect cultural heritage actually prioritise extractive industries and development instead of Country, Culture and Respect.
NSW is the only place in the country that does not have stand alone cultural heritage laws. For decades successive governments have consulted and promised to introduce stand alone laws that are led and driven by First Nations cultural authority holders.
First Nations communities have told governments loud and clear what is needed.
For 12 long years in opposition the Labor party said, when they are in power they will get on with the job. So much time has passed and so much destruction has taken place we need action now.
It's time for the Minns Government to stop wasting time and urgently begin the important work led by First Nations people on the creation of stand alone cultural heritage laws, Family is Culture recommendations and Raise the Age Campaign.
For now, let's start by telling the Minns Government what can’t wait and commit to an improved Treaty Consultation process now!