Margaret Quirk

Margaret Quirk

Minister for Corrective Services; Small Business

    Minister celebrates and issues challenges at NAIDOC celebration

    11/07/2007 8:58 PM

    Corrective Services Minister Margaret Quirk has celebrated NAIDOC Week with noted Aboriginal speakers and performers at an event in the city.

    Ms Quirk told a large crowd gathered at Westralia Square in Perth that although NAIDOC week celebrates and showcases indigenous culture and the contribution of indigenous Australians, it was also a time for the community and Government to look at what needs to be done to achieve real progress.

    “As a Western Australian, it is a matter of deepest shame and regret to me that 43 per cent of our prison population is indigenous, despite being only 3 per cent of the general population,” she said.

    “It’s worse for Aboriginal kids, with 67 per cent of our juvenile detention population being indigenous.

    “As Minister for Corrective Services, no issue is of greater priority to me than reducing indigenous imprisonment.”

    The Minister challenged staff in the Departments of Corrective Services and the Attorney-General to look at the cultural assumptions within their organisations, identify and change practices which may enshrine systemic racism and instead promote substantive equality.

    “In the spirit of looking at these issues afresh, I am pleased to announce that the Department of Corrective Services will be appointing its first Assistant Commissioner, Aboriginal Justice, in the next few weeks,” she said.

    “This senior position will strengthen indigenous leadership and direction within the department and will have a wide-ranging brief to focus on reducing the unacceptably high level of adult and juvenile indigenous imprisonment.”

    NAIDOC Week runs until July 15 with celebrations and events around the State.

    Minister's office - 9213 7000