Hon Roger Cook BA GradDipBus MBA MLA

Hon Roger Cook BA GradDipBus MBA MLA

Deputy Premier; Minister for State Development, Jobs and Trade; Hydrogen Industry; Tourism; Science

Hon Ben Wyatt LLB MSc MLA

Hon Ben Wyatt LLB MSc MLA

Former Treasurer; Minister for Finance; Aboriginal Affairs; Lands

    McGowan Government releases commitment to Aboriginal youth wellbeing

    20/03/2020 11:30 AM
    • McGowan Government releases response to the Coroner's Inquest and Learnings from the Message Stick report into Aboriginal youth suicide  
    • The Commitment to Aboriginal Youth Wellbeing provides a framework to improve the outlook and resilience of young Aboriginal Western Australians in the Kimberley and across WA
    • The Response includes 12 key commitments with a focus on cultural wellbeing, health, community and youth
    • Commitments will be supported through an initial $266.7 million funding package  

    Deputy Premier Roger Cook and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt today released the McGowan Government's Commitment to Aboriginal Youth Wellbeing.


    The Commitment provides a blueprint to guide the development of policies and initiatives that affect Aboriginal people. It acknowledges the importance of ensuring Aboriginal people are at the forefront of the conversation, providing experience and perspective for co-design, implementation and evaluation of services. The Response will initially be supported by a $266.7 million funding package to address the issues raised in the reports.


    The Commitment to Aboriginal Youth Wellbeing is the Government's response to the State Coroner's Inquest into the deaths of 13 children and young persons in the Kimberley region, and the 2016 Parliamentary Inquiry into Aboriginal youth suicide, Learnings from the Message Stick: The report of the Inquiry into Aboriginal youth suicide in remote areas.


    It has been informed by a community engagement process in the Kimberley, involving key community members and service providers, and a dedicated cohort of young Aboriginal leaders.


    The Response addresses a combined 86 recommendations from the two reports. The Government has accepted or accepted in principle, or was already implementing, all but 15 of the recommendations.


    None of the recommendations were rejected, but four had been superseded and were no longer applicable. Eleven required more time and investigation to provide a response. 


    In response, the Commitment to Aboriginal Youth Wellbeing outlines a set of 12 individual commitments to take a holistic approach to Aboriginal youth wellbeing, focusing on four key areas: cultural wellbeing; health; community; and youth.


    It represents a long-term commitment to Aboriginal children and youth, not just in the Kimberley, but across the State, and will be delivered in partnership with the Aboriginal community.


    The Government will table annual reports in Parliament on the progress of its commitments and implementation of all 86 of the Coroner's and Message Stick recommendations.


    The Commitment to Aboriginal Youth Wellbeing can be downloaded from the Department of the Premier and Cabinet's website.


    Comments attributed to Deputy Premier Roger Cook:


    "Suicide has devastated too many Aboriginal Western Australians. The State Government recognises the hurt and trauma that has impacted generations of Aboriginal families and communities, and extends its deepest sympathies for the loss of these irreplaceable young people.


    "The Commitment to Aboriginal Youth Wellbeing sends a clear message to young Aboriginal people and their families across Western Australia: we know many of you are doing it tough. Many of you are hurting and in grief and we are committed to working with you, and the community as a whole, to help turn that around.


    "This document is not just our response - it is a commitment to work with the community for long-term change.


    "Ultimately, we want to help build young Aboriginal people up to be strong in culture and identity, resilient in mind and body, and confident of a future in which they are valued, supported, and have the capacity to thrive."


    Comments attributed to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt:


    "These commitments represent the McGowan Government's drive to deliver real change in partnership with Aboriginal people.


    "They build on our recognition of the cultural and social capital of Aboriginal communities and families; the foundation of Aboriginal people's resilience.


    "The Commitment to Aboriginal Youth Wellbeing complements a range of initiatives we will be delivering to help build empowered, supported and culture-driven Aboriginal communities right across Western Australia."


    Deputy Premier's office - 6552 6500

    Aboriginal Affairs Minister's office - 6552 5900


    Full list of 12 commitments


    The 12 commitments take a holistic view of Aboriginal youth wellbeing, focusing on four key areas:


    • Cultural Wellbeing
      1.         Culturally responsive government
      2.         Respect and appreciation for Aboriginal culture
      3.         Supporting cultural programs
    • Health
      4.         Better prevention, intervention and postvention services
      5.         Building capacity in health and mental health services
      6.         Better access to clinical services
    • Community
      7.         Support for community wellbeing
      8.         Building local capacity
      9.         Better engagement with education
    • Youth
      10.       Helping young people connect to culture
      11.       Building youth capacity
      12.       A voice for young people