11 April | Rally outside FACS office | Tamworth

Rally Friday April 11 – 12pm Tamworth DOCS office
14 – 16 Bourke st Tamworth

Speakers include:

+ Aunty Hazel, Grand-mothers Against Removals, Gunnedah

+ David Shoebridge, Greens NSW MP
+ Karen Fusi, Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy
The removal of Aboriginal children from families across NSW and Australia is at crisis point. A higher number of Aboriginal children are currently in “out of home care” than were removed from their families at any time in the twentieth century.The Bringing them Home report in 1997 argued that the paternalism and discrimination of the Stolen Generations era remained alive in many of the practices of child protection agencies. It showed that the majority of children were being removed for “neglect”, a consequence of the social inequality suffered by Aboriginal people.

Bringing them Home’s recommendations for reform were ignored and the number of Aboriginal children in “out of home care” has increased more than five times since 1997. In NSW, approximately one in ten Aboriginal children is currently in care. The pain in communities is immense and many are taking about “a new stolen generation”.

New amendments to Child Protection legislation have been introduced by Community Services Minister Pru Goward and are currently before the NSW Parliament. These laws will make it even harder for families who have lost children to DOCS removals to be reunited. Adoption will become possible once a child has been in care for just six months if they are under two year old, or twelve months if older than two. “Guardianship” orders are also being introduced which would similarly strip families of rights to reunification.

Aboriginal people and supporters across Australia mobilising for change – demanding children are returned and demanding investment in the community development and support services needed to assist struggling families.

A new group “Grand-mothers Against Removals” recently formed in Gunnedah, NSW in response to a large number of unjust removals in across the region in recent years. They held a protest outside the NSW Parliament House on February 13 this year, on the anniversary of Kevin Rudd’s apology to the Stolen Generation. The protest gained international media attention and pressure is building.

They are now bringing their protest to the doorstep of Tamworth DOCS – an office notorious for it’s merciless targeting of Aboriginal families. The rally falls on a Friday to protests against the “Friday afternoon special” – forced removal of children just before the weekend, leaving families stranded for assistance over the weekend.

This protest will be followed by a strategy meeting to discuss how we can build support for struggling families and take the campaign forward.

For more info contact Olivia Nigro 0401 955 405

Rally initiated by Grand-Mothers Against Removals
Supported by Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney

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