MEDIA RELEASE 8 February 2021

Building Back Better for Victoria’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

VALS has launched the Building Back Better: COVID-19 Recovery Plan to provide a strategy for the Victorian and Federal Governments to ensure Victoria’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are not left behind during the pandemic and the pandemic recovery. Prior to the pandemic, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities were already more marginalised than non-Aboriginal Victorians. VALS has seen a rise in demand for our services during the pandemic, which is a strong indicator that Aboriginal people are not getting a fair share of Government support during the pandemic. VALS has also identified that our clients have borne the brunt of the punitive policing measures put in place by the Victorian Government to manage the pandemic.  Building Back Better provides real and tangible actions for Governments including:
  • Implementing all of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody
  • Expanding culturally appropriate services to help those in need
  • Supporting people in financial hardship
  • Improving police accountability and
  • Recommendations to ensure the Victorian court system operates more effectively
Quotes Attributable to Nerita Waight, CEO of Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service “Victoria will never recover from the pandemic if it leaves Aboriginal people worse off.” “The pandemic is an opportunity for systemic reform of the justice system. The Victorian Government should aim high and use this crisis to make significant changes that improve the lives of Victoria’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.” “It has been 30 years since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. We are still locked up at btc bonuses higher rates than non-Aboriginal people and we are still dying in custody. It would be a remarkable legacy for the Victorian Government if they used this opportunity to do the work that has gone undone for too long.” Building Back Better – Click here to download 

Media Inquiries

Patrick Cook 
Senior Communications and Media Officer 
pcook@vals.org.au
0417 003 910