Disappointed with the recommendations of the nsw select committee on the anniversary of RCIADIC


Jumbunna Institute ‘disappointed’ with the recommendations of the NSW Select Committee on the anniversary of RCIADIC.

© Glenn Lockitch Photography

The UTS Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research is bitterly disappointed in the recommendations handed down this morning by the NSW Select Committee on the High Level of First Nations People in Custody and Oversight and Review of Deaths in Custody. The recommendations do not go far enough to achieve the systemic change needed for oversight, accountability and justice. 

We were especially troubled that the Select Committee rejected the development of a First Nations-led independent oversight and investigative body.

This is despite the model being supported by many of the more substantive submissions with expertise in this space — including many families who had lost loved ones inside (including the families of David Dungay Jr, Nathan Reynolds and Tane Chatfield), the Jumbunna Institute, the Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT), Ngalaya: First Nations Lawyers and Law Students (NSW/ACT), Deadly Connections Community and Justice Services, Sisters Inside, and the National Justice Project.

“The recommendations are still tinkering around the edges.  If you want to address systemic discrimination, you need systemic change. If you are genuine about addressing abuses of power, you have to change who wields power.  The establishment of an independent First Nations led investigatory body was an opportunity to do so. It is confounding that opportunity was missed”. 

Craig Longman, Senior Researcher, Head of the Legal Strategies Hub, JIIER UTS and barrister at Black Chambers

We are not satisfied that the NSW Law Enforcement Conduct Commission can take on this role as recommended, much less if the degree of Indigenous control and independence it relies on is one senior staff member and an internal review of the LECC’s cultural competence and approachability. 

“The NSW Select Committee has now joined a host of inquiries and inquests into which our communities and surviving families poured their insight and vision for change. They have been let down. A First Nations investigative body was an opportunity to change the racist stories told about loved ones in deaths in custody review systems and get accountability for mob who have died in custody. It has been squandered.”

Alison Whittaker, Gomeroi woman, Senior Researcher, Legal Strategies and Indigenous Policy Hub JIIER UTS

We reiterate our submission. We encourage all media to be talking to families who lost their loved ones inside — as the experts that they are. 

On the thirtieth anniversary of the release of the final report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, we want to echo what a coalition of families who have lost their loved ones inside have said alongside NATSILS and demand that governments meet with them and take their ten-point plan to save lives seriously.

For further comment, email indigenousresearch@uts.edu.au.