You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Australia ignorant on Aboriginals: Barnett

AAP logoAAP 16/11/2016 Greg Roberts

WA Premier Colin Barnett says most of Australia is ignorant about a social crisis in which more Aboriginal than non-Aboriginal children live in state care despite indigenous people representing well under seven per cent of the population.

New figures show high numbers of male Aboriginal juvenile offenders are having applications for parole knocked back because no responsible adult could be found to look after them.

Mr Barnett said people should be worried about those issues rather than the current debate over formal racial hatred complaints against a controversial newspaper cartoon by Bill Leak.

It depicted an Aboriginal man as a drunk who did not know his delinquent son's name.

"I think taking court action and the like is just a gross overreaction," he told reporters on Wednesday.

"There are serious issues for Aboriginal people, particularly in the Kimberley - youth suicide, foetal alcohol syndrome for newborn babies, excessive consumption of alcohol, lack of employment, lack of housing.

The situation was so bad that agencies often knew a pregnant girls' child would be put into state care after birth, he said.

"That is basically third world conditions ... I don't think the rest of Australia understands the severity of some of the issues faced not exclusively in Aboriginal communities but predominantly and increasingly Aboriginal children," Mr Barnett said.

A 12-year-old Perth indigenous boy, who was 11 when arrested this year and was one of the youngest people ever charged with murder in Australia, has not received bail because a safe and suitable guardian cannot be found.

From 256 parole applications in 2015-16, 58 were knocked back because of a lack of basic housing criteria and more than 80 per cent of those involved Aboriginal children and mostly boys, the Supervised Release Review Board's annual report shows.

More than half of the 130 detainees at Perth's only juvenile prison, Banksia Hill, are indigenous.

The detention centre has been racked by violent incidents this year - in the latest case seven rioting detainees caused an estimated $350,000 to $400,000 damage trashing their unit on Saturday afternoon with flash bombs and chemical spray used to control them.

Corrective Services Minister Joe Francis said the opening of two new accommodation units with adult supervisors outside Banksia Hill soon would provide temporary accommodation and a way to get children with nowhere to go out of jail.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon