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Commission releases indigenous snapshot

AAP logoAAP 6/12/2016

The persistence of aboriginal deaths in custody contributes to a sense things are getting worse not better for indigenous Australians, according to the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Its 2016 Social Justice and Native Title report released on Wednesday points to ongoing tensions between Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people and the justice system.

It follows this year's coronial inquest into the death in custody of Aboriginal woman Ms Dhu in a Western Australia jail and reflects perceptions that such deaths remain disproportionately high.

It also comes after incidents at the Northern Territory's Don Dale youth detention centre that are now being investigated by a royal commission.

"Aboriginal families have also battled inaction by police charged with investigating the violent deaths of their loved ones," the report authored by acting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Gillian Triggs and her deputy Robynne Quiggin says.

"The persistence of these issues contributes to a sense in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community that the situation is getting worse not better."

Among the commission's recommendations is that the federal government follow up meetings with indigenous leaders with regular consultations to help inform policy and legislation.

It also calls for the adoption of justice targets as a matter of urgency.

It argues that in cases where indigenous people are struggling to earn an income there should be tailored support to help them to live in freedom and dignity.

The commission is awaiting independent reviews of the government's cashless debit card trials to fully understand what impact it's having on indigenous communities.

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