It's Reconciliation Week, and Minister for Families and Communities Gareth Ward is embroiled in a stoush over AbSec funding.
The Aboriginal Child, Family and Community Care State Secretariat (AbSec) exists to connect Aboriginal child and family service provider agencies and to support the organisations to provide effective and high quality services for children and young people
Labor's Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services, Penny Sharpe claims Mr Ward will cut over half the funding to the peak organisation in NSW at the end of June.
Mr Ward's office claims there will be no cuts to AbSec's core funding, but that a number of non-core projects are finishing and will no longer be funded.
Mr Ward's office were asked to identify which projects would be finishing and what their outcomes had been and were unable to do so.
Mr Ward himself declined requests for interview, but released the following statement.
"The NSW Government will continue to work closely with AbSec to support Aboriginal children, families and communities across the state and will assess any emerging needs for the sector in coming months," he said.
"A strong focus on seeing more children, improved practice and evidence-based family preservation programs has resulted in a 35 per cent reduction in the number of Aboriginal children and young people entering OOHC since 2015-16.
"The recommendations of the Family Is Culture report are being considered carefully. The NSW Government will respond to the report in the coming months."
However, data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare says the number of Aboriginal children in out of home care in NSW has risen by more than 500 children between 2015 and 2019.
Ms Sharpe claims the proportion of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care is rising. The data supports her claim, with the number of non-Indigenous children in care in NSW dropping by about 500 children in the same period.
More than 40 per cent of children in out-of-home care are Aboriginal, despite Aboriginal people making up only five per cent of the Australian population.
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