Aboriginal Affairs & Reconciliation

Custody notification service a life-saving #BLM win for SA

Media Releases, Newsroom

Tammy Franks, Greens MLC, today warmly welcomed the announcement that the Marshall Government will mandate a Custody Notification Service (CNS) scheme for South Australia. Establishing a legislated CNS in South Australia will bring SA in line with the ACT, WA, NT, NSW, and Victoria. The Greens and Labor also currently have legislation for a CNS before the Parliament. Both Bills provide for a 24/7 service that is a welfare and legal service, but the Greens’ Bill includes annual SAPOL reporting requirements and creates penalties ($2550 or 6 months imprisonment) for police non-compliance with the scheme. The Greens have long supported the adoption of all of the 339 recommendations of the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCADIC), the CNS being a key one.

Quotes attributable to Tammy Franks MLC:

“Today on the momentum of the recent BLM movement the implementation of one proven life-saving measure is a step closer for South Australia.

“While I am sure that having Bills before the Parliament helped, this is really a win for people power today. Over ten thousand South Australians came out in force last month, showing the Marshall Government that people want change and they want justice. The announcement today is in no small part due to that movement.

“We know this (CNS) has saved lives in NSW and now it will save lives in SA, as it should have been doing since 1991. We’ve had far too many deaths in custody in SA because we have ignored the sage advice of that Royal Commission. Tragic cases currently before the Coroner or due to go to the Coroner show us that. The CNS will spare families the anguish, loss and pain of more needless deaths in custody.”

Background:

A CNS is a 24-hour service that provides life-saving legal advice and welfare checks and support for Aboriginal people as they are taken into custody. A CNS was just one of the 339 recommendations made by the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. Despite offers made by Minister Scullion to all states and territories in 2016 to fund a mandated and legislated scheme the then SA Government persisted with a flawed and weaker voluntary model (Aboriginal Visitors Scheme – AVS). Establishing a legislated CNS in South Australia would bring us in line with other states such as the ACT, WA, NT, NSW, and Victoria.