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Broome Diocese speaks out against ATSIC abolition

Coordinator of the Office of Justice, Ecology and Peace in Broome, Br Shane Wood, strongly regretted the decision of the Howard Government to replace the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission with an appointed body of Indigenous advisors.

"Everybody is aware that the functioning of ATSIC has been a matter of serious concern for some time," he said. "However, that does not necessarily justify removing the option of having grassroots representation for indigenous people."

He said the proposed move represents a "drastic reversal" for Indigenous people across Australia that will do "untold damage to the process of reconciliation".

Br Wood said appointed advisors from amongst "eminent indigenous people" will not replace the valuable local knowledge possessed by the elected representatives and the regional councils.

"We are in danger of regressing to the days when Governments boasted that they knew what was best for Indigenous people without asking them," he said.

Howard Government insults Indigenous people and our intelligence (Office of Justice, Ecology and Peace, Diocese of Broome 19/4/04)

Catholic Diocese of Broome
Uniting Church condemns Government decision to 'kill off' ATSIC (Insights 16/4/04)
A voice cries in the wilderness (Anglican Media/National Council of Churches of Australia 19/4/04)

20 Apr 2004