Mick Gooda will be missed as Social Justice Commissioner

2 August 2016 

Mick Gooda will be missed as Social Justice Commissioner 

The New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) has welcomed the appointment of Mick Gooda as co-commissioner of the Royal Commission into Juvenile Detention in the Northern Territory but said he will be greatly missed as Social Justice Commissioner.

NSWALC Chair Roy Ah-See said Mr Gooda was a highly-effective Social Justice Commissioner who made enormous contributions to the Close the Gap and Change the Record campaigns as well as in areas such as constitutional recognition, property rights, stolen wages and overcoming lateral violence in Aboriginal communities.

"Mick Gooda will be missed as Social Justice Commissioner, but his integrity and the respect in which he is held by Aboriginal people will be real assets to the Royal Commission.

"All of us were sickened by the horrors uncovered by the Four Corners program on the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre. Given the seriousness of this issue, it was appropriate that Mick resigned from the Human Rights Commission to accept the new challenge."

Cr Ah-See said the Government had done the right thing by listening to the calls by Aboriginal people to appoint an Aboriginal co-commissioner.

"For it to succeed, Aboriginal people must have confidence in the Royal Commission so it was pleasing that the Government listened to advice that Mr Gooda was the best person for the job.

Cr Ah-See repeated NSWALC's call that the Royal Commission's terms of reference should be broadened to include juvenile justice in other states and territories.

In New South Wales the average daily number of young people in custody was 286, with young Aboriginal people accounting for more than half of that number (150). Nationally, Aboriginal people account for more than half of young people in detention.  

"Given the shameful over-representation of young Aboriginal people in detention throughout Australia, the Federal Government should consider broadening its investigations to other States and Territories," he said. 

Media contact: Andrew Williams 0429 585 291