Victoria appoints Nation’s first Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People

Minister for Community Services Mary Wooldridge today announced the appointment of Andrew Jackomos as Victoria’s first Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People.

Ms Wooldridge said this appointment is an historic step and recognises the vulnerabilities and significant over-representation of Aboriginal children and young people in the child protection system, and the Victorian Coalition Government’s commitment to improve outcomes for them.

“Victoria is the only jurisdiction in the country to have a dedicated Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People,” Ms Wooldridge said.

Andrew Jackomos, an Aboriginal man from Victoria, is well respected and has more than 30 years’ experience in Aboriginal affairs policy and public administration. He is currently Director of the Koori Justice Unit in the Department of Justice, and has a significant record of achievement in areas directly relevant to the Commission, including housing, justice, and education and training.

Mr Jackomos has been at the forefront of developing and implementing the Victorian Aboriginal Justice Agreement, including the Koori Court system. He was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2006 for his outstanding public service involving Indigenous issues in justice, and is a Member of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.

“As the Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children Inquiry highlighted, Aboriginal children are around 10 times more likely to be the subject of a substantiation of abuse or neglect compared with non-Aboriginal children,” Ms Wooldridge said.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Jeanette Powell welcomed the appointment and said the Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2013–2018 commits to significantly reducing Aboriginal disadvantage.

“The new Commissioner will play an important role in realising the Coalition Government’s commitment to protect and support vulnerable Aboriginal children and families,” Mrs Powell said.

The Coalition Government established the Commission for Children and Young People which started in March this year and operates independently to government.

Mr Jackomos will work alongside Principal Commissioner Bernie Geary and will oversee the Five year plan for Aboriginal children in out-of-home care and provide advice to government and service providers about policies and practices that will promote the safety and well-being of Aboriginal children.