• Sandra Creamer, CEO of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women's Alliance and Domestic Abuse survivor (NITV)Source: NITV
The commitment comes after Women's Safety Minister Anne Ruston ruled out a separate plan in April.
Sarah Collard

9 Sep 2021 - 7:17 AM  UPDATED 9 Sep 2021 - 7:17 AM

Demands from prominent Indigenous experts at this week's national summit have led to a Federal government commitment to develop a specific national plan to tackle family violence in Indigenous communities.

Professor Sandra Creamer, chair of the government's advisory panel, welcomed the move after previous plans neglected the needs of Indigenous women and children.

"Of course it's failed, that's a proven fact. But now it's time to move forward," she said.

Ms Creamer, a survivor of family violence and said it's vital that those with lived experience have their expertise highlighted. 

The Waanyi and Kalkadoon woman said addressing violence is complex and multifaceted and requires commitments from governments across the country.

"It's about a safe place and safe communities. That is created by housing, jobs, education and having the right to just have a good life as Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander peoples," Ms Creamer said. 

Dr Hannah McGlade, a human rights lawyer with an extensive background in women's safety and family violence, said social inequity, racism and violence are connected and must be considered. 

"We need culturally appropriate responses to Indigenous women which we are simply not seeing in this one size fits all approach," Dr McGlade said. 

"We have always been very clear, that we can't participate in tokenism measures to address violence, because at the end of the day this is our women and children's lives at stake — and we are losing too many."

Minister for Women's Safety Anne Ruston said the government was collaborating with advocacy groups and elders to create a National Plan for Indigenous women. 

"They were very keen to develop an action plan that was absolutely specific for Indigenous women... There will be a plan that is designed by Indigenous leaders," Senator Ruston told NITV News. 

The commitment comes after the Minister ruled out a separate plan earlier this year and acknowledged previous plans did not adequately take into account the different experiences of Indigenous women. 

"We heard loud and clear that Indigenous women don't believe that the previous plan, addressed the issues that were specific to their communities and that's why we've done all this consultation."

She said the government would work with Indigenous communities and elders to create a new plan that focused on Indigenous solutions.

Professor Marcia Langton, June Oscar and Ms Creamer were panelists at the national summit this week.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar told the panel Indigenous women must be a priority.

"We have always experienced being an afterthought, add on or linked-in measure. We have got to stop that practice. That is ethnocentrism," she said on Monday. 

OPINION: A racist system is failing First Nations women. Let us lead the way on domestic violence
OPINION: Discrimination and racism are two of the biggest perpetrators of violence, and that abuse is evident in the statistics around domestic and family violence and Aboriginal women, writes Ashlee Donohue.