Local Aboriginal elders have met with an Adelaide-based law institute to discuss how law reforms could better include Indigenous peoples.
Adnyamathanha elder Charles Jackson OAM was one of the Aboriginal elders who spoke with South Australian Law Reform Institute (SALRI).
SALRI has been visiting Upper Spencer Gulf communities as it looks to review the Ageing and Adult Safeguarding Act and the Mental Health Act.
For the Adult Safeguarding Act, a big focus has been on vulnerable people and what constitutes vulnerability.
According to Mr Jackson, both vulnerability and mental health come up often in Aboriginal communities.
"When we talk about people being vulnerable, Aboriginal people haven't made themselves vulnerable," he said.
"It's government policy that has made Aboriginal people vulnerable for the simple reason that there's not a lot of support out there for Aboriginal people."
He said Aboriginal people have been facing hundreds of years of emotional and psychological pressures which affect the whole community.
"The younger generation are experiencing that at the moment," Mr Jackson said.
"I'm one of those lucky ones where I'm well over my 70s now and I can speak freely about this."
Mr Jackson said it was important for institutes like SALRI and for law students to gain Aboriginal perspectives because they might help shape future government policy.
"What I said to the law students and the people involved in that, one day those individuals could be one of those people who could have a role to play in the framing of a legislation," he said.
"If we can Aboriginalise those legislations and then turn them into policy, those policies then have Aboriginal influence in them.
"Then eventually, government will have the responsibility to do a lot more for the individuals, whether it's young people or elderly people with mental health issues, and to help the vulnerable in our community."
SALRI deputy director David Plater meeting with Aboriginal elders and community groups was a vital part of the law reform process.
"Not just that tokenistic, outdated consultation, but honest and respectful consultation with local elders and local community groups," he said.
"We find in the regions and Aboriginal communities there's a whole perspective on the law, how the law operates, access to justice, access to services you simply don't hear about in metropolitan communities."
SALRI will be continuing to tour regional South Australia for community input on both Acts in the coming weeks.
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