Fortnightly(!) fruit & veg part of a multi-layered problem
Collaboration on delivery of perishable goods to remote Indigenous communities seems to have been a standout point at an Adelaide conference this week.
Community leaders, store managers & freight companies looked at how neighbouring communities have been using different trucking companies.
Bililuna – far north WA – store manager Tom Waller says, “The suggestion we’ve come up with is that Bililuna, Balgo and Mulan particularly (those communities)…in close proximity…. get everyone together and …come up with a joint effort in.. approaching a freight service provider to get… delivery on a weekly basis.”
At the same time WA Indigenous Affairs Minister, Sheila McHale, said that Monday’s national summit on Indigenous violence must address issues aside from law and order, as things are just not that simple.
“Law and order of itself will not deal with the chronic poverty and dysfunctional circumstances which we find Aboriginal people in,” she said, “It’s a multi-layered problem.”
AFTER the summit Fred Chaney, a former Aboriginal affairs minister in the Fraser Government, said in an interview on Lateline that not enough money is being invested in basic needs.
“I’m sick of hearing people say you can’t throw money at it,” he said. “[There is] a fundamental lack of basic normal support for Indigenous communities. “The fact is there’s a major issue here, where it’s very hard to see the governments of Australia really facing up to on a long-term consistent basis where they really tackle these problems at root and branch.”
A recent Senate report on petrol sniffing calls on governments to tackle the problem collaboratively and establish priorities for the roll-out of non-sniffable Opal fuel.
It also found communities are frustrated that solutions proposed by countless other official inquiries have not been implemented!
To address the inaction and flawed spending Noel Pearson, Patrick Dodson and Marcia Langton – all board members of the Lingiari Policy Centre, a new Indigenous think tank – have called for a ‘national action plan’ and proposed a body like the Productivity Commission to oversee reforms.
Noel Pearson said “You need the equivalent of the Productivity Commission that supervises this whole transition from a kind of we-need-to-take-responsibility-for-hopeless-people approach, to one of making sure everything we do is aimed at letting Aboriginal people stand on their own two feet.”
Patrick Dodson supported the idea saying, “We need a body that has teeth, that is capable of auditing what has been spent and what has been promised ? that can hold departments and ministers accountable.”
Professor Langton also agreed saying it would take the politics out of the issue and promote a bipartisan consensus.
Although it’s not regularly reported there is ‘self help’ going on in Indigenous communities. A body like the Productivity Commission, as suggested, could tie all these efforts together and make sure government money went where it was intended and the efforts would be assessed to see if it new ideas were working or not…it’s worth a try!