A local 20 year plan vs a federal ‘knee-jerk’ at Wadeye?
Australia needs to commit to a long term plan if it?s to tackle the causes and symptoms of problems in Indigenous communities, says the NT Chief Minister.
In a discussion with John Howard outlining the need for a joint and committed approach, Clare Martin has proposed a 20 year plan that will set clear targets at 5, 10, 15 and 20 years. She says, ?The experience of the last three decades shows that knee-jerk reactions don?t work ? the only way to achieve generational change is through a sustained, bilateral approach.?
BUT, although there have been protestations of directives being ‘misunderstood’, it does seems as though Canberra is threatening the residents of Wadeye, “Send children to school or cash stops”.
Some details :
The Martin plan (short to medium term)
The Wadeye local council/Canberra stand-off
A letter from the Wadeye elders to Mal Brough – obtained by The Age – indicates Canberra may be blaming Wadeye residents for all the community’s problems while ignoring its own neglect and lack of understanding. Canberra runs the risk of damaging an established community/government partnership by making unrealistic demands….in order to get a quick political fix?
Basic elements of the stand-off:
Where to from here?
Despite recent bad news there ARE success stories in Indigenous communities.
In northeast Arnhem Land The Australian’s Mike Steketee reports on optimism in Indigenous communities. A radio service broadcasting in the local Yolgnu language, set up in 2004, has been providing info about:
It reaches communities numbering around 7000 people over an area about a third of Victoria, as well as another 1000 in Darwin.
The radio station has English language programs BUT, Andrew Trugden – a white community development officer who helped set up the radio service – believes that teaching people in something other than their first language, disadvantages them and they do not receive a ‘proper’ education.
The results of this approach?
Other good news
Into the future
Most are adamant that the current levels of sexual degradation and assault is “a grog culture not Aboriginal culture.” It is helpful to look at the common themes of the success stories:
Mike Steketee concludes saying that while we need more police and tougher penalties for serious crimes we should also correct under-funding of health, education, housing & other services when compared with the rest of Australia, and not to compound the failures by abandoning what works.