The Director of Reconciliation Australia, Fred Chaney, is reported saying:
“I am genuinely confident that 2008 will see Australia move closer to achieving reconciliation…
Early signs from the Prime Minister and Minister for Indigenous Affairs give me great hope that the new Government will distinguish itself in important ways: by listening to Aboriginal people, respecting their ideas and involving them closely and respectfully in developing programs that affect them; and by basing policy on all the evidence we have about what actually works…
I’m also looking forward to seeing other sectors taking greater responsibility. This year, as part of the 40th anniversary of the 1967 constitutional referendum recognising Aborigines, all sorts of organisations, including big corporates such as Qantas and the ANZ bank, have committed to specific, measurable targets to help close the gap. There are many more in the pipeline and the cumulative impact is exciting.”
ANZ’s Reconciliation Action Plan sets out specific and measurable steps:
With regard to all important jobs ANZ aims to:
QANTAS Key Reconciliation Action Areas Summary and Timeline
QANTAS plans a buddy support mechanisms for new Indigenous recruits to ensure cultural connection, integration and support within the QANTAS workforce. They will review the number of Ingigenous employees against key targets:
June 2008 – 200 employees
June 2009 – 300 ”
June 2010 – 450 ”
Both organisations have governance groups, made up of internal and external specialists and stakeholders, to guide and manage programs.
The Australian reports that
“there has been a subtle but total shift in the nature of the intervention, initially dressed-up as a kick-down-the-doors child-sex emergency but now taking the more realistic approach of trying to turn the communities into sane, liveable places…
The intervention is less invasive than imagined. The Northern Territory Government, initially shocked by the emergency, then humiliated, has seen the benefits: it knows that over the five-year period will come an enormous injection of commonwealth funding to the bush.
The quarantining of welfare money, or income management, is being rolled out in stages, with a sweep of central Australian communities the first to experience the regime…
People can choose to have their welfare quarantined to their local store, which electronically manages the money for food or essentials (but not cigarettes), or, if a person wishes to spend in, say, Alice Springs, they can get a Centrelink card that works at Woolies or Kmart, but not at the bottle shop.
Stores where we’ve introduced income management have had an increased turnover of 20-30 per cent… money that was potentially being spent on gambling or grog is now being spent on food and essentials…
Mavis Malbunka, 63, an emerging spokeswoman for Aboriginal women from Hermannsburg, in the centre… has now lived with income management for close to six months. “We see the benefits,” she says. “There’s no money running out. Income management is a great help for Aboriginal people; in Hermannsburg I hear no complaint about income management.” She says it is too early to say whether gambling has been stamped out, because there is still cash money available in the un-quarantined welfare payment.”
Perhaps in 2008, the 40th anniversary of the referendum recognising Aborigines, we will finally see positive change?