Spirited Protest Marks 4 Years of Failed NT Intervention
The Federal government will “meet its Waterloo” in its attempt to extend income management, a plank of the NT Intervention, to parts of Sydney, protesters say.
On Saturday June 25, several hundred people took to the streets of Sydney to protest the “atrocious” impacts of the NT Intervention, introduced four years ago this week.
Social breakdown had accelerated in the four years since the legislation was introduced, Paddy Gibson, a researcher with the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at the University of Technology Sydney(UTS), told the crowd at Town Hall.
“They have ripped the guts out of remote communities and are trying to force people into the major town centres, into the main cities and to assimilate into mainstream Australia.”
“What person could turn around and say this policy is doing good, this policy is taking things forward, when people are being locked up, kids are starving and people are committing suicide at higher rates?”
Mr Gibson said the Stop The Intervention Collective Sydney (STICS) which organised the rally, would fight the introduction of income management in western Sydney “every step of the way.” From July 1 next year, the federal government will introduce income management to five areas around the country, including Bankstown.
Residents deemed by Centrelink to be financially “vulnerable” will have 50% to 70% of their welfare payments quarantined on a BasicsCard, which restricts recipients to purchasing approved items at certain major chain stores. In the NT, the use of the BasicsCard has been plagued with technical problems and its effects criticised, including in a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia.
Jack Johnson, CEO of the Gandangara Aboriginal Land Council, which covers the Bankstown area, said the federal government would fail in its attempt to introduce income management.
“Let them come, this is the place they will meet their Waterloo”, he said.
The protest also launched a Statement titled “Rebuilding From The Ground Up”, which outlines an 11-point Alternative to the NT Intervention. The Statement has been widely supported by Aboriginal leaders, organisations, and supporters. It can be viewed at: http://stoptheintervention.org/alternatives-to-the-intervention
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