WGAR News: The Federal Budget and Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander communities

Newsletter date: 20 May 2013


* The Stringer: Homeless protest at Matagarup - "we will not be swept away"
* Tracker: Anger in Perth over Heirisson Island plans
* NIRS: Matagarup development protested in Perth
* Background to the Nyoongar Tent Embassy, Heirisson Island (Matagarup), Perth, WA

* Emma Murphy, Green Left: New laws to criminalise drinking
* NAAJA has criticised the NT government's announcement of alcohol protection orders
* Other Northern Territory News

* The Federal Budget and Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander communities


- Analysis / Opinion

The Stringer: Homeless protest at Matagarup - "we will not be swept away"
16 May 13: "Noongar Tent Embassy members and the Last of the River People have gathered this morning in numbers alongside many of Perth’s record Aboriginal homeless to protest the State’s neglect. Only hours ago scores have begun to gather to later on today protest at Heirrison Island (Matagarup), the site where Noongar Tent Embassy had stood last year till confronted by hundreds of police officers who came to eject them."


- News

newsTracker: Anger in Perth over Heirisson Island plans
17 May 13: "WESTERN AUSTRALIA: The spectre of Indigenous protest on Perth’s Heirisson Island has returned, with local Aboriginal elders angry at plans to revamp the inner-city island on the Swan River. A year after angry protests at a tent embassy on the island, a scheme to transform the area with new bridges, a sculpture park and an amphitheatre have led to accusations of desecration of a sacred site. Indigenous activists claim the site as sacred to traditional owners, with the land said to be a former birthing ground for indigenous women."


- Audio

National Indigenous Radio Service: Matagarup development protested in Perth
20 May 13: "There’s been a protest in Perth against the proposed re-development of Matagarup, or Heirisson Island. ... But Nyungah rights campaigner Herbert Bropho says Matagarup is a significant site for his people - currently, it’s where the Noongar Embassy sits. He says they should have been consulted."


Last updated: 9 February 2013



- Analysis / Opinion

Green Left: New laws to criminalise drinking
18 May 13: "The Country Liberal (CLP) government of the Northern Territory announced sweeping new police powers on May 10 that will, in effect, criminalise drinking across the NT. Police will be able to issue "alcohol protection orders" to anybody charged with an alcohol-related offence that carries a minimum sentence of six months in prison. The orders will be issued for three months at a time (up to 12 months in total), and prevent the person from consuming alcohol or being on licensed premises." By Emma Murphy


- Statement

North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA): "NAAJA has criticised the NT government’s announcement of alcohol protection orders"
Green Left: [scroll down page] http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/54095
13 May 13: "The North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) has criticised the NT government’s announcement of alcohol protection orders as being ineffective, a waste of money and potentially dangerous.
"The government is asking us to believe that people with a serious grog problem are going to stop drinking overnight because of an alcohol protection order," said NAAJA’s CEO Priscilla Collins. "We know that is not going to work and for people who have a serious addiction, this is potentially very dangerous.
"The Territory has a drinking problem and it needs a comprehensive medical and public health response, not a punitive criminal one."
The laws criminalise drinking by making it an offence to breach an alcohol protection order. Minister Tollner has admitted that this will mean more people will be locked up and go to jail for drinking. It will overwhelmingly impact Aboriginal people and lead to the deaths of more Aboriginal people in custody."


- News

National Indigenous Radio Service: NT mandatory treatment bill released
16 May 13: "The Northern Territory Government has announced its strategy for mandatory treatment for problem drinkers is now open for public scrutiny. The controversial policy has attracted criticism from a range of organisations, including the People’s Alcohol Action Coalition, the North Australia Aboriginal Justice Agency and NT Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance."

- Audio

National Indigenous Radio Service: Arnhem Land man opposes adoption idea
20 May 13: "A senior traditional owner from the Maningrida community in the Northern Territory’s Arnhem Land says he doesn’t support the idea of Aboriginal children being adopted outside their own communities. ... Eddie Mason says the extended family has always played a role in raising children amongst his people and the young ones risk losing their culture."

Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association: Childrens Commissioner says Northern Territory has lowest level of service provision !
17 May 13: "Shock and anger across the Northern Territory at claims by Chief Minister Adam Giles that he will remove neglected Aboriginal children from their parents and place them in adopted homes if necessary. Northern Territory Children’s Commissioner Dr Howard Bath says the Northern Territory has the lowest level of service provision of any jurisdiction but an extremely high number of vulnerable children coming into the system."

Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association:
17 May 13: "The Northern Territory’s peak representative body for those affected by poverty and disadvantage says it was disappointed that the Northern Territory’s Budget Failed to prioritise those who need help the most."

Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association:
15 May 13: "Better news in the Territory budget with the Giles Government saying it is committed to addressing Indigenous disadvantage by improving services and facilities in regional centres and the bush homelands."

- News

Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association: NT Council of Social Service 'dissapointed' at Territory Budget's priorities
17 May 13: "The Northern Territory’s peak representative body for those affected by poverty and disadvantage says it was disappointed that the Northern Territory’s Budget failed to prioritise those who need help the most. The Northern Territory Council of Social Service (NTCOSS) says the previous mini budget slashed support services for children most at risk in the NT and This budget has done nothing to fix that. ... Ms Morton [Wendy Morton, Executive Director of NTCOSS] said 'Non-government organisations in the Territory are working on the frontline with the most vulnerable and at risk children, young people and families ... "


- Media Release

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News Alerts: NACCHO 2013 budget press release: Lack of detail leaves a question mark over Aboriginal health
15 May 13: "The $777 million commitment to Close the Gap initiatives in the 2013 Federal Budget is welcome however the Aboriginal health Community Controlled sector remains concerned about the lack of detail on how and where the money will be spent.
National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Chair, Justin Mohamed, said it was critical that adequate funding was dedicated to support and grow Aboriginal Community Controlled Health services where the biggest gains were being made in improving Aboriginal health. ...
"The lack of clarity in the Budget around how funding will flow to Aboriginal primary Community Controlled Health services is very concerning," Mr Mohamed said.
"Aboriginal Community Controlled Health services need to be at the forefront of any comprehensive primary health care model.
"It is these services - run by Aboriginal people, for Aboriginal people - that are making the biggest improvements to the health of their communities. ... "

- Audio

SBS Radionews Podcasts: $25 million boost for Indigenous health research
By Thisanka Siripala
17 May 13: "The Lowitja Institute has gained another $25 million to keep funding research into Indigenous health over the next five years. ... After a public campaign to try to secure extra funding, the Institute says it's a big relief. Chief executive Lyn Brodie told Thisanka Siripala it will enable it continue research on critical issues affecting Indigenous health."

SBS Radionews Podcasts: New bid to address Indigenous disability
By Thea Cowie
17 May 13: "After years of neglect, there's some hope that Indigenous Australians with disabilities will get the assistance they need. ... Indigenous people with a disability face many barriers including the fact that their own languages don't even recognise the word. But after years of neglect Australia's first people are hopeful they will finally get the assistance they need. As part of the launch of Disability Care Australia, the federal government is proposing a plan to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people benefit. Thea Cowie reports."

SBS World News: Migrant and Indigenous reaction to federal budget
Source: Michael Kenny, SBS
15 May 13: "There has been a mixed reaction to the federal budget from migrant and Indigenous community organisations. ... some Indigenous organisations are particularly critical of government plans to cut funding to the representative body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. ... The government has halved its funding allocation to the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples, providing $5 million a year for three years from 2014-15. The legal director at the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, Michael Mansell, believes the Congress has never been given the support it has needed."

- Videos

SBS World News: Budget outcomes for Indigenous Aussies
Source: Jeremy Geia, NITV
14 May 13: "NITV correspondent Jeremy Geia takes a look at how the federal budget announcements will affect those in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It has been revealed that 340 remote Indigenous communities in five states will share $44.1 million for essential services such as power, water and sewerage. That work will start in July. Indigenous education is also getting a boost. A plan to send 7000 students to boarding school will be backed by a $10 million grant to the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation ... "

SBS World News: Q&A: What next for Indigenous funding?
Source: Rhiannon Elston, SBS
14 May 13: "With an election looming and some key Indigenous funding policies nearing expiry, is the pattern of government investment for Indigenous policies set to change? Jon Altman of the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research at the Australian National University tells SBS reporter Rhiannon Elston why he doesn't expect to see Indigenous spending on the agenda on budget night."

- Analysis / Opinion

The Stringer: Homeless forever forgotten by the Commonwealth
15 May 13: "Homeless people and the most vulnerable missed out once again in the Federal Budget - their numbers continue to rise but little is done about it. However some groups that work with our most vulnerable found some positives in the 2013 Budget. Mission Australia characterised the Federal Government’s Budget as one of many missed opportunities "scattered among positive initiatives." Mission Australia’s CEO, Toby Hall, said the Government deserved praise on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and what little of the Gonski education reforms were upheld."

- News

newsTracker: New closing the gap target for disability
17 May 13: "NATIONAL: Increasing Aboriginal people’s access to disability services will become a federal government target ahead of the introduction of the national disability care scheme. First Peoples Disability Network executive officer Damien Griffis will lead a working group to develop the target, under the Closing the Gap program to address Indigenous disadvantage. ... Mr Griffis said DisabilityCare, as the scheme is known, needed to be more indigenous-friendly, given the concept of disability was barely acknowledged in many Aboriginal communities."

newsTracker: Black budget gets broad support
16 May 13: "NATIONAL: Key groups supporting Indigenous Australians are broadly giving the thumbs up to the federal budget. In it, the government has confirmed $777 million will be spent renewing the National Partnership on Closing the Gap on Indigenous Health Outcomes. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda says commitments to Indigenous health, education, welfare reform and other services mean $1.6 billion has been promised for indigenous initiatives overall."

newsTracker: NT welfare groups unhappy with budget
15 May 13: "Social welfare groups in the Northern Territory are criticising Canberra for failing to raise the Newstart allowance in the federal budget. The Northern Territory Council of Social Service (NTCOSS), which represents many NT community groups, said the high cost of living in the territory left welfare recipients in the jurisdiction vulnerable if there was no rise to payments. ... About 30 per cent of the NT’s population identifies as being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and Ms Morton welcomed a commitment from the government to continue to fund Closing the Gap measures."

- Audio

National Indigenous Radio Service: 10-point plan to support NDIS roll-out
20 May 13: "The Federal Government has backed a plan by a peak body to increase access to disability services for Indigenous Australians. ... The Government has responded with nine hundred thousand to fund the plan. Executive officer of the network is Damian Griffis."

National Indigenous Radio Service: Gonski money pleases Congress Co-Chair
16 May 13: "The Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples, Les Malezer, says there are both positives and negatives in this year’s Federal Budget. ... Mr. Malezer has welcomed the allocation of 9.8 billion dollars for the Gonski school education plan. He told 98.9fm he was pleased to see the Government pay attention to remote communities with the commitment for better internet services in those areas."

National Indigenous Radio Service: Challenges ahead of the NDIS roll-out: Network
16 May 13: "The First Peoples Disability Network has welcomed the Federal Government’s budget commitment to the national disability insurance scheme, but says the challenge is to ensure Indigenous Australians get their share. ... The network says about half of the Indigenous population in Australia has a disability or long term health problem. Executive Officer Damian Griffis says improved access to care will be beneficial."

National Indigenous Radio Service: Budget funding boost for legal services
16 May 13: "A clear winner of the Federal Government's budget announcements this year are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services. ... NATSILS Chair Shane Duffy has been combing through the details in Canberra. His reaction to the announcement has been cautious."

National Indigenous Radio Service: Call for more detail on health spending
16 May 13: "The Chief Executive of the National Aboriginal and Community Controlled Health Organisation says the Federal Government must be honest and transparent on Indigenous health funding. ... NACCHO’s Justin Mohamed is calling for more information on the funding arrangements. Mr. Mohamed says he wants to see the majority of the funding for primary health care directed to the Indigenous community controlled health sector."

National Indigenous Radio Service: Caution urged over remote services funding
16 May 13: "The founder of the First Nations Political Party says people in remote communities should be cautious about the announcement of Federal funding for municipal and essential services. ... Territory resident Maurie Japarta Ryan says the money needs to flow directly to communities and not get caught up in bureaucracy."

National Indigenous Radio Service: Community health group wants budget share
14 May 13: "The head of the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council is warning the Federal Government not to neglect the community-controlled health sector in the budget. Selwyn Button says community groups can’t afford to miss out on the Government’s promised seven-hundred-and-seventy-seven million dollars for Closing the Gap."

National Indigenous Radio Service: Funding call for hospital mentoring program
14 May 13: "The Australian Hospitals and Healthcare Association has recommended the Federal budget include funding for a National Indigenous Hospital Demonstration and Mentoring Program. ... The association’s Andrew McAuliffe says it’d aim to increase the cultural appropriateness of care in acute settings, such as hospitals."

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