NSWTOx Indigenous

A blog to share information & resources for Outreachers developing & delivering services & programs for Australian Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples.

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Thursday, June 28

Aboriginal Child Abuse - Proposed Reform Posting IV

Here is a copy of Mutitjulu community leaders Dorothea and Bob Randall letter concerning what more and more Aboriginal people and their supporters are calling 'John Howard and the Liberal Party's guise to Aboriginal land grabbing for their uranium waste dumps'...
Please Listen To Us

We welcome any real support for indigenous health and welfare and even two police will assist, but the Howard Government declared an emergency at our community over two years ago -- when they appointed an administrator to our health clinic -- and since then we have been without a doctor, we have fewer health workers, our council has been sacked, and all our youth and health programmes have been cut.

We have no CEO and limited social and health services. The Government has known about our overcrowding problem for at least 10 years and they’ve done nothing about it.

How do they propose keeping alcohol out of our community when we are 20 minutes away from a five-star hotel? Will they ban blacks from Yulara? We have been begging for an alcohol counsellor and a rehabilitation worker so that we can help alcoholics and substance abusers but those pleas have been ignored. What will happen to alcoholics when this ban is introduced? How will the Government keep the grog runners out of our community without a permit system?

We have tried to put forward projects to make our community economically sustainable -- like a simple coffee cart at the sunrise locations -- but the Government refuses to even consider them.

There is money set aside from the Jimmy Little foundation for a kidney dialysis machine at Mutitjulu, but National Parks won’t let us have it. That would create jobs and improve indigenous health but they just keep stonewalling us. If there is an emergency, why won’t Mal Brough fast-track our kidney dialysis machine?

Some commentators have made much of the cluster of s-xually transmitted diseases identified at our health clinic. People need to understand that the Mutitjulu health clinic (now effectively closed) is a regional clinic and patients come from as far away as WA and SA; so, to identify a cluster here is meaningless without seeing the confidential patient data.

The fact that we hold this community together with no money, no help, no doctor and no government support is a miracle. Any community, black or white would struggle if they were denied the most basic resources. Police and the military are fine for logistics and coordination, but health care, youth services, education and basic housing are more essential. Any program must involve the people on the ground or it won’t work. For example, who will interpret for the military?

Our women and children are scared about being forcibly examined; surely there is a need to build trust. Even the doctors say they are reluctant to examine a young child without a parent’s permission. Of course, any child that is vulnerable or at risk should be immediately protected, but a wholesale intrusion into our women's and children’s privacy is a violation of our human and sacred rights.

Where is the money for all the essential services? We need long-term financial and political commitment to provide the infrastructure and planning for our community. There is an urgent need for tens of millions of dollars to do what needs to be done. Will Mr Brough give us a commitment beyond the police and military?

The Commonwealth needs to work with us to put health and social services, housing and education in place rather than treating Mutitjulu as a political football.

But we need to set the record straight:

There is no evidence of any fraud or mismanagement at Mutitjulu – we have had an administration for 12 months that found nothing.

Mal Brough and his predecessor have been in control of our community for at least 12 months and we have gone backwards in services.

We have successfully eradicated petrol sniffing from our community in conjunction with government authorities and oil companies.

We have thrown suspected p-dophiles out of our community using the permit system which the Government now seeks take away from us.
We will work constructively with any government, state, territory or federal, that wants to help Aboriginal people.

Aboriginal Child Abuse - Proposed Reform Posting III

Here is ANTaR's media release concerning what more and more Aboriginal people and their supporters are calling 'John Howard and the Liberal Party's guise to Aboriginal land grabbing for their uranium waste dumps'...
Government’s misguided approach will add to trauma of children

Draconian measures announced by the Prime Minister today in response to the crisis of child abuse in Northern Territory Aboriginal communities would only add to the suffering of children, according to Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR).

ANTaR National Director, Gary Highland said that the Prime Minister was right to describe the widespread abuse of Aboriginal children as a national emergency but wrong in the way his government was seeking to overcome it.

“Particularly horrifying is the plan to introduce compulsory health checks for all Aboriginal children to examine for signs of abuse – regardless of whether this is suspected,” Mr Highland said.

“Little children are sacred. Compulsory and potentially invasive checks of this kind will add to their trauma,” he said.

Mr Highland said there was no other group in society that would be subject to these kinds of measures.

“Can you imagine what would happen if the Government ordered compulsory health checks for Anglo, Chinese, Jewish or Muslim children? There’d be an uproar. Yet the Prime Minister thinks it is appropriate to enforce this on Aboriginal children,” he said.

Mr Highland said efforts to stamp out child abuse should target the perpetrators rather than demonise whole communities.

The Government response also seemed to ignore the findings of the Little Children are Sacred report that non-Aboriginal men were also responsible for the abuse of Aboriginal children.

“We should tackle the extent of pornography and there may even be a case for banning it, but if this is going to happen it should occur across the board – in mining camps, lounge rooms as well as Aboriginal communities.”

Mr Highland said that while stopping alcohol abuse was essential to overcoming child abuse, prohibition would be unlikely to achieve this.

“Prohibition hasn’t worked anywhere else in the world. Why does the Prime Minister think it will work in the Northern Territory?”

Mr Highland said there was no doubting the sincerity and commitment of the Prime Minister and Minister Brough in relation to ending child abuse, but their misguided approach would be unlikely to achieve it.

“The heavy handed control of Aboriginal people helped create the problems of child abuse and violence. More of the same is not going to solve them,” Mr Highland said.

ANTaR has worked extensively to support Aboriginal people who are overcoming violence and child abuse. In 2006 it organized a forum in Parliament House, Canberra bringing Aboriginal leaders who have successfully tackled abuse and violence together with politicians and public servants to discuss strategies to overcome these problems. ANTaR is currently campaigning to urge the NSW Government to properly fund its response to the abuse of Aboriginal children in that state. Its Success Stories in Indigenous Health booklet released this week also profiles a number of successful programs that are tackling child abuse and its effects.

Media contact: Gary Highland on 02 9555 6138 or 0418 476 940.

Aboriginal Child Abuse - Proposed Reform Posting II

Here is a National Aboriginal Community Health Organisation (NACCHO) letter concerning what more and more Aboriginal people and their supporters are calling 'John Howard and the Liberal Party's guise to Aboriginal land grabbing for their uranium waste dumps'...

The NACCHO Executive has asked that this message be sent. Please forward to your contacts.

You will be aware that the Howard Government has announced a plan where “scores of doctors will be drafted to examine all 23,000-plus indigenous children in the Territory aged under 16 for evidence of sexual abuse” as reported by the Australian on June 22.

You will also be aware that under COAG, a program for the implementation of an accelerated child health check has been underway since first discussed in late November 2006 following an Intergovernmental Summit on Child Abuse in Indigenous Communities. The accelerated child health check program is a trial involving teams of GPs and nurses to be recruited to provide 2000 Aboriginal children with child health checks in 10 remote Aboriginal communities with established primary health care services. The roll-out of this trial has so far found that most services wish to adopt a ‘backfill model’ of recruitment where their local GPs (who have the skills and knowledge of the community) undertake the child checks rather than the other way around.

This is no surprise. The introduction of a broader program of child health checks for all Aboriginal children in the NT that concentrates on sexual health checks is disturbing. Some of the concerns have already been reported from the medical profession, such as the AMA in the NT, citing the workforce issues and the cultural sensitivities in implementing such a scheme.

Moreover, returning to the original NT Inquiry (“Little Children Are Sacred”) to which this proposal is a response, the Inquiry recommends the following health responses:

Home visiting programs; increased health centre focus on maternity, prenatal and early childhood support; increased health services capacity to deliver the focus by increasing support for PHCAP; increased primary health care training; using primary health care services as “hubs” for integrated health and welfare responses in remote communities; and in consultation with Aboriginal communities and organizations, that programs to address the underlying effects of ‘intergenerational’ trauma be developed to enhance emotional and social well-being.

The Inquiry did not recommend widespread sexual health checks (screening) of all Aboriginal children as proposed by the Howard Government.

NACCHO recommends that any governmental response that involves the health sector must proceed only after there has been consultation and support gained from Aboriginal communities and organizations. We invite the Government and all health bodies to engage with NACCHO prior to endorsing or supporting the Australian Governments proposals for screening all Aboriginal children under 16 years in the NT.

Please make contact with Ms Dea Thiele, CEO NACCHO on 0417046692, in order to ensure there is an evidence-based, and responsibly sensitive health sector response to proposals from the Australian government.

Aboriginal Child Abuse - Proposed Reform Posting I

Here is the NSW Reconciliation media release concerning what more and more Aboriginal people and their supporters are calling 'John Howard and the Liberal Party's guise to Aboriginal land grabbing for their uranium waste dumps'...

NSW Reconciliation Council calls on State Government to oppose
opportunistic Federal approach to addressing child abuse

The Federal Government’s overdue response to child abuse is a shameful example of political opportunism and will not achieve long term positive outcomes for Indigenous communities, according to the NSW Reconciliation Council.

‘The welfare of Aboriginal children should never be used for political purposes. Mr Howard’s behaviour is shameful. I will not stand silent while he uses the welfare of Aboriginal children for his own political gain,’ Mr Greg Davison, Chairperson of the NSW Reconciliation Council said. ‘Genuine action is necessary; we have seen government inaction on this issue for decades.’

The Council is calling on the NSW Government to lead the way on this issue by funding the implementation of the Breaking the Silence Report recommendations of its own Aboriginal Child Sexual Assault Taskforce. ‘In contrast to the Federal Government’s imposed, discriminatory, knee-jerk approach, these recommendations were developed in partnership with Aboriginal communities in NSW through the Aboriginal Child Sexual Assault Taskforce,’ explained Renee Williamson, Deputy Chairperson of the NSW Reconciliation Council.

The Council believes the Federal Government’s response fails to address the underlying systemic issues, which have caused many of the problems facing Indigenous communities today.’ Ms Williamson stated ‘history has shown us that complex problems such as abuse are not solved through punitive and paternalistic measures…This is protectionism all over again.

‘Trust is a precious commodity in Aboriginal communities. Coercion and fear will only exacerbate problems in the Northern Territory as they have done for so long in NSW,’ said NSW Reconciliation Council Board member Sally Fitzpatrick.

Child abuse is an issue requiring urgent action not only in Aboriginal communities, and not only in the Northern Territory. For Aboriginal communities in NSW, the Council believes that the NSW Government has the opportunity to take a different approach to the Federal Government. By funding the implementation of the NSW Interagency Plan based on the Breaking the Silence Report, the NSW Government will work together with Aboriginal communities to effectively address the issue in partnership.

‘Real solutions can only be found at the local level and only when the system provides trust and support’ explained David Crew, NSW Reconciliation Board member.

Media Enquiries
For all media enquiries please contact Greg Davison (Chair) on 0418 969 022 or Renee Williamson (Deputy Chair) on 0409 410 285.

Tuesday, June 12

Up At The Whitsundays.......

We are all here in Bowen just finishing celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Bowen Christian Family Centre.
Bowen is located at the top of the Whitsunday Islands and is just so dreamy hey......drifter hey....actually it used to be a sleepy old town but since hollywood Horseshoe Bay in Bowen Nth Queenslandhas hit it ....it has become.....what can I say....starstruck to say the least n a bit of a Bowenwood......just like hollywood hey.....you just never know who you are going to meet down the street ....from a local who has become an instant star to the stars themselves like Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Jack Thompson, Brian Brown just to name a few.....and talk about the beaches...I couldn't make up my mind as to which beach to go too for a swim.....the choices where too many.....

And my cousin, Diann is taking heaps of photos from movie set to the stars.....n here is a little tease ok...This is a scene from the movie, Australia, which was filmed in Bowen