Indigenous Gap Widens
Demise of CDEP (Community Development Employment Projects)
Bilingual Education in the NT
Alice Springs Town Camps
Other NT Intervention articles


– Full text of Productivity Commission report

Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Indicators 2009

– Media Releases

Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney Media release:
“Sickening” Hypocrisy:
The Gap Will Widen as Rudd Cuts Thousands of Indigenous Jobs
6 Jul 09: “Aboriginal rights advocates have renewed calls
for the government to save the Community Development
Employment Projects scheme following the release of the
Productivity Commission’s report which shows Indigenous
disadvantage increased under the Howard government. The
report made clear that Indigenous ownership and control are
crucial components of any programs which successfully combat
Indigenous disadvantage. Advocates have condemned as
hypocritical Kevin Rudd’s commitment to redouble efforts to
‘close the gap’, in the same week that tens of thousands of
CDEP workers are made unemployed and Aboriginal organization
across the country lose a crucial source of funding.”

Australian Human Rights Commission:
Report highlights need for things to be done differently
2 Jul 09: “Today’s Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage
Report shows little progress has been made in closing the
gap for Indigenous people but provides the strongest
argument yet for the need for a new way of working with
Indigenous people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma has said. … “We
need fresh approaches which acknowledge and work from the
basis that the answers to many of the long-term problems
facing Aboriginal and Torres Trait Islander communities
will not come from Canberra, but from those communities
themselves,” he [Commissioner Calma] said. “National
planning that involves Indigenous people, their
representative bodies and peak organisations is the only way
forward in truly overcoming Indigenous disadvantage.” ”

Greens: Widening gap in Indigenous disadvantage symptomatic
of a failing approach
2 Jul 09: “The release today of a report showing that
indicators of Indigenous social and economic disadvantage
haven’t improved and in some cases have got worse should be
a strong signal to Government that the dictatorial,
top-down approach taken by both the Howard and Rudd
Governments simply isn’t working and needs to change. …
“The unprecedented level of investment of the Northern
Territory Emergency Response (NTER) and the COAG ‘Close the
Gap’ commitments have not resulted in any significant
improvements in outcomes to date,” said Senator Siewert.”

ANTaR: COAG meeting welcomed, but work in partnership with
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
1 Jul 09: “ANTaR emphasised that the investments
governments are making in Indigenous affairs must be
accompanied by a measurable, long term action plan and
genuine partnerships with Indigenous people. Continued
public support for investment in this area demands that
funds are spent wisely, based on evidence of what works in
the long term. Dr Hunt also cautioned that the goal of
Closing Gaps could not be achieved by governments working
alone or against the aspirations [of] Indigenous people,
for example, through failing to support homelands
communities, bilingual education, or their ability to
manage their own income.”

Close the Gap:
Will COAG deliver on Indigenous health?
1 Jul 09: “The Close the Gap campaign will be watching
tomorrow’s Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting
in Darwin to see if governments commit to genuine
partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
peoples. … Mr Calma said money alone was not enough and
that closing the unacceptable life expectancy gap would not
happen unless COAG supports four critical measures: … ”

– Opinion

Green Left: Racism kills: Close the gap
4 Jul 09: “A report released at the COAG meeting,
Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Indicators 2009,
said on all social indicators Aboriginal wellbeing had
remained static or gone backwards since 2000. …
Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Indicators 2009
found that, overall, the programs and policies addressing
Indigenous disadvantage that have positive results have
focused on community involvement approaches. However,
Rudd’s policies all say the same thing to Aboriginal
people: You can’t be trusted to run your own affairs. If
Rudd continues with these policies that demean and punish
Aboriginal people, the gap won’t close – it will continue
to widen.” Peter Robson & Emma Murphy

Crikey: Closing the gap: let’s talk about things that work
3 Jul 09: “Closing the Indigenous gap was never going to be
easy, but the reception of the Productivity Commission
report will unfortunately make it harder. Media and
political responses have focused on the child abuse and
extreme deviance increases and have generally reinforced
the widespread views that nothing has worked. These media
responses are problematic because they reinforce the
propensity of governments to look for quick fix
authoritarian responses, based on assumptions that the
faults are with the intransigence of the communities, who
fail to respond to good intentions.”
Eva Cox, member of Women for Wik

– Video

ABC 7.30 Report:
Sobering statistics show Indigenous gap widening
2 Jul 09: “Today state and federal leaders were confronted
with a sobering set of statistics that suggest things just
keep getting worse for indigenous Australians, including
some staggering increases in areas like child abuse and
aboriginal incarceration, with little or no gains in
education and health. Peter Sutton argues that some harsh
realities have to be addressed if there is to be any hope
for long term solutions and that government policies over
decades have been misguided and denied the inevitable.”

ABC Lateline:
Accusations of indifference as Indigenous gap widens
2 Jul 09: “The indigenous apology gave Kevin Rudd one of
his early defining moments, but today came the disturbing
dose of reality with news the gap in living standards
between black and white Australia is actually widening.”
[includes comments by PM Kevin Rudd, Gary Banks of
Productivity Commission, Jenny Macklin and Mal Brough]

– News

ABC: Indigenous disadvantage findings ‘sickening’
3 Jul 09: “A western New South Wales Aboriginal leader, Dr
Beryl Carmichael, says she is not surprised by a bleak
report released by the Minister for Indigenous Affairs,
Jenny Macklin. … Dr Carmichael says the results are
sickening and she says the Government needs to stop
throwing money at the problem. … “Go out to the
communities, listen to the aspirations of the communities
and then work with the community to find the solutions.” ”

National Indigenous Times:
Govts don’t know full picture on Indigenous Australia: Rudd
3 Jul 09: “Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has admitted
governments across Australia do not have a clear picture of
what’s happening on the ground in remote Indigenous
communities. His comments were prompted by a national
report which found Indigenous child abuse had become worse
since 2001.”

National Indigenous Times:
Closing the gap a long-term and ‘huge’ project: Gillard
3 Jul 09: “The Rudd government knew it would take time to
close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage, which is why it
set targets for 2020, Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard

National Indigenous Times:
Closing the gap report reflects poorly on coalition: Macklin
3 Jul 09: “A report showing lack of progress in closing the
gap between black and white Australia is an indictment of
the Howard government, Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny
Macklin says.”

National Indigenous Times:
Indigenous leaders call for COAG to spend dollars wisely
2 Jul 09: “Government leaders are being warned not to
squander the millions of dollars set aside for Indigenous
health on state and commonwealth bureaucracies. Prime
Minister Kevin Rudd says Aboriginal disadvantage will be a
top priority at the meeting of state and territory leaders
in Darwin on Thursday. But lobby groups are warning a
national plan will only work if the money hits the ground,
and it’s developed in consultation with Aboriginal people.”

National Indigenous Times:
Little achieved in raising Indigenous equality: report
2 Jul 09: “A new report shows how little has been achieved
in closing the disadvantage gap between Indigenous and
non-Indigenous Australians and how much work is ahead,
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says. Mr Rudd described as
“devastating” the fourth Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage
report, released today.”

ABC: Indigenous gap ‘widening, not closing’
2 Jul 09: “A national report on Indigenous social and
economic trends has shown a worsening in the gap between
Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians on child abuse.
The report titled Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage has
been released by Indigenous Affairs Minister, Jenny
Macklin, at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG)
meeting in Darwin.”

ABC: Damning report: Indigenous gap grows
2 Jul 09: “The gap between Aboriginals and Torres Strait
islanders and the rest of Australia seems to be widening
instead of narrowing when it comes to child abuse. The
Prime Minister, premiers and chief ministers today got a
700-page report on the appalling social and economic
prospects facing Indigenous Australians.”

National Indigenous Times:
COAG must work with Indigenous groups to close gap: Calma
2 Jul 09: “Government leaders meeting in Darwin must commit
to genuine partnerships with Indigenous people if they’re
serious about closing the gap, an Aboriginal leader says.
Today’s Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in
the Northern Territory will focus on Indigenous health,
education and employment. … Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma welcomed the
focus but said Indigenous disadvantage couldn’t be
addressed by governments alone. “COAG must ensure
Indigenous Australians are able to participate in all
decisions regarding their health needs,” he said.”

National Indigenous Times:
Rudd calls child abuse rise “devastating”
2 Jul 09: “Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says a national report
which has found a worsening in Indigenous child abuse is
“devastating”. Aboriginal children are six times as likely
to be abused as non-Indigenous Australians, according to
the the Productivity Commission’s report.”

National Indigenous Times:
We’re not `civilised’ if Indigenous people worse off: Barnett
2 Jul 09: “Australia can only think of itself as a
civilised and successful nation once it ends Indigenous
disadvantage, West Australian Premier Colin Barnett says.”

Koori Mail: Bleak appraisal but we’ll do better, says PM
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
2 Jul 09: “Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has admitted that
advances to date in closing the gap between black and white
Australians represent ‘barely a step’. Mr Rudd and state
and territory leaders met in Darwin today and announced
‘rigorous’ reporting on progress, a national licensing
scheme for Indigenous community stores, and funding for
improved data collection.”

Koori Mail: Mixed progress in closing the gap, says report
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
2 Jul 09: “The fourth Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage
report has revealed some improvements in Indigenous income
levels, employment and infant mortality but a big jump in
substantiated Indigenous child abuse cases. However,
Productivity Commission chair Gary Banks said insufficient
data made it impossible to say if there’d been improvements
in about half of the indicators.”

ABC: Rudd meets Aboriginal leaders in Darwin
2 Jul 09: “… Asia South Pacific Association for Basic
Education released a report on how policy is failing to
improve educational outcomes for Indigenous Australians.
The association’s Bernie Lovegrove says today’s COAG
meeting provides a great opportunity to change policies to
help close the gap. “It exists and it’s large and policies
aren’t working,” he said.”

ABC: Indigenous gap ‘hardens our resolve’
2 Jul 09: “The Federal Government says improving the social
and economic standards for Indigenous Australians is tough
and requires a long-term commitment. The latest report card
on Indigenous disadvantage has been released in Darwin

ABC: Abbott blames all governments for Indigenous gap
2 Jul 09: “The latest report on national Indigenous
disadvantage is tragic, the federal Opposition’s spokesman
on Indigenous affairs, Tony Abbott, says. The ‘Overcoming
Indigenous Disadvantage’ report shows improvements in just
10 out of the 50 indicators measured by the Productivity

ABC: Rann says COAG made Indigenous advances
2 Jul 09: “South Australian Premier Mike Rann says the
Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Darwin
reached agreement aimed at advancing the interests of
Indigenous people. The meeting coincided with release of a
report by the Productivity Commission showing there had
been few improvements in social and economic indicators for
Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders.”


– Background

Greens: CDEP jobs cut in favour of dole (18 Jun 09)

Greens: CDEP in the NT (18 Jun 09)

WGAR News: Demise of CDEP (Community Development Employment Projects) (30 Jun 09):
[scroll down page]

– Media Release

Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney Media release:
“Sickening” Hypocrisy:
The Gap Will Widen as Rudd Cuts Thousands of Indigenous Jobs
6 Jul 09: ” “Howard initiated the closure of CDEPs in all
urban areas, and in the NT alongside the Intervention. Far
from taking a “new approach” to Aboriginal affairs, the
Rudd government is expanding this disastrous agenda, cutting
CDEPs across the country last week and stripping community
control from the few that remain”, said Paddy Gibson from
Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney. “The hypocrisy is
sickening. Whilst the government is telling employers across
Australia to tighten their belts and maintain secure jobs,
abolishing CDEP is creating massive unemployment”, said Roy
Kennedy Chair of the Illawarra Aboriginal Lands Council and
Ambassador of Sandon Point Tent Embassy.”

– Radio

(Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association)
2 Jul 09: [includes comments on CDEP]

CAAMA News Radio:
(Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association)
CDEP-Work For The Dole Changeover – Strong Voices Interview
1 Jul 09: “Steve Gumerungi Hodder speaks with Harry Scott
form CDEP Communities NT, who has concerns that welfare to
work policies have not been co ordinated in collaboration
with Indigenous communities.”

– News

ABC: Yarrabah ‘in limbo’ over CDEP axing
2 Jul 09: “But Yarrabah Mayor Percy Neal says he has
serious concerns for the 4,000 people affected by the
change. “Realistically, you’ll really know in about six
weeks’ time, because a lot of the training things that
they’ve spoken about hasn’t kicked in yet,” he said.
“There’s no real certainty I can tell you – people are just
in limbo now, they don’t know where to go next, so God
knows what’s going to happen in six weeks’ time.”

ABC: Chaney slams poor Indigenous employment consultation
2 Jul 09: “A former Aboriginal affairs minister says he was
horrified at the level of consultation with Aboriginal
people about the recent changes to the Indigenous
employment schemes. … “Quite frankly I was pretty
horrified because this was only 13 days before the changes
were actually going to start on July 1,” he [Fred Chaney]

Australian: Jobs bonanza for indigenous youth in WA
2 Jul 09: “WEST Australian Premier Colin Barnett will today
tell state and territory leaders that the axing of the
Aboriginal work-for-the-dole program and new ventures in
northern Australia will create unprecedented opportunities
to get young Aborigines properly trained and working.”

ABC Alice Springs: Jobless ‘worse off’ under CDEP axing
1 Jul 09: “Harry Scott from CDEP Communities NT says most
people will be worse off under the changes. “We started off
in the Northern Territory with 8,000 people on CDEP and
they spent a year-and-a-half talking about real jobs and
ended up giving it to 1,600 people,” he said. “Now the
remainder of 6,500 people are heading for the unemployment
queues or for Centrelink payments.” ”

ABC: Indigenous leaders worried by dole changes
1 Jul 09: “Indigenous community leaders across Western
Australia have spoken out against the scrapping of the
Aboriginal work-for-the-dole-scheme, which takes effect
today. … The president of the Unity of First People of
Australia, Ernie Bridge, says it is unrealistic to expect
Aboriginal people to move straight into the mainstream

ABC: Indigenous workers say Government program will force
them onto welfare
30 Jun 09: “A group of Aboriginal organisations say the
Federal Government is about to force thousands of
indigenous people from work onto welfare. From tomorrow the
Federal Government will shift all newly employed Community
Development Employment Project, or CDEP, workers onto Work
for the Dole, where they don’t get extra wages and other
employee rights.”


– Media Release

Friends of Bilingual Learning media release:
Bilingual Education Symposium reveals deep flaws and
irresponsibility regarding NT English policy
1 Jul 09: “The Bilingual Education Symposium held at the
National Museum of Australia in Canberra last Friday
(June 26) has revealed a number of flaws in the infamous
‘4-hours-of-English’ policy, established last year by the
Northern Territory Department of Education and Training
(NT DET). Broken promises and misdemeanours by the NT
Government surrounding the policy also came to light.”

– Radio

SBS Aboriginal program: Bilingual education threatened
1 Jul 09: “Linguists, organisations and concerned
Aboriginal leaders from around the country say the Northern
Territory Government must reverse a decision to slash
bilingual school education from next year. This policy
represents a major shift in educational practice in the
Northern Territory. The public debate that’s followed this
policy change has revealed a need for further research on
the models, achievements and challenges of bilingual
education in Indigenous communities. Tom Calma from the
Australian Human Rights Commission says he supports
overwhelming national and international evidence on the
benefits of bilingual education.”

SBS Aboriginal program:
Peak TESOL organisation says bilingual must stay
1 Jul 09: “The issue of bilingual education is considered
so important, the Australian Council of TESOL Associations
says it will begin lobbying with Aboriginal organisations
to reverse this policy. TESOL means – teaching English to
Speakers of Other Languages. The Council says governments
are not adequately addressing the education needs of
Aboriginal children for whom English is a second or third
language. Indigenous Education spokesman Adriano Truscott
has told Michelle Lovegrove, the Northern Territory and the
Federal Governments are also ignoring a national pledge
given when endorsing the UN Declaration of the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples.”

– News

Australian: Call to save bilingual education
2 Jul 09: “AUSTRALIAN governments suffer from a “deep
monolingualism” that has discriminated against teaching in
Aboriginal languages, according to a new report criticising
the dismantling of bilingual education in the Northern
Territory. In an assault on the territory’s decision last
year to teach the first four hours of the school day in
English, the report’s authors say the decision “could spell
the death of the remaining endangered indigenous languages
in Australia” and marked a return to the “English-only”
approach of the assimilationist era of the1950s.”
Stuart Rintoul

– Background

For up-to-date info on the issue, see:

Friends of Bilingual Learning – Google Group
“Supporters of Bilingual & Multilingual education,
living and learning in the Northern Territory.
Recognising the importance of language in
human development, identity and wellbeing.”

For background on the issue, see:

WGAR News:
Restrictions on Aboriginal Languages in NT schools (20 Nov 08)

WGAR News:
NT Aboriginal Languages Policy (25 Nov 08)

WGAR News:
Restrictions on NT Bilingual Education (30 Nov 08)

WGAR News:
Restrictions on Aboriginal Languages in NT schools (4 Dec 08)

WGAR News:
Restrictions on NT Bilingual Education (15 Dec 08)

WGAR News:
NT Aboriginal languages restrictions delayed one year (18 Dec 08)

WGAR News:
Attempts to phase out Bilingual Education in the NT (23 Jun 09)

WGAR News:
Bilingual Education in the Northern Territory (30 Jun 09)
[scroll down page] http://wgar.info/2009/07/01/300609-united-nations-concerned-over-northern-territory-intervention/


– News

Crikey: Aboriginal radio banned from Macklin town meeting
3 Jul 09: “On Monday this week indigenous affairs minister
Jenny Macklin held a public meeting at Alice Springs to
listen to the views of the town campers whose homes she
intends to compulsorily acquire in the very near future.
… But when the CAAMA crews fronted up to cover a public
meeting of great relevance to their listeners – the
unprecedented seizure of their homes and land by the
Commonwealth Government – they were shown the door.”

ABC: Macklin meets town camp residents
30 Jun 09: “The federal Indigenous Affairs Minister, Jenny
Macklin, has met with about 60 Alice Springs town camp
residents to discuss the possible compulsory acquisition of
the camps. … Residents of the town camps have until July
29 to provide submissions about the possible takeover.”

Age: Govt to spend $11m more on town camps
29 Jun 09: “The federal government will put another $11
million into improving conditions in the troubled Alice
Springs town camps. Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny
Macklin, who was in Alice Springs on Monday, said the extra
$11 million would bring to $138 million the amount the
government was planning to invest in the town camps.”

– Background

WGAR News:
Takeover of Aboriginal Land in Alice Springs (26 May 09):

WGAR News:
Compulsory Acquisition of Alice Springs Town Camps (30 May 09):

WGAR News:
National support for Tangentyere Council (3 June 09):

WGAR News:
Alice Springs town camps takeover (6 Jun 09):
[scroll down page] http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/story/wgar-news-marion-scrymgour-resigns-labor-party-alice-springs-town-camps-takeover-6-jun-09

WGAR News:
Alice Springs town camps takeover (12 Jun 09):
[scroll down page]

WGAR News:
Alice Springs Town Camps (19 Jun 09):
[scroll down page]

National Indigenous Times:
The Boxed Seat: A pox on all their houses (25 Jun 09)


– New Website

What’s Working: Aboriginal women have answers themselves
www.whatsworking.com.au is a website set up by Women for
Wik. We are a small informal group of Indigenous and
non-Indigenous women including academics, writers,
Indigenous elders, filmmakers, artists and teachers. Our
email list has about 2000 active supporters. We believe
that racism, negativism and disinformation still cloud
public debate on Indigenous policies. To help counter this,
the website will document the many successful initiatives
taken by Indigenous communities throughout Australia as well
as listing projects that were working well before they ran
out of money or were defunded. … ”

– Opinion

The 2009 Community Leadership Oration:
Communities in Control Conference:
Professor Mick Dodson AM
16 Jun 09: “The compulsory acquisition of all prescribed
communities for five years was introduced. [as part of the
NT intervention] A lot of people don’t understand that
Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory is ordinary
freehold. These traditional owners are freeholders like any
other freeholder in Australia. They are now the only
freeholders in Australia who don’t have the right to
control access to their freehold land.”

Stop the Intervention:
Infamy of the Intervention – by Waratah Rose Gillespie
Jan 09: “As a result of the Intervention in the Northern
Territory, many Aboriginal enterprises, businesses and
cooperatives, have been closed down or are under the threat
of closure. Initiative has been stifled as a result of
legislation which claims to protect children. … ”

– Video

ABC Message Stick: Intervention
21 Jun 09: “Two years ago, the Howard Coalition Government
announced its “intervention” into Indigenous communities in
the Northern Territory. For the last 18 months of those 2
years, Central Australian producer, Vincent Lamberti has
tracked the impact of the controversial policy on the
residents of Alice Springs. What is revealed is the initial
hope that was invested in the intervention, has been
replaced by disappointment with the bureaucratic bungling
at the implementation stage to smouldering anger at the
discriminatory nature of the plan.”

– News

ABC: Bishop calls to extend NT intervention
3 Jul 09: “Federal deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop
says the Northern Territory intervention should be extended
to remote Western Australia.”

ABC: 10 years in toilet block hell
2 Jul 09: “A resident [Louie James] of the Mutitjulu
community near Uluru in the Northern Territory has told a
consultation session on the federal intervention that he
has been living in a toilet block for almost a decade.”

ABC: Rudd meets Aboriginal leaders in Darwin
2 Jul 09: “The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has had
breakfast with several Aboriginal leaders in the lead-up to
today’s Council of Australian Governments meeting in
Darwin. The representatives include leaders from Darwin’s
town camps.”

Australian: Stop indigenous truancy: Tony Abbott
1 Jul 09: “PARENTS of indigenous truants should be fined
and teachers should be empowered to physically take them to
schoolgrounds, the opposition said yesterday.”

ABC: Welfare threat sees truancy fall
30 Jun 09: “The spectre of welfare payment cuts for the
Indigenous parents of children not attending school has
seen a slight decrease in truancy rates. The Federal
Government is running an anti-truancy trial in six Northern
Territory locations, where welfare payments can become
dependent on children’s school attendance.”

ABC: Indigenous intervention prompts more to find jobs
30 Jun 09: “More aboriginal community members in the
Northern Territory are looking for cattle station work
since the Federal Government’s intervention, according to a
station manager.”

Policy May Force Indigenous Communities From Traditional Lands
29 Jun 09: “A government plan purporting to improve the
lives of people living in isolated areas of Australia’s
Northern Territory will be implemented at the expense of
surrounding homeland communities and ignores the cultural
and health benefits for people living on those traditional
lands, warn critics.”

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