Indigenous affairs minister Jenny Macklin and Indigenous economic development minister Mark Arbib have launched Labor’s Indigenous economic development strategy.
NATIONAL: The federal government has launched a seven year plan aimed at boosting Indigenous participation in the economy.
Indigenous affairs minister Jenny Macklin and Indigenous economic development minister Mark Arbib launched the strategy at an event hosted by the Minerals Council of Australia last month.
Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development Mark Arbib said five areas needed to be improved.
This included increasing access to safe and affordable housing and health services, and ensuring welfare systems support economic development and participation.
But head of the Indigenous Business Council Val Beck Price expressed doubts about the plan, saying it was unrealistic.
“Indigenous people have a few more hurdles that they have to get across. Access to capital, remoteness. It’s a nice aspiration, but a lot of work needs to be done,” Ms Beck Price told the Australian newspaper.
Rio Tinto cuts Aboriginal Fund
MINING company Rio Tinto has axed its Aboriginal Fund, previously used to support Indigenous communities.
The company says it wants to move towards directly supporting communities, rather than philanthropy, the ABC reports. The Aboriginal Fund was used to distribute $1.8 million to Aboriginal programs per year.
Rio Tinto says it will continue to spend $100 million in programs aimed at boosting Indigenous education, housing, health and businesses, the ABC reports.
Aboriginal teens make up half of detention population: AIHW
ALMOST half of all young people locked up in juvenile detention centres are Indigenous despite the fact they make up just five percent of the national population, a new report shows. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) study, released on Friday, shows that 7,250 young people were under some kind of supervision on an average day in 2009/10.
About 86 percent were in the community while 14 percent were being held in detention. Indigenous Australians make up just five percent of young people, but comprise 38 percent of juveniles under supervision.
We need to move away from lateral violence: Gooda
ABORIGINAL and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda has called for communities to try and combat lateral violence in this year’s Eddie Mabo lecture. Mr Gooda says that “it is about how we treat each other in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, in our families and in our organisations”.
“It goes to behaviours like gossiping, backstabbing, name-calling and jealously and constantly attacking each other in the media. “And people just think, ‘Oh well, we don’t have to do anything, because this mob is just fighting among themselves’.”
“I think it is oppression, where we feel disempowered and therefore we have got to lash out at each other,” he said.
Palm to design own health services
PALM Island’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities will help design their own health services under a new agreement with the Queensland and federal governments. The Palm Island Statement of Intent aims for equality in health status and life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians by 2030.
Palm Island mayor Alf Lacey joined federal Indigenous Health Minister Warren Snowdon and Queensland Health Minster Geoff Wilson recently to sign the agreement at Brisbane’s Parliament House.
It commits the parties to work with the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) on a comprehensive, long-term action plan addressing the inequities in health services for Palm Islanders.
Gillard considers TSI autonomy
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has written to the Prime Minister, putting forward Torres Strait wishes for the region’s autonomy.
Premier Bligh was handed the request at a community cabinet meeting in the Torres Strait earlier this year.
Julia Gillard has said she will consider the request.
Ms Bligh said she understood their wanting to break away from Queensland to become a territory, but raised concerns about who would pay for services.
Ms Gillard said such a major decision “would change things for the people of the Torres Strait forever”.
“It needs to be thought through and considered respectfully,” she told reporters in Brisbane on Monday. “We would obviously need to have discussions between governments, but most importantly with the local people about what their vision is for their future.”
Federal opposition leader Tony Abbott told The Australian the Bligh Government had “washed its hands” of the Torres Strait.
LNP to axe Wild Rivers if elected
QUEENSLAND’s Liberal National Party (LNP) will overhaul the state’s controversial Wild Rivers legislation if elected at next year’s poll, leader Campbell Newman says.
Mr Newman says the controversial environmental protections were “patronising” to traditional owners and landholders and an LNP government would replace or alter the legislation.
The legislation, which restricts development in basins classified as “Wild Rivers”, has been the subject of a campaign by Aboriginal lawyer Noel Pearson. But others, including green groups and many traditional owners, support the protection the legislation offers.
NEW SOUTH WALES
NSW Library bids for lost paintings
MILLIONS of dollars worth of paintings that shed new light on Australia’s colonial times have been discovered in the back of a dusty cupboard on the other side of the world.
The previously unknown album includes paintings of Sydney and regional views of NSW, portraits of Aboriginal people and natural history illustrations.
The collection was recently discovered in the back of a cupboard in London, Ontario, Canada, and is up for auction.
The State Library of NSW has announced its intention to bid for the multi-million dollar collection of works, said to have been created in Sydney and regional NSW around 1818.
Gillespie steps down as ALRM head
THE head of the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement in South Australia has stepped down.
Neil Gillespie has been an outspoken CEO and has campaigned for an increase in Aboriginal legal aid funding, Stolen Generations reparations and compensation for the victims of the Maralinga nuclear tests.
But the ALRM issued a one-line statement last month advising stakeholders that “Neil Gillespie no longer works with the ALRM”, the Sunday Mail reported.
“The board had concerns about my strong advocacy, which may impact on relations between the ALRM and the Commonwealth Government,” Mr Gillespie told the newspaper.
Dodgy money-lender fined
An illegal money lender under fire for “ruthlessly ransacking” Aboriginal bank accounts in the Kimberleys has been fined $34,000.
Salvatore Tomarchio was found guilty in the Kalgoorlie Magistrate’s Court last month, the ABC reports.
He was convicted for providing credit without a proper business license.
Often, he charged his Aboriginal clients up to 50 percent interest on loans, and kept their bank account, pay day details and pin numbers.
Magistrate Greg Benn said that Mr Tomarchio had taken advantage of his clients, who were disadvantaged, and ransacked their accounts posing us a friend.
He had left people with little or no money to live on, continuing the cycle, Mr Benn said.
Broome elects majority Indigenous council
INDIGENOUS candidates Anne Poelina, Mark Manado and Philip Matsumoto were made first-time councillors at Broome Shire Council this month, creating the first Aboriginal-majority council in WA.
Five out of nine councillors are now Aboriginal.
The vote was seen as a referendum on Woodside Petroleum’s controversial proposal to build a $30 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) hub at James Price Point, 60km north of Broome.
It is an issue that has divided the Broome community. Several candidates oppose the plan and promised to take action against it if elected.
Despite local government having very little decision-making power over the project, more than 40 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots.