The numbers are out and they are not good. the Gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the rest of the Australian population, is not closing.
Yes there is some good news in the report we have more kids in school, but they still haven’t addressed why the kids didn’t go in the first place. Maybe it’s not just the bad home life that is the easy answer. It’s the poverty, it’s the inherent racism within the education system. It could also be a case of the system recognises other cultural diversity in schools but only pays lip service to our needs. The common one being that “you speak English, no problem” “You live in town, so you must be like us”.
Health is too diverse a problem. We face the problems associated with poverty of not being able to afford doctors or the medications. CTG helped with that, some doctors bulk billed, making it affordable. the annotation of the scripts, meant a huge difference in getting medications. Especially with people who have chronic diseases who have to take a lot of medications.
We have already had 600 million cut from funding. This is funding that is really held up by the bureaucracy, most of the money goes through the departments paying wages, paying consultants before they start to trickle the money down into the Community by way of grants. Most of the time a project is funded and before you can get it up and running the money is gone and they don’t refund it. But the staff in their offices still get paid and the organisations that are dealing with the cold hard realities of the situations of Aboriginal people are left short of money, no funding. Excuse my sarcasm, but the better the program the more chance they will cut it.
It really doesn’t work in the governments favour to really help Aboriginal people. We are still at the bottom of the rung. Those who say well we need to start acting like everyone else, translates to losing our identity which is very precious to us. It is what keeps us strong. We have survived all the atrocities and are still standing.
We are not on equal footing with the rest of Australia, because we were banned from owning homes, we were kept out of the schools until the late 60’s early 70’s and we were excluded from tertiary education until the 1980’s. Yes there were exceptions to the rule but most of us were kept behind the invisible wall. the rabbit proof fence even.
So the importance of Closing the Gap cannot be under estimated and cannot be overlooked. We have done more and given more in foreign aid. We need to stop and look in our own back yard and stop and help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. When you reach out your hand, to help one up, you will feel the weight, as that one person is holding on to their family and Community. So we all go as one. We are not sheep, but our strength is in our Culture and our Identity and our families.
Lets hope that Abbott got a scare and will maybe change the way he is doing things, since he reckons he is the Prime Minister for Indigenous peoples!