Yesterday’s Prime Ministerial address to the nation on Closing the Gap with Aboriginal Australia showed just how complex this historic undertaking will be. Now in its fifth year, the simple measures like service access are promising, but evidence of utilisation and outcomes remains elusive.

Conditions in the bush present very different challenges to the cities. Pic: Chris Crerar

Australia’s Aboriginal population will pass 600,000 later this year. That is a 45% jump since the 2001 Census; mostly in our eastern seaboard cities and towns.

Contrast this with the remote Aboriginal population which has stabilised at just over 100,000. It still grows at 1-2% annually in Queensland and the Northern Territory but is falling at an even faster rate in remote South and Western Australia.

Because much of this urban Indigenous growth is self-identification. Remote Aboriginals living in appalling conditions are increasingly outnumbered.

That factor alone may be creating an impression of closing gaps. At the same time, life in remote Australia may be either unchanged or in some cases deteriorating.

This boom in urban Aboriginality will further undermine political influence of those living remotely. That’s because every Aboriginal Australian entitles their State to 105% of per capita federal health funding, regardless of where they actually live or how healthy they are.

Just under half the nation’s remote Aboriginals live in the Northern Territory; so solutions must start there. Darwin is expected to administer this massive challenge; yet it is a city the size of Geelong or Toowoomba.

Compared to national averages, Territory hospitals are burdened with more than twice as many admissions per head which stay far longer due to complex disease and lack of discharge options. Surgery costs are around 25% more and death rates are double.

Given those challenges, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports that the Territory carries most of their burden. The Commonwealth funds 36% of state hospital costs, but less than a quarter of the Territory’s hospital bill. Canberra funds 62% of the nation’s overall health system, but only 43% in the Territory.

Recent hospital reforms won’t fix these inequities. They calculate national weighted activity units to fund health activity with top-ups for Aboriginality and remoteness.

Virtually all the 5% indigenous loading will end up back in cities where health service access is satisfactory. The additional 8-19% remoteness loading will barely cover travel costs for patients and staff in locations like Darwin.

Medicare also fails where it is needed most, because the Territory lacks doctors to bulk-bill and write prescriptions. Thanks to these shortages, around $100 million of Medicare and pharmaceutical benefit funds which should be available to the NT are spent in other parts of Australia where doctors prefer to practice.

As VACCHO’s Jill Gallagher so aptly put it recently, “If you’re going to close the life expectancy gap, you’ve got to look at education and employment opportunities. Anyone whether you’re black or white, if you’ve got a job you’re going to be a lot more healthy.”

Economic engagement is actually at the heart of better health. Obscured by nation-wide gap statistics is the devastating reality that remote Aboriginal Australians are two and a half times less likely to have work than remote whites.

Mining companies may be boosting their Aboriginal workforce to ten percent and in rare cases beyond. But many of these workers travel in from elsewhere. That leaves communities closest to mining enterprises effectively unchanged.

Welfare as currently delivered traps remote Aboriginal families in their communities and discourages many from travelling for work. The only solution is to transition the entire school leaving cohort into training and case-manage every capable non-primary caring working-age adult into real work.

That means rewarding those electing to move for employment. That contrasts with current arrangements, where the most dysfunctional communities are rewarded with extra night patrols, rehabilitation, detoxification and diversion services.

Back in 2008, eight Labor administrations settled on six ‘Close the Gap’ targets which failed to mention the economic activity gap. The closest they got was an employment target, which merely invites more publicly-funded artificial jobs which are too often activity-for-welfare.

Many of these gaps to be closed require tougher and more frequent interim targets in urban areas. At the same time, we need to specifically report the much larger gaps in remote Indigenous Australia.

Ironic as it sounds, remote Aboriginal Australia must grab the mining boom as a once-in-a-century opportunity to preserve the traditional life. That is because culture is far safer in the hands of kinship groups comprising confident capable working adults.

Custodianship of the future is safest in the hands of children who attend and enjoy school and ultimately graduate into training and work. Only then, does health become a condition to be pursued, rather than a service pursuing them.

Comments on this post will close at 8pm AEDT.

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63 comments

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    • acotrel says:

      05:14am | 07/02/13

      ‘Mining companies may be boosting their Aboriginal workforce to ten percent and in rare cases beyond. But many of these workers travel in from elsewhere. That leaves communities closest to mining enterprises effectively unchanged.’

      Mining companies have an obligation to their shareholders, not local communities.  It is the way of the future.

    • PJ says:

      08:33am | 07/02/13

      The Gillard Government policies in the NT were described as “Ethnic Cleansing” by Community Leader Monk and were condemned outright by Shetty of Amnesty International. An offer by Amnesty to run the Human Rights Act over the Gillard Government new and Improved policies was ignored by the Gillard Government until they had used folks like Thomson to push it through as law.

      Basically Aboriginals were given cards to buy clothes and food while their white counter part got cash. Aboriginals as old as 70 years were walking to new Hub towns to receive Government services that had formally been delivered to them on their ancestral lands. Thereby for Ong them off of their sacred lands.

      The appointment of Peris ignored available Indigenous politicians, because they had dared to question Gillard, and got a white woman, whom devoted 15 years to the cause, sacked.

      So yesterday’s postulating and fawning over the Indigenous legislation to deliver Kindergarten places to 1.5% of the population within 5 years was highly laughable and ironic in the extreme. Hardly an arduous and challenging target, but Labor celebrated it live a Grand Final win.

    • Borderer says:

      08:51am | 07/02/13

      Frankly they can’t employ enough indigeneous workers. We had a a client wanting us to achieve that 10% quota, we pointed out that legally we can’t actually ask someone if they’re indigeneous….

      We do employ some indigeneous people (at least they’ve told me they are, not being able to ask and all that) , they work as well as anyone else. When you go to a mining hub in WA like Newman or Kalgoorlie the only people walking around during the day are generally mothers with kids, the elderly or aboriginal families, everyone else is at work. Given the cost of employing FIFO workers the miners fall over themselves to employ locals, some take up the offer, others don’t. It’s not like they require special training as in some cases even cleaners have to be flown in.

      Mining companies have an obligation to their shareholders, not local communities.  It is the way of the future.

      I disagree, the miners have funded pretty much all the local community facilities in mining hubs, I know this because I’ve been there and have spoken to the locals, have you or is this more opinion based conjecture?

    • anon says:

      10:52pm | 07/02/13

      I work in a very large Aboriginal community in the NT.  We are 5 km from a onshore gas plant.  I do not know of one local ‘fella’ who works there!

    • Richard says:

      05:19am | 07/02/13

      The Aboriginal communities need REAL employment , not just glorified ‘Work for the Dole” programs. I also would ask why has identification as an Aboriginal become so trendy.

    • Greg A says:

      07:59am | 07/02/13

      ‘. I also would ask why has identification as an Aboriginal become so trendy’ follow the gravy train of cash and benifits.

    • chris says:

      08:13am | 07/02/13

      So in the real world, the workers go to the jobs. Why should we support racist motivated attitudes that the jobs should go to them thus empowering an over developed victim syndrome.

    • Harvey Warbanger says:

      08:31am | 08/02/13

      Hear, hear, as a genealogy researcher I have 2 clients at the moment who are not concerned about anything but being identified as Aboriginal.
      One has a very noted non-aboriginal Ancestor, who was a co-founder of a very well know charity, but they don’t care.
      They are determined, one does not have any Aboriginal features, the other does.
      Some one can pay me $10-00 a week for my dogs upkeep, I wouldn’t mind. Yes, that is one of the perks, as are spectacles, money for food (after you have blown your dole at the pub) visits FROM the dentist etc.
      Why wouldn’t you want to with such ridiculous Government policies?

    • Fiddler says:

      05:55am | 07/02/13

      As VACCHO’s Jill Gallagher so aptly put it recently, “If you’re going to close the life expectancy gap, you’ve got to look at education and employment opportunities. Anyone whether you’re black or white, if you’ve got a job you’re going to be a lot more healthy.”

      So rather than spending billions propping up failed communities and sending doctors and nurses there (along with all the travel expenses etc, because lets face it very few people want to move there) why don’t we make the condition of their welfare that they must move to somewhere where there is these opportunites?

      And please do not pull out the “connection to the land” crap it is an entirely racist assumption. If they want the money and services from the government then they should have to comply like the rest of us do.

    • acotrel says:

      07:54am | 07/02/13

      So your theory is that we should centralise our problems ?

    • Sam says:

      08:02am | 07/02/13

      So what you are asking is that they become functioning contributors to Australia that follow the approach that all civilized cultures figured out thousands of years ago. You must be a racist!?!?

    • Fiddler says:

      09:56am | 07/02/13

      acotrel, are you referring to Aboriginal people as “problems” At the risk of invoking Godwins law are you proposing a “solution”?

    • Colin says:

      10:10am | 07/02/13

      @ Fiddler

      “...are you proposing a “solution”? “

      At last! Someone has come up with one. Will it be the last, the ultimate, the final one?

    • Super D says:

      06:46am | 07/02/13

      That really is incredible growth in the number of self identifying urban aboriginals. It seems a little off that people are able to self select higher benefits for themselves. Perhaps it’s time to stop making benefit payments based on race and make them based solely on needs.

    • Joe Blow says:

      07:24am | 07/02/13

      After listening to Gillard’s ‘heartfelt’ patronising platitudes yesterday, we wake up to a leaked discussion paper where teh Coalition is actually looking at teh prospects of increasing employement in the regions with high indigenous populations.  And what do we get immediately from Labor? - How dare anyone consider spending on infrastructure outside the South East of Australia, how abhorent that regions outside Canberra would have Public Service jobs to keep their economy moving. 

      Concern for inigenous people?  Oh, that was yesterday’s media grab.

    • nihonin says:

      07:45am | 07/02/13

      +1 Super D

      Basing benefits on race is racism at its most vile.  Bleeding heart/self flagellating/guilty progressive whites, take notice.

    • Mouse says:

      08:43am | 07/02/13

      “wacky” was how Bradbury described the Coalition draft paper. He’s probably pissed because they didn’t think of it first!  lol :o)

    • Jess says:

      09:52am | 07/02/13

      The ABS released a propensity to Identify of Friday.

      Ummm there are lots of Towns already that have large public service sectors. Townsville, Wagga Wagga, Cairns, all capital cities…
      All towns of 1000 have a smaller public sector contribution.

      Non-Indigenous people are in remote communties are usually there because they are working. 

      Funny I thought the NBN went further than the Eastern Seaboard.

      You all realise that federal welfare for urban Indigenous is worse then for non-Indigenous. The rates are lower and the income rules are stricter.

    • Sonia says:

      07:11am | 07/02/13

      ‘Recent hospital reforms won’t fix these inequities.’

      What reform? The Gillard/Roxon lies and BS has harmed all Australians! The same old ALP crapfest!

    • Fred says:

      07:31am | 07/02/13

      Nova Peris will fix all of this.

    • Dave says:

      08:31am | 07/02/13

      Yes she will, a racist person for a racist position selection.

    • Peter Whiteford says:

      07:38am | 07/02/13

      Super D

      Could you specify exactly what higher benefits are available and are based on race?  Links would be useful.

    • Colin says:

      09:32am | 07/02/13

      @ Chillin’

      Snap!

    • Colin says:

      01:02pm | 07/02/13

      That seemed to make Peter quiet, didn’t it..?

    • Jess says:

      01:35pm | 07/02/13

      That only works if you compare eligibility and income requirements.
      Under Abstudy (2004) I got $60 a fortnight. Didn’t qualify for the independant rate
      Under Austudy (2004)  I got $220 per fortnight. As I qualified for the independant rate.
      I had completed a traineeship before I went to uni.

    • Chillin says:

      03:50pm | 07/02/13

      @Colin

      I was thinking the very same thing.

    • gof says:

      07:48am | 07/02/13

      I really do not see the increase in numbers of our indigenous brothers and I think that it is due to the fact that most are half or quarter casts and assimilate now with their new European bloodlines. I have even met Aboriginals that are whiter than me.

    • bananabender56 says:

      09:15am | 07/02/13

      And theirin lays part of the problem. How many actual aborigines are there in Australia? A few years ago, in Tas, an aboriginal only school (isn’t that racsist?) had to turn away people who claimed they were aboriginal based upon a 1/32nd bloodline.

    • xnl says:

      10:22am | 07/02/13

      > “I have even met Aboriginals that are whiter than me. “

      Cultural identity is not just skin colour.

    • Upnorff says:

      11:32am | 07/02/13

      Maybe, but you can’t be another race just by association.

    • xnl says:

      11:58am | 07/02/13

      > “Maybe, but you can’t be another race just by association. “

      No one here said that you could.

    • L. says:

      01:14pm | 07/02/13

      “Cultural identity is not just skin colour.”

      No, it’s also a money spinner.

      Why is it that anyone who isn’t 100% ‘white’... say only 90% white, always seem to identify with the 10%?

    • Daryl says:

      12:01pm | 08/02/13

      In order to be legally recognised as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander you must meet the following criteria :

      1: You MUST be of Aboriginal descent.

      2: You MUST identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

      3: You MUST be accepted as being an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander by the Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander Community. 

      The third of these criteria requires that you provide documentary evidence such as an official acknowledgement from a Local Aboriginal Lands Council.  No Aboriginal organisation is going to declare some random person that they don’t know to be one of us.

      You cannot simply declare yourself to be Aboriginal and receive support meant for Aboriginal people - that is a myth.

    • Anubis says:

      08:00am | 07/02/13

      Whilst Julia’s speech was filled with all the usual platitudes, serious look on the face and tremor in the voice she did deliberately mislead Parliament it would appear. When she was quoting Northern Territory figures relating to increased crime and assault due to the Register of Problem Drinkers being stopped. It seems that the Northern Territory Government (whom Julia cited as the source) has no idea about where she got her figures. On ABC news last night a member of the NT Government stated that the figures she quoted were not derived from any NT Government study or statistics and were totally false and reflecting the opposite of the real events.

      Was Julia lying again? Did she knowingly and intentionally mislead the Parliament and the people of Australia?

    • Bob of the freezing tropics says:

      10:35am | 07/02/13

      Totally agree that Juliar was lying again and giving false statistics. Having lived in the NT longer than I care to remember I can say that for the first time in over 20 years the “drunk problem” seems to have improved dramatically over the past six months. Many ill informed (mostly southern) individuals are not aware of the 2 kilometer rule which prohibits the consumption of alcohol within 2 k of any premises selling alcohol and also permits the police to pour out the alcohol of drunks. This rule is at last being enforced and I think is paying off.
      Gillard is trying to treat us territorians as second rate citizens and children who are not capable of making up our own minds.  Most have, and everyone I speek to can’t wait to vote “below the line” to ensure the “captains Pick DOES NOT get into the senate. Good luck Gillard the “Good luck” glasses will not help you.

    • Fred says:

      08:10am | 07/02/13

      What I have difficulty with this so-called gap is that you are never allowed to question why it is our fault they do not take advantage of the millions of dollars spent to provide free schooling, housing, money for food, etc, etc. Then when you watch the TV you see people that know real discrimination like the Indian ‘untouchables’ who get no support, yet fabricate their own housing, are infinitely better dressed, do not use a victim syndrome to excuse their life away and for the few that get the chance for education, they fully seize the opportunity.  I know who deserves support in my opinion.

    • Anniebello says:

      09:30am | 07/02/13

      Well said Fred, the old ‘you can lead a horse to water’ saying comes to mind. Problem is most people if presented with ‘do for yourself’’ or ‘sit here and I will give everything to you’ choices, pick the easiest option instead of the right one. Unfortunately it does them more harm and again it’s not their fault but ours. Damned if we do and damned if we don’t - but discrimination only happens one way, don’t you know.

    • Jay2 says:

      09:10am | 07/02/13

      REmoteness effects black and white, which is why droves leave small bush towns to find work. Choose to stay, then you bear the consequences of that decision, sad but true.
      There have been many employment opportunities started for Aboriginal people in bush areas, which have nearly always failed miserabley, through non/poor attendance.  This is because putting a job in front of somebody who has other complex issues going on, doesn’t work.  By Aboriginal’s own statistics and documentation (just clearing up the ‘racist’ accusations that may come my way), there are huge problems with domestic violence; drug; alchohol and poor diet.
      How you invoke will to attend counselling for any of these (and I am privvy to programmes which address nutrition at home; domestic violence;drug/alcohol and school attendance) I do not know.

      It is a whole cycle of catch 22, I have seen brand new homes contructed in remote areas, only to have that same home trashed as a result of those same problems mentioned within six months. Inevitabley it’s the children, who seem to slip between the cracks, I feel sorry for.

      @Peter Whiteford, I use to work for an organisation some years ago and at that time there were aboriginal only benefits.  This included funding for extra help with:  attending funerals; electricity; rent;food;clothing outside of centrelink benefits.  It also included an Aboriginal Community bus, to collect school/tafe students; take people in/out of town for appts/shopping etc.
      During my training any Koori students were taken into a different room and given extra assistance during exams. 
      One of my female Koori relatives has entered a uni course and was accepted (according to her) because of her aboriginality and their desire to encourage koori people into this particular field. The atar required was a min of 98.5 and she had an atar of 72.4. This according to her, whether that is true or not, I honestly don’t know, but I have no reason to doubt her.
      Part of me thinks that is not fair, but the other part thinks if that same opportunity were presented to be I would grab it with both hands in a heartbeat, so half her luck.

      It’s sadly a bit of a no win situation, if the Government on any level tries to implement or intervene, it’s branded a ‘whitefellas’ solution with some resentment. If the Government/s don’t do anything, it’s apathy and racism.
      Even the Koori community themselves are at odds what should and shouldn’t happen, it really is a very complex and difficult area.

      I hope for everyone, that a positive change is found and made, I really do. It makes me admire those Aboriginals who have found success.

    • bananabender56 says:

      01:13pm | 07/02/13

      Jay2, i’ve also lived and worked in remote NT and have seen the same thing with housing, drunkeness etc. Another issue was the overloading of the health system in these remote areas by patients who when given a course of treatment refused to complete it - leading to something more serious. This does happen in the cities as well but was a larger problem in remote communities. That is, someone has infection, give course of antibiotics, swelling disappears in 2 days,stop taking tablets etc. Ultimately the 2 cultures are incompatible - the Western work ethic has no room in bush culture. The common cry of ‘find them jobs’ just can’t work if you don’t need a job. (what did aboriginal people do before we arrived, work down the local supermarket?)

    • JohnD says:

      06:50pm | 08/02/13

      Well said, Jay.  Like noted Anthropolgist Peter Sutton said “If there were a simple solution, someone would have thought of it a long time ago.

    • Colin says:

      09:38am | 07/02/13

      “...the devastating reality that remote Aboriginal Australians are two and a half times less likely to have work than remote whites. “

      Yes, but you fail to mention the fact that we have created a Welfare State for these people that is a huge disincentive for them to actually want to work.

      After all, if you could be paid enough (and given all of your medical, clothing, education, and have every other bill discounted or reduced or in some way have the rest of your life subsidised) to stay at home, why on earth would you go to the effort to get a job that paid a bit more, but you lost all of your benefits, you then had to PAY tax, and - worst of all - you actually had to DO something..?

    • Fiddler says:

      11:36am | 07/02/13

      are there two Colins?

      One (ie the one above) makes points worthy of consideration, the other is simply an epic troll

    • Colin says:

      12:42pm | 07/02/13

      @ Fiddler

      “are there two Colins?”

      No, just me.

      But talk about a back-handed compliment, Fiddler..

      “Epic troll…” My goodness gracious me. But funny how I am a troll when you don’t agree with what I say, but one who “...makes points worthy of consideration…” when I do, isn’t it..?

    • Fiddler says:

      01:23pm | 07/02/13

      No, I can understand a line of reasoning I don’t agree with, just when it’s clearly stupid I call troll.

    • Colin says:

      02:14pm | 07/02/13

      @  Fiddler

      “No, I can understand a line of reasoning I don’t agree with, just when it’s clearly stupid I call troll.”

      Wow. That was a lesson on incomprehensibility if ever I’ve seen one..!

    • Jess says:

      09:58am | 07/02/13

      Prehaps some of the statistics you mention should compared over time by remote/non remote then you will find there has been improvements on closing the gap in both remote and non remote areas.

    • Upnorff says:

      10:57am | 07/02/13

      “Darwin is expected to administer this massive challenge; yet it is a city the size of Geelong or Toowoomba”.
      Not quite. Geelong has a population of 227,000 - Darwin (like Toowoomba) is just over 100,000. Both Geelong and Toowoomba enjoy being just a very few hours drive to a major State capital city (and its facilities), too. Certainly not something that Darwin has - we are 3000km from anywhere significant.
      Isolation is an overhead.

    • Spell checks on the Punch says:

      12:34pm | 07/02/13

      A complex problem with no silver bullet to solve it. Rewarding people for moving for employment is a brave idea however.  If the Government funds programs or tax breaks for “those electing to move”  then I trust colour of skin or association to a particular cultural or nativity is not a criterion. That would be discriminatory under law surely?

      And does this subtle suggestion buried at the bottom of the article somehow mesh with the leaked Liberal document in which Abbot and his party have discussed transferring public servants into the far north and giving people who work there tax breaks etc., even though that is constitutionally unlawful (Article 51)?

      Welfare is a necessary evil in an affluent and compassionate society, but it is not a carte blanche service for indefinite periods of time either. I wish as Australians (regardless of heritage) we could solve this intractable problem. I hate seeing indigenous children suffering; they are too young to have developed prejudices or indolent behaviours. I trust we can provide a solution one day that doesn’t appease but rather performs positive outcomes for both sides of this welfare divide.

    • ramases says:

      12:35pm | 07/02/13

      I couldn’t care less if your black white, yellow mauve, green of whatever payments shouldn’t be made on either the colour of your skin or your self confessed ethnicity, is there such a word??
        We are all classed as Australians but some seem to believe that because of an accident of birth they are entitled to more than anybody else. Bullshit.       
        They should be entitled to the same as everybody else and if they cant get this or that because of the places they live then they should move to where they can get it and not expect others to pander to their assumption that they are living on their traditional land as there is only one Australia.
        If employers want to employ more indigenous peoples then so be it but the government has no right to legislate for that to happen.
        Either they get out there and get a job or sit back and receive the dole. There are people out there who would gladly take positions allocated to indigenous people that haven’t been filled due either to lack on will or just plain laziness. Its a free market and legislation only serves a small minority when the majority are begging for work.

    • Colin says:

      01:17pm | 07/02/13

      @ rmases

      “There are people out there who would gladly take positions allocated to indigenous people that haven’t been filled…”

      What sort of truck do you drive..?

    • Andrew says:

      12:39pm | 07/02/13

      If anyone else lived in the bush demanding the government build them a house and provide them with an option to work or not theyd be told to shift where the work is.

      Is it time Australia stopped the flow of cash and handed out social security ‘debit cards’ that wont permit the purchase of alcohol & tobacco using taxpayers money with horrendous repercussions for retailers who are found to be selling alcohol to ‘anyone’ on taxpayer social security under the non-cash system?

      Sure, retailers would only be charged if they were found to be knowingly bypassing or abusing the ‘debit card’.

      We now have debit card technology that can manage what its being used for.

      Its time to stop the river of grog

    • Andrew says:

      12:47pm | 07/02/13

      If Gillard is serious about stopping the rivers of grog

      Gillard will issue a ‘debit card’  to stop cash transaction of government money for uses unintended.

      Otherwise Gillard is not serious about this, just vote buying in the lead up to the election.

    • bananabender56 says:

      01:22pm | 07/02/13

      Working in the NT on a site which had a few aboriginal operators, saw the best of them just fail to turn up for work one day. This guy was as good at his job as the next man and was employable anywhere. A couple of days after his no show we recieved a phone call saying he’d gone to Roxby Downs to get a job there.
      The reason for the move wasn’t that he didn’t like working on our site, or the people etc it was because as the only person working in his immediate and extended family, he was expected to give up most of his pay to them. It’s a cultural thing and throwing money at this issue won’t fix it.

    • Survival says:

      10:15pm | 07/02/13

      But you need to remember that by sticking together like this is how they survived the last two hundred years.  I think there is something Australia as a society can learn from this.

    • Robinoz says:

      02:41pm | 07/02/13

      Much of the change in indigenous people has to come from within. We have been throwing billions of dollars at the problems for decades with very little to show. In health in the Territory, many people are bending over backwards to help make a difference, but the people themselves in many (probably most) don’t make the effort; fail to attend for ante-natal care, don’t follow regimes to cope with diabetes; don’t take prescribed drugs; use the RFDS as a taxi service ... the list could go on and on ad nauseum. If someone doesn’t want something, it doesn’t matter how hard you try to sell it, they won’t buy. That’s the start of most indigenous challenges, getting the people to change to help themselves instead of expecting the rest to do it all for them.

    • Robinoz says:

      02:41pm | 07/02/13

      Much of the change in indigenous people has to come from within. We have been throwing billions of dollars at the problems for decades with very little to show. In health in the Territory, many people are bending over backwards to help make a difference, but the people themselves in many (probably most) don’t make the effort; fail to attend for ante-natal care, don’t follow regimes to cope with diabetes; don’t take prescribed drugs; use the RFDS as a taxi service ... the list could go on and on ad nauseum. If someone doesn’t want something, it doesn’t matter how hard you try to sell it, they won’t buy. That’s the start of most indigenous challenges, getting the people to change to help themselves instead of expecting the rest to do it all for them.

    • Anjuli says:

      03:52pm | 07/02/13

      @ Robinoz, totally agree, have been saying the same for 40 years.

    • Investor says:

      04:07pm | 07/02/13

      Abbott will get them all working for Gina for $5 a day. God he’s already an awesome PM.

    • Quality Choice says:

      04:37pm | 07/02/13

      If the bungs dont want to work make them work for the dole. Easy. All solved.

    • mal says:

      11:26pm | 07/02/13

      Bungs?theres nothing of any QUALITY about your self worshiping white mutated genes.It’s been no more than 30 years maybe less where white poeple haven’t treated the owners of the country[the ones that were left] like sh-t, many still do.The bush was exactly where violent self righteous whites wanted them to be.FREE land for the government to sell, in one way or another gave you everything you have.There a broken people f-wit.Immigration wil impact your white trash family one day too .Resistance is futile you will be assimilated.NOW GO AND SELF REPLACATE.

    • Lorraine says:

      07:41am | 08/02/13

      We all understand Aboriginal life in the bush is tough, but just giving them monetary assistance doesn’t help at all, these people need human assistance to educate them to allow them to help themselves and provide a better future.
      Hard when Qld health is falling apart and our Premier decided to sack their health care workers.

 

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The Punch is moving house

The Punch is moving house

Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…

Nosebleed Section

choice ringside rantings

From: Hasbro, go straight to gaol, do not pass go

Tim says:

They should update other things in the game too. Instead of a get out of jail free card, they should have a Dodgy Lawyer card that not only gets you out of jail straight away but also gives you a fat payout in compensation for daring to arrest you in the first place. Instead of getting a hotel when you… [read more]

From: A guide to summer festivals especially if you wouldn’t go

Kel says:

If you want a festival for older people or for families alike, get amongst the respectable punters at Bluesfest. A truly amazing festival experience to be had of ALL AGES. And all the young "festivalgoers" usually write themselves off on the first night, only to never hear from them again the rest of… [read more]

Gentle jabs to the ribs

Superman needs saving

Superman needs saving

Can somebody please save Superman? He seems to be going through a bit of a crisis. Eighteen months ago,… Read more

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