Australian government spends $424 million to ‘bridge the gap’ between society and indigenous communities

The Australian government has announced a $424 million (US$293 million) plan to improve the welfare of Indigenous peoples, with a focus on clean drinking water and assistance to survivors of domestic violence. .

announcement matches 15th It marks the day the former Kevin Rudd administration formally apologized for the Stolen Generation, the Indigenous people of Australia who were forcibly removed from their families and communities between 1910 and 1970 by government policy.

The new funding is not included in the previously announced $1.2 billion investment in Indigenous communities in the October 2022 budget.

Under the new 2023 Gap Closure Implementation Plan, the federal government will invest $150 million to provide remote Indigenous communities with safe drinking water over four years.

“The fact that many communities, such as remote Aboriginal communities in Australia, do not have clean drinking water and are unable to receive dialysis because the water is not clean enough to install a dialysis machine, is a concern for many. I think it’s a shock. Kidney failure is such a problem in our community,” said the Australian Minister for Indigenous Peoples. linda barney saidreported by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

An additional $112 million will be spent on new remote housing in a year-long partnership with the Northern Territory Government.

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Members of the Mutitjulu Aboriginal community walk the Mutitjulu grounds near Alice Springs, Australia, July 6, 2007 (Ian Waldie/Getty Images)

In addition, the federal government will grant $68.6 million to domestic violence and prevention legal service providers who assist women and children, and will donate an additional $22 million to programs that address domestic violence.

The plan also includes $38.4 million for a four-year on-country education program for students in remote areas and $11.8 million for two years to make nutritious food more accessible to indigenous communities. increase.

“Our actions will be more specific and targeted, will have real impact that will complement ongoing work in our provinces and territories, and will bring us back to institutions managed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. , will lead the work in the community,” Barney said.

Meanwhile, Australian Indigenous Deputy Minister Marandiri McCarthy praised the package, saying it would be a “game changer” for many remote communities.

Government admits it failed to ‘bridge the gap’

The new funding package recognizes Bernie’s failure to deliver on its promises to improve the livelihood outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as shown to close the gap in 2022. Because Bernie approved. report.

This was the first report since 2021 when state and federal governments signed a national agreement to bridge the gap with indigenous communities.

The report showed that only four of the 18 socio-economic goals are on track and much more needs to be done to address the problems facing indigenous communities.

“I think governments have been trying, but there is a huge failure in achieving the goal of closing all the gaps,” Barney said.

voice and fill the gap

Aside from revealing details of a new funding package, Australia’s Indigenous Peoples Minister said his voice to parliament was ‘fundamental’ in helping Indigenous communities solve their problems .

“It would mean that there are Aboriginal voices advising Congress on what needs to be done to close the gap,” Birney said.

“This will be a great opportunity for all Australians to have a say in meeting the aspirations of Aboriginal peoples and filling that gap.”

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Protesters make their way to Victoria Park during protests in Sydney, Australia, January 26, 2023. (Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

The Voice is an initiative by the Labor Government to change the design and functioning of Indigenous policy by establishing an advisory body to provide advice to Congress and government on issues affecting Indigenous communities.

The government is expected to hold a referendum in late 2023, and Australians will decide whether they want a voice in parliament.

Labor Senator Pat Dodson believed that the Australian public would support the referendum and that it could pass despite opposition opposition.

“I trust the Australian people,” he said.

“Australians have long heard the call of Indigenous peoples with a very simple proposition to want constitutional recognition.”

Meanwhile, Northern Territory Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price raised $1.45 million. motion It says no to the February 13 referendum.

“The voice will drive a wedge between Indigenous peoples and divide Australians by race,” her campaign website said.

“It’s divisive, dangerous, expensive and unfair.”