Wednesday, December 15, 2004

NSW pledges to repay Indigenous wages

The New South Wales Government says it will set up a fund to repay wages and other money paid into trusts for Aboriginal people that was not passed on to them.

Last year a leaked government report estimated 11,000 Aboriginal people could be owed up to $70 million in lost money paid into trusts between 1900 and 1970.

There was concern the money had been stolen by public servants or employers, so the Government appointed a panel to set up a scheme that was workable.

It now says 3,500 thousand people are owed money at an estimated cost of $15 million.

Community services minister Carmel Tebbutt has today committed the Government to paying.

The Minister says descendants of people owed money will also be able to lodge claims.

By Sorry 15 December 04

Vanstone defends asking Aborigines to wash for fuel
The Federal Government has defended its offer to provide a remote Indigenous community with petrol bowsers and new health programs, if it meets conditions including ensuring children shower every day.

Clark crashes Indigenous affairs ministers' meeting
Aboriginal leader Geoff Clark says he gatecrashed a meeting of federal and state Aboriginal affairs ministers today to highlight the plight of Aboriginal people.

Long says journey far from over
Michael Long has emerged from a meeting with the Prime Minister in Canberra saying it is still the beginning of his journey.

Second autopsy to delay Palm Island funeral
A spokesman for the Palm Island community in north Queensland says the funeral for a man who died in police custody may be another two weeks away.

Indigenous welfare plan breach race act!!!!
The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) has issued a warning about the Federal Government's plan to link Aboriginal welfare to behavioural change.

HoWARd's 'attitude' to Aboriginal welfare racist
The Federal Government says it is still considering a radical plan to rebuild the Aboriginal welfare system, which could make financial assistance dependent on behavioural change?

UN rates Indigenous health poorly
The Australian Nursing Federation says the United Nations has rated Indigenous Australians as having the second worst quality of life in the world after China.

Poverty cycle must be addressed: Ridgeway
The Democrats' Aden Ridgeway says Prime Minister John Howard should stop beating up on people who are on welfare, and focus on solving the national Indigenous unemployment rate.

Whitewash over Hickey's death
The New South Wales coroner has cleared police of any responsibility for the death of Aboriginal teenager Thomas 'TJ' Hickey.

1. ATSIC abolition: the story so far. The last few months have seen both major parties buying into Indigenous Affairs in destructive and politically opportunistic ways. First the ALP and then the Government announced they would abolish ATSIC, but now the decision has been referred to a Senate Committee so the full implications of the Government's proposal can be examined. For more information on the Senate Inquiry into Indigenous Administration call 02 6277 3419 or go to:

AMA calls for extra health funding for Aborigines
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) is asking for an extra $450 million a year to be spent on the health needs of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders.

Labor to request Senate inquiry into ATSIC's future
The Federal Opposition has announced it will call for a Senate inquiry into the Government's plan to abolish the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC).

Reconciliation dreaming
Djerrkura had witnessed the collapse of ATSIC, which he led from 1996 to 1999, with sadness. Despite the peak indigenous organisation's flaws, which he did not deny, its abolition, he said, had been done in "the classic imperial fashion, without negotiation, without understanding and with little empathy". He noted that as early as December 2001 he had called on his successor Geoff Clark to resign for the good of the organisation. But he reserved his harshest words for John Howard.

Amnesty sees lack of progress on reconciliation
Amnesty International says the Federal Government must be held accountable for its commitments to Indigenous services.

The bone has been pointed at Howard
A Queensland Indigenous leader says an ancient Aboriginal curse placed on Prime Minister John Howard is no laughing matter and could even have deadly consequences.

Indigenous Social Justice Association Djadi Dugarang

Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research: Aboriginal Crime
In 2001 more than forty percent of the Aboriginal male population aged 20-24 in NSW appeared before a NSW court charged with a criminal offence. One in ten Aboriginal males in NSW aged 20-24 received a prison sentence.

Inquiry told reforms will decimate Indigenous education
A Senate inquiry has been told the Federal Government's proposed higher education reforms will decimate education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. The National Indigenous Postgraduate Association Aboriginal Corporation says Indigenous students will be the hardest hit by increases in student fees, interest on postgraduate loans and attacks on student representation.