By Pamela Nathan
Re: ‘Warren Mundine warns on remote funding’, by Patricia Karvelas, published in The Australian, May 20, 2014
Patricia Karvelas reports that scores of organisations running programs for indigenous Australia have been warned they should expect to lose their funding — even if they are meeting their targets — if their programs sit outside the Abbott government’s three remote focus areas, with a particular focus in remote areas on improved school attendance, employment and community safety.
The report continues that Mr Mundine will argue for a radical “stocktake” of the jobs in each community and a new plan to ensure all of the roles are filled only by local Aborigines, not outsiders who are often white.
It is good to see that Mr Mundine supports local Aboriginal people getting jobs over and above Whitefellahs that do not live in Aboriginal communities.
However it is concerning that there is to be such drastic funding cuts to scores of Aboriginal organisations.
It is concerning that mental health funding is not prioritised in the remote communities. School attendance depends on healthy minds and bodies, not just school policing officers. Employment depends on healthy minds and bodies for youth and adults. Community safety depends on healthy minds and bodies.
Aboriginal people have sustained massive trauma and ruptured lives, weathering many storms in the cultural and racial divide of colonialism and modernity. Their trauma needs to be registered in the minds of politicians and reflected in their funding in order to repair and restore broken and unlived lives, in order to change minds and save lives, and in order for there to be a future which heralds the very successes they want as outcomes!