Fight for alternative to NT Intervention comes to Sydney 23-6-11
Media release - 23 June 2011 - For immediate release
Fight for alternative to NT Intervention comes to Sydney
On Saturday June 25, the Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney (STICS) will hold a demonstration demanding an end to the NT Intervention and support for a new alternative program 'Rebuilding from the Ground Up'.
The program was launched at a strong demonstration in Darwin on Tuesday by Aboriginal leaders from across the Northern Territory.
The 11 point plan includes the re-establishment of Aboriginal community councils, abandonment of the 'hub towns' model and investment in all communities, an end to compulsory acquisition of Aboriginal land, the rescinding of all leases signed under the NTER and recognition of the importance of Aboriginal customary law.
'Rebuilding from the Ground Up' was initiated by the Intervention Rollback Action Group (IRAG Alice Springs) and STICS. Along with broad support from Aboriginal community leaders, a range of organisations and prominent individuals have endorsed the statement including Tangentyere Council, North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA), ANTaR and Olympic champion Ian Thorpe.
Paddy Gibson from STICS said that the Intervention has been a disaster for Aboriginal communities and that a new approach based on Aboriginal self-determination was urgently needed.
Mr Gibson rejected the ‘Strong Futures' discussion paper released by the government yesterday as maintaining the blueprint of the Intervention.
"The Intervention set out to smash Aboriginal control and dismantle Aboriginal organisations and employment programs. Forget ‘Strong Futures' - these policies are designed to send a clear message that there is NO future in remote communities - the only choice is to 'assimilate' into 'mainstream Australia'".
"We've seen four years of devastation. Government statistics show thousands of jobs have been lost, 30 per cent more Indigenous people are in prison and rates of attempted suicide and self harm have almost doubled. Disgracefully, the ‘Strong Futures' discussion paper refuses to face these facts."
"The government is paying lip service to community consultation. They will not recognise rights to control community land or restore community councils. There will be no new investment in education, housing or employment for the overwhelming majority of communities".
"'Rebuilding from the Ground Up' outlines demands coming from Aboriginal people about how they can turn around shocking social conditions. Abandon the 'assimilation' framework. Redirect investment from punitive social engineering programs to community controlled development".
The rally will also be hearing from Aboriginal representatives from Bankstown in Sydney's west, which will see the introduction of NT-style 'Income Management'.
Mon Wiseman from STICS said the group had organised a successful forum in Bankstown last Monday.
"We are going to fight the introduction of Income Management into NSW every step of the way. For four years the BasicsCard has humiliated Aboriginal people in the NT and now they think they can impose it on the poor here too. This government's Income Management trial is over. The verdict? Expensive, demeaning and useless" concluded Ms Wiseman.
For a full copy of the 'Rebuilding from the Ground Up' Statement and a list of current endorsements see http://stoptheintervention.org/alternatives-to-the-intervention
A website where you can explore background information, video and supporting research is now online at http://www.jumbunna.uts.edu.au/researchareas/alternatives.html
The Sydney launch of the 'Rebuilding from the Ground Up' Statement will take place at a demonstration:
1pm Saturday 25th June,Town Hall Square marching to Belmore Park.
Katherine Napaljarri Parker, Kintore NT
Lee Rhiannon, Greens NSW Senator Elect
Rebel Hanlon, CFMEU
Jack Johnson, Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council (South-West Sydney)
Paddy Gibson, STICS
Nicole Watson, Jumbunna Research
For comment contact:
Paddy Gibson: 0415800586
Mon Wiseman: 0415410558