Call for real gap action
NOW is the time for the Abbott Government to act on closing the gap between indigenous and nonindigenous Australia, says the country’s first Aboriginal MP in Federal Parliament.
Speaking in Darwin last night, Western Australia’s Liberal Member for Hasluck, Ken Wyatt, says that despite the $3.5 billion in funding that goes towards trying to close the gap, outcomes are very poor.
‘‘ It doesn’t matter how much money you pump into Aboriginal affairs if you don’t have community engagement,’’ he said, as he delivered the annual oration for the Menzies School of Health Research.
‘‘Time is important, because unless we act, we will see a diminishing return on the investments we put in.’’
Mr Wyatt warned that the Government had to move away from previous approaches to funding for Aboriginal health and education.
Aboriginal people disengage when they’re told decisions about their communities have been made by Canberra, or when faced with service providers who reject input from community members, Mr Wyatt said. He called for the Government to support grassroots action with parents and elders being made equal partners in change.
Government has to make service providers for indigenous communities accountable for poor outcomes, he said.