Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Government Treaty with Aboriginal Australians and the New Commission (ATSIC), low priorities for many Aboriginal people

Download PDFDownload PDF


Chris M I L E S


"The Government Treaty with Aboriginal Australians and the New Commission (ATSIC) for Aboriginal Affairs were low priorities for many Aboriginal people," Mr. Miles the Opposition Spokesman for Aboriginal Affairs said today.

At best Aborigines said they would wait and see what a Treaty meant, but many were of the opinion that it was a mirage, or like a stagnant water hole.

Others feared that if a treaty were signed they would be regarded as the COnauered and that it. would oive some Australians a basis nn whirh tn argiio that no more financial assistance should be provided for health, housing and education for Aboriginal communities.

Mr. Miles had just completed a tour of several Aboriginal communities in three States.

Several communities put their case for mining, desert farming and pastoral cattle and sheep grazing on land controlled by Aborigines.

Aborigines said they had always used the land to maximise the benefits to their people but now there were lawyers, advisors and anthropologists who were acting in ways that prevented enterprtsed developments.

"The lack of s u r p r i s e d developments meant that Aboriginals could not be self-sufficieaS^ileid remained locked into the welfare system," Mr. Miles said.

"Education, health, housing and Aboriginal run enterprises were the priorities most frequently discussed in the communities visited.

"Many had deep concerns about the increased power of the Minister in the proposed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Commission and the centralization of decision making in Canberra.

"Self management and local input was becoming less and less under the present Minister and the sacking of the Aboriginal Development Commission Commissioners was referred to by Aboriginal people as evidence that the Government did not

want to listen to people with views different to the G o v ernm ents.

"The result of centralized control and massive duplication in Aboriginal Affairs meant that only an estimated 15 per cent to 35 per cent of funds allocated ever reached the people most in need," Mr. Miles said.

July 12, 1988. contact Stephen Wade

004 311333