GOVERNMENTS of nations such as Canada and New Zealand have brought about great improvements in indigenous life expectancy in recent decades, whereas in Australia, the gap between white and black life expectancy is still about 20 years, the same as it was 30 years ago.
The web site of Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation ( www.antar.org.au) gives further facts on what the situation is, and what needs to be done, as well as ways to bring pressure to bear on decision-makers such as our Federal Health Minister, Tony Abbott.
As this is a federal election year, candidates of all parties may be prepared to listen if enough people show concern.
That web site includes an article by former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser on this topic.
He notes: “Report after report has come out, detailing what needs to be done. But we have largely ignored the reports, and then wonder why we are not making progress.”
Mr Fraser points out that health is related to other issues such as employment.
In the remote Aboriginal community of Wadeye, in the Northern Territory, there are only 25 paying jobs in a community of 2500.
Mr Fraser notes, the Canadian Government has its officers sit down with leaders of remote communities and work out enterprises appropriate to each community.
Then they provide infrastructure and training.
As a result, remote communities in Canada are now running their local railways, managing forestry and other enterprises.
The Catholic Leader is an Australian award-winning Catholic newspaper that has been published by the Archdiocese of Brisbane since 1929. Our journalism seeks to provide a full, accurate and balanced Catholic perspective of local, national and international news while upholding the dignity of the human person.
The Catholic Leader acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First Peoples of this country and especially acknowledge the traditional owners on whose lands we live and work throughout the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.