Here’s very brief wrap-up of events over the Christmas – New Year period.
As predicted, the ineffectual NIC was allowed to fade into history.
COAG announced an extra $49.3 million for alcohol treatment and addiction services, which has been welcomed by NACCHO , along with commitments to reduce the gap in live expectancy and educational outcomes. Some have noted that this will require significant funding to succeed.
The Rudd Govt will apologise to the Stolen Generation but will not offer financial compensation. Indigenous Territory MLA, Marion Scrymgour, publicly backed this stance.
Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister, Jenny Macklin, announced that the welfare quarantining would continue to roll out across the Territory, but that the abolition of the permit system on ALRA lands would be reversed. Though it isn’t clear how this will be achieved as the legislative mechanisms but in place by the previous Federal Govt grind on towards the automatic abolition of the permit system, due to occur on February 19. Marion Scrymgour has backed an elective system of permits, which is sensible. This is what makes the intervention so bizarre. Under the ARLA, as it was, communities always had the ability to waive the need for permits.
The mostly useless child health checks will recommence in a few weeks time in Top End communities. How the necessary follow up will be delivered remains the subject of much speculation.