Australian news, and some related international items

Australian government policy drives Aboriginals off their homelands Amnesty report

Aborigines being driven off homelands: Amnesty, Google News, 9 Aug 11SYDNEY — Australia’s Aborigines are being forced off their traditional land because of government policy, despite the fact they would live longer if they stayed put, Amnesty International claimed Tuesday.

The human rights organisation studied small groups in the central desert region and found those choosing to live on their ancestral lands were effectively denied services such as public housing due to a government emphasis on bigger towns.

“There’s a grave risk that these policies will mean that one-third of the Aboriginal population in the Northern Territory will be abandoned,” said Amnesty International Australia director Claire Mallinson. “The report highlights the really unique and special relationship that Aboriginal people have with the land and then how government policies are putting that relationship at risk, and as a result, people and culture at risk.”

Mallinson said that research showed Aborigines lived healthier and longer lives in the small, homeland communities and that these tended to have fewer social problems such as domestic violence and substance abuse. “The stripping away of essential services will effectively force families to abandon their traditional lands and move into larger towns and cities,” she told AFP.

Australia has committed to improving the lives of its indigenous people but is directing the majority of resources in the Northern Territory to so-called growth towns, Amnesty argues. It said this means that outside these towns, many Aborigines live in overcrowded and dilapidated housing, often without electricity, running water or sanitation…..

August 11, 2011 - Posted by | aboriginal issues, Northern Territory

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