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|Australian Indigenous MDGs|
How we can relate the MDGs to addressing Indigenous poverty in Australia...
How do the MDGs affect Australia?
Because Australia is a “developed” country, the MDGs do not specifically target Australia. However, even though Australia is a rich country there are those who live in poverty and who do not enjoy the same level of health, wealth and even life expectancy as that of the majority of Australians.
Several reports, both domestic and international, show that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia score worse on almost every key social and economic indicator than their non–Indigenous counterparts.Poverty is relative and to appreciate the disadvantage that Indigenous Australians suffer, we must compare the key indicators which describe the poverty experienced by Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples with the key indicators describing the experiences of the rest of Australia.
Describing poverty in mostly financial terms such as those that live on less than $1 per day does not describe the full extent of poverty that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders experience. While key indicators for poverty show that Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples do suffer similar standards of health and wellbeing as those in least developed countries and Africa, it is vital to remember that behind the statistics of low income, unemployment, lack of education and family violence there are stories of dispossession; cultural annihilation; loss of languages; stolen generations and lack of recognition of our prior ownership of this country.
NATSIEC wholeheartedly supports the International Make Poverty History Campaign and its aim to deliver poverty relief for the poor of this world. However, we also believe that we can not, and should not, forget the plight of the people in our own country. The poorest of the poor in Australian society are the traditional owners of this land. Those people who, for many thousands of years were custodians of this country we now call Australia. Who, over millennia, developed ways to live in sympathy with each other and with their environment. Those people who were then invaded and colonised and who, to this day, continue to suffer the effects of dispossession, disempowerment, racism and the ongoing and unrelenting diminishing of culture.
Now, more than two hundred years later we have an opportunity to stand up and say enough! We will not tolerate the poverty that the poorest of our society live in. We will do whatever it takes to ensure that the Indigenous Peoples of Australia have the same opportunities to live as long, to create as much wealth, to see their children grow into healthy and productive adults as non-Indigenous people do. We must also ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are able to continue living culturally. Not only through maintaining ancient traditions, but also by ensuring that our cultures remain living and vibrant in this modern world.
We must "indigenise" the MDGs and ensure that we work as hard for our own poor as we do for those overseas.
NATSIEC has adapted the 8 MDGs to the Australian context and these 8 goals are outlined in the following pages.