26 October 2010

TODAY!! National Day of Protest against the NT Intervention

RALLY: Friday, 29 October 2010, 5.30pm
State Library, cnr Swanston & La Trobe Sts, Melbourne

Speakers: Gary Foley (activist, Gumbainggir), Robbie Thorpe (activist, Krautungalung), Adam Bandt (Greens - Member for Melbourne), Adam Frogley (Indigenous Coordinator, NTEU), Kevin Bracken (Victorian Trades Hall Council), Stephen Jolly (Councillor, City of Yarra

Welcome to Country: Ringo Terrick (Wurundjeri)
Chair of Rally: Sharon Firebrace (activist, Yorta Yorta)

We demand:

+   Jobs with Justice NOT work for rations!
+   Apply the Racial Discrimination Act in Full!
+   Self determination now!

For more on Melbourne’s campaign: www.maicollective.blogspot.com   
For other actions in Australia www.jobswithjustice.wordpress.com

Sharon Firebrace  0401 414 967
Lucy Honan  0404 728 104 
Sam Salvidge  0432 803 360

Click here for MAIC's media release.

Click here for a high quality rally poster to print out. 

Worse than Workchoices

The NT Intervention promised to deliver ‘real jobs’ for Aboriginal communities. Instead, thousands of waged jobs have been lost and Aboriginal organisations have been crippled as Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) close down.[i]

Under the new CDEP scheme designed by the federal Labor government, Aboriginal people no longer receive wages. They are being forced to work providing vital services such as rubbish collection, school bus runs, sewerage maintenance, construction and aged care in exchange for quarantined Centrelink payments.[ii]

People are compelled to work 16 hours a week for $115 cash, plus $115 credit on a ‘BasicsCard’ which can only be used on ‘priority items’ in government approved stores. Aboriginal workers have described this as a return to the “ration-days’ when they were paid in food instead of cash.

Centrelink is threatening to cut off payments entirely if people do not participate. Unclear guidelines and the vulnerable position of many workers have seen cases of people working 30 hrs or more for no extra money.[iii] This is far worse than anything the Liberals inflicted on workers under Workchoices.

The Labor government committed to halving the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in a decade. But due to a continuation of Howard era policies such as the Intervention, Indigenous unemployment has drastically worsened from 13.8% in 2007 to 18.1% in 2009.[iv]

500 ‘real jobs’ created to replace some of the lost CDEP positions in remote NT shire councils face the axe next year. The Commonwealth is refusing to guarantee ongoing funding of $8.5 million per year needed by the NT government to keep the jobs.[v] Many Aboriginal communities serviced by these shires already suffer atrocious living conditions – 500 more job losses will be devastating.

The NT Intervention shames Australia. Despite recent amendments, the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UNCERD) ruled in August that Intervention legislation provides clear evidence of  “embedded racism” against Aboriginal people. [vi ] The UNCERD report said living conditions had deteriorated for Aboriginal people under the Intervention through loss of land, property, employment, legal rights and opportunities for cultural development. [vii]

Rather than abandon failed policy, the government is planning to spend $350 million (over 4 years) to expand income management across the NT.[viii ] This money is desperately needed to create real jobs in Aboriginal communities and ensure the provision of basic services.

The government must act immediately to:

+   Guarantee the 500 threatened Shire jobs
+   End compulsory income management
+   End current CDEP arrangements forcing people to work for the BasicsCard
+   Turn all CDEP positions into fully waged jobs
+   Provide massive investment in job creation and service provision in all Aboriginal communities

see www.maicollective.blogspot.com for sources referenced 

How to support:
We seek:
1.      Your public endorsement of the ‘Jobs with Justice’ statement (your name will be printed in the Australian unless you state otherwise);
2.      A donation of at least $100 to help with the cost of publication.
3.      Help advancing support for the statement through potentially
supportive organisations.
Please email your endorsement to jobs.w.justice@gmail.com or phone
Marlene Hodder from the Intervention Rollback Action Group (Alice
) on 08 89525032.
Please forward your donation to:
Intervention Rollback Action Group
PO Box 8488
Alice Springs
Or by direct deposit to:
Bendigo Community Bank
A/c Name: Intervention Rollback Action Gr.
BSB No: 633-000
A/c No: 134 157 049
Please send a notice to jobs.w.justice@gmail.com when you have made a donation.
Many thanks for your ongoing support.
Look out for the ‘Jobs with Justice’ statement published in today’s The Australian with the help of organisations and people across the country including:
Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement Inc, Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia (ALSWA), Aboriginal Support Circle – Older Women`s Network, Aboriginal Support Group Manly Warringah Pittwater Amoonguna Community Council Inc., ANTaR Armidale, Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network, Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation, Australian Nursing Federation, Australian Services Union (SA,NT,ACT&NSW branches), Brisbane Aboriginal Rights Coalition, Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association, Communist Party of Australia, concerned Australians, Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, Ethnic Child Care Family and Community Services Cooperative Ltd, Greens (NT & NSW), Gurindji stop-work meeting (October 20), Hoeroa Robert Marumaru (Maori ethnic community Brisbane), Intervention Rollback Action Group Alice Springs, La Perouse Botany Bay Aboriginal Corporation, Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union, Leichhardt Council, Liberty Victoria, Maritime Union of Australia, Melbourne Unitarian Church Mutitjulu Community Aboriginal Corporation, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission, National Association of Community Legal Centres, National Tertiary Education Union, Ngoppon Together Inc, NSW Aboriginal Land Council, Peace & Social Justice Network VRM Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Australia (AYM office Qld) Socialist Alliance, Socialists Alternative, Solidarity, Solidarity Choir, South Coast Labor Council, Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney, Tangentyere Council, The Greek Orthodox Community of NSW  Ltd, The Network of Immigrant and Refugee Women of Australia Inc, Tribal Warrior, Unions NT, UQ/QUT Students for Indigenous Rights, Urapuntja Aboriginal Corporation, Women for Wik, Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom
Prof. Jon Altman, Gil Appleton, Assoc. Prof. Barbara Baird, Prof. Larissa Behrendt, Judith Gamper, Vivi Germanos-Koutsounadis OAM, Dr Peter Gibson & Cathy-Anne Grew, Don & Estelle Gobbett, Rev. Dr. Djiniyini Gondarra OAM,Marcia Guild, Brian Johnstone, John Leemans, Ian MacIndoe, Jeff McMullen, Wendy McMurdo (Greens Councillor Hornsby Shire), Sandra Milne, The Hon Alastair Nicholson AO RFD QC, George Newhouse, James Oaten, Christine Olsen, Linda Pearson, Stephen Sewell, Rachel Siewert (WA Greens Senator), Associate Professor Gracelyn Smallwood, Warwick Thornton,Anne Vadiveloo, Sam Watson, Bethany Wheeler, Alexis Wright, Josephine Zappia