22 August 2011

Online Petition to Save Melbourne's Last Aboriginal School

To Martin Dixon, MP, Victorian Minister of Education

Whilst the Ballerrt Mooroop College (BMC) committee were planning to improve their current programs and further meet the needs of Victorian Indigenous educationally disengaged children and youths, the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) and the Glenroy Specialist School (GSS) were holding meetings to not only poach BMC's adjacent sporting and the community open-space reserves, but to bulldoze the school's cultural precinct and the multi purpose Gymnasium / 'Gathering Place'.

BMC was not properly consulted throughout this process, in fact, were not told of the plans at the beginning of the process at all.

Following the protest by BMC a mediation process between GSS and BMC was put into place and a 'compromised draft plan' was being developed between the two schools. The Victorian Government through DEECD completely undermined the mediation process and outcomes and ordered the GSS original plan to be built while BMC were waiting to discuss the issue with you, which your department was well aware of.

We request that work on the building is stopped immediately and proper consultations are put into place with all parties, including local residents, who are losing their valued open-space recreational land. Many local residents have advised us that they don't like the way the DEECD is seen to have set up one disadvantaged group against the other.

We also request a meeting with you to further explain our situation.

Go here to sign the petition:

Statement for Amnesty Homelands campaign from Rosalie Kunoth-Monks


My name is Rosalie Kunoth-Monks. I am an Amntayerr and Alyawerr woman born by a creek bed in a small community called Utopia in 1937.

Today I am fighting for that community's survival, and I am asking for your help.

My homelands, the place where my family and community have lived for generations, could soon be lost. The government is stripping funding for essential services on our homelands; effectively forcing us into larger towns and cities like Alice Springs.

This means we could soon be forced to choose between living in third world conditions in our own country, or abandoning our way of life. If we are forced to leave it will sever our sacred connection to the land that has held us, our language and our traditions since time immemorial.

What we've learned is that the government isn't listening, so we need to come together as Australians and speak out. Will you stand with me, and call on the Australian government to respect Aboriginal homelands? http://ow.ly/5ZkFw

Rather than listening to us, the government still acts like they know what's best for Aboriginal people. But on my homelands life expectancy is longer and health is better. In Utopia, we've been 'closing the gap' for a long time!

That's because here we can live with our way of life intact. People like my aunt Kathleen, who has exhibited her art in Milan and Tokyo but still paints her stories of this land most days at the local women's centre. Or Joycie - a talented young community health worker who combines traditional bush medicine with Western medicine. We don't want to move to larger towns where we'll be dispossessed of our land and feel like second or third class citizens.

This is our way of life, our culture, our home - and the government has no right to make us abandon it. Together we're turning a special painting into a visual petition - with each name represented in a dot on the painting. Add yours now: http://ow.ly/5ZkFw

The thought of leaving my homelands - I couldn't imagine it. I want my grandchildren to be citizens of the globe - but first and foremost, to be solid in their identity as Aboriginal people of the Alyawerr and Anmatyerr tribal groups; with their language, their responsibilities and the care of their land intact.

Help this untold story be heard and stand in solidarity with me now: http://bit.ly/DontAbandonHomelands

Thank you,