Historic Uluru Statement
The decision by Cabinet to reject the Uluru Statement shows lack of understanding of the revitalisation of Indigenous communities in the last 50 years.
Since the 1967 referendum the change in the constitution shifted the relationship between the young Australian nation and the original people of the land.
It helped end the long frontier wars and gave responsible federal governments the ability to legislate for Indigenous people to get a footing back on their land.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait people have taken up the challenge and worked to re-establish their connection with tens of thousands of years of culture and country.
Communities have moved back to their homelands to restore their practices of keeping the land healthy and productive.
All throughout Australia we can see the growing strength and knowledge of Aboriginal art, dance, language, stories and identity.
Exhibitions such as Songlines –Tracking the Seven Sisters now on at the National Museum of Australia Canberra and programs on the NITV channel showcase the stories from communities.
We are slowly becoming aware of the ancient and sophisticated continent of nations that was here 230 years ago.
The generosity, wisdom and grace of the Uluru Statement from the Heart opened an opportunity for us all to walk together toward a future based on truth and justice.
The language in the statement requires careful thought and understanding. Seemingly simple words, such as ‘land’, need translating. To the invading settler society ‘land’ means wealth, property and resources to be exploited. Over time ‘land’ can come to take on the Indigenous meaning of home, mother and ancient survival.
Through consultation with Indigenous communities the aim for recognition in the constitution – an obvious truth - was transformed into a constituted process of continuing dialogue and mutual understanding.
The Statement says “In 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we seek to be heard”.
By definitively saying there is ‘no prospect’ that these changes will get through, Malcolm Turnbull has closed the door on hope for now.
The reborn strength of Indigenous connection to the land we share could benefit us all. It might even help solve the intractable dilemma of the survival of the Murray Darling Basin.
Sue Norman, Kiah
One consequence of a successful campaign to prevent local fluoridation will be for council to miss an opportunity to improve the health of low income groups within our community.
There is no debate that poor dental health contributes to poor overall health and that dental treatment is beyond the financial means of many families, particularly those with single incomes and the indigenous community.
The recent comprehensive, scientific and unbiased report by Australia’s peak National Health and Medical Research Council confirms what has been patently obvious for years. Fluoride in the water supplies is safe and significantly improves dental health, especially among young people.
Why council has not grasped this nettle and supported the health of disadvantaged groups in the Bega Valley Shire escapes me.
Robert Bain, Eden
Why must we further pollute the pristine ocean waters and fish of the Sapphire Coast with sewage effluent and treatment chemicals by building an “ocean outfall”?
What do they do in Albury, Bendigo, Ballarat or Alice Springs? After more than 40 years of dumping our effluent into the bay through the sand dunes, council should find a decent 21st Century sewage solution.
Hands off the ocean!