Plans for Aborigines Welfare
Fund 'lip service'
A sudden announcement by the State Government about plans for the
Aborigines Welfare Fund last week was outrageous, says Queensland's
Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation President Jenny
"If it's really only going to take the interest from $8.9
million to fix up education and skill development opportunities
in the Aboriginal community,
why don't they just do that themselves and give these people their
money " she said.
"This is nothing more than window-dressing and lip service
reconciliation and the very serious issues of education, skills
"Window-dressing because the government will make the decision
about who in the Aboriginal community will manage the fund and lip
service because these hard-earned wages should have been at the complete disposal of the
people who earned them in the first place which is something this government in particular seems incapable of acknowledging through action instead of just words."
The AWF is described by historian Dr Ros Kidd as a fund initially
set up for the benefit of Aborigines from their wages, child endowments,
deceased estates and profits from community labour.
She said the AWF operated as a Treasury Trust fund between 1943
and 1993 and was "characterised" by mismanagement including improper
expenditure and negligent account keeping.
Ms Tannoch-Bland said the government had "had their chance"
not only to manage this particular fund but to do something to "benefit"
"For a start they shouldn't be touching this until both the
assets and income generated by this fund have been independently audited, and
then they should genuinely let the community decide what they want to
"After that the government has got report after report, many
Aboriginal people themselves, which show why there are cracks in
education system, for example, and where and how they can be fixed.
"So many solutions have been called for by Aboriginal people
over the years, yet the government still won't do things the way Aboriginal
people ask them to be done and then they wonder why the way things are
done have become part of the problem."
Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (Queensland)
Office 10, 25-27 Cordelia Street, South Brisbane Qld 4101
Phone (07) 3844 9800 Fax (07) 3844 9562
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