Has the Governments approach over the last 2 years had any positive effect on Aborignal and Torres Strait Islander communities? The present Labour Federal Government along with the Northern Territory Government have a policy approach called “closing the Gap.” But is their approach working? Richard Trudgen the author of “Why Warriors Lie down and Die” has written a discussion paper on this topic called “Are We heading in the right direction? ‘Closing the Gap’ or making it bigger?” It looks at the effects of the intervention and current policy outcomes for health, education and legal issues on the remote Yolŋu communities of North East Arnhem Land. The paper then goes on to suggest alternative solutions for truely ‘closing the Gap’.
The paper was written at short notice for a public forum on the intervention held at the request of Yolŋu members of the Northern Territory Synod of the Uniting Church. Richard was asked to write a paper by organisers of the event as CEO of the Aborignal organisation ARDS to help Balanda attendees to better understand some of the Yolŋu peoples concerns. While it is a highly summarised examination written from Richards experience, rather than from an formal survey of Yolŋu views, it was heartening to see that the paper reflected closely the points made by the Yolŋu presenting at the forum.
Richard Trudgen continues to work as CEO of the organisation ARDS Inc and the paper has been publish by ARDS, it is available here.