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Byron Shire
May 7, 2021

Getting closer to Closing the Gap

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The poorer health of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples when compared to the non-Indigenous population is no secret – but this is something that can change.

Since 2006, the Close the Gap Campaign has seen Australia’s peak Indigenous and non-Indigenous health bodies, NGOs and human rights organisations work together to achieve health and life expectation equality for Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The campaign’s goal is to close the health and life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation. The campaign is built on evidence that shows that significant improvements in the health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can be achieved within short time frames.

The aim of Close the Gap is to make sure that by 2030 any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child born in this country has the same opportunity as other Australian children to live a long, healthy and happy life.

This year the Mullumbimby Neighbourhood Centre will highlight the issue is the area.

In the Byron Shire there are no government funded culturally appropriate health or community services. The indigenous community is serviced by out-reached services which are currently delivered in an adhoc system.

The Mullumbimby and District Neighbourhood Centre in partnership with Byron Shire Council, Tweed Byron Local Aboriginal Land Council and Aboriginal Community members – working together as Bagwa Bugalma – are hosting a special event for Aboriginal women and mothers of Aboriginal children to find out what health and support services are in the Byron Shire for Aboriginal people and their families and to let them know what services Aboriginal people feel they need.

The event will have information about what there is now – from the team at Mullumbimby Neighbourhood Centre and will identify what is needed, facilitated by Delta Kay and Leweena Williams

There will be cultural creative activities including including weaving, and Earth mandala, visual arts and cultural dance

With a free Lunch will be provided by Mullumbimby Neighbourhood Centre the event will run from 11am to 2pm on Friday March 22.

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  1. Just an opinion, but if we white settlers were smart enough to see just how ultimately sustainable the Aborigines were, and valued their enormous wealth of survival skills and knowledge, then with some communication efforts,,,
    We may have gotten off to an exciting start, with very little clearing to encourage kangaroo numbers with virtually no fences needed. And as for bush tucker,, we could have had a world market.

    Now, we look very close to failing the human race entirely, as we try, or pretend to try to start becoming sustainable.

    Instead, Aborigines were aggressively dislocated from everything that made any sense to them, and thrust them into a society that is now floundering to find any sense in itself as it self-destructs after only 200 years.

    In an ideal world of growing populations, our young Aboriginal kids would probably benefit greatly, by being part of a sustainable solution, with an employment program to establish vegetarian bush tucker for us and for export.

    Is this just a dream, that could bring their spirit back and be part of their ancestral magnificence again, on a global scale ??

    • I like the point you make, have had the same thought, if only we could have made a better start. The word ‘if’ though does not fit with history at all. What if Julius Caesar had decided to take up a career in hairdressing. The mind boggles. Still there’s room for redress. As you say, a real market for outback designer tucker. I would still like our brothers all to have some choice, the olden of all our cultures, including Shakespeare and Newton. To be born between cultures should be a good thing, not a shackle. Between cultures we could have the best of all worlds.

  2. I think you should take note of the facts of what you have written.
    You write this as a fact:
    “In the Byron Shire there are no government funded culturally appropriate health or community services.”
    When that is fact how can any gap be closed now or in the future?
    First, the Government MUST be on the side of the indigenous for any progress to be made.

  3. The Byron Environment Centre and the Cavanbah Reconcilliation Group are also holding an informal Info and campaign material Close the Gap stall, in Railway Park this Thursday 21/3.

  4. But really, Tim, your point is about sustainable futures, so political despite its gravitas. What ever has been sustainable completely? Beyond 10,000 years ago, the whole world was in an ice age, even here there would have been fewer trees. The ab tribes would have their inclines and declines, no magnificence apart from pockets, and since as well we don’t really know, no written history. And as for the future, how many of us really provide for ourselves. The farmers come the closest, but not without combine harvesters and a ute. The nonsense about sustainability comes down to carrots, the number we can grow and the number we can use to gain some other advantage. So capital reigns in the best of back gardens. This politics is so obviously based on Rousseau.

  5. The Dreamtime is only 50 years old. Like children the abs grasp at anything, like a barbie doll, which actually antecedes the Dreamtime, in order prefer some meaning either lost or barely ever existed. Still, the worldview was different to what the colonisers understood, an invariability in time, past, present and future existing at once, and this is as construed by Western anthropologists. Songlines, ancestral beings, beginnings present at once with future; these notions have little establishment but for the myth as relayed. Still, a captivating philosophy. To get to the bottom of that you need a good linguist, and our brothers should stop pulling the wool. You want a modern sustainable world there has to be some truth to start with, not conceptions and political blather. I’m willing to learn. I can trace four lines of truth, and possibly see beyond nine. Is nought a real concept?


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