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Study says Govt's Indigenous policies failing

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 15 October 2003


A study has found Aboriginal health, education and job prospects declined during the first five years of the Howard Government.

The study of census data compared the current government with the previous Labor government's performance.

The Centre for Economic Policy Research at the Australian National University found from 1991 to 1996 there were improvements for Aboriginal people in employment, home ownership, education and health.

But the report's author, Professor Jon Altman, says there was a negative outcome after the Howard Government took office and 'practical' reconciliation began.

"Adult median income declined, full time jobs for Indigenous people declined, labour force population declined relative to non-Indigenous people," he said.

He suggests there needs to be a change of emphasis.

"You can't get improvement just by focusing on the practical."

He says Government policies must take into account the social, cultural and spiritual needs of Indigenous people.

Labor's Bob McMullan says the Government's approach is not working.

"Let me give one example. After cuts the Government made to education funding, the policies they're proposing now means the number of Indigenous teachers being trained in Australia has fallen by 33 per cent in the last five years," he said.


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