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Poverty cycle must be addressed: Ridgeway

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 29 September 2004

The Democrats' Aden Ridgeway says Prime Minister John Howard should stop beating up on people who are on welfare, and focus on solving the national Indigenous unemployment rate.

Senator Ridgeway has responded to Mr Howard's comment that there needs to be an end to the welfare mentality in Aboriginal communities to bring about change.

The nation's only Indigenous Federal MP is attending the Local Government Aboriginal Network conference in Moree in north-western New South Wales.

He says the Government needs to intervene by putting the programs in place to break the welfare mentality.

"We've got to recognise that there's more than 3 million Australians now living in circumstances of poverty, a high proportion of that being from the Indigenous community where in some cases unemployment rises up to 80 and 90 per cent," he said.

"We ought to be concerned when the national unemployment rate for Indigenous people is around 40 per cent."

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