This is the statement we made at the formal launch of the site on Sunday 28 June at Mori Gallery. We want to point out why we need the site and illustrate this by using the problems with the Government policy on defunding outstations.
If you would like to endorse the statement, read the full message below. Then select the endorement link, or you can add a comment. Comments are moderated and may appear on the webpage when it is completed.
Women for Wik is a network which respects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s rights and capacities to control their lands and communities. Despite the Apology, progress has been slow and sometimes policies have gone backwards, often because of relentlessly negative reporting of crises and deficits. These ‘stories’ have led to drastic Interventions, takeovers and funding shifts which weaken local communities and undermine the often under-reported progress.
Women For Wik is launching this website at http://www.whatsworking.com.au to counter the unbalanced reporting and better inform people of real progress in areas where local control and involvement makes the difference. We want to document examples of programs, policies and activities which are actually working, or were until they were defunded!
Women For Wik first emerged 12 years ago in support of Native Title and was reactivated 3 years ago in response to the Intervention, in particular to the way things were done. There is an undoubted need for more funding but with local involvement and decision making to make it work. Every study of top–down policies shows why they don’t work and how they have proven disastrous to culture and living standards.
A current example of this is the latest proposals to de-fund the Outstation movement and so push people off their land to urban centres. Outstations have worked in many cases, as people on their own land avoid inter-group tensions, grog and despair and nurture their economies and cultures. The problems of Wadeye and other such mission-based townships with multiple language groups illustrate the issues.
Women For Wik wants to hold governments to their commitment to evidence-based policies by offering access to evidence of the programs that have worked, are working and could work with appropriate support. There are many evaluations that show clearly that centralised bureaucratic actions cannot work. Local cultures are diverse and local involvement is essential to making things work.
We have the support of a wide range of groups and individuals and offer the signatories below to attest to this. We want the Governments involved to re-think their policies and programs and move away from centralised paternalistic approaches. We hope the wider community will have a clearer understanding of what works and will support policies that respect and enhance the capacities of our Indigenous communities to manage their own lives.
|Anita Heiss||Anne Deveson||Eva Hornung||Larissa Berendt|
|Arnold Zable||Justice Murray Wilcox QC||Eva Cox||Pamela Hewitt|
|Christine Olsen||Rosie Scott
|Jennifer Wong||Bronwyn Lumby|
|Patricia Rovik||Anne Marks||Don and Estelle Gobbett||Bess Flores|
|gyps curmi||Rosemary Akesson||Miriam Lyons||Maggie Roche|
|Geraldine Robert||Janene Collins||Shirley Kent||The Women’s Library, NEWTOWN|
|Liverpool women’s Resource Centre, LIVERPOOL||Jenny Hickinbotham NEWPORT 3015||Celia Pollard Northcote Vic 3070||Nicci Riley Vincentia 2540|
|Smita Shah||Robyn Kemmis||Wendy Farrell-Whelan||Louise van de Meene|
|Kathy Dawes||Bronwyn Charles||Linda Thomas||Krista McClelland|
|Robin Murray||Sally Fitzpatrick||Kit Moore||Michele Madigan|
|Judith Reardon, Regional Manager,
YWCA NSW South East Region
|Karen Purser||Phil Elsegood, Director, Cross Cultural Consultants||Dr. Goldie Osuri|
|Elspeth.McInnes||Anne Cranny-Francis||Rochelle Stratford||Linda Anchell|
|Traudl TAN||Martin Rorke||Julie H Lehmann||Jen Harrison|
|Julie Copeland||Fairlie Arthur||Gillian Lewis||Janet Cripps|
|Greg Lester||Julian Burnside||Annabelle Wilson||Brad Homewood|
|Fiona, Victoria||Jen Harrison, NSW||Martin Rorke, NSW||Gaylene Martin, NT|
|Lisa Haddon, Victoria||Julie Smee, Queensland||Margaret Opie||Sarah Spurr, South Australia|
|Jo Holder NSW||Fiona Proudfoot Tasmania||Martin Tyas Victoria||Maura Chambers NSW|
|Gail Woods NT||Anna Cooke Queensland||Geraldine Robertson Victoria||Belinda Pratten ACT country|
|Vanessa Lee, NSW||Delta Lucille Freedman, VIC||Amanda Midlam NSW||Sofie Gregory SA.|