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Aboriginal people in Kakadu have this week launched a 25-year plan to raise the health and well-being of their children to the same level as other Australian children.
Children's Ground, Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation (GAC) and the Kakadu West Arnhem Social Trust today announced a radical new approach to Closing the gap on the disadvantage faced by so many Aboriginal communities. The plan will see the Trust kick-start initial financial investment to improve the lives of children and families across the West Arnhem region of Kakadu. Funding will be directed on the basis of thorough research and monitoring and with a central focus on community design and delivery of service.
The approach aims to be proactive rather than crisis driven, aiming at better health, education, more jobs, stronger traditional culture and happier people. The project will additionally revolve around early intervention to help families manage, and will include counsellors.
The chairman of Children's Ground, William Tilmouth, described the agreement as ground-breaking.
'This is something we've never seen in Australia before - Aboriginal people controlling a 25-year agenda for the future of their children. If we listen to the people, and back them with the very best services provided the right way we will break the cycle. Our people are still dying too young, our country is still hurting. We as Aboriginal people are still not having enough say in our destiny and our future. Through Children's Ground we will create a future where our children can celebrate their social, cultural and economic life.'
Annie Ngalmirama, chairwoman of the GAC and Aboriginal Elder, stated 'What is happening now is not working for us. We want to change the future for our children.'
'We Aboriginal people are taking the lead in this matter. We're going on ahead and making this funding ourselves and we are doing this work to make this project happen,' said the Elder.
Source NT News, The Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation