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For updates on registering to attend
and/or exhibit at the festival,
Remote Indigenous communities risk
“falling apart” because of Federal
Government funding cuts, says Sr
Michele Madigan SOSJ.
This is despite the State Government
stepping in to fund essential services
previously provided by the Federal
Sr Michele said communities would
continue to struggle as a result of
cuts to Federal Government funds for
administration under the Indigenous
Advancement Strategy (IAS).
“The communities need funds to run
their communities, apart from essential
services, just as small mainstream towns
- s ometimes less than the size of the
Aboriginal communities – need funds for
administration,” said Sr Michele, who is
based at Tailem Bend and is a long-time
advocate for Indigenous rights.
“With no administration, the community
can fall apart.”
Indigenous community chairpersons told
The Southern Cross their communities
had lost anywhere from 40 to 90 per
cent of funding requested under the IAS
for programs for employment, schooling,
culture and wellbeing following allocation
notifications in March.
Point Pearce community chairman
John Buckskin said the funding cuts
under IAS had been a “shock” to many
Indigenous communities. He said the
systematic reduction in funds could be
described as “cultural genocide”, should
people be forced to evacuate their
communities to survive.
The State last month agreed to take
up the previous Commonwealth
responsibility of delivering essential
services to 12 Indigenous communities
outside the Anangu Pitjantjatjara
Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands, as part of a
$15 million funding agreement.
Under the agreement, the State will
provide power, water, sewerage and
rubbish collection over three years.
The Sisters of St Joseph have criticised
the Federal Government’s transfer
of Municipal Essential Services
(MUNS) funding of remote Aboriginal
communities to SA, Queensland Victoria,
Tasmania and Western Australia. The
WA Government is proposing closing
150 Aboriginal communities following
the Commonwealth handover of MUNS
funding last year.
“This is a decision that we fear will
cause significant hardship to some
of Australia’s most disadvantaged
communities,” said Josephite leader
Sister Monica Cavanagh.
Sr Michele said of greater and immediate
concern to SA Indigenous communities
was the reduced allocation of Federal
Government funds under the IAS.
Kaurna/Narungga elder Sr Alitya Rigney
said: “We are concerned with all these
human rights issues and worried about
our people not surviving because of
this inhumanity of the funding cuts. This
must be changed.” Dr Rigney said she
could not understand how the funding
cuts were failing to make front-page
Dr Rigney, with Pilawuk White, is
the Aboriginal mentor for the South
Australian Reconciliation Circle - a group
of Josephite and Carmelite sisters and
lay women who have been meeting
regularly since 2003. Sr Michele is also
part of the group.
Meanwhile the National Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council
(NATSICC) is currently petitioning the WA
Government, and any other States and
Territories, to reconsider their position on
closing remote and regional Aboriginal
For more information visit http://www.
Funding cuts slammed
Tenison Woods lecture
Father Roderick O’Brien will give a lecture on
the expedition to South-east Asia of Australian
scientist and educator Father Julian Tenison
Woods at the State Library on Tuesday May 5.
Hosted by the Royal Geographical Society of
South Australia (RGSSA), the lecture will focus
on Woods’ little-known time in Saigon and
For more than 30 years, Fr O’Brien has
researched Woods’ life and ministry, especially
his scientific work in Asia. He is an adjunct
research fellow at the University of South
Australia and parish priest at Salisbury.
Peregrinations of Father Tenison Woods in SE
Asia will be held in the Mortlock Wing of the
State Library at 10.30am on Tuesday May 5.
Please book online through the RGSSA at
Submissions are now open for the Australian
Catholic Youth Festival song.
This important initiative is designed to help
support and launch young Australian Catholic
This year’s song will reflect the Festival’s theme
– the beatitude from Matthew’s Gospel “Blessed
are the pure of heart, for they shall see God”.
Held in Adelaide from December 3-5 this year,
the youth festival will gather thousands of young
people to encounter the Catholic Church in
Application forms and information can be
found at www.youthfestival.catholic.org.au
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