Territory Stories

Rebuilding family life in Alice Springs and Central Australia: the social and community dimensions of change for our people



Rebuilding family life in Alice Springs and Central Australia: the social and community dimensions of change for our people


E-Publications; E-Books; PublicationNT




Central Australia


This paper has been released by the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress as a constructive contribution to the debate on the social crisis facing Alice Springs and Central Australia. It presents powerful ideas as well as concrete strategies for change that we believe can make a real difference for our people. This papers describes a number of approaches and programs that are already in place in a limited way here in Alice Springs. - Foreword; Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).


"Foreword by Helen Kantawara and Stephanie Bell"

Table of contents

Income inequality, low social status and self esteem and the social problems in Alice Springs -- 3. Empowerment and greater control: a Central Australian Family Responsibility Commission -- 4. Early Childhood programs, education attainment, employment and health -- 5. Supported accommodation services and public housing availability in the Alice Springs town area -- 6. Ensure that all primary health care services throughout Central Australia have a Social and Emotional Well-Being Program that includes a Targeted Family Support Service and an Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Program -- 7. Youth Services -- 8. Alcohol Supply Reduction -- 9. Stop the Violence Campaign -- 10. Adult Literacy Campaign.




Stop the violence campaign; School attendance; Education; Mental health; Government policy

Publisher name

Central Australian Aboriginal Congress

Place of publication

Alice Springs


47 pages : chiefly colour illustrations ; 30cm.

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11 Given the level of income inequality in Alice Springs it should come as no surprise that young people in particular are experiencing significant social problems. However, Alice Springs is a very unequal town in a country that has very high levels of income inequality. As the next graph shows, Australia is one of the most unequal countries in the OECD and the inequality is growing. In the US in the last 15 years the top 1% have gone from owning 7% of the wealth to owning 23% of the wealth and a similar trend is occurring in Australia: What can be done about this? Is it all too hard to address? Congress believes the answer is no and Wilkinson describes two clear pathways to address income inequality. The first is the Japanese pathway which is a bottom up focus on achieving very high levels of educational attainment leading to well paid, reliable work. Many of the policy proposals in this paper are aimed at improving the educational outcomes for Aboriginal people as a key pathway to achieving an improved income and reducing income inequality for our people. Congress believes that this approach has the support of the Australian public. However, a lot more needs to be done, especially in early childhood, to achieve this. The second pathway in described in Wilkinsons book is that of the Northern European countries where there is a focus on redistributive government policies both through the provision of universal health, education and child care services as well as progressive taxation. Currently the debate on the super profits tax and the carbon tax demonstrates how difficult it is to achieve genuine redistributive taxation policies. It is worth noting that Norway, for example, does not have a child protection crisis and is a much more equal country than Australia it has a super profit tax on mining of 78% and is investing a large part of this in a massive future fund for when the minerals run out. There is no scarcity of resources in Australia this is a myth that should not be used as an excuse of the failure to address Aboriginal disadvantage:

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