It’s interesting to note the statistic from the mid-1970s that …

Comment on Little kids have the key to our future by Alex Nelson.

It’s interesting to note the statistic from the mid-1970s that states Aboriginal infant mortality was 120 per 1000 live births.
I’ve just stumbled across a front page report published October 22, 1964, which “pointed out that a survey of the NT said the infant mortality rate in some settlements is 208 to 1000 live births.”
The story headlined “500 Aboriginal children die in 3 1/2 years” began: “The Federal Opposition intends to put the Government on the spot over its handling of Aboriginal health in the Northern Territory – particularly the high death rate of children. During the debate on the estimates for the Territories Department, the Opposition put statistics to the Government which show that infant mortality among Aboriginals in parts of the NT is among the highest in the world.”
The story reported how Kim Beazley (snr), in “what was virtually a vote of censure on the Government” intended “to inquire into the deaths of 500 Aboriginal children in the Alice Springs area in the last three and a half years.”
That report implies Aboriginal infant mortality was already trending downwards significantly one decade later when the CAAC appeared on the scene therefore the claim “The mainstream health system had completely failed us” appears to be an undeserved criticism.
It also demonstrates the magnitude of the task that has confronted every organisation that has undertaken the task of improving the standards of living for Aboriginal people over many years.
If it is the case that “the connections between health, control, land, culture, employment, shelter and so on” are the factors determining “Social Determinants of Health” then clearly something is massively wrong, as this is not reflected in the appalling statistics that characterise the life experiences for so many Aboriginal people.
The recent unrelenting barrage of media reports about crime, domestic violence, imprisonment rates and so forth are virtually no different to any time one cares to nominate since the mid 1980s, notwithstanding all the resources and assets available during this period at public expense. It’s obvious that much of this has been misdirected.
It’s one thing to reduce mortality rates but quite another to improve quality of life.
Donna Ah Chee’s speech about the importance of early childhood development provides valuable insights that clearly indicate where some of the solutions to the deeply entrenched problems afflicting many Aboriginal people lie (as it does for any group coping with impoverished circumstances). Congress’s emphasis on “early childhood care as its top priority” is to be applauded and is fully deserving of support.

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Turn rock-throwing into backflips: how community can help
I smile at the circularity of Rainer Chlanda’s preferred location of a youth hub without walls at the “courthouse lawns” (DD Smith Park), adjacent to the Alice Springs Police Station (the former Greatorex Building) and across the road from the local magistrates courthouse.
I say “circularity” because the first drop-in centre for youth on the streets at night was located in the old police station on that corner where the courthouse now stands. Established in 1976, it was named “Danny’s Place” and lasted all of no more than a year when it was forced to shut down to make way for the said courthouse.
And from that time on, youth drop-in centres, real or proposed, have bounced around from one site to another all through town; including an old house in the north end of Todd Street that was demolished to make way for an office block (now called Eurilpa House), the empty Turner Arcade – the last shop there was Grandad’s icecream shop, a once popular hang out for kids of my generation, also in the north end of Todd Mall (that was my suggestion, nearly 30 years ago) which was later bulldozed to make way for expanding Alice Plaza and new carparking spaces; and even the abandoned waterslide site in the early 1990s, which instead was demolished to make way for infill real estate development (Mercorella Circuit, near the YMCA).
We have decades of recent history of kids in trouble (or causing it) being shunted from pillar to post. As a society, history shows we’re not really fair dinkum about resolving this issue.
Sadly, there is nothing new in any of this – Rainer’s father and his colleagues were reporting on these kinds of issues 40 plus years ago, and it continues unabated to the present day.


Wakefield insists on Anzac Oval, ignores majority
@ 5 Minute Local (Posted June 14, 2018 at 5:41 pm): Definitely living up to your pseudonym. Your suggestion is not a new idea – it’s been raised several times since the early 1970s.
The last occasion was when the construction of the railway north to Darwin was being finalised in the late 1990s-early 2000s when there was significant lobbying of the NT Government to re-route the railway around Alice Springs, including by the Alice Springs Town Council.
I also took up the cudgels on this issue as an individual and was publicly criticized by a local CLP member, notwithstanding the same member several years earlier had himself advocated the removal of the rail yards out of the town centre and to re-route the eventual railway to Darwin via west of the town.
These pleas were rejected by the government as being too late or too expensive (it would have added about three per cent to the overall cost, from memory). There’s no prospect of this happening now.


Wakefield insists on Anzac Oval, ignores majority
@ John Bell (Posted June 13, 2018 at 7:51 pm): John, the only sacred trees on the Melanka site would be (or are) two old river red gums near the southeast corner adjacent to the intersection of Stuart Terrace and Gap Road.
None of the other trees I’m aware of on that site are local native species nor predate the construction of the Melanka Hostel.
This includes the towering lemon-scented gums of which the majority are now dying or dead as a consequence of lack of care and the extended dry conditions.
Consequently the trees don’t pose any significant issues for redevelopment of most of that area, at least as far as sacred sites are concerned.


Wakefield insists on Anzac Oval, ignores majority
@ Hal Duell (Posted June 12, 2018 at 7:59 am): Hal, I’m still in the process of collating information. Gathering the history pertaining to this location is rather like measuring a piece of string but it all adds up to demonstrating the considerable heritage value of this site, the extent of which I think will surprise many people.
The nomination for heritage listing of the oval and school will definitely proceed.
The fact that this issue has blown up in the NT Government’s face demonstrates the stupidity of over-reliance on advice from vested interests (with no regard for anything except their bank accounts) and overpaid outside “experts” who have no background in local knowledge.
Once again we see the consequences of the corporate amnesia that afflicts this town and Territory, and history shows it makes no difference which party is in power.


Cemeteries could be turned into parks
There is another method of burying the dead which is also held to be environmentally friendly, it is called “promession”.
According to the Wikipedia entry on this subject, it’s a system of disposal of bodies of much more recent origin (two decades ago) than alkaline hydrolysis (19th century).
It involves cryogenic freezing of bodies in liquid nitrogen to -196°C (in effect, crystallising them) after which vibrations are applied that shatter them in minutes into fragments.
This material in turn is freeze dried and all metal or other non-natural components (eg. fillings, artifical joints) are removed.
The final stage involves “the dry powder being placed in a biodegradable casket which is interred in the top layers of soil, where aerobic bacteria decompose the remains into humus in as little as 6 to 12 months.”
Invented in Sweden, it’s a method already expressly adopted in South Korea and has expressions of interest from up to 60 other countries.
I think promession also deserves consideration as an option for burials.


Be Sociable, Share!