Excellent article, Erwin. Organisations like Centrecorps need to open up, …

Comment on In the bush, the Age of Entitlement meets the Asset Test by Jaap Vogel.

Excellent article, Erwin. Organisations like Centrecorps need to open up, for the benefit of justice and for the benefit of the Aboriginal people.
Most remarkable and sensible quote is: “But it’s up to the traditional owners to take that first step.”
Let’s hope that Aboriginal role models like Bess Price live up to that observation!

Recent Comments by Jaap Vogel

Liz Martin says goodbye and good luck
While volunteering for many months at the Road Transport Hall of Fame I had the opportunity to gather information for my book Wake Up Time, that describes the incredible waste of government and private funds in projects meant to support Indigenous people, but which fail time and again: Government mismanagement at an unprecedented scale, visible to everyone with an open eye.
Meanwhile I experienced firsthand the major achievements of Liz and her team in establishing, running and expending the transport and Ghan museums.
What a tremendous outcome for a privately funded organisation.
All of that in a physical environment that is at times very hostile (break ins, vandalism … my own car was stolen from the museum precinct), but despite these problems – and low support of government – they kept going.
How is it possible that the NT (and Federal) government would even consider to contribute to approaches that could lead to the end of the THF, while their own policies in Indigenous affairs for instance only result in waste of millions, if not billions of dollars.
Even if mistakes have been made, then fix them. Get over it and move on. Give a hand to Liz, her team and the hundreds of volunteers.
If the NT needs anything then it is economic assets that do work, and attract tourists.
It’s a bloody shame what is happening. I wish Liz and others a prosperous and healthy future.

Alice councillor tells nation’s media about Aboriginal brutality
After publishing my book Wake Up Time (addressing political and social issues in remote Aboriginal communities) I was often told, by “politically correct” white Australians, that these problems are embedded in the traditional culture and that it is arrogant to investigate those issues and take a position on them.
To me that is rubbish.
I fully agree with the three women speaking out at the National Press Club, that violence against women and children is a human rights issue in the first place.
Every Australian citizen deserves to be protected. As much as Bill Leak was right with his cartoon in the Australian, it is right to call a spade a spade when it comes to family violence as I do in Wake Up Time.
It is probably for that reason that Tony Abbott endorsed the book.
Real Australians stand up for their fellow Aussies, regardless their skin colour. That is not patronizing, that is compassion.

RV travellers urged to boycott Alice
I stayed in Alice for at least eight months in the past three years, living in a bus.
In the NT for two years, and elsewhere in the country for a couple of years as well.
In Alice I stayed at the Museum grounds, while volunteering there to pay for the camping. Not only for long term, but even for overnight stays the caravan parks are ridiculously expensive.
Darwin has the same problem as does Yulara. Ripping off tourists is simply not clever economics.
The essential mistake is that it is not only the fees for the parks that are decisive for the economic value of the visitors.
Only the park owners benefit of those expenditures. All other business benefit mainly from long stays of tourists and lower park fees – because more money will be spent in town.
Free camping, or showground camping is of major importance for the local economy of many towns all over Australia: Their local economies thrive on it. If visitors need power, playgrounds, swimming pools and other services than they will happily go to the caravan parks. But many RVers are rather independent and don’t want to spend, and are not able to spend, $50 or more per night for a parking spot for their motor home.
Threats of boycotts are more than that: RVers do act accordingly.
In my vision Alice is a great town and wonderful to visit. But not if you are obliged to get ripped off by caravan parks for services you don’t need.

Will the NT also stop funding outstations?
What a pathetic comment! No government, federal or territory, has managed to solve the problems in the remote communities for decades.
The seemingly endless funding from mines, Federal and territory governments, including sit down money, has not solved this problem and will not solve it; it has made it, and will make it, worse.
Both sides of politics know that. The cycles of welfare dependency, of handing out millions of dollars by governments and mines to Aboriginal corporations and paternalistic policies “looking after” the communities need to stop.
It’s time to allow (or force) residents to take co-responsibility. The many tens of millions of dollars in their own corporations may help to effectuate that co-responsibility.
The Federal government needs to be commended for a more firm approach.
The fact that the opposition leader cannot come up with even ONE suggestion in his letter, how to do it differently, shows the point. It’s time to stop blowing political hot air and to wake up to the real facts.

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