The plight of indigenous Australians is well documented in Jack Waterford’s article ("Aboriginal Australia falls farther behind", November 8, p13) as he lists the disgraceful statistics of poor education, housing, health, community services, powerlessness and despair along with substance abuse and violence leading to early deaths and imprisonment.
The big question is – What is to be done? Obviously governments must do more than call on Aboriginal communities receiving piecemeal and inadequate services, to practise self-help and personal responsibility, while overlooking the shocking reality that many living in these long-time neglected communities are traumatised to an extent that self-reliance is unachievable.
While the Federal Government can hastily convene a water summit to tackle the worst drought in 1000 years and set up a task force to detail contingency plans before Christmas, it behoves all governments to do likewise for indigenous Australians suffering one of the worst crises in 50,000 years.
Or is our nation too crippled by an historic indifference to respond?
Keith McEwan, BanksCLA member (Canberra Times letter)