It is hard to imagine why some of the disadvantages faced by many Indigenous Australians exist in a country as prosperous as Australia.
However, when you consider the history, you can start to see why many Indigenous Australians just haven’t had a fair go.
For a long time, while in some states Indigenous people technically had the "right" to vote, it was not often made accessible; other states did not recognise Indigenous votes at all. This was not remedied across all states and territories in Australian legislation until Western Australia allowed the vote in 1962 and Queensland in 1965.
Not until the referendum in 1967, where an overwhelming majority of Australians supported two amendments to the Constitution, were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders even counted in the Australian census.
In addition, the legacy of policies and programs that led to Indigenous Australians being forcibly removed from their traditional lands continues to affect Indigenous outcomes today. The facts are sobering:
- Indigenous children are nearly three times more likely than non-Indigenous children to die before their first birthday.
- Two-thirds of Indigenous children will not finish secondary school.
- There are higher rates of heart disease and chronic illness suffered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- They are over-represented in detention and child protection cases.
- Average life expectancy of an Indigenous Australian is much less than the rest of the population, with the likelihood of dying almost 20 years earlier.
But communities are overcoming these disadvantages by setting plans in place to create a brighter future for children and their families. World Vision is committed to making a difference by contributing our expertise and supporting communities who are working for positive change.
We work with communities and organisations who invite us to share our community development approach. We are committed to long-term programs that enable people to live the lives they choose.
World Vision supports communities to run their own programs. Through strong partnerships, Australia Programs is linking hands with Indigenous Australian communities for a brighter future.
We are committed to learning from the rich history and experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We hope to learn more through talking, sharing and partnering.
If you are also keen to find out more, visit reconciliation.org.au.
If you would like to contribute to our work with Indigenous Australian communities, become a Linking Hands pledge partner and donate to our Australia Programs today.