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The problem hasn't been solved in city/urban areas where there is much more funds directed toward helping indigenous communities break out of the welfare cycle. Those in the cities surely have an expotentially greater number of opportunities than their rural counterparts. What chance do those in the latter group really have?

Good point, P. Paradoxically, the only faint positive is that those in the bush have less "distractions" than those in the city, so the options are much starker. In the cities it's possible to kid yourself, and others, that you mightn't need to face the problems head on; in the bush it hit's you, often literaly, in the face - the choice is do something about the problem or DIE - and sooner rather than later, tragically.

I didn't realise that you couldn't sniff avgas. I've been to quite a few communities which had barred petrol vehicles, but all I saw were diesels. I thought any solvent would work.
P.S. I believe it's 'Vanstone', not 'Vanderstone'.
P.P.S. The first three sentences in your final paragraph are questions, not statements. (Sorry, but I've always wanted to be a sub-editor - it's what people do who can't write.)

Whilst endless governments have struggled to improve the lot of our rural indigenous communities, it would appear Vanstone is beginning to make inroads with her partnership agreements. It's instructive to note indigenous women are the principles in these deals.

Otherwise the ongoing problem of chronic alcohol abuse makes a powerful argument for removing children from destructive parents, in order to give them a chance.

Yeah you're dead right Dirk, at times I'm just lazy. I've made the necessary changes though the first sentence doesn't sound right. Probably why I've just spent the day trawling the Net for an editor !

You're right, I tried it with a question mark and it looked funny - I should have stayed at school longer.

Dirk, relax, your schooling's fine. I changed the first sentence from a question to a statement. Aw shit, have I just made an apostrophe error..?

remote indigenous communities are a disaster- they're sink-traps for welfare and ruled by pissheads and wife-beaters (and child molestors). Well done, Nugget!
BTW -check out Mark Steyn's article last week, All men are not equal, about an Innuit community- it was virtually an identical situation.

Spot on PB, a view fully endorsed in yesterday's The Australian. In an article titled, Insularity fuels a toxic lifestyle, Rosemary Neil doesn't mince words,

AS a supporter of indigenous land rights and self-determination, I've been reluctant to say it, even though I've thought it often enough. But the latest news about the petrol-sniffing epidemic in remote Australia - that it's getting worse - means it is high time to ask: Are remote indigenous communities viable?

With levels of murder, suicide, child abuse, unemployment, truancy and illiteracy that would not be tolerated elsewhere, are they doing their residents more harm than good? In future, will such calamitous social breakdown, which has been virtually normalised in some communities, be seen as a greater abuse of indigenous human rights than anything the missionaries did?

An opinion which deserves to be fully read.

Believe me; I have it first hand, because only yesterday I had the opportunity to talk at length with a full blood aboriginal woman who grew up in a well known mission - life in the mission days was good.

It is an often difficult (sensitive ?) subject for white people to raise with full blood people. But it turned out we had mutual connections going back nearly 20 years and she was qite willing to discuss those times. She was almost glowing in her recollections of those days.

Curiously, mixed blood people are often disparaging about the era but, obviously, different people had varying experiences of community life.... It does seem though that older people, who actually grew up through the transition from "tribal" to mission life have good memories of that time. Plus I strongly sense it's not just a feeling of "the good old days" that we all tend to have about days gone by.

I think a lot of the present problems stem from a justifiable feeling amongst the younger generations of aboriginal kids, that they are not getting what they need from either system. That is not to say it's not available, for the "go getters" - it is - but the cracks are very wide indeed, and the back-up to stop kids falling through is NOT.

To a large extent, I think, therein lies the crux of the issue - the lack of result from the efforts, financial and emotional, put in to try and solve some of these spiralling crises. There is a tragic and screaming need for thousands of loving shoulders to help these very angry and seemingly self destructive kids back from the abyss we are plunging into.

I have looked at this issue for well over 30 years and can, unfortunately, offer no further suggestion as to where we may head as a society in alleviating this problem. We are NOT living in mission days and it's academic if people were/are better or worse off. Communities are a fact of life for thousands of aboriginal people in the Territory certainly, and there is NO chance of them closing down, except with a "Gaza" approach.

Initiatives like Opal petrol, "no school - no pool" or shopping at the store, are starting to have an obvious effect according to my aforementioned informant and her sister, just arrived from said community. There's a long way to go but they are hopeful and positive, so why not the rest of us ? They have been there and done it!!!

Unfortunately, deep inside of me, I weep for them, because I really feel that their optimism is misplaced......and I would class myself as a pragmatic RWDB!!!

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