Tender rules: Swap 'Indigenous' with 'local'


Steve Brown comment The NT Government’s Indigenous employment policy reported by Erwin Chlanda may be full of good intentions but as we know, that’s what the road to hell is paved with.
Senator Nigel Scullion called a similar Federal policy an exercise in decisive leadership that will lift Indigenous people from poverty and dependency.
I think the real outcome will be a quantum leap in racism and division and as always, another step backwards for Indigenous people.
The employment prospects of any citizen of any colour begins in the home with parents taking responsibility for teaching their children the right way – as by the way many good Indigenous families are doing.
Then comes going to school and staying at school, eventually transitioning into the work place at some level based on your own merit.
This policy undermines all of that. It simply shoves aside those who earned their role and gives it to those who couldn’t be bothered!
Great lesson in the need for education.
There is a misguided belief amongst bureaucrats that every time they release a government (tax payer) funded contract they are creating employment. The fact is that unless the funding is over and above previous levels they are simply supporting existing employment, existing jobs.
There also is, it seems, a misguided belief that there is a pool of skilled Indigenous employees waiting on the sidelines and not being employed, simply because of their racial origins. That is utter garbage. Such a pool does not exist.
If this new policy was being applied to new money and new projects in Aboriginal communities, the negative effects wouldn’t be so immediately apparent.
It would simply have the same effect as did the previous SIHIP funding which resulted in far more employment on the Gold Coast than it did in the Territory.
This new policy will create the need for workers to be brought in from elsewhere, resulting in an exodus of Territorians.
But not all is lost. There still exists, one would hope, a genuinely concerned and listening Government that should admit a policy misfire and make some quite minor changes: Swap the word “Indigenous” for the word “local,” meaning a person from a long term family of any race who has lived locally full time for over 10 years, who has committed to our community by a stay of over five years and the purchase of property or business.
Let’s lean on Government. Let’s have that discussion.


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