By ERWIN CHLANDA
People in remote communities would rather leave their tribal homelands than working for the dole there, for periods longer than they would need to in an urban centre. So says Central Desert Regional Council president, Adrian Dixon (pictured).
The Alice Springs News Online put to Mr Dixon that being on their traditional lands is commonly assumed to be of paramount importance to Aboriginal people. Would they leave because of the extra work, and take their families with them?
Mr Dixon said they would.
A media release from the Central Desert Regional Council predicts this would cause a “calamity” in Alice Springs and refers to the work requirements, which enable people to get the dole, as “harsh penalties”. The obligations would “create further disharmony in our towns,” the release says.
It explains that under the recently announced reforms, remote community job seekers aged between 18 and 39 years will be required to work for 25 hours per week for 52 weeks per year. Meanwhile most urban job seekers will only be required to work 15 hours per week for just 26 weeks a year.
Council Chief Executive Officer Cathryn Hutton is quoted in the release as saying: “A two tiered employment … provides a perverse incentive for people to leave their communities and move into town. The urban drift will have significant and negative implications for services in regional centres.
“The policies will potentially have disastrous impact on communities and families. The future of vibrant, developing communities depends on our people staying on community, adults participating in the economy and kids going to school,” Ms Hutton is quoted as saying.
By ERWIN CHLANDA