This evening I attended a workshop on issues relating the 1967 Referendum and reconciliation organised by the Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place in association with Reconciliation Eastern Metro, which includes reconciliation groups throughout the Eastern region, including the Maroondah Movement for Reconciliation.
The Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place, located at Croydon Way in Croydon, provides a centralised location for indigenous health services and is supported by Eastern Access Community Health. Tonight’s workshop provided an opportunity to reflect on the 1967 referendum and to identify and address the current issues facing Indigenous Australians within Eastern Melbourne.
It is clear that cross-government collaboration must improve to ensure higher standards of health and wellbeing since even in metropolitan Melbourne the average life expectancy and education levels of indigenous Australians still remains below the average levels for the region. While the underlying issues are complex in nature, strong government collaboration, across local, state and Federal levels, with a clear commitment to outcomes and governance will help in the delivery of services required for Indigenous Australians. It is remarkable that a number of government initiatives continually fail to move past pilot status, meaning that funding for many worthwhile programs is scrapped before the benefits can be fully realised.
While the 1967 Referendum recognised the rights of Indigenous Australians there is further work that needs to be done to ensure equity and opportunity for these Australians.
This event will be followed by a second workshop on the 15th of August to consolidate community feedback before proceeding with a regional forum on the 18th and 19th of September.