First Circles will send us in circles says Maurie Ryan

Posted: Wed, August 21, 2013

Central Land Council Chair Maurie Ryan says the Chief Minister Adam Giles’ plans to restore power to Indigenous men wil­­l not be gained by a his idea of a “First Circle” of Aboriginal people to meet the NT Cabinet during the year.

 “First Circles? Who does he think we are? Children at pre-school?  

“And meeting with Cabinet is hardly game changing, although we appreciate the sentiment,” Mr Ryan said.

“If Mr Giles is worried about Aboriginal men’s role in society breaking down then perhaps he may like to address the alcohol situation more realistically and take some advice from the people who have worked for years in the area of preventing alcohol abuse.”

Mr Ryan said giving people meaningful employment and decent governance structures that really empowered them would also go a long way to restoring Aboriginal men’s pride in themselves.

“Fiddling around the edges of the shire system with a local authority will have a zero outcome unfortunately. I acknowledge it’s difficult, but Mr Giles and his government were elected by people in the bush on the basis of substantial changes to that local government system. Therefore they have an obligation to come back with something meaningful,” he said.

Mr Ryan said he hoped the Chief Minister’s reference to removing roadblocks to economic development in remote areas didn’t involve scaremongering about the Land Council’s role or Aboriginal land.

 “Like many people he needs to understand the true obstacles to economic development out there have nothing to do with whether it’s on Aboriginal land or not. It’s long distances and sometimes marginal country, poor infrastructure, a largely poorly educated population and decades of neglect by governments.”



21 August 2013