A Budget for Billionaires fails First Nations people

[Op-ed Senator Lidia Thorpe]

Image: supplied

“Our people should have the right to real self-determination. We know best what our people need. With the right funding and the right approach, that recognises our people as sovereigns of this country, we can end the racism and the systemic disadvantage our people face - but this Budget ain’t it.

“This is a Budget for billionaires - they get tax cuts and the big corporations get handouts. But as usual, Aboriginal people - the First Nations people of this country, the oldest living civilisation on the planet - miss out. We’re used to being ignored by this Government and its systems.

“There’s been more Blak deaths in custody, and 476+ since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody, some thirty years ago. But there’s still nowhere near enough funding the programs that keep our people out of the colonial legal system in the first place - programs that provide stable, culturally appropriate housing, mental health and family support services.

“We can’t trust these people to take care of Country. Look how much damage they’ve done in the past two hundred years.

“It’s even more disappointing that the same Government that allows big corporations to desecrate our Country and our cultural heritage sites has only given loose change for heritage ‘protection’. They should stop destroying our heritage in the first place.

“Racist colonial rations, also known as the “Cashless Debit Card”, will of course, continue under this Government. 

“There’s not enough in this Budget to take care of the huge number of kids in the system with disabilities, like FASD. These kids should not be locked up in prisons. We need diversionary programs and support services that are self-determined by our people.  

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