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Councillor Column – 17 October 2023 – Councillor Tony Flanery

Oct 20, 2023

For Immediate Release 17 October 2023
Authorised by Councillor Tony Flanery

Unlike the majority, I voted Yes in the referendum on Saturday.

The reason for my decision was simple. Billions of dollars are spent annually on aboriginal support and a large percentage of the funding fails to improve the outcomes for those most in need. The rates of alcohol abuse, crime, violence against women and incarceration are significantly above the population as a whole. Throwing money at the problem is not the answer.

If decision makers knew how to solve the problem, it would be fixed by now.

We need to get the Aboriginal community more engaged and involved in helping to deal with the issues.

I believe the likelihood of achieving better outcomes for both indigenous and non-indigenous is to give those involved a direct say in matters that affect them. Then there can be no excuses.

Whether we like to admit it or not, white settlement has not been beneficial to the outcomes of many indigenous people. The reality is however, that colonisation was always going to happen, be it by the British, the Spanish, the Portuguese or whoever.

What needs to be done is to engage with those at the coal face and give them responsibility for the outcomes.

To compare it to a local level, a lot of frustration and resentment exists as a result of the government’s forced amalgamations of local councils. Tens of millions of dollars has been thrown at Hilltops Council in State Government grants ($60m to be exact) and many would say we are no better off than previously. Now we are about to ask ratepayers for a Special Rate Variation to fix the deficits.

People were not given a say or voice into the amalgamation and the result has been poor performance.

Good outcomes are achieved when proper consultation occurs and those involved are held responsible for the decisions they make. Everyone should be given the opportunity to have a voice. It is rather ironic that all Australians were given the opportunity to have a say (voice) into the constitution but we told the indigenous community that they can’t have a say in their outcomes. Sounds like a recipe for failure to me.

Tony Flanery