WA (Australia) - September 13, 2008
Remote Australia has become a "failed state" paralysed by a "perfect storm" of dysfunction and neglect that threatens the nation's security, social cohesion and rare ecosystems, a group of prominent Australians has warned.
The group, which includes academics, politicians, public servants and mining executives, has called for a radical rethink for the region that covers 85% of the continent and holds 65% of its resources wealth.
They argue remote Australia fits the criteria of failed states - endemic poverty, a paucity of services, financial mismanagement and high rates of homicide and violence - such as the Solomon Islands and East Timor, where the Federal Government sent troops to maintain law and order and political stability.
Dr Peter Shergold, once Canberra's most powerful bureaucrat and now chief executive of the Centre for Social Impact, said there had been a "failure of vision and policy" by all governments. "Mining companies are more aware of the problems and are doing more to solve them," Dr Shergold said.
"If we let communities die, that has implications for our mining industry, for our security and for the type of nation we are."
Fred Chaney, a former Coalition minister and director of Reconciliation Australia, said it was worrying that an area so rich in resources was so poorly governed.
"This is not just about indigenous dysfunction, it is about dysfunction in strategically significant regions like the Pilbara where the majority is the white community," he said. "You have a massive production of wealth and a complete disaffection with government.
"The Pilbara is the economic powerhouse of Australia yet it is poorly run."
He said the emergency intervention in the Northern Territory following the Little Children Are Sacred report was symptomatic of a much broader failure of government and a crude example of the "failed state" thesis.
The Remote Focus Group has produced a "prospectus", to be released on Monday, detailing the extent of the crisis and calling for an urgent national debate. "The overwhelming evidence demands that decisive and comprehensive action is needed to address the crisis in Remote Australia," the group says, and warns that imposed solutions that don't involve consultations will not work.
While stressing that the problems go beyond those of indigenous communities, the prospectus argues that there is a looming demographic crisis with an exploding Aboriginal population that shows few signs of migrating to metropolitan cities. In contrast, rural employment is falling.
The region's economic base has become divided between "fly in, fly out" labour for the mining sector and the swelling indigenous population dependent on welfare and isolated from the mainstream economy.
Neil Westbury, a former senior adviser to the NT Government, said that while indigenous populations had been highly mobile - chasing health and Centrelink services to regional towns - they were not migrating to metropolitan centres.
On security, the report says protecting Australia against external threats from South-East Asia and the Pacific has been made more difficult by the social and economic crisis. It says mining production amounted to $90 billion last year and was the biggest single contributor to the economy.
On the environment, Mr Chaney said remote Australia contained vast water reserves that needed to be managed, but there was no national strategy to manage the lands and fragile ecosystems, just a "disconnected patchwork of federal, state and local government agencies".
- Deputy Federal Opposition Leader Julie Bishop said new governance structures, such as regional governments within or across state boundaries, could better provide services.
"I believe there is a place for local and national governments; the question is 'what is the middle level?'." she said. "Currently it's defined by state boundaries but in this day and age, is that the relevant demarcation?"
segunda-feira, setembro 15, 2008
WA (Australia) - September 13, 2008
Por Malai Azul 2 à(s) 18:59
Obrigado pela solidariedade, Margarida!
Mensagem inicial - 16 de Maio de 2006
"Apesar de frágil, Timor-Leste é uma jovem democracia em que acreditamos. É o país que escolhemos para viver e trabalhar. Desde dia 28 de Abril muito se tem dito sobre a situação em Timor-Leste. Boatos, rumores, alertas, declarações de países estrangeiros, inocentes ou não, têm servido para transmitir um clima de conflito e insegurança que não corresponde ao que vivemos. Vamos tentar transmitir o que se passa aqui. Não o que ouvimos dizer... "