Forest review on remoteness.
The Forest review handed down only last year makes comments that tend to support the PM’s contention that remoteness is something that has to be dealt with.
"Over the last two decades attempts to stem passive welfare have been like trying to hold back the tide with a wire fence at the low tide mark, particularly in remote Indigenous communities. Well meaning governments have unintentionally condoned the ‘soft bigotry of low expectations’ with passive service delivery and welfare. Where failure is systemic and unchallenged, I call this ‘the racism of low expectations’. This has helped no-one. As a first Australian woman you are more than 34 times more likely to be hospitalised for assault than your other Australian sisters. If you live in the Northern Territory this will rise to 80 times. How can this welfare driven predicament be allowed to continue?
Regrettably, a proportion of first Australians have been left behind and suffer circumstances similar to those of many other disadvantaged Australians. These outcomes are not caused by their Indigeneity,but result from unemployment, welfare dependency, poor choices, limited capacity, remoteness, and
a lack of education, prenatal care and early childhood development. Every Australian parent knows that these are the things that will give their child the best opportunities in life. Employment outcomes for first Australians remain poor and are getting worse. Some 60% of all first Australian 17- to 24-year-olds are not engaged in work or further education (compared to only 26% of other young Australians).8 The employment rate for working-age first Australians is 46%, 30 percentage points below that of other Australians. In remote and very remote areas the story is much worse, with only around 35% of the first Australian population of working age employed compared to 83% of other people.
A first Australian in remote Australia can also expect to be:
• much less likely to be in employment--only 35% of first Australians in remote areas are employed in real jobs, compared to 83% of other Australians in the same areas29
• among the 60% who live in public housing and are unable to buy their own home or rent in the private housing market.
• as a woman, much more likely to bear a child with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)31
• as a woman under 24 in a very remote area, over five times more likely to have already given birth to two or more children.32 Despite welfare obligations and employment services, 15- to 24-year-old first Australians are not engaged in either education or work. The rates are staggering: around 60% nationally and 82% in very remote areas, compared to 26% nationally and 22% in very remote areas for other people of the same age.33 Education experts have reported that children need a school attendance record of at least 80% for schooling to be effective. In the Northern Territory’s very remote areas (where 57% of students in the Territory are educated, or 8,253 students), only one in five children is attending school at least 80% of the time.34
• housing systems that charge such low rents that they create incentives for people to stay in remote communities as opposed to moving to where the work is
build employment incentives for mobility, affordable accommodation and home ownership, particularly for families and job seekers from remote communities"