Saturday, 8 August 2009

Rudd's Homelessness Council: an interesting mix among friends

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Minister for Housing Tanya Plibersek meet
with members of the Choir of Hard Knocks in Parliament House.
Photo: Glen Mccurtayne Photo from here.

The Prime Minister has announced the establishment of a Homeless Council to meet his policy objectives for homeless people.

The Council will be chaired by Tony Nicholson of the Brotherhood of St Laurence, here in Melbourne. More on Tony Nicholson here.

The eight member council includes Pat Brahim, General Manager of Julalikari Council in Tennant Creek. Congratulations to Pat and Julalkikari on her appointment. Tennant Creek has always been a very creative place both in blackfella and whitefella terms. It is not only creative artistically but socially providing creative solutions to entrenched social problems.
Julalikari has always been a very savvy, forward thinking organisation. And I note that this is the second Federal Government appointment for Pat this week. Pat has been appointed by Jenny Macklin as the new Chair of the Aboriginal Benefit Account Advisory Committee.

While not wanting to sound cynical, neither do I want to reflect negatively on Pat and Julalikari, the appointment should be set in the context of a Federal Government that has been in hard battle with Tangentyere Council in Alice Springs over land acquisition.

You see, dear Networker, Julalikari Council signed up with the Federal Government almost twelve months ago giving the Federal Government sixty year leases in return for $20 million, plus $10 million from the Northern Territory Government. Tennant Creek wants housing and it wanted it years ago. There has been the fanfare of the Alliance and SIHIP but the hammer has not yet touched the nail.

It is clear that Jenny Macklin needs all the friends she can get and if Julalikari Council has been straightforward and upfront with the Federal Government in trying to get the best for the people of Tennant Creek then it is fit and proper for Julalikari and Pat Brahim to receive some recognition for that.

It is just remarkable though because so many people overlook Tennant Creek, particularly within the Northern Territory, and don't give it the recognition or assistance it deserves. For Tennant Creek there is a Berrimah line (just south of Darwin) and a Mount Nancy line (just north of Alice Springs). One has to shout to be heard across this type of apartheid, so it is good to see Tennant Creek will have some influence at broader policy levels and I hope it brings good things back for everyone in TC.
It is great to see Anglicare WA at this crucial policy table. As a former Director of Anglicare in North Queensland, congratulations. I hope you have significant success in dealing with the issues that bring about homelessness in the wealthy state of Western Australia and that Kevin Rudd's goal of halving the current figures is borne out in reality.

Others on the eight member Council are:
Disclosure: Miss Eagle once worked with Professor Margaret Hamilton and her team as a "resource person" on a research project on Alcohol in Mount Isa, Queensland. At the time, Miss Eagle was Secretary of the Mount Isa Welfare Council.

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