The Central Land Council released the statement below on August 26. It was delivered by Ngarla Kunoth-Monks, CLC executive member, and Rob Roy, CLC member, at the 45th anniversary celebrations of the Wavehill walk-off at Kalkaringi, the Northern Territory.
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Kalkaringi, NT — We are the Central Land Council and we have been elected to speak for our Land, our Law and our Culture.
We demand that the government permits us to take the future in our hands.
Let us be clear — we are not just asking for consultation — we want to set the agenda for our future.
Listen to us — negotiate with us.
• No more intervention: The intervention caused us shame, hurt and trauma. Throw the word ‘intervention’ away. We demand an apology from our governments for the terrible recent policies that encourage assimilation and “normalisation” — this amounts to cultural genocide.
• Land Rights: The permit system on Aboriginal land must be reinstated. Any amendments to our land rights need to be negotiated with us and based on informed consent.
• Aboriginal control — not Shire control: Aboriginal people lost control over their local affairs when community councils were dissolved. Shires don’t provide effective representation at the local or regional level. The system of shires needs to be overhauled and reformed.
• Small communities, homelands and outstations need strong futures: Most Aboriginal people in central Australia live outside of “growth towns”. We demand adequate and equal funding for all Aboriginal towns, communities and outstations.
• Education: The Northern Territory education system has failed Aboriginal people. We demand widespread reform including the re-instatement of our bilingual education programs.
• Housing: We need to negotiate with government about the roll-out of new housing to all Aboriginal towns and communities. We demand culturally appropriate housing management.
• Employment: We want real jobs and to run our own enterprises in our own communities. A waged system of CDEP should be introduced.
• Alcohol and Drugs: Aboriginal people in Central Australia have a proud history of fighting for alcohol reform. We need ongoing support for community initiated alcohol programs.