In both the recent State and Federal budgets, the government has failed to deliver the tailored and focussed funding for the development and support of Indigenous policy.
Too often are political cycles the driver for Aboriginal policy, but what we really need is for our leaders to take the time to understand that there is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach and that long term outcomes can only be through tailored solutions.
Unfortunately much of the public debate around Aboriginal policy is based upon the experiences in the northern parts of Australia. There are definitely some common health and education issues in Aboriginal communities across Australia, but policy cannot be set based on just that one experience.
Funding is important but it is not the issue. To be effective, Aboriginal policy development requires innovation from both Government and Aboriginal communities.
For Awabakal to make the most of our opportunity, we need to help our leaders understand what the needs of this community are now and into the future.
Don MacAskill is CEO of Awabakal Newcastle Aboriginal Co-operative and is a Narangga man with family originating from Point Pierce in South Australia.
He has over 18 years experience working in the public, private, not-for-profit sectors in a variety of roles including Executive Officer and Chief Executive and has worked as an Adviser for a former Premier and NSW Minister. His experience in the private sector has been shaped through roles in Regulatory Affairs and General Management in both pharmaceuticals and medical device manufacturing.
Don has lectured at Macquarie University and University of NSW for the International Studies program in the area of public policy. He holds a BA in Political Science & Sociology from UNSW.