Government funding cuts see highly qualified Aboriginal alcohol and other drug AOD) workers pushed onto the scrap heap of unemployment.
The Aboriginal Drug & Alcohol Council (ADAC) has been successfully running the only Aboriginal Police Drug Diversion program in South Australia for over 10 years. This unique culturally appropriate diversion service has bought about a difference in recidivism and non-compliance amongst Aboriginal drug users both youth and adults. But in the recent SA Health Tender process ADAC were not even shortlisted after successfully delivering services to the Aboriginal community for a decade. As state, territory and federal governments rush to Competitive Tendering.
This is resulting in Aboriginal community controlled services having the almost impossible task of Tendering against BINGOS (Big International NGO’s) who in the rush for cash undercut Aboriginal services.
On Friday 11th May, Byron, ADAC Police Drug Diversion worker graduated from Sydney University with a postgraduate award which in itself was cause for enormous pride for himself, family and ADAC, only to be unemployed by the 30th June with the Aboriginal community having no choice in services.
The same is also happening to Makin Tracks, the only mobile AOD treatment service in Australia who have been evaluated by the National Drug Research Institute (NDRI) at Curtin University for that past 10 years were not shortlisted by Commonwealth Department of Health & Ageing (DoHA) in the recent Non Government Organisation Treatment Grant Program (NGOTGP) funding round.
This is despite receiving NGOTGP funding since 1999 without any complaint from DoHA and the recent NDRI Evaluation recommending expansion of Makin Tracks not defunding.
Both have completed studies at Sydney University and have one semester to go to finish the Master in Indigenous Health only to be terminated 30th June. This will also mean that rural and remote Aboriginal communities will no longer have access to experienced and professional Aboriginal AOD specialists.
If this concerns you, please send an email or letter to the Ministers responsible whose contacts are as follows;
SA Premier Jay Weatherill firstname.lastname@example.org
Minister Mark Butler mailto:Mark.Butler.MP@aph.gov.au
Postal Address: PO Box 2038 PORT ADELAIDE SA 5015
University Graduates Today Unemployed Tomorrow