Aborigines starving in Northern Territory remote community, aged care fails

Rosalie Kunoth-Monks

During the high days of Easter concerned Australians (cA )  had desperate phone calls from Rosalie Kunoth-Monks about starvation of her people in her homeland of Utopia, Northern Territory.  It seems the age care system had failed the Elderly again, and there are other issues - in brief per media release below. After many phone calls and with great difficulty concerned Australians  were able to find some short term immediate relief. Rosalie and her family were able to cook nutritious food and take it to the various people in need. Rosalie reiterated that control has been removed from the people increasingly under the 2007 Northern Territory Intervention.  She spoke of increasingly disempowering policies and of great despair in community- worse than ever before. She also speaks of false representatives and the fact that all 3 tiers of government are failing her people.


The people want to determine their futures and to live and maintain their cultural obligations and responsibility /work on country. However, the push of services - health & education, housing,  into  larger hub towns is a reality and services have deteriorated increasingly in remote localities under the 2007 NT Intervention-push to hub towns - and 2012-2022 Stronger Futures. There needs to be a return to support grassroots priorities - not those dictated from Canberra/Darwin.


These are people who will not compromise and wish to stay on their homelands, they are unjustly suffering the consequences of what Rosalie calls a cruel Westminster system.


Below is a media release cA sent out on April 1st. Together with the increasing suicide and skyrocketing incarceration rates, starvation is yet another tragedy-atrocity within the communities of Aboriginal peoples.  Rosalie tells us this is deliberate policy and calls it genocide.  She does not want pity but the facts to be known.


We ask you to keep an open mind and to help push for an investigation and this situation needs urgent addressing. Media has been mixed and more will follow.


“Hunger also in other remote communities, Australian taxpayers giving money that's not being utilised.”  


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The focus for Rosalie is the calling for serious on the ground investigation.


Can you please pass  on this message so that we can at the very least get some awareness of current  happenings, perhaps circulate this widely to peers, discuss this in your meetings and as Rosalie requests call for on the ground investigations.


This situation needs to be dealt with urgently


Georgina for cA



'concerned Australians'                                                                                                   April 1st Media Release


An Australian Easter 2016 - People starving at Utopia, N.T.


Rosalie Kunoth-Monks OAM, 2015 NT person of the year and Arrernte-Alyawarra Elder says that Aboriginal people living in remote outstation Utopia are starving.


Utopia represents sixteen remote outstations 260 kms north east of Alice Springs. Rosalie lives in one of the outstations with her daughter Ngarla and grandchildren.


Rosalie and Ngarla have reported that the elderly in the communities have not been receiving their regular daily meals as expected through the current aged care program. When meals have arrived they have not been nutritious.


 “Last week after having to call for the meals, one elderly man with end-stage Parkinson’s received two small packets of mincemeat and white bread, the elderly women close-by received nothing,” said Ngarla Kunoth-Monks. 


“The whole community including children and the elderly go without food, often on a daily basis”, said Rosalie Kunoth-Monks.


There are approximately 150 people living in Rosalie’s homeland surrounds and over 1,200 people living in Utopia.  Hunger is not just happening here but in other remote areas.


Jon Altman, Research Professor in the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation of Deakin University said, “It is an indictment of Australia’s indigenous policy that people living in remote Australia experience deep poverty and almost beyond belief that people need to endure hunger in a rich country like ours.”


Rosalie called for immediate help in food drop offs which was difficult to achieve over the Easter break.  Georgina Gartland of 'concerned Australians' said, “the recently released Review of Stronger Futures was disappointing. The legislation should have been repealed and on food security there was no mention of freight subsides for the delivery of food to remote communities which would help make food more affordable. Indeed it is quite ironic that a few days later we have reports of people starving and others going without food. Much more lies at the heart of this, including deliberate policy coercing people off county.”


Rosalie spoke of profound despair in her community and strongly stated, "This is failed policy and a failed system! We do not want pity, we do not want hype around this, we want facts!"


Alastair Nicholson AO RFD, QC concludes, “It is a continuing tragedy and an indictment of Australian and NT Governments’ policies that Aboriginal people should be facing starvation conditions this Easter anywhere in Australia. Urgent action is needed to correct this situation."


 Almost beyond belief that people need to endure hunger in a rich country like ours.”

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Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, Order of Australia AM | Respect and Listen