The Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council (SA) inc.
 

Community Control and what does it mean? 2nd Installment

Community control has its roots in Aboriginal peoples right to self-determination. It means that your group has ongoing community input and ownership.

Community Control and what does it mean? Community control has its roots in Aboriginal peoples right to self-determination. It means that your group has ongoing community input and ownership. It is an incorporated Aboriginal organisation, that is initiated by the Aboriginal community, and is governed by an Aboriginal body, which is elected by the Aboriginal community and delivers holistic and culturally appropriate services to the Aboriginal community. For example, positions on your Board of Management (BoM)/Council are directly elected by the community rather than appointed by the organisation. The BoM are accountable to the members/community and at general meetings such as organisational Annual General Meetings, members can ask questions directly to BoM members and organisational staff. 
'Aboriginal health is not just the physical well being of an individual but is the social, emotional and cultural well being of the whole community in which each individual is able to achieve their full potential thereby bringing about the total well being of their community. It is a whole-of-life view and includes the cyclical concept of life-death-life.' (National Aboriginal Health Strategy (NAHS), 1989) The objects for which ADAC is established are: To develop Aboriginal community based solutions to the distress, suffering and harmful effects of misuse by Aboriginal persons and their families of alcohol, harmful drugs and other harmful substances; To advance the spiritual, emotional, cultural, social and physical well being of Aboriginal people through local, regional, national and state wide strategies which support programs relating to mental health, prevention, treatment and early intervention, rehabilitation, after-care, community care and support related to substance misuse; To support member organisations of ADAC which work directly to implement the objects of ADAC or similar objective To encourage the support of other Aboriginal community based organisations in implementing programmes that further these objects; Advocate for Aboriginal substance misuse issues to the wider community; Develop substance misuse health promotional materials and to conduct substance misuse awareness programs; Identify opportunities and advise the community on government and alternative sources of income; Positively promote harm minimisation as an effective preventative measure. To ensure the active participation of Aboriginal people in the work of ADAC; So why do government departments and agencies ignore over 30 years of agreed positions and struggles by Aboriginal communities to try and deliver Aboriginal solutions to Aboriginal problems. ADAC is a community response to the Royal Commission into Black Deaths in Custody and has devoted time and energy over the past 16 years to work with the community in trying to develop solutions to substance abuse. Our funding body Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (OATSIH) is basically saying it no longer supports community control by basically threatening our very existence. OATSIH was setup in 1995 as the Federal government at the time said ATSIC did not have the expertise to deal with health and substance misuse issue and created OATSIH to provide help, support and help build capacity with the Aboriginal Community Controlled Sector. Unfortunately, these lofty goals have not been realised. ADAC rarely sees an OATSIH worker and recently received the following statement in regards to defunding; “The Department is taking into consideration alternative options for the provision of services that ADAC is currently funded to provide in South Australia”. The above extract clearly is going totally against community control and ignoring the wishes of the South Australian Aboriginal community. These wishes were again confirmed by the South Australian Aboriginal community in 2005/06 after OATSIH commissioned a Review of ADAC with the first 2 Recommendations confirming ADAC and its need Recommendation 1. There is a continuing need for a body in South Australia to assume peak body and advocacy functions in the area of Indigenous alcohol and other drugs. Recommendation 2. The preferred organisational arrangement for the delivery of peak body and advocacy functions is to maintain the core roles and functions of ADAC but cease its role in direct service delivery and tighten governance and membership arrangements. So what is really happening ADAC needs support and help rather than continual penalty and threats to our existence by the funded body set up to support groups like us. In our next installment we will document how an Aboriginal community education project is to be delivered by state government agency. Maintain the Rage


Community Control and what does it mean? 2nd Installment