Normalisation and uniqueness of Aboriginal communities
The shift over the last few years from Community Development to a service delivery model, mainstreaming and normalisation is aimed at reducing disadvantage and bringing the same standard of services to Aboriginal Communities' that mainstream Australians enjoy. The Northern Territory Intervention is targeting; safety, law and order, health and well being issues particularly of women and children.
The normalisation policy may not fully appreciate that Aboriginal communities are not normal, they are relatively unique and while there may be similarities between them each is also unique. Aboriginal communities are typically characterised by;
- Location and access to main services and regional centres
- Cultural values and obligations
- Language; often English is a second or third language
- Differing experiences of contact history, in some cases, dislocation or relocation
- Variable educational standards
- Variable and often poor health
Further the demographic makeup of these Communities feature;
- high birth rates
- high percentage of the population in lower age brackets
- high morbidity - lower life expectancy of the total population
- Higher representations in prison
- Poor socio-economic profile
These demographic circumstances make the necessity of providing a community specific strategy crucial to avoid a worsening situation on the Communities, one size does not fit all.