January 2024 supporter update


Need. Not Race. Advocating for equity

Hon Dr Gary Johns

20 Feb 2024

2:17 min

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In this video, CtGR Committee Chairman, Gary Johns emphasises the crucial distinction between addressing needs and focusing solely on race when supporting Aboriginal communities. Our advocacy underscores the importance of fair resource allocation based on necessity, rather than ethnicity.

We recently created a pull up banner which will be displayed at conferences and events over the next 12 months (view via the button below). We also encourage you to browse the other resources on this website to understand and get involved in this important mission.

View the banner

Video transcript

I wanted to share with you today our new banner, which I'll display at various conferences that I'll be attending in the next year or so. And you'll see that our simple point is this. If we're going to help Aboriginal people, then we have to concentrate on need, not race. We have to think about those Aboriginal people who are in need.

It may be because of their race, but it's not about race. And the idea here, of course, is to say just because you're Aboriginal doesn't mean to say that you're somehow just advantage or in need. That really is wrong and this worries me.

We're developing a response at the moment to the Productivity Commissions report into Closing the Gap and unfortunately the Commission has been drawn wholly into the business of everything is based on race and that only Aboriginal community controlled organisations can save the Aboriginal people. To which we say that's a nonsense.

Anyone out there providing services to people in need should be allowed to tender for services, whether they're Aboriginal controlled or not, and the sole idea is that the money should be allocated on the basis of who gets the best outcome.

It may be an Aboriginal control group, it may not be, but to allocate money solely on the basis of Aboriginal control is is like handing over local services to the Liberal Party or the Labor Party or the Greens. It's not the way you do business in this country and for the Productivity Commission to fall into that trap is just a disgrace.

Anyway, you'll hear a lot more from us on that score soon, but just have a look at this banner and you can go to our website and and pick up the theme. Need not race is our mantra and we'll keep repeating it until it gets through to this industry that we want to help people not because of their race, but because they are in need.

Other resources


Stories from the front line: An interview with Cheryl Waye


Stories from the front line: An interview with Terry Keane


Read the CtGR Adelaide Statement from the Head (PDF)