Alice Springs Intervention Rollback Group backs the Ballerrt Mooroop College Campaign

Ballerrt Mooroop College
Dwayne and Netty wear possum
skins at a Ballerrt Mooroop College
protest in November 2010

The Intervention Rollback Action Group in Alice Springs salutes the staff and students struggling against attacks on your school at Ballerrt Mooroop College, the only remaining Koori school in Melbourne.

It is crucial that we build unity across communities and fight back across Australia against the relentless push for assimilation coming from all governments.

From Maningrida to Melbourne Aboriginal people are struggling for some control over the education process and against the 'white is right' mentality.

While you sit-in against attempts to bulldoze your gym, bans on bi-lingual education in NT schools are bulldozing decades of work building school communities and curricula that values and nurtures Aboriginal culture. In Lajamanu, attendance rates have dropped by more than half in the two years of this policy and now stand at 35 per cent.

In 2008 the Labor government endorsed the UN declaration on the rights of Indigenous peoples.
  • Article 8, (2d) says States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of any form of forced assimilation or integration
  • Article 3 says Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination.
  • Article 14 says Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions.

If the Gillard government was serious about these commitments they would intervene to ensure your school is properly resourced and expanded and the bi-lingual ban was lifted in the NT.

But we have become used to their sweet promises and speeches while they get on with decimating Aboriginal self-determination. Here in the NT hundreds of millions of dollars worth of land, housing and assets have been seized from Aboriginal communities through the Intervention in an attempt to make life in community increasingly impossible and force people into the 'mainstream'.

They talk about closing the gap and saving the children. But rather than work with communities to address problems, they destroy Aboriginal initiative and leave already suffering families to pick up the pieces.

Enough is enough. We must draw a line and hold it. We are heartened to hear about the ban CFMEU construction workers have put on demolition of your gym. Here, the union is supporting a case for Aboriginal construction workers forced to work for the 'Basics Card' on a $672 million housing project. We are currently preparing for a conference of Aboriginal workers in Darwin hosted by the ACTU and hope to see some of you there.

Finally, we would like to stress the disgraceful nature of the way that your Koori school has been placed in competition for resources with a school for disabled children. The Aboriginal struggle has seen these tactics time and again - the whole Native Title system for example is about forcing disempowered people to squabble over scraps.

We will spread the news across Central Australia of the strong Koori resistance taking place in Melbourne and draw on this strength for the struggles to come.

in solidarity,
Intervention Rollback Action Group Alice Springs

To get in contact call Barbara Shaw 0401291166 or Paddy Gibson 0415800586
email rollbacktheintervention@gmail.com

Join the Community Blockade!


Protest in school gym
to be demolished

9am, Friday 17 December 2010
Ballerrt Mooroop College, 208 Hilton Street, Glenroy, Melways 16 H1.

The school community around Ballerrt Mooroop College are calling for support to blockade the gymnasium that is proposed to be bulldozed. All are welcome, and if 5am is too early to get yourself there, we are also trying to get as many people to sleep over in the gym as possible. The gym is equipped with amenities. All you need to bring is your sleeping bag and whatever comforts you require—and your fighting spirit!

• Don't demolish our gym
• Proper funding for facilities for health and culture
• Allow increased enrolments of Koori students
• Rights to consultation and proper planning for the school.

Contacts:
Jasmine Ali 0405 317 787
Dotty Bamblett 0433 090 933
Sharon Firebrace 0401 414 967

For Updates on the College Campaign See: Melbourne Anti-Intervention Collective Website
www.maicollective.blogspot.com

Comments

Demolition of School Halted

Tessa Hoffman Moreland Leader 17th December 2010

Protesters have vowed to continue occupying Glenroy’s Ballerrt Murrup College over the Christmas period in preparation to fend off construction workers in the New Year.

The protest began on November 22 when work was scheduled to begin on a new $18 million specialist school next to the college, which caters for 20 disengaged Aboriginal teenagers.

The group of mostly Aboriginal protesters is demanding changes to what they claim are inequitable land-share and funding plans.

Protest spokesman Gary Murray said at least 20 people would continue camping in the school gymnasium slated for demolition to make way for specialist school car parking.

Demolition was scheduled for today (Friday) but cancelled last minute.

Education Department spokesman Peter Enright said a new date had not been set.

Mr Murray expects it to take place from January 4.

More than 100 people protested at the school today, which followed a protest of a similar size in Bourke St mall in Melbourne’s central business district on Wednesday.

Mr Murray said the Education Department’s move to finally agree to develop a master plan for the college was ``a step in the right direction’‘.

Protesters now want the Education Department to agree to protect the school’s ``cultural precint’’ which comprises the gym, a sacred tree and adjacent ceremonial grounds currently on the Glenroy Specialist School’s part of the site.

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