Indigenous rights

Indigenous communities face disproportionate development challenges to non-Indigenous people. The systematic neglect of their rights, cultural identity, self-determination, land and natural resources continue to inhibit their development.


The facts

The life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders is approximately 17 years less than the overall Australian population. Equally concerning is that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people suffer from higher rates of heart disease, diabetes and substance abuse than other Australians, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island babies are twice as likely to die in comparison to other Australian babies.

Cultural, geographical and language based discrimination can create structural barriers to education, basic human services, skills training and employment opportunities within Indigenous communities.

The rights of Indigenous Peoples is recognised and enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Our Caritas approach

Caritas Australia works alongside the world’s most vulnerable Indigenous communities to provide long-term education, healthcare and, food and water security. As well as income generation programs that respect, protect, and enhance Indigenous rights and culture. We recognise the injustice that Indigenous peoples continue to experience beyond that of their fellow country people.

Caritas Australia’s response

  • Caritas Australia funded a scoping study for the establishment of an Aboriginal Carbon Fund in the Northern Territory. The study revealed that the development of carbon economies on Aboriginal lands (including traditional land management practices such as early season savannah burning) will assist to alleviate poverty and help deliver a range of benefits to Aboriginal people.
  • Red Dust Healing, a cultural healing program written from a First Australian perspective, helped empower participants from 10 Australian communities to understand past and present hurt and rejection, and equipped them with appropriate tools to change themselves and contribute to their families and community life.
  • Tjanpi Desert Weavers supports more than 300 weavers from 28 communities with culturally appropriate employment opportunities. 98 female artists from four remote areas undertook organised weaving and training in governance and business practices. 20 workshops were also held in Alice Springs with 100 artists receiving casual employment.