Neglect of Basic Water Services for Indigenous Australians
The Utopia Homelands, an Indigenous community in a remote region in the Northern Territory of Australia, survived without clean water for 10 weeks from August to September 2014. This is an example of institutionalised racism in Australia, which penalises and neglects Indigenous health and welfare. The Australian Government cut $534 million from Indigenous programs this year alone. If a White-majority community in Australia lacked access to clean water and basic services, it would have been a national crisis within days, not months.
Prior to the “Northern Territory Solution,” when the Australian Government sent in the Army to police Indigenous communities in a show of force ahead of a federal election, the Utopia Homelands was one of the healthiest in the region. Now diseases usually seen in poor and developing regions run rampant. This is happening one of the most privileged countries in the world.
One media report assessed the situation: “The Urapuntja health service and several communities have had little to no access to water and sanitation for 10 whole weeks. Fifty kids have no drinking water at their school.
“To make matters worse, a massive outbreak of scabies has resulted from the water shortage: the health service has no water to wash bedclothes or flush toilets. Scabies, when left untreated, can potentially lead to kidney disease. Both scabies and chronic kidney disease are experienced at inflated rates in Indigenous communities.”
Due to public outcry once the story finally hit major news outlets, the Community raised $12,000 to fix the water supply. The Government announced it would pay for the upgrades in late October, months after the community had already been importing water via trucks.