For 75 years, CARE has worked around the globe to save lives, defeat poverty and achieve social justice. We work in partnership with local communities to support those affected by humanitarian crises and tackle the underlying causes of poverty to create transformative change.
Whilst CARE Australia does not program in Australia, our position is informed by our work alongside communities, including First Nations and Indigenous people, both in the region and globally. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, endorsed by Australia, promotes the full and effective participation of indigenous people in all matters that concern them. A meaningful realisation of rights and development opportunities can only be achieved through community engagement, empowerment and participating when decisions are made.
In our own sector there is a call for change and a desire to reflect upon old ways of working. Deeply held beliefs that characterise the development sector, including unfair power structures and dominance by the global North, are being challenged. We need to be ready to listen to diverse opinions and to be challenged.
International aid doesn’t turn up with the answers, communities themselves already have them. Much of our work as CARE Australia is focussed on complementing this and helping to ensure that remote and marginalised communities have a voice, not only at local levels, but also at the central level. In our experience, when policy makers and governments listen to communities, programs are more contextually relevant and more effective.
Further, in order to meet the aspirations of a First Nations Foreign Policy abroad, listening to what First Nations people want at home and taking up the opportunity they are presenting is essential.
It is in this spirit and in accordance with our values that we accept the invitation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart and express our full support for the YES case in the referendum for a Voice to Parliament.