ORANGE’S guest to mark Sorry Day in Orange, Chris Graham says since he started working with Aboriginal communities 13 years ago, the situation for Australia’s native population has got worse.
“I think ignorance and intolerance has increased and living conditions are worse for many communities,” he said.
Mr Graham who is associate producer of the film Utopia which screened in Orange yesterday, said he jumped at the chance to work on the film with journalist John Pilger, hoping it would be an awakening for many Australians about the conditions under which Aboriginal people live.
“I would like to be hopeful that things will change but I don’t think it is going to happen,” he said.
Mr Graham is scathing in his criticism of how non-Aboriginal Australians treat the country’s original owners.
He says despite working closely on the film there are many scenes he still finds confronting and emotional.
“The story of Arthur Murray in the film is both tragic but inspiring and it evokes a lot of emotion,” he said.
Mr Graham said many people who see the film find it shocking.
“Even Adam Goodes three weeks after he was named Australian of the year came out publicly and said he felt shamed to be an Australian after seeing this film,” Mr Graham said.
Mr Graham believes government continues to fail Aboriginal people.
“Canberra is a large part of the problem.”
However he said on a local level here in Orange the work being done to improve the lives of Aboriginal people is inspiring.
“There are 120 local land councils in NSW and Orange is considered to be in the top three.
“This city also has the Orange Aboriginal Medical Service which is doing such a great job.
“Orange has a vibrant skilled Aboriginal community,” he said.
Yesterday’s screenings of Utopia were made possible through a collaborative effort of Orange City Council, Orange Local Aboriginal Land Council and the Orange Aboriginal Medical Service.