Elderly and sick aboriginal group turned away from essential services during tropical cyclone

Greens MLC Robin Chapple and Senator Rachel Siewert have condemned emerging news that five mostly elderly Aboriginal people with medical conditions were declined access for up to seven hours from the Carnarvon cyclone shelter and hospital, ahead of the impact of Severe Tropical Cyclone Olwyn.

The group included four elderly people on dialysis, and one younger person suffering severe personal health issues.

“I’m very distressed to hear that Aboriginal people were denied access to the hospital and the shelter, these two essential services should not be denied to anyone," Mr Chapple said.

“We must ask how could this happen? There continues to be ill treatment and discrimination of Aboriginal people in this country.

“The approach of both the State and Federal Governments are not helping to stymy instances like this. 

“Inappropriate remarks by the Prime Minister, proposals to close remote communities, and special measures that discriminate against Aboriginal people such as income management all worsen Aboriginal standard of living.

Mr Chapple has called on the Federal Government to act on a motion supported in the Senate yesterday that calls on Federal Funding to be reinstated for communities. 

“During a moment of crisis this group struggled to access essential services much more than they should have," he said.

“It is alarming that no one else appears to have been declined entry to these services.

“There is anecdotal evidence that European backpackers were allowed to stroll in and seek help, this signals systemic issues in rural and remote Western Australia that must be addressed immediately."

For comment please contact Robin Chapple on 0409 379 263 or 9486 8255.

Media liaison: Tim Oliver           

Mobile: 0431 9696 25


Go to top