Greens: Minister closes community, forcing families onto streets

29th September 2011

Greens MP Robin Chapple has criticized the state government for its decision to close Oombulgurri community today, effectively washing its hands of the community’s citizens.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs Peter Collier today announced in Parliament that the Government would formally close the community after what he claimed had been an ‘extensive process’.
“The Minister has failed the community by forcing its residents to leave their traditional country,” Mr Chapple said.
“I am very concerned that the people of Oombulgurri have been forced out of their homes by the staged withdrawal of services.
“Despite Mr Collier’s claims, the government has not adequately consulted with the community and Balanggarra traditional owners about the closure. Many residents wanted to stay but could not after essential services such as the store were closed.
“This is a cruel act by a Government more concerned with saving money than caring for people’s welfare.
“In Wyndham people are already seeing the effect of the moves, with a marked increase in homelessness, overcrowding, the neglect of children and a variety of problems exacerbated by easy access to alcohol.
“It appears this decision has been made without any planning for transitional housing and traditional owners and community service organisations have raised concerns with me about a very serious housing crisis.
“The greatest tragedy is that the closure of the community will do nothing to address the stated concerns for the safety of women and children.
“Closing a community, forcing families into homelessness, moving children from one risky situation to another risk, raises very serious human rights concerns.
“I call on the government to work more closely and respectfully with the Balanggarra Traditional Owners, members of the Oombulgarri community and non-government organisations to achieve a better outcome.

For more information please contact Robin Chapple on 0409 379 263 or 9486 8255

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