Greens seek to legislate for protection of remote communities

Wednesday, 11 May

WA Greens Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Robin Chapple MLC last night tableda draft of the Prevention of Forced Closure of Remote Aboriginal Communities Bill 2016 into parliament for public comment.

The bill aims to provide surety to Aboriginal people living in established remote communities that they will not be forced to move off country, either directly or through a limitation of the municipal and essential services provided by the state government.

Municipal and essential services include, but are not limited to power, water, sewerage, infrastructure, education, health services, and waste disposal.

The bill also aims to enshrine in legislation the deep cultural, spiritual, familial and social relationship Aboriginal peoples have with the land, and would require decision makers to adhere to the principles of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Quotes that can be attributed to Robin Chapple MLC:

“This bill is a reflection of the deep lack of trust felt by Aboriginal people over the Barnett government’s ambiguous, and disrespectful, rhetoric about remote communities.

“This legislation is important in that it acknowledges and enshrines the deep cultural, spiritual, familial and social relationship Aboriginal peoples have with the land.

“By releasing a draft for public comment I want to ensure that Aboriginal people in Western Australia are given an opportunity to comment on the wording, scope and intention of this important piece of legislation.

“Aboriginal communities are absolutely crucial to ensuring that a reform process delivers on its promise of closing the gap, otherwise there is a very real danger of history repeating itself.

“It is my sincere hope that this bill will pave the way for meaningful conversation and community-driven solutions to problems facing Aboriginal people in Western Australia.”

A copy of the draft bill and an explanatory statement are attached.

For further comment please contact Tim Oliver on 0431 9696 25 or 08 9486 8255.

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