Thinly veiled rhetoric to close Aboriginal communities

Thursday, 5 May

Premier Colin Barnett hadn’t ruled out remote Aboriginal community closures and continued to offer no solutions in a statement yesterday, according to WA Greens spokesperson Robin Chapple MLC.

“Aboriginal people have been living with this uncertainty, created by the Liberal-National government, for almost 18 months; that’s a long time to be living in fear,” Mr Chapple said.

“What started as an outright commitment to force the closure of up to 150 communities, has become a grey policy area in both theory and practice.

“At this stage, the reform unit is yet to engage in any kind of meaningful conversation as far as I am aware, and there is little being shared about the process in itself.

“Questions in parliament have revealed that just 21 communities in the Kimberley, and one community in the Pilbara have been visited since the reform process started in July 2015, including up to 5 different communities in just one day.

“This is not meaningful conversation with Aboriginal people about their future and frankly, if it is to be used as the driving force behind a so-called ‘reform process’ then it is insulting.

“There is a crucial aspect here that is consistently absent from policy affecting Aboriginal people; proper reform for Aboriginal communities must be community driven by the people it affects the most and not the other way around.”

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

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