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Saturday, November 22, 2014

End to Aboriginal remote communities in WA

Ian Trust


Political correctness has stopped us from saying that Aboriginal remote communities aren't doing indigenous people any favours. Because the children are denied an education, for reasons we won't go into, they have no place in mainstream Australia and generations are lost and denied a decent life.  

One of the most important state government moves is about to change the lives of Aboriginal people in Western Australia forever.

There are 270 remote indigenous communities in Western Australia, home to 12,000 people.  These communities allow Aboriginal people to live apart from mainstream Australia, they have their own rules and prefer it that way.

The WA government plans to close 100 of these communities and there is both outrage and acceptance.

WA Premier Colin Barnett says he can't afford it anymore.  The cost of providing municipal and essential services works out at $85,000 per person per year and he wants the federal government to take over the responsibility.  "There is no way the state government can fund that into the long-term future" he said.

Broom's Catholic Archbishop fears community closures will increase indigenous homelessness in places like Broome and Derby.  And we know this is true.

Kimberley Aboriginal leader Ian Trust said the idea made sense to him. "It should be seen as something, that in the end, Aboriginal people look back 20 or 30 years from now and say 'that was a great move.'

But there's another point of view.

Mr Ivan Deer, Ardyaloon Community resident says city life was sapping him of his soul. "In a big city, I found I was losing my heart....and my pride.  In the city you have to do things to survive, you know, so it was pretty rough" he said.

"It's good being back home in the community where you don't have to have money in your pocket just to go down the road to catch a bus.  Or instead of going to the shop to buy a feed, we can just go to our shop here, the ocean, and catch a feed."

"My future looks so rich and that's the one word that describes everything in this place.  You might have nothing, but you are a rich person when you are here."