: Closure of Aboriginal Communities

Closure of Aboriginal Communities

Steven Castan
Western Australia

In other news, continuing uncertainty and speculation as to which remote Aboriginal communities will be closed in WA is causing distress and anxiety in those communities.

Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda has called on the Premier to engage in proper and full consultation with Indigenous people, as he promised. Such consultation has not occurred even though the plan to close many remote communities was announced earlier in the year.

At various times, differing reasons for the closures have been given by the Premier, ranging from concerns about domestic violence, safety of children and funding shortages. Mr Gooda believes the lack of consultation as yet has meant Aboriginal people in potentially threatened communities are living day to day with the stress and fear of being moved from their homes.

Despite calls for consultation, Aboriginal affairs Minister Peter Collier could not outline a timeframe when consultation or reform to remote communities would begin and the Premier has not indicated any timeframes either.

The Opposition Aboriginal Affairs spokesman stated that the Premier is treating Indigenous people unfairly and that ‘what seems to have happened is that the term consultation has been redefined to mean we will tell you when we have made our decision’.

STEVEN CASTAN is a WA-based barrister, and nationally accredited mediator.

(2015) 40(2) AltLJ 143
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