Abo­rig­i­nal task force takes lead

Broome Advertiser - - News - Peter de Krui­jff

Kimberley Abo­rig­i­nal lead­ers fed up with in­quests and a lack of progress on the ma­jor is­sues fac­ing the re­gion have agreed to start a task force to fos­ter a bet­ter di­a­logue with gov­ern­ments.

Twenty-one rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Abo­rig­i­nal cor­po­ra­tions and other or­gan­i­sa­tions across the Kimberley gath­ered for a round­table ses­sion in Broome re­cently to dis­cuss the fu­ture. They de­ter­mined a Kimberley re­gional strat­egy should be de­vel­oped for the re­gion, guided by seven prin­ci­ples.

These guide­lines in­cluded pro­posed mea­sures need­ing con­sent from af­fected com­mu­ni­ties, an agreed frame­work for eval­u­a­tion and mea­sure­ment of out­comes from the strat­egy, an in­clu­sive so­ci­ety and a recog­ni­tion of the depth of so­cial and cul­tural cap­i­tal in the com­mu­nity.

Nyamba Buru Yawuru chief ex­ec­u­tive Peter Yu said the round­table came about be­cause of a Kimberley-wide is­sue. “The ge­n­e­sis of it all is this prob­lem which is not go­ing away for us,” he said.

“The im­pacts of al­co­hol on what I feel is the whole com­mu­nity, but par­tic­u­larly the is­sues we’re deal­ing with in the Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­nity.

“Gov­ern­ment re­ac­tion has al­ways been piece­meal in terms of co-oper­a­tion and in­vest­ment and try­ing to deal with man­ag­ing this prob­lem.”

Mr Yu said a more struc­tured ap­proach was needed rather than the knee-jerk re­ac­tions of the past that have gone nowhere.

“We took the ini­tia­tive to in­vite peo­ple to this round­table so we could take a rea­son­able and con­sid­ered ap­proach, to learn from ex­pe­ri­ences and ex­perts and see what op­por­tu­ni­ties might t here be to work more col­lab­o­ra­tively.”

Kimberley po­lice Su­per­in­ten­dent Al­lan Adams spoke at the meet­ing, as did for­mer chair­man of the Al­co­hol and Drugs Tri­bunal of the North­ern Ter­ri­tory, Michael O’Don­nell. Mr O’Don­nell spoke to the round­table about the ad­vent of the banned drinker’s list in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory.

Mr Yu said he had not seen much change since the Hope in­quest into sui­cides in the Kimberley and the cur­rent Coroner’s in­quest in Broome.

WA Mem­ber for the Kimberley Josie Far­rer said hous­ing, em­ploy­ment, health care and ed­u­ca­tion had to be im­proved to have an im­pact on ad­dic­tion and sub­stance abuse is­sues.

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