Aboriginal task force takes lead
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.