No ‘blanket’ fix for remote areas
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman has admitted the advisory councils aiding government policy on regional services reform cannot adequately represent all indigenous people, no matter who sits on it.
Mr Redman made the comments as he and Child Protection Minister Helen Morton were faced with at times fiery questioning on the subject by attendees at the Yule River meeting near Port Hedland last Friday.
“We’ve got a cabinet process that has led to a structure and a pathway to get an outcome … whichever group you go to, none of this is ever perfect,” he said.
“There are not many places in Western Australia and not many issues where you have two senior Government ministers front up on the same issue and that gives it the credibility it deserves and the importance to the people who are here today.
“If this stops, or if criticism is such that it all falls over, then the only outcome is the status quo and everyone I’ve spoken to about this says the status quo is unacceptable.”
Mr Redman said the State Government was “genuine” about improving the opportunities for people, and particularly children, in remote communities.
Yindjibarndi Elder Tootsie Daniels questioned whether those chosen for the strategic regional advisory council were “cultural,” sighting the lack of elders as an issue.
“The elders are very important in the community, they’re the core people of the community and they need to sit with government for planning,” she said.
“If you need to change something in the community, if you want to talk about anything to do with communities, you need to come and see the elders. “That is very important.” One option bought up by the public was the use of modern technology to bring education into communities.
Ms Morton said while it may be an option for primary education, online learning was not likely to be satisfactory for high school.
“I certainly accept there are new technologies and a range of options for bringing forms of education into the community, however it may not be (suitable) for all the communities’ education,” she said.
Ms Morton said there was no “blanket outcome” to suit all individuals, families and communities.
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman, YMAC chief executive Simon Hawkins, Banyjima man Maitland Parker, Child Protection Minister Helen Morton and Kimberley Land Council deputy chief executive Tyronne Garstone.