No ‘blan­ket’ fix for re­mote ar­eas

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

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.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

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.

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