Res­i­dents in re­mote com­mu­ni­ties head to polls

Pilbara News - - Federal Election 2016 - Rourke Walsh

Res­i­dents in some of Aus­tralia’s most re­mote com­mu­ni­ties have be­gun cast­ing their votes for Satur­day’s Fed­eral elec­tion.

Aus­tralian Elec­toral Com­mis­sion polling teams are cur­rently vis­it­ing re­mote com­mu­ni­ties through­out the North West to en­sure peo­ple in the iso­lated lo­ca­tions have the chance to cast their vote.

Gibb River com­mu­nity was among the first to be vis­ited by the teams while one of the small­est com­mu­ni­ties, Koongie Park near Halls Creek which has just 39 vot­ers, has also cast its votes.

AEC in­dige­nous com­mu­nity en­gage­ment of­fi­cer and elder Brett Hill said 17 re­mote polling teams had been trav­el­ling to re­mote com­mu­ni­ties all over WA.

“Over a two-week pe­riod, from June 20 to elec­tion day, our teams will visit 359 lo­ca­tions across the State, cov­er­ing thou­sands of kilo­me­tres by road, air and sea to reach West Aus­tralian vot­ers in re­mote com­mu­ni­ties, out­sta­tions, pastoral prop­er­ties, small towns, tourist re­sorts, hos­pi­tals, pris­ons, aged care homes and mine sites.” he said.

“A large pro­por­tion of peo­ple who vote via the AEC’s re­mote mo­bile polling ser­vice, live in in­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties.

“Re­mote polling teams typ­i­cally con­sist of three mem­bers, which are of­ten as­sisted by an Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der com­mu­ni­ty­based voter in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer.”

“The voter in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer role is es­pe­cially im­por­tant with the changed Senate vot­ing ar­range­ments at this elec­tion.”

The AEC has re­viewed its re­mote mo­bile polling ar­range­ments since the 2013 Fed­eral elec­tion to iden­tify bet­ter ways to de­liver polling ser­vices, in­clud­ing more flex­i­ble and ex­tended op­por­tu­ni­ties to vote, in­clud­ing co­in­cid­ing vis­its with cul­tural busi­ness or other com­mu­nity events.

As well as im­proved ac­ces­si­bil­ity, re­mote polling ar­range­ments for the 2016 Fed­eral elec­tion are pro­vid­ing em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for in­dige­nous Aus­tralians to work as AEC polling of­fi­cials in their com­mu­ni­ties. Re­mote mo­bile polling vis­its were pro­moted by ad­ver­tis­ing in ra­dio, tele­vi­sion and news­pa­pers, as well as by AEC in­dige­nous com­mu­nity con­tact of­fi­cers and posters in Shire coun­cils and gov­ern­ment of­fices.

Vot­ers can find out when a mo­bile polling team will be vis­it­ing be­fore Satur­day by call­ing 13 23 26 or vis­it­ing the AEC web­site at www.aec. gov.au.

Vot­ers in re­mote com­mu­ni­ties be­gan cast­ing their early votes last week.

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