Residents in remote communities head to polls
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.