Roadmap at­tracts crit­i­cism

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Tom Zaun­mayr

The rep­re­sen­ta­tive body for the Pil­bara’s in­dige­nous groups is dis­ap­pointed by the lack of de­tail in the much-hyped re­mote ser­vices re­form roadmap an­nounced by the State Gov­ern­ment last week.

Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Terry Red­man and Child Pro­tec­tion Min­is­ter He­len Morton re­vealed a swathe of sweep­ing state­ments and fund­ing com­mit­ments, in­clud­ing $175 mil­lion for hous­ing tied to ed­u­ca­tion and em­ploy­ment out­comes in re­mote com­mu­ni­ties.

Among the key points were moves to iden­tify up to 10 com­mu­ni­ties to fo­cus in­fras­truc­ture and ser­vices spend­ing on by the end of the year and cre­at­ing more em­ploy­ment for in­dige­nous peo­ple in the pub­lic sec­tor.

Ya­matji Marlpa Abo­rig­i­nal Cor­po­ra­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive Si­mon Hawkins said it was good to hear some com­men­tary from Gov­ern­ment, but a thor­ough dis­cus­sion pa­per needed to be re­leased to get feed­back from Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple.

“If you’re go­ing to stop pro­vid­ing ser­vices to com­mu­ni­ties, you are ef­fec­tively clos­ing them, so we are back to the original com­ment Tony Ab­bott made,” he said.

“I don’t think any­one says there shouldn’t be re­form to save money and im­prove re­source de­liv­ery.

“But if that means you are go­ing to force peo­ple off their land when you put them there in the first place, and you are go­ing to re­move their abil­ity to have con­nec­tion to their coun­try, which is a key part of their well­be­ing, then you have some se­ri­ous is­sues which have to be dis­cussed. We have a me­dia re­lease about broad-rang­ing com­men­tary but where’s the re­search, where’s the data, where’s the dis­cus­sion pa­per?”

Mr Hawkins said the Yule River meet­ing in Septem­ber could pro­vide crit­i­cal feed­back for the Gov­ern­ment if a dis­cus­sion pa­per

was re­leased in time. Mr Red­man said re­gional fo­rums such as Yule River were an im­por­tant mech­a­nism for con­sul­ta­tion.

“The dis­cus­sions held at that meet­ing, as well as at other re­gional fo­rums in the Pil­bara and Kim­ber­ley, have in­formed the de­vel­op­ment of the re­gional ser­vices re­form roadmap,” he said.

“The State Gov­ern­ment will con­tinue to en­gage with this fo­rum to progress the pri­or­ity ac­tions iden­ti­fied in the roadmap.”

Mr Red­man said strong lead­ers, safety of chil­dren, lim­i­ta­tions to growth such as ac­cess to wa­ter, work op­por­tu­ni­ties and ef­fec­tive gov­er­nance would all be con­sid­ered when de­cid­ing which com­mu­ni­ties the State Gov­ern­ment would work with.

Shadow Abo­rig­i­nal af­fairs min­is­ter Ben Wy­att said he hoped the roadmap would lead to a more ra­tio­nal di­a­logue be­tween Gov­ern­ment and in­dige­nous peo­ple.

“Pos­i­tively, it moves away from the Colin Bar­nett rhetoric of overtly want­ing to close Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­ni­ties around Western Aus­tralia,” he said.

Mr Wy­att said he was pleased to see com­mit­ments to help com­mu­ni­ties be­come self sus­tain­able.

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