Col­lier to miss bush meet­ing

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Tom Zaun­mayr

Ques­tions have been raised about Peter Col­lier’s abil­ity to han­dle the ed­u­ca­tion and Abo­rig­i­nal af­fairs port­fo­lios after re­veal­ing he would not be at­tend­ing the Yule River bush meet­ing for the third straight year be­cause of com­mit­ments.

Mr Col­lier con­firmed he had made ar­range­ments to at­tend an ed­u­ca­tion coun­cil meet­ing in Ade­laide be­fore be­ing for­mally in­vited to at­tend the Yule River meet­ing from to­day.

He said Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Terry Red­man, who is lead­ing the re­gional re­forms process with Child Pro­tec­tion Min­is­ter An­drea Mitchell, would re­port to him as chair­man of the Abo­rig­i­nal Af­fairs Cabi­net sub­com­mit­tee.

Ya­matji Marlpa Abo­rig­i­nal Cor­po­ra­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive Si­mon Hawkins said Mr Col­lier’s ex­cuse was a slap in the face.

“He was in­vited 12 months ago by a pe­ti­tion to at­tend Yule River — that was a res­o­lu­tion made at the last meet­ing,” he said.

“He knows that’s the date, he knows he was crit­i­cised by tra­di­tional own­ers who were dis­ap­pointed they have not had the chance to talk with him.”

Mr Hawkins said Mr Col­lier’s dual re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in ed­u­ca­tion and Abo­rig­i­nal af­fairs meant he should be front and cen­tre in re­mote ser­vices dis­cus­sions.

“It doesn’t seem right the ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter would pick a meet­ing in South Australia over his own con­stituents,” he said.

Mr Red­man would not be drawn on whether he be­lieved Mr Col­lier should be in at­ten­dance.

He said sig­nif­i­cant progress had been made on the Re­gional Ser­vices Re­form pack­age since the last Yule River meet­ing.

“Meet­ing with Abo­rig­i­nal com-

mu­ni­ties as part of the re­form process will en­sure gen­uine en­gage­ment of, and ben­e­fit to, Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­ni­ties,” he said.

Fed­eral La­bor Se­na­tor Pa­trick Dod­son’s pres­ence has been hailed a coup for the Yule River meet­ing.

Mr Hawkins said he ex­pected more con­struc­tive con­ver­sa­tion this year, after dis­cus­sions about re­mote ser­vices re­form were soured by former prime min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott’s “life­style choices” com­ment last year.

The meet­ing runs over two days.

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