Sen­a­tor slams re­form plan

Pilbara News - - Yule River meeting - Tom Zaun­mayr

The State Gov­ern­ment’s re­gional ser­vices re­form pack­age will lead to in­creased fi­nan­cial hard­ship and more pres­sure on un­der­funded in­dige­nous le­gal ser­vices, ac­cord­ing to La­bor Sen­a­tor Pa­trick Dod­son.

Mr Dod­son slammed the re­forms for “pussy­foot­ing” around the is­sue of re­mote com­mu­nity clo­sures. He said which­ever way you looked at the re­forms pack­age it was hard to see com­mu­ni­ties not clos­ing.

“I have no doubts this is about emp­ty­ing the coun­try out of its peo­ple,” he said.

“It’s not help­ful af­ter all that his­tory, that gov­ern­ment, be­cause of prob­lems they have with fi­nan­cial man­age­ment, pe­nalises the Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple by forc­ing them to ul­ti­mately leave their home­lands and go live some­where else.”

Mr Dod­son said peo­ple who moved to town-based re­serves would strug­gle to meet the ev­ery­day fi­nan­cial demands of liv­ing in town and could be­come a tar­get for in­come man­age­ment schemes.

Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Terry Red­man, who is lead­ing the re­forms process, said there was ad­e­quate fund­ing avail­able, but it needed to be bet­ter di­rected.

“The thing I would ar­gue is there is more than enough money in the mix when you look at the total amount of re­sources which goes into sup­port­ing ser­vices in the com­mu­ni­ties,” he said.

“I think we do have to be smarter, sharper, and en­gage with the body cor­po­rates who have got a level of ca­pac­ity in many com­mu­ni­ties to use that level as a plat­form to sup­port ser­vice de­liv­ery.

“We’re now go­ing to be map­ping the Pil­bara and the Kim­ber­ley to see what re­sources go in and just what we’re get­ting for those re­sources.”

Mr Red­man rub­bished Mr Dod­son’s sug­ges­tions that peo­ple would have to move off their coun­try.

“I think there is enough ev­i­dence in what we are say­ing so far that we are dinkum about in­vest­ment and we’re dinkum about get­ting change, but that can only hap­pen in con­cert with Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple,” he said.

Ya­matji Marlpa Abo­rig­i­nal Cor­po­ra­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive Si­mon Hawkins said the roadmap needed to have a greater level of trans­parency.

“The re­al­ity is the town-based re­serves and the larger com­mu­ni­ties the Gov­ern­ment wants to fo­cus on means the smaller com­mu­ni­ties will have to fend for them­selves,” he said.

Mr Hawkins said YMAC had been dis­ap­pointed by the lack of ac­cess to Abo­rig­i­nal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Peter Col­lier.

Pic­tures: Tom Zaun­mayr

Terry Red­man watches some tra­di­tional danc­ing at Yule River.

La­bor Sen­a­tor Pa­trick Dod­son speaks about re­gional ser­vices re­form at the Yule River meet­ing.

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