Forum for the future
Last week was the annual Pilbara-Kimberley Forum, held this year by the Kimberley Group in Kununurra.
The forum alternates between the Pilbara and Kimberley regional councils and features a range of speakers from local, State and Federal governments, private enterprise and Aboriginal enterprises.
It provides an update on issues, regulations and new initiatives and also gets the eight councils together to discuss their particular problems and successes. Being able to put a face to a name also makes it easier to contact members of other organisations later for advice about an issue recently faced.
This year, our local Federal member, Melissa Price, updated us on the implications of the Budget for us in the North West and Senator Linda Reynolds provided advice on how local councils could tap into the big defence spending, which will soon occur in our region.
Senator Patrick Dodson spoke about the necessity to meaningfully engage with Aboriginal people, to bring them into the conversation, to discuss the issues they face and work for solutions which create local employment, better health outcomes and a less fractured society.
A number of pastoralists discussed the new initiatives they had established on their properties and the difficulties they faced, including overnment red and green tape, limitations of scale and distance to markets.
All were working closely with Aboriginal groups and having real successes.
I will summarise the forum conclusions next week.