Stop the closure of the homelands. State and Federal governments must fund services in remote Aboriginal communities.
This petition had 40,960 supporters
Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett has announced the state will close 100 to 150 of the 274 remote communities in WA. He has stated that the WA government will not pick up the shortfall once Federal funding ends in July 2015.
The Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands in South Australia are also under threat due to the withdrawal of federal funding.
Communities in the Northern Territory have already been closed, having devastating consequences on those who have been removed from their lands.
“We see this as the biggest threat to our people since the shocking events of the 1960s ... we assert the right of people to live in and on their traditional country, for which they have ancient and deep responsibilities. To be talking of relocating people off their traditional country does indeed take us back 50 years in a very ugly way.” Fitzroy Valley traditional owners and native title holders.
Homeland communities allow people to live on their country. Living on country means that Aboriginal people are able to sustain their language, spiritual connection to their land, and hence their culture. When adequate services are provided to homeland communities, significant research shows that it allows people to have better health, and wellbeing outcomes. This is in direct contrast to the experiences of living townships, where social disfunction and disadvantage are often at much higher levels that on homeland communities.
Homelands are widely understood to have lower levels of social problems, such as domestic violence and substance abuse, than more populated communities. According to reports, the health of Indigenous people living on homelands is significantly better than of those living in larger communities. Homelands are also used effectively as part of substance abuse and other programmes for at-risk Aboriginal youth living in more populated or urban centres." (UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Rights)
STOP the closure of the Homelands. It is essential that federal and state governments provide these communities with the services they require.
The funding of remote Aboriginal communities must not end.
Aboriginal communities MUST be allowed to live on their land, and must be provided the same services that other Australian's take for granted.
"It's smacks of the assimilation policies over the early 60s, it's horrendous. This is a diabolical, in my view, highly racially motivated agenda."
Greens MLC Robin Chapple ("Premier Colin Barnett says remote WA communities face closure due to Commonwealth funding cuts", Perth Now, 13th November, 2014)
“How can it be that everyone in the state except Aboriginals get the funding, that’s where my anger is. It’s almost like an infrastructure apartheid system. He (Barnett) is moving into a very dangerous area. My argument is that if they are supplying services to communities of the same size of Aboriginal communities but they are not providing them to Aboriginal communities, I call that infrastructure apartheid. This has been going on for decades from state and territory governments and it has got to stop.’’
Warren Mundine ("WA remote closures ‘apartheid’, says Warren Mundine", The Australian, 14 November, 2014)
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