On behalf of the Swan Valley Nyungah Community
- Western Australia has the highest homelessness rates in the nation - Perth has not been spared - half the homelessness is made up of First Nations People.
In 2003, the State Government, led by Premier Geoff Gallop, racially discriiminated against a whole people in closing down the Swan Valley Nyungah Community in the Perth suburb of Lockridge.
According to the Swan Valley Nyungah Community, after an orchestrated political and media campaign against the Community, the Gallop-led Government passed an Act (Reserve Act 43131) which denied procedural fairness and natural justice to the SVNC. This resulted in the eviction and homelessness of all families, including women and children.
Many Community Members have died on the streets of Perth in the eleven years since, and many others remain homeless.
The Swan Valley Nyungah Community, which has remained idle, must be reopened and the Community allowed to go home.
The Swan Valley Nyungah Community has always lived in within and have been the Custodians of that site. It has been their Country since the Beginning of Time. In 1997, the former State Premier Richard Court State Government formally handed over the site to the Swan Valley Nyungah Community, where they designed and built eleven rammed earth homes and other facilities - with sustainability and cultural sensitivities at the fore.
The children had one of the highest school attendance rates in the nation.
This was an improvement from the tents that people had lived in at the site since the 1970s. Western Australians should not accept homelessness and injustices. The madness of the Western Australian Government 2003 must be remedied - and natural justices always preserved.
Swan Valley Nyungah Community Elder Bella Bropho has provided the following:
"Lockridge camp is our Home
The Ground beneath our feet is the ashes of our Grandfathers
The Ground is rich with the spirits of our Grandmothers
They belong to us, we belong to them.
That is our people's sacred memories
Of our Land at Lockridge camp site
All things are connected like the Blood which unites one family to the Land,
Rivers, Lakes and all waterways, it is sacred to us all.
It is our Life."
The Western Australian community can open its hearts and minds to a dire injustice, stop turning a blind eye, and urge our Government to reopen the Community, to return people to their rightful homes, to stand alongside one another, to work together for the common good, for all that is good.
On March 11, from 1pm onwards, there will be a gathering and rally at the steps of the Western Australian Parliament by the Swan Valley Nyungah Community, by homelessness organisations and advocates and by supporters - all calling for the State Government to reopen the Swan Valley Nyungah Community and to end the homelessness that so many unnecessarily endure.