Closure of remote communities devastates Aboriginal residents


A petition to save remote Aboriginal settlements from Western Australian government plans to destroy them is gathering signatures. "Closing remote Aboriginal communities in Australia and moving Aboriginal people into the cities will cause displacement and discourse. Aboriginal people have lived thousands of years in these remote areas, they have cultural significances to the people, yet Colin Barnett the Premier of Western Australia is making yet another excuse to remove Aboriginal people off their home lands,” the petition text states.


“Colin Barnett has a purpose for this land for mining and jobs. The premier does not care for cultural history of Australia's first people, it’s all about economy, greed and capitalism for uranium mining investors. ... "


Barnett has signalled that he will close 150 of the state’s 274 remote Indigenous communities.


Aboriginal activist, Marianne Mackay, speaking to Red Flag, said: "Colin Barnett just wants to open up more mining leases for big business and development. With the amount of youth suicide and children being stolen again, the amount of deaths in custody, high incarceration rate, all these kinds of things, they’re social justice issues that have impacted on our people. They are a continuation of the genocidal policies that the government continues to create. Colin Barnett should be ashamed of himself."


A “Centre for Research on Globalization” notes that "Up to 200 indigenous communities in Australia could lose access to power and water because the government says it can no longer afford to deliver the basic services.


Rodney Dillon, an indigenous advisor at Amnesty International Australia, told the global news channel, VICE News, that some members of the indigenous communities might not survive a move. "It would be a complete culture shock, a complete mental shock," Dillon said. "This is their homeland. It’s where they belong it’s where they are proud. ... "

Concern is growing about essential services provision to West Australian Indigenous communities when the State Government takes over from the Federal Government in July. But with five months to go until the Federal Government stops providing services to communities, the Pilbara Regional Council's CEO, Tony Friday, is concerned at the lack of information from the State Government about what is going to happen. The WA Department of Local Government declined to answer [broadcaster] ABC North West WA's specific question about what preparations have been made to plan for the change to municipal services.

Ben Wyatt, WA Shadow Indigenous Affairs Spokesperson, outlined to NITV News how WA current policies have contributed to the underwhelming result of the “Close The Gap Report", which by and large is admitted by Prime Minister Tony Abbott not to be working.

Barnett has said, mining royalties will not be used to keep open "unviable" remote Aboriginal communities. This scuttles a lifeline thrown by WA National party leader and regional development minister, Terry Redman, in December.

Redman said in December the $1bn "Royalties for Regions" fund, which is drawn from 25% of the forecast mining royalties paid to the state, could be used to support 274 remote communities threatened with closure after the federal government withdrew funding for essential services in November.

The opposition Labor party wants those royalties to keep alive the remote communities. Wyatt said $25 million set aside by the scheme for Aboriginal initiatives should be used to keep remote communities open.

Meanwhile the West Australian government received more mining applications in the December quarter of 2014 than at any time since 2011.


Hear investigative journalist, Gerry Georgatos, discuss the closure of WA Aboriginal homelands with prominent TV journalist, Hugh Riminton, at the 15 February Aboriginal sit-in near the Australian parliament.


Meanwhile a prominent Aboriginal activist, Ghillar Michael Anderson, has urged Aboriginal people not to vote in elections due on 28 March 2015 in the state of New South Wales and in 2017 for the federal parliament.


Anderson, a co-founder of the 1972 Aboriginal Embassy in Canberra and co-leader of a Sovereign Union of First Nations and Peoples in Australia maintains in a media release that governments are “trying to counter the sovereignty movement … when we are winning”. 


The NSW government and Electoral Office are calling on Aboriginal people to enrol to vote. Anderson contends that the call “is influenced by the impact of the Sovereignty Movement. After 227 years of military occupation by the British, we have reached a highly significant position in our history. The invaders never thought the day would come when Aboriginal Nations and Peoples would be such a powerful force in the Australian political arena”.

“Our ancient cultures and Laws have survived British sovereignty and remain the Law of the Land, as they have never been ceded in any way, shape or form. Aboriginal people are now challenging more than ever the power and authority of the colonial governments.

“The Commonwealth [federal], State and Territory governments are trying to deceive our people yet again by suggesting that our people are 'Australians' and that they should be part of Australia and vote.

“Our people need to understand that we have never been British subjects.” Anderson cites speeches and laws to make his point.

“Don't be fooled by the call to join the Electoral Roll. The governments are not our friends at the crunch. They are con artists and tricksters. The ‘Recognise’ campaign is in the same mould, heavily funded to create spin to lure Aboriginal people into the racist Australian Constitution, which only promises assimilation and token recognition. But the bottom line is - the Commonwealth's funding of the Recognise campaign to include Aboriginal people in the Australian constitution is surely proof enough that we are not already in the Australian constitution and therefore are not citizens and, by definition, are 'aliens'. We must stay true to our own culture and keep our identity intact. Don't sell out for a vote!


“The governments have taken over our natural resources and claim ownership of our culture. The courts deny the true nature and history of our Nations and Peoples and protect their masters who created them, knowing that it is against international law.” (CONTACT: Ghillar Michael Anderson, +61 (0) 427 292 492.)  


A group of “Concerned Australians”, which includes a number of prominent non-Aborigines, such as a former prime minister and supreme judge, is among many others calling for treaties to be made with the indigenous nations.



On 6 December 2014, they invited some 50 colleagues and friends to a discussion on treaties. Three Aboriginal participants who agreed to share their views “were enthusiastic in their belief that treaties would improve the lives of Aboriginal peoples across Australia and their establishment would be the only way by which Aboriginal culture could be protected. [One] feared that without treaties Aboriginal culture might not survive”. Please click here to read the full article.


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