COMMUNITIES SEND A POWERFUL MESSAGE TO GOVERNMENT.
Aboriginal Communities across every state and territory of Australia send a powerful message to the Premier of Western Australia and Prime Minister of Australia.
Kimberley Aboriginal Women took the lead with support from their men folk in sending a powerful message to the Premier of Western Australia Colin Barnett after they instigated a call for a national day of support to the wider Australian nation. The call to action held around Australia on Thursday 19th March resulted in a massive show of support registering collectively more than 20,000 people marching in remote communities, towns and cities. The outpouring of support via social media has resulted in a reach of over 1million people worldwide and continues to grow as awareness spreads. This outcome furthers the feeling and sentiments of the Kimberley community that they will not accept Premier Collin Barnett’s plan to shut off essential services to 150 remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia, ultimately forcing them into closure.
The sentiments expressed by local Kimberley, Pilbara, Murchison, Goldfields and South Australian people and supported by the actions throughout the state of WA and indeed across the nation, ranged from fear of uncertainty about which communities would be closed, to questions about what criteria the state would use to justify cutting of essential services, to outright objection of the Premier’s plan, saying that they will not be moved off their homelands under any circumstance and citing that his plans would be a step backward in reconciliation and moreover a playing out of historical policies of further marginalising and disenfranchising Aboriginal people again.
Local Shire President of Broome Graham Campbell who spoke at the Broome event weighed into the discussion stating that even the local Shires of the Kimberley were not in the consultation process to date and were very concerned about the social flow on effects that may eventuate due to displacement of community people targeted in the direct outcome of the Premier’s plans.
Two key messages that came from the Kimberley
Aboriginal community were that the:
· Government, either State or Federal need to consult and create an open and transparent conversation with Aboriginal people within the State / Region / Communities they are targeting for closure.
· Current influential leaders of the Kimberley must create solidarity, to unite and be one voice to represent the Kimberley region in order to present solutions to the issues that affect the region, and that these influential leaders must include their strong Aboriginal women leaders in this process prior to engaging in conversations with the State or Federal Government.
The Kimberley Aboriginal Women will be meeting with the Local MLA for Labor, Josie Farrer next week to discuss a community closure strategic plan. Organisers across the states (WA and SA) will also work on strategic action to take in order to open the discussion with their local State Government representatives.
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