Australia: Up to 150 remote Aboriginal communities under threat of closure
Due to the withdrawal of federal funding for essential services up to 150 remote Aboriginal communities have been marked for closure by the State Government of West Australia.
A leaked document obtained by the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC), recently revealed that extensive research was conducted as early as 2010 to identify remote West Australian Aboriginal communities considered unsustainable.
ABC reports that the State Government of West Australia (WA) “has resisted calls to accelerate consultation with indigenous communities, arguing it has no framework in place for deciding which communities would close.” Yet, the contrary turned out to be true. A document prepared by the Federal Government in 2010, deemed 192 of 287 remote communities unsustainable, and was circulated to the WA Department of Aboriginal Affairs in 2011.
Half of West Australia’s remote Aboriginal communities face closure
The WA Government now plans to close up to 150 remote Aboriginal communities, which has garnered extensive criticism. Hundreds of protesters gathered last week to rally against the closures, which would affect more than half of the states’ remote communities.
ABC reported on Wednesday, that the WA Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Peter Collier, has assured members of the indigenous communities that they will be consulted before any decisions on closures are made. He said the leaked federal report “was based on a flawed methodology and did not represent the Government’s intentions.”