Premier once again proves he is out of touch with Indigenous West Australians

Tuesday, 11 November

WA Greens Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Robin Chapple MLC has expressed outrage at Premier Colin Barnett’s statement that remote indigenous communities would be closed due to difficulties in providing essential services.

Mr Barnett also linked high indigenous suicide rates with remote access problems and claimed his government was actively working to try and reduce these statistics.

Mr Chapple said the Premier could not be more out of touch with the needs of remote indigenous communities.

“This is short-sighted economic bean-counting at its absolute worst,” he said.

“By forcing indigenous people out of their communities and into towns and cities you are essentially taking away nearly everything they hold dear.

“I am not talking about material possessions, but their connection with the land, their culture and their ancestors that is so important.

Mr Chapple said it was the height of insensitivity for the Premier to bring in the issue of indigenous suicides whilst simultaneously admitting that the forced closure of remote communities ‘would be traumatic’.

“Who wouldn’t be traumatised if the government walked onto your land and physically removed you against your will?” he said.

“I agree with the Premier that something needs to be done about the provision of services to remote indigenous communities, so why doesn’t he just get on and do it!.

“Moving people from their homes into much larger and unfamiliar settlements and suggesting this may actually reduce the suicide rate amongst indigenous people in Western Australia is absolutely farcical and may very well have the opposite effect.”

For more information please contact Robin Chapple on 0409 379 263 or 9486 8255.

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