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Issue #1753      October 19, 2016

Fed up with “no respect”

During a two-day on-country meeting at Yule River last month, more than 350 Aboriginal traditional owners, Elders and community members passed a resolution of no confidence in Western Australia’s Aboriginal Affairs Minister Peter Collier.

Western Australia’s Aboriginal Affairs Minister Peter Collier.

The group passed a further resolution around the WA Regional Services Reform unit’s “roadmap”, which focuses on the state government’s blueprint for Aboriginal communities. Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) chief executive Simon Hawkins said the message from traditional owners around WA was loud and clear.

“Aboriginal people in WA are fed up with Minister Collier’s blatant disrespect for their culture, heritage and traditions,” he said. “Aboriginal people want the people who are in control of their heritage to be held accountable.

“Traditional owners want answers, and they want to be included in the decisions that will ultimately affect their way of life.”

YMAC co-chair and Njamal Elder Doris Eaton urged people to unite and speak with one voice. “It’s about looking after our community, our next generation and our heritage,” she said. “We need to come together as one Aboriginal people. We need to fight. We have to come together as a nation, as one cultural nation.

“It saddens me that this year our minister, who holds our future, did not attend. This is the third year we’ve come together at Yule River, and we come together as one, as human beings. But he has no respect for us.”

Resolutions were passed unanimously by the group, and given to Regional Development Minister Terry Redman to take back to Parliament. They were:

  • that Aboriginal people be front and centre in designing and implementing regional and remote service reforms;
  • that the state government acknowledge the significant contribution Aboriginal corporations make each year in the form of funding, infrastructure and service delivery and involve them directly in decision-making about services reforms;
  • that both state and federal governments be more transparent and accountable as to the existing spend on Aboriginal services in regional and remote communities; and
  • that at the ministerial level, Peter Collier, who is Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and chair of the Aboriginal Affairs Cabinet subcommittee, be more responsive and accountable for the impact on Aboriginal people in the region.

The Koori Mail

Next article – Dedicated to peace, justice, compassion – Eulogy for Margot Salom

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