04 February 2015
“Evictions from Country will have Disastrous Effect” says ALSWA
The Aboriginal Legal Service of WA (ALSWA) is appalled that Premier Colin Barnett will not commit to using the ‘Royalties for Regions’ fund to keep Aboriginal communities open unless they are deemed ‘viable’.
“Who determines which communities are viable or not, and on what grounds?” said ALSWA CEO Dennis Eggington, also concerned that the government would not be holding meetings with many of the communities earmarked for closure.
“Our people were here for thousands of years before cities and towns were built and have survived with great resilience, despite the dispossession and institutionalised racism that has faced us at every turn. In 2015, I am ashamed at the mindset of a government which continues to fail in its efforts to promote, embrace and maintain our people’s existence on their traditional ancestral lands”.
ALSWA said that the long-standing legacy of dispossession remained disastrous on families today and was evidenced by the over-representation in the court and prison systems. “The enforced fracturing of our families and removal from Country has had a major and devastating effect on our people and I’m extremely worried about the impact that future evictions from Country will have on Community members” said Mr. Eggington.
The Aboriginal Legal Service of WA urges the Government to carry out comprehensive consultation with affected Communities and other stakeholders and to prioritise working towards keeping Communities strong and on their land, rather than displacing those whose homelands are not viewed by onlookers as being ‘viable’.
“It’s a fundamental human right that our people stay on their land which is pivotal to Culture and identity. To overlook the significance of Country for our people shows a blatant disregard for the oldest living Culture in the world. This feat should be celebrated and supported, not viewed as a business venture that’s not worth investing in” said Mr. Eggington.