The Australian Government has advised the states that it will no longer be receiving funding services for the 274 remote Aboriginal communities. This will now be the State Governments responsibility.
As a result, the Premier of WA – Colin Barnett claimed that the state will not be able to maintain these essential services in many remote Indigenous communities and will have to close up to 150 communities. Federal and State Governments made no effort to consult with Aboriginal people living in these remote communities prior to arriving at this decision.
What does this mean?
Loss of connection to the land
Aboriginal people have a strong spiritual, physical and cultural connection to the land. Aboriginal artworks, rituals and storytelling portray a mystical connection between people and their land. The land is seen to be sacred and needs to be cared for and protected. This cultural knowledge has been shaped from generation to generation for over 55,000 years and is known to be the oldest cultural history still surviving. The move to shutdown these remote Indigenous communities compromise the core value of Aboriginal culture, the spiritual connection to the land.
Pressure on regional towns
Concerns from within communities and shires have been the inadequacy for small regional towns to cope. There is no adequate housing and essential services to support the number of Aboriginal people who are made to move into regional towns.
Suffer significant trauma
Aboriginal people hospitalized for self-harm are on the increase with some suicides from children as young as 12 years old. This indicates that the indigenous community are not being supported and feel traumatised and abandoned. The withdrawal of the national jobs program from these communities puts an end to employment opportunities which in turn, blocks investment in infrastructure. This forceful removal of Aboriginal people from their land will cause economic and social consequences.