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Wednesday, 18 March 2015
Page: 2761


Ms CLAYDON (Newcastle) (13:36): I rise today on the eve of National Close the Gap Day because I want to bring this House's attention to a really critical—indeed dire—situation that now exists for up to 150 remote Indigenous communities in Western Australia following the callous decision by the Abbott Liberal government to cut funding for municipal and essential services in remote Indigenous communities. Historically, the Commonwealth has provided this funding in myriad ways. When I lived and worked in the Kimberley region of WA, this was done primarily through the Community Housing and Infrastructure Program. But no more: the new Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said that the delivery of municipal and essential services is now a state and territory matter. People in Western Australia are now looking at the closure of up to 150 remote Indigenous communities due to the absolute inadequacy of the transitional funding being provided. Worse still, this Prime Minister, with this thought bubble, has deemed that we can no longer subsidise what he deemed to be lifestyle choices. How wrong could this Prime Minister be? Reckless commentary is no substitute for well-considered policy and is no basis for a fair, just and equitable partnership with Indigenous people.