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Wednesday, 18 March 2015
Page: 2766


Ms MacTIERNAN (Perth) (13:54): Tomorrow I will join Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people rallying in Perth to protest the closure of up to 150 remote Aboriginal communities against the wishes of these communities. For a second and in some cases a third time since European settlement Aboriginals will be thrown off their land. They will also be protesting the Prime Minister disrespecting their deep connection with country when he described them as merely exercising a 'lifestyle choice'.

The federal government must accept responsibility for the mess that is occurring in Western Australia. It stopped funding essential municipal services and gave a bucket of money to the Barnett government without any consultation with affected communities and without any preconditions. Mr Barnett says it is now all too hard and up to 150 communities will have to close down. There are challenges in these communities, but forcing these people to move to other communities or onto the fringes of urban towns is no solution. We do need change, and the change we need is to empower these communities to shape their own destiny.