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STANDING COMMITTEE ON ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER AFFAIRS - 27/04/2009 - Community stores in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

CHAIR —We have just a few minutes before we close, and we do have to close because of the flight restrictions getting back into Alice. We have got four names. If you can keep it brief, that would be great.

Mr McDonald —My name is Lance McDonald. I am a local man. I always go shopping here.

CHAIR —What would you like to say to the committee, Lance?

Mr McDonald —I would like to say that the shop is really good. It has got a lot of good tucker. When we had the former store manager he was selling all the rubbish tucker. These two came along and changed everything. You guys would have come when the old store manager was here, and you would have seen the shop different. We know from our personal experience that there are a lot of changes in this shop, and it is really good. It is not only the tucker but there is a lot of motorcar gear and sporting gear as well, like AFL gear. That is really good.

CHAIR —Thank you, Lance.

Mr Tasi —I am Sifa Tasi. I am coordinating the aged-care program in Papunya. They asked me to say something about the food here. I do the same as Greg and Michelle. The truck comes here once a fortnight, so I order fresh fruit for the week, because unlike the school and the shop, I do not have the facilities to store it for longer than a week. After it is used up I use tinned fruit or go up to the shop and get products for that week. You just have to do with what is there.

My beef is because of my aged-care people. There are five old ladies between 70 and 75 living under a tree at the moment. They have been there for nearly eight weeks. The housing is the main thing I am worried about, so I thought you would probably tell your colleagues in Canberra.

Mr Tasi —I want to say one thing more. My beef is because of my aged care people. They are five old ladies between 70 and 75 living under a tree at the moment. They had been there for nearly eight weeks. The housing is the main thing I am worried about. I thought you could tell your colleagues in Canberra.

CHAIR —We will certainly pass that on. Thank you for that.

Ms Williams —I am not a local person from Papunya but I am from Alice Springs. I am employed by the Aboriginal Interpreter Service. The question I would like to put to the committee is that the government did a review into the Northern Territory emergency response and one of the very strong recommendations was that interpreters should be used, especially at community meetings. I am wondering why one was not organised today, because this is a very special meeting. People do understand English but the whole community, the people that are here, should have been represented properly by using an interpreter.

CHAIR —Thank you for that. I think we will have to take it on notice. I am not sure what the answer is in terms of why we have not organised an interpreter. But we will get back to you with an answer to that question because we know it is an important issue. What we might also try and do is offer to try and have, if people are interested, the transcript translated so that people are in a position to read it, if that would be of use. We might talk to you afterwards and try and work out a solution to that. But thank you for raising that.

That brings our meeting to a close today. I am sorry that we have had to be quick at the end because we do need to get on this plane. I thank all of you for taking the time in your day to attend this hearing. I thank the secretariat staff and also the Hansard staff. The committee will take into consideration everything which has been discussed in today’s public hearing. As I mentioned earlier, the report of the hearing is due to be presented to the House of Representatives by September of this year. That will be public and will be able to be accessed through the committee’s website. Thank you again for attending today.

Resolved (on motion by Mrs Vale):

That the committee authorise the publication of the evidence given before it at public hearing today, including publication on the parliamentary electronic database of the proof transcript.

Committee adjourned at 5.12 pm