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The Reeves Report has almost no support in Aboriginal communities

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Media Release

Hon. Warren Snow don


AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY Member for the Northern Territory

6 May 1999

The Reeves Report has almost no support in Aboriginal communities Federal member Warren Snowdon said today the Parliamentary Committee inquiry into the Reeves Report on the Land Rights Act had found almost no support for the Report’s key recommendations in Aboriginal communities.

“This week the Committee lias visited Katherine, Ngukurr, Yirrkala - and tomorrow Groote Eylandt,” Mr Snowdon said.

“Some Aboriginal people have raised aspects of the Reeves Report at these meetings. Overall, however, Aboriginal people have overwhelmingly rejected the key recommendations o f the Report.

“Instead of producing an atmosphere around which people could discuss ways to improve the Land Rights Act and its workability, which most people recognise as being a worthwhile venture, the Reeves Report has only elicited condemnation from those it most affects.

“The opportunity for improvement lias been lost because the CLP instead has tried to pull a political stunt aimed at destroying the two major land councils.

“The CLP told Aboriginal people during the last Federal election campaign that if they voted for the CLP's candidate they would get their own land council under the Reeves model.

“Well, Aboriginal people resoundingly rejected the proposal then and are continuing to do so.

“Moreover, given the community consultations that took place before the Report was written, Aboriginal people are wondering how Mr Reeves came to the conclusions that he did.

The dollar cost o f this exercise is more than $1.3 millions out of ATSIC’s funding - a decision they had no say over.

“Overwhelmingly, Aboriginal people can clearly see the Reeves Report as a politically-motivated attack by the Federal and Northern Territory Governments on the two major land councils.

“In Yuendumu people spoke very strongly against the Report and copies of it were thrown on the fire.

“While some people are talking about greater regional powers within existing land councils this can be achieved through the present legislation.

“TheALP will not support any recommendations of the Report unless those recommendations have the full support of Aboriginal people.

“And so far it is clear that is not the case,” Mr Snowdon said.


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