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Why Carpenter sat on Sanderson report.

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Senator the Hon David Johnston Shadow Minister for Resources and Energy, Tourism Senator for Western Australia Media Release

183 Great Eastern Highway Parliament House Canberra


Phone: (08) 9478 2088 Phone: (02) 6277 3222


Premier Alan Carpenter’s move to snub his own adviser on indigenous affairs is seen as arrogant in WA’s north west because Lt Gen John Sanderson was seen as someone who really understood the needs of indigenous West Australians.

Senator David Johnston, who this week chaired a senate inquiry into regional and remote indigenous communities at Balgo in WA’s north, said the disappointment in Mr Carpenter’s move was palpable.

“Lt Gen Sanderson was seen as a man who asked the right questions and had a real grasp on what the problems were and what the solutions were,” Senator Johnston said.

“Mr Carpenter, with his head in the sand, just didn’t want to hear it.”

Senator Johnston, who along with the committee met with indigenous leaders, health workers and police in the communities of Fitzroy Crossing, Balgo and Derby, said some of the statistics were damming.

In Balgo, 100km west of the northern territory border, 400 people live in 30 houses, there are 2 police for 300 annual arrests, and no mortuary facilities for safe and hygienic storage when someone passed away.

“Indigenous people are disappointed that the Premier shelved Lt Gen Sanderson’s report simply because he did not like what it said,” Senator Johnston said.

“Labor has simply lost interest in remote communities and I have to wonder what the local State Labor member has been doing in the past four years given these massive problems indigenous communities face.”

“It displays a very presumptuous form of arrogance in the Premier that West Australians are beginning to wise up to - Mr Carpenter himself admits it is a character flaw.” 22/08/2008

Media Contact: Rebecca Horton 0427 449 120