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Welcome to Arnhem Land Mr Abbott and By the Way…
Welcome to Arnhem Land Mr Abbott and By the Way…

Warren Snowdon MP today welcomed Prime Minister Abbott to Arnhem  Land for his long awaited and promised visit to an Aboriginal community. The community of Yirrkala where Mr Abbott intends to spend the next few days is in Mr Snowdon’s Electorate of Lingiari.

‘The Prime Minister will have the opportunity to meet many Yolngu traditional owners of the area who will have very high expectations of his government.  He is sure to be presented with many important ideas of what assistance people believe they require from his government.’

“He should use the week to look, listen and learn and not go into the visit with a pile of ideological preconceptions” Mr Snowdon said.

‘Whilst there he could act quickly to remedy some of the mistakes he and his government have made, in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in his Government’s first year of office. .

  • For example he could start by apologising for the stupid and insulting comments his Parl Sec Alan Tudge made last week  ‘free houses in Indigenous communities have contributed to problems of welfare dependency.’ This dog whistling assertion is factually wrong as Aboriginal people are expected to pay rent just as any tenant in public housing anywhere in Australia does.

 Mr Abbott should then:

  • Reverse the cruel and confusing $534 million cuts to Indigenous programs announced in his recent Budget.
  • Explain how and when an implementation strategy for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Health Plan is to be developed.
  • Ensure that the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing funding left him by the previous Labor Government is not reduced and essential works in the pipeline now are not delayed as has been the case at Borroloola where the planned $21.6 million project due in 2015 has been reduced by a third and pushed out to 2018.
  • Re-establish funding to the 38 Children and & Family Centres to insure their continued operation.
  • Restore appropriate funding to Aboriginal Legal Services and visit the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency office in Nhulunbuy which is being forced to close due to his Budget’s vicious cuts.
  • Commit to working with the NT Government to provide renal services for Indigenous victims of kidney disease across the Territory including providing appropriate renal treatment and facilities for Yolngu in North East Arnhem Land.
  • Stop funding cuts to Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service, the only national frontline legal support service specifically catering for Indigenous women and children escaping family violence
  • Talk to the Laynhapuy Homelands Centre about resurrecting the Garthalala Boarding Hostel for Indigenous high school students, that his Minister Scullion pulled the pin on.
  • Talk to the teachers and parents of Yirrkala Community Education Centre and Laynahapuy Homelands Schools about their vision for the way forward for Indigenous education.
  • Visit the devastated Nhulunbuy businesses and community affected by Rio Tinto’s Gove plant closure and assist them to develop and implement a Regional Economic Development Plan for the N-E Arnhem region.

 Contact: Luke Gosling 0488 484 689


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