The Australian Government is getting ready to displace Indigenous Australians living in over 150 remote communities in Western Australia, in a bid to save money. Rather than fixing existing social services, Indigenous Australians will be forced to move from their homes. This poorly conceived policy is nothing short of colonial violence, by dispossessing our traditional land owners from their homes.
The Government’s unwillingness to deliver basic services, such as health, shows their commitment to treating Indigenous Australians like second-class citizens. As I reported elsewhere, last year the Government did nothing for months as a remote Indigenous community lived without clean water. Here is another example of the Government’s tactics to strong arm Indigenous people.
Australian history has already shown that removing Indigenous people from their local communities has devastating health and socio-economic outcomes.
Speaking with Australia’s Indigenous broadcaster, NITV News, Professor Edward Wilkes and Professor Dennis Gray from the National Drug Research Institute speak to the impact this latest dispossession will have on Indigenous Australians. The researchers say that drug and alcohol problems are likely to increase if displaced people are moved to larger towns.
Professor Gray: “The amount of money that the government might save in the short-time is small compared to the economic costs of what they’re proposing.”
Professor Wilkes: “As we know with Aboriginal Australians, we are the political footbal sometimes when governments are up for elections.”