17.07.18 2018 YULE RIVER BUSH MEETING

2018 YULE RIVER BUSH MEETING

Federal Labor Senators Patrick Dodson, and Sue Lines were honoured to attend the 5th Annual On-Country Bush Meeting at Yule River alongside traditional owners from across WA and WA Labor Ministers Ben Wyatt (Aboriginal Affairs) and Alannah MacTiernan (Regional Development), and Member for Pilbara Kevin Michel.

In total, over 300 people attended this year’s meeting to discuss critical issues in their communities - in the spirit of negotiation, accountability and community-led solutions.

At the 2018 Yule River meeting, discussions centred around:

  • Remote Housing
  • The importance and continuation of funding for language centres
  • The Aboriginal Heritage Act
  • Constitutional Recognition and Treaty

The meeting also gained the support for the continuation of the Pilbara Aboriginal Voice (PAV), an important independent representative group formed at last year’s meeting to give advice to Governments on behalf of Pilbara Aboriginal people.

REMOTE HOUSING 

Labor remains concerned over the Federal Government’s intention to walk away from 165 remote communities in Western Australia.

This year’s Budget confirmed there would be no additional funding for WA in the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing, despite the Government’s own independent Remote Housing review identifying around 1300 new homes will be needed in WA over the next 10 years to address overcrowding in WA.

The Minister’s offer to provide $60 million over three years is inadequate. That is $80 million less per year than WA received under the National Partnership Agreement and will leave an approximate $400 million dollar gap in the State’s finances over the forward estimates.

If the Turnbull Government is committed to Closing the Gap, they should commit to closing the gap in housing first. Overcrowding is a root cause of disadvantage - safe and secure housing underpins every Closing the Gap target.

PRESERVATION OF FIRST NATIONS LANGUAGES

Federal Labor understands the importance of First Nations languages as central to First Nations identity, their ongoing relationship to land and the passing on of knowledge. Language centres and programs which work to maintain and promote First Nations languages and culture are central to the fabric of a rich Australia. They are a national treasure and it is a national responsibility to ensure their preservation. Labor supports the motion passed at Yule River on the importance of funding for language centres.

REFORMING THE ABORIGINAL HERITAGE ACT

Reforming the Aboriginal Heritage Act to strengthen First Nations rights to manage their cultural heritage is a critical matter. The current legislation does not meet the needs of First Nations people today, nor does it meet the needs of Government or industry. Most importantly, it does not adequately protect First Nations unique heritage.  Federal Labor supports the WA Government in working in consultation with First Nations people and organisations though a public consultation process that will ultimately lead to the introduction of a new Aboriginal heritage legislation into the Western Australian Parliament.

FIRST NATIONS VOICE

Labor welcomes the support gained from the Federal and State representatives for the continuation of the Pilbara Aboriginal Voice (PAV). The PAV is an important independent representative group formed at last year’s meeting to give advice to governments on behalf of Pilbara Aboriginal people.

CONSTITUTIONAL RECOGNITION AND TREATY

Federal Labor is committed to giving First Nations people a Voice at a local, regional and national level, including through a Voice to Federal Parliament.

As Co-Chair of the Joint Select Committee into Constitutional Recognition Relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, which will table it’s interim report next week, Senator Dodson welcomed the grassroots wisdom and commitment to pursuing justice for First Nations people though Constitutional Recognition, Agreement-making and a treaty.

QUOTES ATTRIBUTABLE TO SENATOR PATRICK DODSON:

“The Annual Yule River meeting, held in the riverbed, on the lands of the people, is a fantastic tradition. I recall the old days when the senior leaders would line up all the public servants and quiz them about where the money was being spent, and asking them to justify how they were delivering benefits back to the communities. It was fantastic to see the tradition maintained in the spirit of holding people to account. This will only be strengthened by the resolution passed this year to set up the Pilbara Aboriginal Voice.”

QUOTES ATTRIBUTABLE TO SENATOR SUE LINES:

“What I’ve really been pleased to see is this year’s NAIDOC theme is “Because of her, we can,” and what is striking about the Yule River meeting is the strong women. Not just elders Doris Eaton and Linda Geddes, but the women who stood up and asked us the hard questions. So it’s really encouraging for me to see so many First Nations women taking that leadership role and I think that Yule River and that PAV are models that other communities can look at, particularly in relation to the strong women that we’ve seen are very much part and parcel of this region.” 

MONDAY, 17 JULY 2018

Stay up to date by subscribing to my newsletter.