The Australian Federal Government is considering cutting off the supplies of water and power of up to 200 indigenous communities, claiming they cannot afford these basic human rights for their indigenous peoples. In 2014, the government announced that they may cease paying for the utilities, making the individual states responsible for supplying their communities with their basic needs. However, the Western Australia government has already stated that they cannot afford to cover these costs, one of the states where many Aboriginal communities live, as well as the Northern Territory.
Rodney Dillon gave the following statement: "It would be a complete culture shock, a complete mental shock," Dillon said. "This is their homeland. It's where they belong it's where they are proud. They are the keepers of the land. Some might stay and die on the land. The older individuals won't manage it — it might kill them."
If these reasons weren't enough, and audit in 2007 revealed that only 7 per cent of communities in these areas met the requirements for basic infrastructure and service standards. What would this statistic change to if power and water supplies were annulled?
Though ideas have been submitted regarding the funding for these communities, they have all amounted to very little:
- The $1 billion "Royalties for Regions" fund was declined by Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett, who stated that they had not yet reached a solution.
- Peter Collier, Western Australia's Aboriginal Affairs Minister, stated that consultation in general would continue in hopes of finding a better solution. Rodney Dillon, however, has said that no consultation has taken place.
Dillon also stated, "They would be moved to very poor conditions. They're frightened and scared and they speak a different language. Now they're all possibly going to be moved into slums and shanty towns in the city."
No solution has yet been made regarding the wellbeing of these Aboriginal communities, but telling the Prime Minister that it is completely unjust to cut of indigenous peoples' water and power supplies when there are surely other, more humane and decent solutions, should prevent this travesty from occurring.