The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said today that the Commonwealth Government is not cutting services but providing support for states to take up their responsibility for the provision of municipal and essential services to their Indigenous communities, something they do for every other town and city in their states.
“Do Mr Snowden and Mr Neumann believe that state governments should provide municipal and essential services to non-Indigenous residents while the Commonwealth should pick up the cost in remote Indigenous communities just because the residents are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander?,” the Minister said.
“The Commonwealth Government has been supporting these services in remote Indigenous communities for decades. The previous Labor Government also agreed it was not appropriate or sustainable for the Commonwealth to fund these services.
“The delivery of municipal and essential services, including the supply of power and water and the management of infrastructure is a state and local government responsibility.
“Mr Snowden and Mr Neumann claim that Labor was working to progress long term reform in this area but like most of Labor’s intentions in Indigenous Affairs, they were never able to deliver results.
“There is no link between the Western Australian Government agreeing to take on their responsibility for municipal and essential services in remote Indigenous communities, and their talk of closing remote communities.
“The Western Australian Government has been discussing the closure of remote Indigenous communities for a number of years, well before they agreed to take on their responsibility for municipal services in these communities.
“I will not accept lower standards for Indigenous people in remote Australia and I call on Labor’s representatives on Indigenous Affairs including Senator Peris, Mr Snowden and Mr Neumann to do the same.”
Download media release:
2014-11-13 Final Minister Scullion closure of WA communities.pdf