The Moreland council in Melbourne became the first council in Australia to pass a motion last month condemning plans for forced closures of Aboriginal communities, and to send a letter of solidarity to those communities. The motion was moved by me as a Socialist Alliance councillor on Moreland council. The motion passed unanimously, with even the Liberal party councillor voting for it. On April 28, a second Melbourne council, the Moonee Valley council, passed the same motion. The motion was moved by Jim Cusack, a Labor councillor.
Aboriginal community closures
When thousands of people hit Melbourne's streets on May 1 to protest planned closures of Aboriginal communities, the Herald Sun followed up its front page denunciation of a similar April 9 protest as a “selfish rabble” with a special double page-spread under the headline: “Still Selfish. Still A Rabble.”
Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett government is slowly backing away from his controversial announcement that up to 150 remote Aboriginal communities are facing closure. In what he described as “a more nuanced approach”, Barnett is now proposing a “hub and orbit” strategy that will leave some communities bigger and better resourced, others reduced in services and the smallest ones abandoned.
Moreland city council in Melbourne unanimously passed a motion opposing the closure of remote Aboriginal communities by the Western Australian government. The council will write to federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion, WA Premier Colin Barnett and local federal ministers and Victorian senators in protest. It will also send a letter of solidarity to the Aboriginal communities under threat of forced closure.