More than 60 Indigenous leaders from Queensland’s 17 First Nations councils have gathered in Cairns this week to discuss common issues affecting their communities, such as housing and inadequate service delivery.
The Indigenous Leaders Forum (ILF) heard from speakers including Minister for Housing, Minister for Digital Economy and Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch and Assistant Local Government Minister Nikki Boyd, as well as key departmental decision-makers, over the two-day forum.
The ILF offered its collective support to Mornington Shire Council Mayor Kyle Yanner’s urgent plea for an independent audit to be held into the services being delivered to his community, with the current situation on Mornington Island reaching crisis point.
ILF Co-Chair, Hope Vale Mayor Jason Woibo, said the unacceptable conditions Mayor Yanner and his community are experiencing demonstrated just how crucial it was for the services being delivered to First Nations communities to be improved.
“Mayor Yanner is not alone in this. The ILF is united on the need for change. The health and welfare of our people depends on it,” Mayor Woibo said.
ILF Co-Chair, Lockhart River Mayor Wayne Butcher, said the adequacy of service delivery to First Nations communities was of critical concern.
“Continuous challenges with service delivery have been a focus of this week’s ILF with all First Nations communities sharing similar concerns.
“We need confidence the services being delivered in our communities are making a difference on the ground.
“If this issue is not addressed our communities will continue to fall further behind.”
Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) CEO Greg Hallam called on the State Government to support Mayor Yanner’s request for an independent audit of service delivery to his community.
“An independent audit of service delivery to this remote Queensland community would ensure their pleas for help are not only heard but acted on.”
Shire of Broome, Western Australia, hosted a roundtable meeting with relevant stakeholders last week to address the current shortage of housing locally.
Broome currently has a shortage of rental properties, with concerns over accommodation ahead of the impending tourist season as an influx of people prepare to travel to the town.
Attendees at the meeting on 13 April included representatives from Development WA, the Kimberley Development Commission, Nyamba Buru Yawuru, Department of Communities, Foundation Housing, and the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage.
Six Shire councillors also attended to represent the Broome community.
Deputy Shire president, Desiree Male said the meeting was productive, with some innovative ideas put forward that would now be examined in more detail.
“As a local government, the Shire has a limited role to play in relation to housing, but we want to get on the front foot and be part of the solution to what is a very concerning situation.
“By getting the key stakeholders to the table, the Shire is encouraging the identification of solutions and there has been a commitment from the working group to meet regularly moving forward.
“Broome is experiencing something of a perfect storm at the moment in relation to housing – but we certainly are not alone in that. Most communities across WA and indeed Australia face the same problem.
“However, working in collaboration with the housing agencies both locally and at State level, the Shire is confident of playing a role in finding solutions before the influx of tourists and seasonal workers in coming months.”
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