Proposed Closures of Remote Australian Aboriginal Communities

Patricia EASTEAL

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

The federal government announced the withdrawal of responsibility for funding for remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia. The Western Australian government then initially announced the closure of a number of remote communities. In this article, we first look at the history of Indigenous dispossession to appreciate the gravity of the possible effects of the proposed closures. Next, we examine the legality of the decision and inconsistency with human rights law. We show how affected Indigenous groups lack administrative law avenues to challenge government decisions. Therefore, we suggest that reform should be explored in the administrative judicial review space, which could work in favour of Aboriginal communities whose homelands are threatened by closure. However, this is by no means the only necessary step. Autonomy, recognition, self-determination and protection of Indigenous cultures and consultation need to be fostered and encouraged within government decision-making and public policy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-110
Number of pages26
JournalAustralian Journal of Human Rights
Volume22
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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community
civil defense
administrative law
legality
self-determination
Homelands
withdrawal
Federal Government
human rights
public policy
autonomy
funding
decision making
reform
responsibility
Law
lack
history
Group

Cite this

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title = "Proposed Closures of Remote Australian Aboriginal Communities",
abstract = "The federal government announced the withdrawal of responsibility for funding for remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia. The Western Australian government then initially announced the closure of a number of remote communities. In this article, we first look at the history of Indigenous dispossession to appreciate the gravity of the possible effects of the proposed closures. Next, we examine the legality of the decision and inconsistency with human rights law. We show how affected Indigenous groups lack administrative law avenues to challenge government decisions. Therefore, we suggest that reform should be explored in the administrative judicial review space, which could work in favour of Aboriginal communities whose homelands are threatened by closure. However, this is by no means the only necessary step. Autonomy, recognition, self-determination and protection of Indigenous cultures and consultation need to be fostered and encouraged within government decision-making and public policy.",
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Proposed Closures of Remote Australian Aboriginal Communities. / EASTEAL, Patricia.

In: Australian Journal of Human Rights, Vol. 22, No. 1, 2016, p. 85-110.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - EASTEAL, Patricia

PY - 2016

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AB - The federal government announced the withdrawal of responsibility for funding for remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia. The Western Australian government then initially announced the closure of a number of remote communities. In this article, we first look at the history of Indigenous dispossession to appreciate the gravity of the possible effects of the proposed closures. Next, we examine the legality of the decision and inconsistency with human rights law. We show how affected Indigenous groups lack administrative law avenues to challenge government decisions. Therefore, we suggest that reform should be explored in the administrative judicial review space, which could work in favour of Aboriginal communities whose homelands are threatened by closure. However, this is by no means the only necessary step. Autonomy, recognition, self-determination and protection of Indigenous cultures and consultation need to be fostered and encouraged within government decision-making and public policy.

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