Aboriginal Lands Parliamentary Standing Committee

Legislative Council 
Wednesday 19 October 2016

 

committee report

ABORIGINAL LANDS PARLIAMENTARY STANDING COMMITTEE: REPORT 2015-16

 

Adjourned debate on motion of Hon. T.T. Ngo:

That the report of the committee, 2015-16, be noted.

(Continued from 28 September 2016.)

The Hon. T.J. STEPHENS (17:03 :15): I rise to support the motion of the Hon. T.T. Ngo, that the report of the Aboriginal Lands Parliamentary Standing Committee 2015-16 be noted. I would just like to say a few words. I thank the members who participated on that committee. We meet regularly and take quite a bit of evidence from people who are very keen to come and tell us their stories. We then pass that information on to the relevant minister, and often we get quite a bit of support. I would like to thank Jason Caire, our committee secretary, for his work and wish him well. I thank very much all those who have taken the time to come and appear before the committee. With those few words, I support the motion.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (17:04:18 ): I rise briefly, as a member of the committee, to echo the words of both the Hon. Tung Ngo and the Hon. Terry Stephens, who are on the committee, along with myself, in terms of the upper house contingent, and the member for Morphett, the member for Giles and the member for Napier in the other place.

I simply wanted to touch very briefly on a few of the matters that this committee has worked on. Certainly, the Stolen Generations Reparations Compensation Scheme would not have come to fruition, and would not be currently being implemented in this state, had this committee not taken on the bill that I moved in this place in 2010 that then saw an inquiry into the stolen generations compensation options. We then saw the Hon. Terry Stephens bring a bill back to this place after the 2014 election, and now we are seeing government movement. As we heard in evidence this morning from the former minister the Hon. John Hill, who was presiding over that scheme, it has been a tripartite effort.

I thank all those members of the community, particularly the Aboriginal community, who have contributed their time and effort into informing the committee of various issues. One issue I would like to note in particular is that of Purple House and their on-community work on dialysis, and again through good cross-party work, hard work, conversations and education, we are also seeing potential breakthroughs in on-community dialysis in Pukatja sometime in the future, and I certainly think that that is in no small way not unconnected to the work of the committee. I commend all members of the committee for their attention to that issue and I also note that we will, as a committee, be keeping SA Health on notice. We are currently expecting three-monthly reports from SA Health and we look forward eagerly to seeing that particular issue progress speedily.

The final matter I wish to note is that of the many visits that we undertook. The committee visited Yappala Station. Yappala Station is located adjacent to the community of Hawker in the Flinders Ranges in Adnyamathanha country, which, of course, would be known to members of this place most recently as next to Wallerberdina Station, which is being earmarked for the federal low-level nuclear waste dump site. It is certainly not to the liking of the Adnyamathanha traditional owner, Regina McKenzie, whom the committee met with in the course of the work on this report and I note her words:

Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners weren't consulted about the nomination. Even Traditional Owners who live next to the proposed dump site at Yappala Station weren't consulted. The proposed dump site is adjacent to the Yappala Indigenous Protected Area. On the land with the proposed dump site, we have been working for many years to register heritage sites with the SA government. The area is Adnyamathanha land. It is Arngurla Yarta (spiritual land). The proposed dump site has countless thousands of Aboriginal artefacts. Our ancestors are buried there. The nominated site is a significant women's site. Throughout the area are registered cultural heritage sites and places of huge importance to our people.

Certainly, a very different picture painted there than has been painted in the mainstream media and by the proponents who have called for that low-level dump to be placed there. I will not labour the point. I think that this is a committee that is quite functional. I note that the members of the committee have been constant for quite an extended period of time now.

Indeed, it is a very collegiate and competent and capable committee, where I think we all get in and work together to advance issues of Aboriginal affairs and to listen, as politicians should. The travelling and the work of the committee allows that listening to be done in a cross-party way. It is certainly something that I would like to see continue into the future, and in the current status of the committee I think we all look forward to that. With those few words, I commend the report.

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