Resistance To Closure Of Remote Aboriginal Communities Continues With Protests Around The Country

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Thousands of Australians are expected to turn up at protests around the country, for the second day of action against the WA Government’s controversial proposal to close down up to 150 remote Aboriginal communities.

The protests are being held in all major capital cities, from Hobart to Darwin, and in a number of regional cities including Albury, Rockhampton, Broome, Moree, Newcastle, Cairns, Geraldton and a number of others.

Late last year, WA Premier Colin Barnett announced his plans to close up to 150 of the state’s 274 remote Aboriginal communities after the federal government signed an agreement with his government handing over responsibility for municipal and essential services.

The plans attracted widespread condemnation following Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s comments that the taxpayer shouldn’t be expected to fund the “lifestyle choices” of Aboriginal people who live on their homelands.

Premier Barnett later claimed that a review into the state’s remote communities was expected to uncover instances of domestic violence and child abuse.

An ABC report earlier this year revealed that the WA government had undertaken research in 2010 which listed up to 190 remote communities as unsustainable.

Today’s protests follow protests across the country in March, which attracted thousands of people voicing their opposition to the plans. It follows protests in Sydney and Melbourne in April, which attracted about 13,000 people and brought the cities to a standstill.

Image: Amy Thomas.

In Melbourne, the media labelled the protestors a “selfish rabble” and provided no context or coverage of the reasons why they were protesting.

But where mainstream media fails them, the protests have been well-covered by social media, and are being run in conjunction with a virtual protest, which encourages people to join in the action by changing their profile pictures and writing support under the hashtag #SOSBlakAustralia.

The virtual campaign has attracted supporters like actor Hugh Jackman, singer Michael Davis, activist Angela Davis, academic Dr Cornel West as well as sports stars from the AFL, NRL and the English Super League.

You can join the May 1 action on social media, or by attending the protests listed below:

Australian Capital Territory
Canberra
When: Friday 1 May, 11 am
Where: Garema Place, Civic Centre, Canberra, 2601

New South Wales
Albury
When: Friday 1 May, 9:30 am
Where: Botanical Gardens, Smollet Street and Wodonga Place, 2640

Armidale
When: Friday 1 May, 10:30 am
Where: Central Park, Armidale, 2350

Brewarrina
When: Friday 1 May, 10 am
Where: Memorial Park, Bathurst Street

Coffs Harbour
When: Friday 1 May, 10 am
Where: Fitzroy Oval, Coffs Harbour, 2450

Forster
When: Friday 1 May, 1 am
Where: John Holland Park, Forster, 2428

Gosford
When: Friday 1 May, 10 am
Where: 6 Sydney Avenue, Umina Beach, Gosford, 2257

Grafton
When: Friday 1 May, 10:30 am
Where: Market Square, Prince St

Kempsey
When: Friday 1 May, 2 pm
Where: Kempsey Pools, 71 Belgrave Street

Moree
When: Friday 1 May, 12 pm
Where: Moree Town Hall, Balo Street, Moree, 2400

Moruya
When: Friday 1 May, 12:30 pm
Where: River Park, Moruya, 2537

Muswellbrook
When: Friday 1 May, 9 am
Where: Simpson Park, Market Street, Muswellbrook, 2333

Nambucca Heads
When: Friday 1 May, 10 am
Where: Muurbray Language Centre, Nambucca Heads, 2448 (transport from Bowraville and Macksville provided)

Newcastle
When: Friday 1 May, 10:30 am
Where: Civic Park, Newcastle, 2300

Orange
When: Friday 1 May, 4 am
Where: Robbo Park, Mitchell Highway, Orange, 2800

Sydney
When: Friday 1 May, 4 pm
Where: Belmore Park (Near Central Station), Hay Street, Sydney, 2000

Woolongong/Illawarra
When: Friday 1 May, 11:30 am
Where: McCabe Park, Woolongong, 2500

Queensland

Brisbane
When: Friday 1 May, 5 pm
Where: King George Square, Brisbane, 4000

Cairns
When: Friday 1 May, 1 pm
Where: Fogarty Park, Cairns Esplanade, Cairns, 4870

Gladstone
When: Friday 1 May, 9 am
Where: Anzac Park, Gladstone, 4680

Rockhampton
When: Friday 1 May, 9 am
Where: Rockhampton City Hall, 4700

Stradbroke Island
When: Friday 1 May, 1 pm
Where: Dunwich Park, North Stradbroke Island, 4183

Toowoomba
When: Friday 1 May, 5 pm
Where: Village Green on Ruthven

Townsville
When: Friday 1 May, 8:15 am
Where: Centrals Football Grounds, Anne Street, Townsville, 4810

Tweed Heads
When: Friday 1 May, 4 pm
Where: Tweed Civic Centre

Yarrabah
When: Friday 1 May, 10 am
Where: Yarrabah Works Department, 4871

Northern Territory
Alice Springs
When: Friday 1 May, 12 pm
Where: Town Council Lawns, Alice Springs, 0870

Darwin
When: Friday 1 May, 12 pm
Where: Raintree Park, Knuckey Street, Darwin, 0800

South Australia

Adelaide
When: Friday 1 May, 12 pm
Where: Tarntanyangga/Victoria Square, Adelaide, 5000

Port Lincoln
When: Friday 1 May, 10 am
Where: Port Lincoln Yacht Club, Eyre Street, Lincoln, 5607

Tasmania

Hobart
When: Friday 1 May, 1 pm
Where: Parliament House, Salamanca Place, Hobart

Western Australia

Beagle Bay
When: Friday 1 May, 10 am
Where: Old Admin Building KRCI Office, Beagle Bay, 6725

Broome
When: Friday 1 May, 4 pm
Where: Broome Shire Office, 6725
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Esperance
When: Friday 1 May, 10 am
Where: Tanker Jetty, Esperance, 6450

Fitzroy Crossing
When: Friday 1 May, 2 pm
Where: Great Northern Highway, Fitzroy Crossing (out front of Marra Worra Worra)

Geraldton
When: Friday 1 May, 10 am
Where: Edith Cowan Square, Geraldton, 6530

Halls Creek
When: Friday 1 May, 10:45 am
Where: Corner of Duncan Highway and Great Northern Highway, 6770

Kalgoorlie
When: Friday 1 May, 10 am
Where: At the top of Hannam Street (near Trilby Cooper Hostel), Kalgoorlie, 6430

Kununurra
When: Friday 1 May, 10 am
Where: White Gum Park, Kununurra, 6743

Newman
When: Friday 1 May, 10 am
Where: ANZ Park, Newman, 6753

One Arm Point
When: Friday 1 May, 10 am
Where: Community Admin Office, One Arm Point, 6725

Perth
When: Friday 1 May, 11 am
Where: Forrest Chase, Perth, 6007

Port Hedland
When: Friday 1 May, 1 pm
Where: Front of South Hedland Courthouse, 6722

Roeburn
When: Friday 1 May, 10 am
Where: Roeburn School Oval, 6718

Victoria

Bendigo
When: Friday 1 May, time TBC
Where: TBC

Melbourne
When: Friday 1 May, 4 pm
Where: Melbourne Town Hall Stairs, 3000

Mildura
When: Friday 1 May, 10 am
Where: The Water Tower, Corner of 10th and Orange Avenue, Mildura, 3500

Portland
When: Friday 1 May, 12:30 pm
Where: Market Square, Portland 3305

Warrnambool
When: Friday 1 May, 9:30 am
Where: Civic Green, Warrnambool, 3280

Amy McQuire

A Darumbul woman from central Queensland, Amy McQuire is the former editor of the National Indigenous Times and Tracker magazine.

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