Yamatji On-Country meeting at Bundiyarra Community Aboriginal Corporation calls to action priorities in region

Jessica MoroneyGeraldton Guardian
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Tony Buti and local MLA Lara Dalton at the Yamatji On-Country meeting.
Camera IconMinister for Aboriginal Affairs Tony Buti and local MLA Lara Dalton at the Yamatji On-Country meeting. Credit: Jessica Moroney/Geraldton Guardian

The region’s First Nations people were heard loud and clear at the Yamatji On-Country meeting, with community members given the opportunity to direct questions to the Aboriginal Affairs Minister.

People gathered at Bundiyarra Community Aboriginal Corporation on Wednesday and Thursday, to amplify the community’s needs and establish a call-to-action statement on behalf of all First Nations people.

Hosted by native title representative body Yamatji-Marlpa Corporation, First Nations community representatives, including young Indigenous leaders, presented the call-to-action statement on Thursday to community and government leaders.

The statement was established to raise awareness of the urgent action needed in the region and strengthen collaborative relationships across the community to change for the advancement of the people.

The key priorities in the region included racism, housing and accommodation, police and justice, education, employment, training and economic development and health and wellbeing.

Bundiyarra Language Centre co-ordinator Jenny Gregory-Kniveton said preserving language was a challenge, and a formal agreement was necessary to collaboratively preserve and protect language and culture across the board.

“We really do need a State agreement or some sort of policy developed around how language centres, the community and the schools can collaborate to pull it together,” she said.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Tony Buti said it was a welcome opportunity to be invited on-country and hear the issues affecting local First Nations people.

“It’s great to have that interaction with people and how their lives have been affected by different issues and how the Government can respond to that,” he said.

“The youth were amazing. I think the racism and home environment were particularly two incredibly powerful and moving (topics), and a reasonable analysis on their lives.”

Mr Buti said these events enforced change more than people gave credit for, and wanted to empower Aboriginal control organisations.

“These are the people that are living the life, and have been affected by whatever the issues, so they will often have the solutions,” he said.

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