Stop the Forced Closure of Aboriginal Communities: NT Joins the Second Call to Action

More than 90 communities across Australia and the world will stand up tomorrow May 1, to send a strong message to the State, Northern Territory and the Federal Government of Australia against the threatened forced closure of Aboriginal Communities and against the defunding of Aboriginal communities and organisations.

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Tomorrow there will be a March in Darwin city that will occur at the same time as large scale marches in every State and Territory across Australia and smaller gatherings in regional areas nationwide. There are also international actions in Canada, United States, New Zealand, Germany, United Kingdom and France, amongst others.

These peaceful actions make it clear that a growing consensus of everyday people support Aboriginal communities remaining in their homelands and in support of Aboriginal organisations providing services in partnership with Aboriginal communities.

These actions are supported by Unions in every case with Unions NT representing here in Darwin. Federally, political pressure has come not only from domestic condemnation by Labor and the Greens but also internationally from the Maori Party in New Zealand with a strongly worded letter addressed to the Prime Minister Tony Abbott on his recent visit to New Zealand.

The MUA has been front-and-centre in pulling the community together in the Northern Territory.

A forum of concerned community members and affected organisations was organised by Branch Secretary Thomas Mayor in March which led to the forming of a Community Solidarity Action Group, which is chaired by Mayor.

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"Tomorrow is shaping up to be a massive response to Governments who are cruel and ignorant towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The Darwin community will be turning out in force tomorrow and the Unions will be walking along side them," he said.

"This Government is a common enemy of the community and maritime workers. The indigenous community and the Australian community are better off without them and we will be demanding a change at the march."

There has been an outpouring of support via social media that has resulted in a reach of over 1.8 million people worldwide. This carries with it the message from Aboriginal people, that we do not accept WA Premier Barnett’s plan to shut off essential services to 150 remote Aboriginal communities and we do not support the role the Federal Government has in enabling this. Further we are sending a clear message to the NT Government and the Federal Government that we want homelands supported and that Aboriginal people living on country is not a ‘lifestyle choice’.

The Darwin march will gather at Raintree Park on Knuckey Street at 12 noon tomorrow moving down Knuckey Street, left into Mitchell Street and will continue to the steps of NT Parliament House, where there will be speeches.