Small groups of families branching off from larger communities, seeking and eventually establishing their own communities on their own land has enabled Aboriginal people to maintain connection with their traditional, ancestral land.
Throughout the Outstation Movement, Marra Worra Worra’s strength has been its ability to provide for these small groups; from the first steps towards a land claim, through to providing ongoing services to established communities.
Marra Worra Worra has also provided a voice and an avenue to government for these groups, who might otherwise have been ignored. Through its representative Board of Directors Marra Worra Worra provides a regional perspective and a mechanism for mutual support between the communities.
In September 2014, the WA Premier announced that up to 150 Western Australian Aboriginal communities may be closed. This is a result of responsibility for essential and municipal services being transferred from the Federal Government to the WA Government.
In response to community pressure, the Western Australian Government established a consultation process for the reform of regional services; the Regional Services Reform Unit (RSRU). Providing guidance to the RSRU are the Strategic Regional Advisory Councils of the Kimberley and Pilbara.
Each council includes four regional Aboriginal leaders, working with four heads of relevant State Government agencies, a senior representative from the Federal Government, and a representative from the community services sector.
Some communities have already seen changes to their funding, where the Western Australian Government has not met previous funding commitments.
At Marra Worra Worra we are doing our best to help communities become self-sustaining. We are developing plans around solar energy and food production and working to strengthen local enterprises that connect communities with country (like tourism and ranger programs).
We are also working with government to hopefully see changes to the CDP program to bring it back to a more supported version of CDEP to allow for communities to become more independent and self-sustaining in the future.
Since March 2015, a number of concerned community organisations, including Marra Worra Worra, have been working together to campaign for the proper provision of services to remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia, and to oppose the forced closure of communities. These organisations include:
• Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia
• Human Rights Law Centre
• Kimberley Community Legal Service
• Marra Worra Worra
• National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples`
• Oxfam Australia
• SOS Blak Australia
• Uniting Church in Australia Assembly
• Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress
• Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of Western Australia
• Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (WA)
If you would like to keep informed of our progress, we will be providing updates on the Marra Worra Worra Facebook Page.