Press Release re Minister Weatherill Print
Tuesday, 30 June 2009 00:00
Minister Weatherill’s most recent allegations on ABC talkback radio on 26 June 2009 that APY is obstructing a court in Umuwa is untrue.

Mr Weatherill has not complied with the Development Act by lodging a development application which sets out the proposed use of the building for which development approval is sought.

At our February 2009 Executive meeting the Executive was advised that DTEI is currently developing the design plans for the complex and AARD is consulting with the APY Planning Officer in respect to the best location for the administration complex.

At our March 2009 Executive meeting, the State Government advised that it was conducting a review of the purpose for the proposed state administration centre at Umuwa with the result that the real purpose of this proposed structure is unknown.

Mr Weatherill well knows that APY’s Planning Officer left us in early April and that we will not have a replacement in place until mid July. The Minister also knows that we are taking substantial and innovative steps to strengthen our planning and development capacity across the APY Lands, which has a land area bigger than Tasmania.

The matter was discussed at our Special General Meeting of 17 and 18 June. People were concerned about what the proposed building would really be used for. Nobody moved a resolution in support of the Building. They wanted more time to think and talk about it because of the lease request.

There is no reason why this proposed building could not have been put forward in October last year. Then, in addition to new housing and police stations, APY resolved to lease many assets not asked for. These included numerous CHIP houses and contractors’ accommodation and service yards.

Between February and June 2009, APY has been fully engaged in important negotiations for petroleum exploration which has the potential to materially affect the economy of this country and change the tax base of this State. The Minister knows this as well.

There is no recommendation of the Mullighan Commission report that a Court be constructed at Umuwa. APY invited the Mullighan Commission onto the lands and is very grateful to Justice Mullighan’s work. Although his report did not identify and specific facts or instances of abuse, APY is in the process of amending its Code of Conduct and Constitution to include a rigorous child protection protocol which will apply to all Anangu. Additionally, we are putting in place an elders’ leadership tribunal to work with Police, Courts and communities to deal with instances of un-Aboriginal and un-Australian behaviour.

APY told the Government at the end of last year it wanted meetings to explain the Mullighan Commission report to our members and offered to organise them. The State said it would organise the meetings but has not done so. We are still waiting. We love our children very much and ask that Minister Weatherill stop bringing up the Commission of Inquiry to distract attention from his failings in implementing its recommendations.

For further details, please contact Ken Newman, General Manager on 08 8954 8132.

Bernard Singer, Chairperson