What we can’t do is endlessly subsidise lifestyle choices if those
lifestyle choices are not conducive to the kind of full participation in
Australian society that everyone should have. . . . In order to get kids
to school and adults to work, you’ve got to have a school. If people
choose to live miles away from where there’s a school, if people choose
not to access the school of the air, if people choose to live where there’s
no jobs, obviously, it’s very, very difficult to close the gap.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott | on abc Radio, March 11, 2015
The targeting of so- called remote Aboriginal Australia is intensifying. In March
2015, the prime minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, announced his support for
the closure of approximately half of the 274 remote communities of the state of
Western Australia, effectively evicting Aboriginal people from unbroken his-
torical connection to traditional homelands where “they’ve lived for millen-
nia,” as the Labor Indigenous Affairs spokesman Shayne Neumann put it, in
response to the prime minister (Curtin and Norman 2015).
The premier of Western Australia, Colin Barnett, claims that the costs of pro-
viding services to remote communities are simply too high, following the with-
drawal of federal funding of services to rural and remote Australia and the turn-
ing of these costs and services over to state responsibility in 2014. (These same
basic municipal services are guaranteed to all Australians, rural and remote,
across the country, and include the provision of electricity, gas, water, health
care, and education.) Barnett’s defense of his decision to close remote Aborigi-
nal communities in Parliament in March 2015 did not center only on the high
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