Proposed Closures of Remote Australian Aboriginal Communities: Dispossession Without Free and Informed Consent and Legal Remedies for Appealing Government Budget Decisions
Australian Journal of Human Rights 22(1): 85-110 (2016)
18 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2016 Last revised: 31 May 2017
Date Written: August 19, 2016
The federal government announced the withdrawal of responsibility for funding for remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia. The Western Australian government then initially announced the closure of a number of remote communities. In this article, we first look at the history of Indigenous dispossession to appreciate the gravity of the possible effects of the proposed closures. Next, we examine the legality of the decision and inconsistency with human rights law. We show how affected Indigenous groups lack administrative law avenues to challenge government decisions. Therefore, we suggest that reform should be explored in the administrative judicial review space, which could work in favour of Aboriginal communities whose homelands are threatened by closure. However, this is by no means the only necessary step. Autonomy, recognition, self-determination and protection of Indigenous cultures and consultation need to be fostered and encouraged within government decision-making and public policy.
Keywords: Indigenous rights, Aboriginal rights, dispossession, community closures, human rights, appealing budget decisions
JEL Classification: K10, K19, K23, J19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation