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Australia gets ready to open up aboriginal lands

Australia gets ready to open up aboriginal lands

Australia's Aborigines are set to lose the legal right to stop people entering their outback lands, which cover an area almost the size of Mongolia, sparking protests their homes will become an "Aboriginal Disneyland."
Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough called yesterday for submissions on why a 30-year-old access permit system, which he said closed off black communities from the world, should remain.
"My concern is that the permit system has created closed communities which are restricting the ability of individuals to interact with the wider community and furthermore to participate in the real economy," said Brough.
Brough said that opening Aboriginal land to outsiders would improve scrutiny and could help lower high rates of violence and sexual abuse in black communities.
"The permit system has not acted to protect vulnerable citizens, including women and children, and in fact makes scrutiny over dysfunctional communities more difficult," he said.
Under the access permit system controlled by Aboriginal leaders anyone trespassing on their land faces prosecution.
Australia's 460,000 Aborigines, who account for around 2.3 percent of the 20 million population, own or control 20 percent of Australian land, or 1.53 million square kilometers.
Many live in remote outback communities with poor access to jobs, good housing, health services and education. Aborigines suffer high rates of domestic violence and alcohol abuse.
George Newhouse, a lawyer representing the Mutitjulu Aboriginal community next to tourist magnet Ayers Rock, or Uluru, said scrapping permits would turn Australia's last outposts of indigenous culture into an "Aboriginal Disneyland."


Updated : 2021-08-01 02:37 GMT+08:00