Apy lands visit

ABORIGINAL LANDS PARLIAMENTARY STANDING COMMITTEE: APY LANDS VISIT

Mr DULUK (Waite) (11:25): I will not take up too much of the house's time, but I echo many of the words the member for Narungga has put on the record as well, of course, as the member for Giles. It was my first time up in the APY lands and it is a most magnificent and beautiful part of South Australia. The vastness is incredible and, obviously, the cultural history of thousands of years is magnificent.

The way they play footy up there is very different, and I note the Premier was up there recently as well having a look around and was at one of the footy games. I think it was when we were in Amata, if I am correct, that we had a look at the footy oval—absolutely pure red dirt with a white line and people out there having a kick and catch. It was a long way away from Bob Neil No. 1, which is, of course, University Oval No. 1, in terms of a footy oval, but it is a truly remarkable part of South Australia with fantastic people. Everyone we met on the trip was extremely hospitable, and they opened up and were very welcoming of the committee—of course, a bipartisan committee—which was fantastic.

As the members for Giles and Narungga both highlighted in their contributions, it is a part of South Australia that is not without many, many challenges. Employment is certainly a huge issue, as is the tyranny of distance in terms of employment. Places like the trade centre, with the work they do there, are a fantastic investment by government in terms of assisting people with employment. However, employment, health and education are the three biggest issues up there.

When we were in Mimili, we looked at the school community there and some of the teaching methodology on the lands, accounting for the vastness and the cultural and linguistic differences, which are real challenges up there. As both my colleagues have commented, there is an issue of continuity of people working in the health profession and people working in the education sector on the lands and as a government and a service provider of education we are, as we should be, ensuring that continuity of teaching and that relationship building over a period of time with people on the lands.

From a bureaucracy point of view, the more we can do, especially in the education space, is fundamentally and critically important in ensuring we can lift completion rates of students on the land. There is also the ability to share the importance of education, and it is interesting to see what Noel Pearson is doing in his Cape York Institute. It is very much a change in teaching methodology in Cape York, really going back to the basics of the 3Rs that is central to the Cape York Institute's thinking on education at the moment. We are seeing success in completion rates by students in Cape York in Far North Queensland, and I would be very keen to see if there are any similarities that can be drawn out for the APY lands and, indeed, for all remote schools across South Australia more broadly.

Another big concern on the APY lands is health. Access to health care is important, obviously in dealing with some long-term trauma historically around substance abuse and sexual abuse, which are still concerns to many right across South Australia, but in particular on the lands. That was certainly mentioned by many people to us, especially by some traditional owners, traditional elders and many of the women we spoke to as well. It is very much an important issue and it is one we have to deal with as a society because, as always, looking after those who are vulnerable is paramount to all.

Some of the other great highlights on the trip were, as the member for Giles reflected on, looking at the art centres and the fantastic export of art from the APY lands, not only into Australia—and there is an APY gallery on Light Square—but internationally as well by those world renowned artists. It was a fantastic trip to the APY lands. I encourage all members of the house, if they have a chance, to go up there to learn about the culture and that beautiful part of South Australia, but also so that we can educate ourselves about the many challenges that are faced up there and how together as a parliament and a government we can address many of the challenges that are before us.

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