The Nationals WA have called on the State Housing Minister to resign after a stunning capitulation to Canberra left the future of remote indigenous communities in limbo.
Housing Minister Peter Tinley said today he had accepted the “least-worst” deal from the Commonwealth for future funding of remote community housing.
Mr Tinley’s admission comes despite the McGowan Government spending more than $250,000 of taxpayer’s money on a nationwide advertising campaign designed to force the Federal Government into paying WA more.
Aboriginal Affairs spokesperson Terry Redman said there was little clarity around the timeline of the new lump sum funding arrangement.
“What happens when that money runs out? The Federal Government has said here’s $121 million and don’t come back,” Mr Redman said.
“Mr Tinley is essentially playing roulette with people’s lives and praying Bill Shorten’s number comes up at the next Federal election so he can, hopefully, renegotiate this dud of a deal.
“Unfortunately for the 12,000 West Australians living in our 165 remote communities, Mr Tinley’s cross-your-fingers approach will provide no certainty as to whether those people can continue living on their ancestral lands in the years and decades to come.
“The Minister should have stayed at the negotiating table and fought for WA.”
Mr Redman said the McGowan Government’s “Don’t Walk Away” advertising campaign had been a catastrophic failure.
“After spending a quarter of a million dollars of taxpayer money on a politically-motivated advertising campaign West Australians rightfully expect better than the ‘least-worst’ deal,” Mr Redman said.
“The Minister – and by extension the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and the Premier, who backed the “Don’t Walk Away” campaign – have stuffed up monumentally.
“They banked on ‘shaming’ the Commonwealth Government into more money but the Federal Minister called their bluff. Now remote communities face the prospect of $121 million of Commonwealth funding for what could be five or 10 years – leaving a major hole in the State Budget.
“The Northern Territory recently inked a deal for $550 million over five years because they were prepared to work constructively with the Commonwealth.
“Minister Tinley, on the other hand, decided to vilify the Federal Government in national media outlets.
“The result is a dud deal for indigenous West Australians living remotely and a dud deal for the taxpayer.
“Minister Tinley should do the right thing and offer his resignation.”