Backdown ‘huge win’ for residents

Perth Federal Labor candidate Alannah MacTiernan and Basendean Mayor John Gangell chat with residents Margaret Ashby and Judy Chester. Picture: Marcus Whisson d404227
Perth Federal Labor candidate Alannah MacTiernan and Basendean Mayor John Gangell chat with residents Margaret Ashby and Judy Chester. Picture: Marcus Whisson d404227

Cr Gangell lobbied the relevant State Government departmental officers after learning Pyrton was a potential location for the indigenous service last month.

This followed community uproar over the recent announcement to develop disability justice centres in the area.

After meeting with concerned residents and Perth Federal Labor candidate Alannah MacTiernan last Thursday, Cr Gangell said WA Drug and Alcohol Office executive director Neil Guard had emailed him that ‘given the number of alternative land options currently available and the fact that other land options are still being identified, I am advising you that the Department of Drug and Alcohol will not consider the Pyrton site for Aboriginal alcohol and other drug residential service.’

Cr Gangell said it was unfair to expect one district to be burdened with so many social issues considering Disability Minister Helen Morton just announced the two disability justice centres without any consultation.

‘There’s obviously a need and a requirement for these facilities but there should be much more suitable sites like former hospital sites,’ he said.

Ms MacTiernan agreed and suggested the former Sunset Hospital site in Dalkeith as an option.

‘It’s great news and I congratulate the community for standing up for itself,’ she said.

‘I still think the two centres are too much for the area and at the very most, there should be a very transparent process about how these centres are located.’

Mr Guard said the department had a number of other options and was looking forward to continuing working with Aboriginal people ‘to help bring the proposal to life and create a good place of healing that they can be proud of’.

He said several other site options across the southern regions of the State had been suggested.

‘We won’t be progressing any further in relation to the possible service locations until the Government has had an opportunity to indicate its support for the development of such a service,’ Mr Guard said.

‘We will be looking for a supportive and understanding community environment for the Aboriginal men, women and families who will be staying there, working hard to try and get their lives on track.’