Let’s move on – together

Let’s move on – together

From 1927 to 1954, indigenous people were not allowed in the city without an exemption.

The boundaries were set at the river, Russell Square to the west, Newcastle Street to the north and Wellington Square to the east.

Today, the boundaries continue to be significant.

Wellington Square and Russell Square are often cited in police incidents, with Aboriginal people sometimes failing to observe move-on notices issued by police, leading to them slipping into the dangerous circle of the criminal justice system.

More than 60 per cent of all prohibitive behaviour orders issued last year were to prevent Aboriginal people coming into Perth.

WA Premier Colin Barnett recently announced, to much acclaim, that Perth City Link would be named Yagan Square after the prominent Noongar leader.

A century after Yagan was killed by a settler on the banks of the Swan River in 1833, his people were not even allowed near Roe Street or the city banks of the river without a permit.

And almost two centuries later, it seems people are happy to gather in areas named after Noongar legends but still have policies in place to block Aboriginal people out of the city.

There is definitely a need to address the issues and help the people gathering in these areas.

But this discussion cannot be focused just on removing people from Perth and inner-city services.

It needs to be bigger than that and go to the core of how we support all people living on the fringes.

Hopefully it can be addressed and, in time, the boundaries lose their negative connotations.