End the APY Lands Apartheid – Dignity for Disability launches Regional SA policy

Five major service changes in the APY Lands would significantly improve quality of life for Anangu people, said d4d Party Leader Kelly Vincent MLC while launching her party’s regional SA policy today.

The five changes are:

– A local renal dialysis program. “At the end of last year there were 21 patients in the APY Lands who required regular dialysis treatment to live,” said Ms Vincent. “They were flown to Alice Springs or Adelaide for their treatment, at great cost to the taxpayer and at great emotional cost to the patients who were denied the support of their family and community while undergoing dialysis. It is only sensible – economically and compassionately – to set up a dialysis unit in the APY Lands.”

– Disability service provision. “People with disabilities in the APY Lands are provided with inconsistent and inadequate services,” said Ms Vincent. “On a visit to the Lands last year I met a man who was dragging himself across the ground because his electric wheelchair was being repaired and the interim wheelchair he had been given was not appropriate to his needs. This kind of story is not uncommon in a place where disability service provision is luck-of-the-draw. Even the infrastructure, such as footpaths and roads, is not consistently appropriate for people with disabilities. Dignity for Disability wants to see a change through better investment in APY Lands disability services and calls for a transparent and regular report from the Government on progress in this area.”

– Stop passing the buck. “For several months the APY lands’ airstrips became political hot potatoes, with responsibility for their maintenance shifted between federal and state governments,” said Ms Vincent. “The result was neglect of the airstrip, which – in a community that relies on the Royal Flying Doctors and air transfer for emergency medical help – is a potentially deadly problem. All levels of Government should put the safety of the Anangu people first and stop passing the buck – whether it be an issue with airstrips, market gardens, power generation or anything else.”

– Culturally-appropriate services. “Government often provides services in the APY Lands and then is puzzled by limited uptake, without thinking if the service was culturally-appropriate to the community in question,” said Ms Vincent. “This needs to be addressed by developing service strategies in consultation with local communities. The APY Lands are a unique place with a unique culture and success can’t be had by marching in with exactly the same delivery as used in Unley.”

-Employing local people in local service provision. “One of the best ways to ensure culturally appropriate services are delivered is to employ local people in Government Departments operating within the APY Lands,” said Ms Vincent. “Creating targets to increase the employment of locals in the public sector, as well as following recommendations from the Closing the Gap Clearinghouse website’s Improving labour market outcomes through education and training paper will not only lead to better service delivery, but will address the issue of disproportionate Indigenous unemployment.”