22 February, 2016
PM visits La Perouse Land Council
When Malcolm Turnbull made his first visit to an Aboriginal community as Prime Minister last month, he chose to visit La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council.
It was a break from recent tradition, with the Prime Minister visiting an urban rather than remote location.
La Perouse Land Council CEO, Chris Ingrey jumped at the chance to organise the visit because it was an opportunity to promote the hard work the Land Council and community had achieved over the past few years.
“We told Mr Turnbull the story of our community and the connections our families have to Sydney and Botany Bay that dates back to pre-Invasion days and the issues we face in an urban setting today,” Mr Ingrey said.
“We briefed the PM on our vision for the community and our 20-year plan for La Pa including extending our early childhood education program, supporting students and families through their schooling lives, and restoring the Mission Church and adjoining building for our Elders and community to use.”
Mr Ingrey said the Prime Minister engaged in the discussions about housing, economic empowerment and self-determination with members of the La Perouse Aboriginal Alliance, a peak body representing local community controlled organisations.
NSWALC Chair Roy Ah-See said the PM’s visit to a Local Aboriginal Land Council was a coup for Land Rights in New South Wales.
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott famously visited remote Aboriginal communities, despite the fact that the majority of Aboriginal people live in urban areas of New South Wales – a point acknowledged by Malcolm Turnbull.
“I think Tony Abbott should have taken a leaf out of Malcolm Turnbull’s book in the way he dealt with Aboriginal Affairs. We’re pleased that the Prime Minister is heading in a positive direction by engaging with the Land Rights network in New South Wales.”
Cr Ah-See said engaging with government at all levels was critical to the future of Land Rights.
“Legislation and policy will have an impact on our communities, both positive and negative. So it’s our responsibility to make sure those policies work for our network.
“By having an inclusive approach where LALCs and NSWALC are at the table, we can have input to decisions on policy and legislation,” he said.
Mr Turnbull later drew on his visit during his Close the Gap parliamentary speech where he praised the La Perouse community’s optimism, resilience and determination to succeed.