Push to create out-of-town rest stops

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph

Aboriginal elders and the Port Hedland Ratepayers Association have asked for the resurrection of transient rest stops for incoming community members.

In a presentation of a memorandum to Minister for Environment and Disability Services Stephen Dawson, the association and Aboriginal representatives discussed issues of housing and antisocial behaviour among the Aboriginal community.

Kariyarra elder Kerry Robinson said concerns Port Hedland residents had reflected among the Aboriginal community in town.

“People are coming in from country and they’re bringing the fighting and antisocial behaviour, and between housing issues and other issues, this is a big part,” he said.

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“I think this has gone too far and some kind of outcome needs to come through for our local people of the Pilbara region.”

At the meeting, the association’s media spokesman Arnold Carter said a staging post, similar to closed-town locations like Drovers Rest, would help alleviate both housing and antisocial behaviour issues as it would provide a safe place to go.

“Most of the time they come into town for medical purposes and funerals, and then they’re left high and dry on where to stay so they either go outside the shopping centre, as it’s so close to the hospital and everything, or they stay with family, overcrowding houses,” he said.

“This would provide people who come in from the bush have somewhere to stay, be able to shower and eat and be out of town.”

Mr Dawson said while he was not the relevant minister for housing but he would bring the issue to other ministers.

“I certainly can see the issues that are being talked about, and I agree something needs to be done about it,” he said.

The group is also pushing for a 24-hour police presence at the South Hedland Shopping Centre and increased housing.

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