The Australian Government is being asked to reconsider a plan to open the country’s remote communities to the public.
Key points:The new system will allow families to move to remote communities in an effort to boost the economyThe move comes amid rising tensions in Australia’s remote areasThe plan comes as the government is grappling with rising tensions between locals and asylum seekersIn the early days of the Great Barrier Reef, a family of six lived on the outskirts of Darwin.
Today, the community is only accessible by helicopter, but it still feels remote.
“We just wanted to move, and we just couldn’t afford the $7,000, and the helicopter cost was just ridiculous,” Sarah, a 25-year-old from Perth, told FourFourtwo.
“It was expensive, it was hard to fly, it took us two or three hours to get there.”
It took Sarah and her family three years to get to the remote area, where they were able to rent an Airbnb and buy their own car.
“For me it was a very happy experience, but for other families it was just really hard to get out there and start their lives,” Sarah said.
“Because it’s so remote, you can’t even find the nearest supermarket, you don’t even have the right kind of gas to get your groceries.”
The decision to allow families from remote communities access to the marketplaces has been criticised by locals and many asylum seekers, who fear it will further exacerbate tensions.
“You can’t really afford to live in a place where you have no access to any kind of services,” asylum seeker Mariam Al-Rajhi told FourThree.
“That’s why I want to see this move back to the way it was.”
The plan is one of many moves the Government is making to manage the influx of asylum seekers and refugees into Australia.
“I’m not really sure how we are going to get people to stay, but we need to get some people into the system, to get them to leave,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said.ABC reporter Sam Vaganis travelled to the Darwin area to see how families are able to move in.
“There’s just not a lot of people in the community who are living in permanent homes,” he said.
He spoke to residents who were still struggling to find accommodation.
“My aunt and uncle both got homes.
I can’t say how long they were in there, but I can tell you they had to stay for three months,” he told the ABC.
The move is seen as a way to bolster the economy.
“This is just about making it more affordable for people to move,” Dr Al-Sha’er, the Head of Emergency Management for the Darwin Regional Health Authority, told ABC News.
“So the more families that are able access the market, the better it will be for us.”
Ms Bishop said the Government was taking measures to increase access to markets and services, but stressed the plan was not a one-size-fits-all solution.
“Our plan is not just about moving people in.
It’s about making sure they have access to some services that we can provide in remote communities,” she said.
She said the plan also included establishing a task force to assess and improve the lives of people living in remote areas.
The plan has faced opposition from local councils, with some arguing the move was a waste of taxpayers’ money.
“The Government has a very good plan to move people to remote areas,” Local Government Minister Nick Phipps said.”[But] we don’t have a great plan to get more people into those areas.”
“The idea that we have is that if you’ve got money in your pocket, you should be able to take it and spend it on a better quality of life,” he added.