SHOW OF SUPPORT: Coffs Harbour rallies against the forced closure of remote Aboriginal communities.
SHOW OF SUPPORT: Coffs Harbour rallies against the forced closure of remote Aboriginal communities.

Rally against forced community closures

HUNDREDS of people gathered in Coffs Harbour on Friday to protest plans for the forced closure of remote Aboriginal communities.

An estimated 300 people rallied at Fitzroy Oval before marching to the town centre to hear from a number of speakers.

The event was one of many protests nationwide over the past few weeks, held in opposition to plans for the closure of remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia .

Chris Spencer from the Coffs Harbour Local Aboriginal Land Council said the issue was significant to the local Aboriginal community.

"We as Aboriginal people were forcibly removed from Fitzroy Oval in the mid-50s and relocated to what's known today as Wongala Estate," Mr Spencer said.

"We still have elders in our community who resided at that old camp at Fitzroy Oval and obviously these closures have brought up bad memories on their behalf.

"We obviously know as a community that has already experienced that type of trauma what it can do to those people who are being forcibly removed today."

Mr Spencer said the issue was of national significance for all Australians, not just Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

"It's an issue that will affect all of Australia at one point or another," he said.

"It's important that we remember these are the traditional homelands of individual communities, of Aboriginal tribes, and their connection to these areas is intergenerational.

"We have a responsibility and a cultural value around maintaining that landscape and its integrity, to ensure that our future generations are able to benefit from that oral history and understandings of the properties that they are responsible for maintaining."



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