Women blockade road to Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust

AUDIO Audio file Women protest at Lake Tyers mp3 file

Jem Wilson ABC News 8th March 2011

A group of Aboriginal women have blockaded the road to Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust in East Gippsland in protest against current administration arrangements over the site.

The women claim the current administration arrangements over Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust are akin to a "Northern Territory-style intervention."

Freehold title of the Lake Tyers settlement was transferred to Aboriginal people in 1970.
But the women want more community involvement in the Lake Tyres Aboriginal Trust, which is administered by the Department of Justice and Aboriginal Affairs Victoria.

Marjorie Thorpe, a shareholder in the Lake Tyers Trust, claims there has been insufficient consultation with shareholders over housing developments near sacred sites.

"The building of the houses on sensitive areas and certainly the protection of the catchment is critically important to the people of Lake Tyers. This is a very beautiful area. There is a lot of logging and development going on which is causing contamination of the great Lake Tyers."

Lake Tyres resident Jayne Proctor says there is a desperate need for more housing at Lake Tyers, but she claims the administrators have not consulted the shareholders about where the developments should be located.

"They're not listening to what we've got to say as shareholders. They're not listening to our needs. They're just going off doing everything totally against us."

In a written response to the protestor's claims, Ian Hamm, Executive Director of Aboriginal Affairs Victoria, said that the Victorian Government has been working with Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust residents and shareholders as part of a 10 year renewal project.

"A small group of shareholders have voiced opposition to the progress made and are expressing their views through a protest.

The Victorian Government will continue to work with all residents, shareholders and other stakeholders to progress the development of the community in a broad and cooperative manner, that is driven by the aspirations of the Aboriginal community."

Aboriginal women from Lake Tyers staging a blockade

news.com.au March 08, 2011 10:08AM

Victorian Aboriginal women from Lake Tyers are staging a blockade to protest against the state government's administration of their community.

The Department of Justice and Aboriginal Affairs Victoria (AAV) in 2006 signed a 10-year renewal agreement governing the Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust in East Gippsland.

Trust member Leanne Edwards says the "Northern Territory-style intervention" is not providing opportunities for her people from the Gunai/Kurnai tribes.

"None of the shareholders or Aboriginal people or residents of this place were consulted," she said.

"They've just moved in and started to run our life, our affairs as well.

"We now are in 2011 and once again are being dictated to by government whose policies on us have once again failed."

Ms Edwards says while two of her people sit on a board governing the trust, they are being overpowered by AAV representatives.

Lake Tyers, with a population of about 250, was Victoria's last Aboriginal reserve which was handed back to its traditional owners in 1970 after a seven-year battle.

The women say at least 25 non-Aboriginal people employed in the community are doing jobs that could be performed by Aboriginal people.

Elder Jane Proctor says a new written code of conduct established by administrators is being enforced for minor matters, including children prevented from riding bicycles.

"They're putting up houses on this land without consulting any of the landowners on the situation," she said.

"They're setting up new sewerage lines going through sacred sites, again, not consulting the landowners and shareholders."

Ms Proctor has lived with her two grandchildren in a shed for six months and wants to move into one of three houses at Lake Tyers she says are vacant.

"I need to get out of that shed," she said.

"We want to take ownership of what's happening out here, give us a say."

Only medical staff, the school bus and elders will be allowed through the main gate today into the Trust blocked by cars and flanked by banners reading "Aboriginal Human Rights."

Construction projects have also been halted.

A response from AAV is being sought.

Blockade at Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust

Press Release 8th March 2011

International Women's Day

Statement by Aboriginal Women of Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust – Blockade on Road to Lake Tyers

As from today the shareholders and residents of Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust blockaded the road to Lake Tyers. No persons or governments are allowed to come on to the trust until governments sit down and listen to our statement of claims to resolve the situation.

Health service employees and the school bus are the only exceptions.

We are sick of the Northern Territory style intervention imposed on us.

Our elders who fought for the land (so that Aboriginal people could have a home to call our own) to be handed back in 1970 as free hold title to the Aboriginal people after a long struggle.

We now are in 2011 and once again are being dictated by government whose policies on us have once again failed.

The state and federal governments 10-point plan to "Close the Gap" in Aboriginal communities is discriminatory. We have no rights as Aboriginal people or as shareholders of the trust. We are being harassed and intimidated.

From the Aboriginal women of Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust

Pauline Edwards
Leanne Edwards
Jayne Proctor
Josephine Mullett
Natasha May-Edwards
Jannelle Bryant
Regina Wilkinson

Contact: Leanne Edwards 0488195217 – latessa2006@yahoo.com


As a visitor through your

As a visitor through your country and as as a sista to some of you (and a wahgin at that) I just want to say you go for it ...there are more people out there that you know and support what you are doing...just get the word out....time to create a change xx

Lake Tyers Blockade

I support the women of Lake Tyers and their blockade. This is akin to what is happening in the Northern Territory, except in the NT people are being forced to sign leases for up to 99 years over their freehold land in return for housing. What the ladies may not know is that it is Julia Gillard's plan to make ALL Aboriginal communities in Australia sign leases over their lands if they are go receive any federal funding for housing.

In Solidarity.

Leonie Nampajinpa Chester

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