Ms SANDERSON (Adelaide) (12:28): We also were very fortunate to see a very special caterpillar dreaming, which I do not believe many people have seen before. It is an up and coming tourist spot that they would like to work on. The rock formations were quite amazing, depicting caterpillars, and we were able to see the beautiful wild flowers and foliage that grow in the red dirt and the beautiful hills. It was absolutely amazing.
We were very fortunate also in that we had a cultural experience on the first day. We had a lovely bonfire lunch, at which I tasted kangaroo tail for the first time—it tasted a lot like shanks to me, so quite similar in texture—and damper. We tried to find honey ants, but unfortunately the ant nest was empty that day. We needed to search elsewhere, so I did not get to try my first honey ants.
We visited the Trade Training Centre, which is absolutely amazing. It is such a wonderful facility for cooking classes. They also have woodwork and all kinds of different classes that would be very beneficial to the local area. We were lucky enough to have dinner there, so we sampled their fantastic cooking. I think we also had a lunch there at one point and we got to meet some of the brand-new students from Fregon high school, and we had a good chat with them as well. We visited Double Tank where we saw some camels.
We had a look at a road that is being built, the Umuwa to Pukatja road. That is an absolutely huge project, a long-term project, to improve the existing road. It is prone to flooding, which means that food and resources cannot get through to the town, so it is particularly important to make sure that road is accessible throughout the year. It was really wonderful to hear that the road project, which is being delivered by Toll, has more than 30 per cent of local people employed in that project. They showed us a slide show of all the different jobs that people are doing.
We heard about their training and skills program that will leave people with not only a job on that particular road project, which will be going on for several years, but also skills that are transferable. Hopefully, that will mean long-term employment on other projects throughout the APY lands. That was really lovely to see. We had meetings with leadership groups, meeting with them in three of their towns: Kaltjiti, Pukatja and Amata. There were certainly lots of issues that were raised on the lands, which I hope committee members will take on board and get those things done.
One issue that was mentioned was the length of time taken to get a working with children check so that they can get paid work. It is important that that is a speedy process and very efficient because people are relying on that clearance. A lot of the work in the towns does rely on a working with children check. They also have great difficulty in getting 100 points of identification because on the lands people do not have so many forms of ID, which we all carry in our wallets.
Dr McFetridge: There are not too many passports up there.
Ms SANDERSON: Yes, they do not have passports—
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: No birth certificates.
Ms SANDERSON: —and many of the people do not have birth certificates. Overcrowding was mentioned in many of the towns. Certainly, in Amata there was great excitement about the dialysis machines that will be there soon, hopefully. They said, 'Hurry up, it's taking way too long,' but they are very pleased. We had a site visit to where the dialysis units will be going.
There were a few issues regarding the Public Trustee that were mentioned. Certainly, I have that in my own electorate as well, so that is not specific to the lands. With policing, there were issues around the fact that, when you call the police after 5pm, the phone lines are diverted to Port Augusta. The government will certainly need to have a look at how that issue can be solved. There are police on the lands and there are community constables as well; however, there is still difficulty getting police assistance in a reasonable amount of time.
The need for more street lighting was mentioned several times. I believe the government did spend $200,000 on upgrading and replacing street lighting that already exists; however, I believe there is also a great need for extra lighting. As towns expand, there are new areas that need lighting. It was also mentioned in the context of issues around children running wild at night-time. Some towns have groups of men who do patrols. They said that, if they find the youths, they will run off into the dark because there is not enough lighting. It is very hard then to track them down, find them and make sure that they get home.
There were issues around Skill Hire, which I believe is basically a work for the dole program on the lands. It used to be CDEP, which apparently they quite liked and was working quite well, but now it is CDP and they are not as happy with how that is being administered. They also mentioned that on the lands you are required to do 25 hours a week work or you get cut off for eight weeks, which is pretty severe to lose the amount of money, whereas in cities and other areas in Australia, apparently, between 15 and 20 hours of volunteering work is required. There is difficulty in managing that.
There are obviously a lot of issues that we do not experience in the city that Aboriginal people on the lands must survive. One issue is that they did not have a school bus for two weeks. There are not that many buses or bus drivers, so if one is sick or not available, or the bus is needed somewhere else or it is trapped because of flooding, there is just nobody else to drive it. In Prospect, a bus comes past every 15 minutes, but they do not have that sort of luxury in the lands. It was really such a privilege to go there and to see this for myself because I do not think, unless you see it and experience it, you can have a full understanding of it. I concur with the member for Morphett that this is something that every member of parliament should do at some point.
There was some good news as well. The elders and the people we met with identified different ways that money could be made on the lands through cattle trading, arts, tourism and accommodation. I was quite shocked to hear about the quite minimalist accommodation. The cheapest accommodation for families is $650 a week. It is very expensive. I really do not know how you could afford that. It might be why there are so many different families living in one house—perhaps it has to do with being able to pay for the rent.
In Umuwa, which is where the policing and service providers live, there is even a lack of accommodation. It was very hard to get the whole committee to have housing. I think the minimum is something like $110 per night. If you are a teacher or a police officer coming onto the lands, I expect that would be a great deal of your income being taken up by your accommodation costs. It was pretty well mentioned in every town we visited that more accommodation is needed, and overcrowding was mentioned many times as well.
We did see some of the TAFEs. They were not on our official tours, but we did see them. A highlight was visiting the art centres in both Ernabella and Amata. In Ernabella—I believe it is quite rare to have ceramics—is one of the only art centres that makes ceramics, and I was very fortunate to do some shopping and buy some beautiful ceramic vases. The lady who made one of the vases I bought was there working on some other artwork, so I was able to get a photograph with her and the artwork and, even better, it was her birthday, so it was a lovely thing to do.
I think the turnover of the art centre in Amata is something like $1 million a year. The art is very popular, of very high quality and absolutely amazing. I am not sure how that money is diverted back into the community; however, I believe it is a lot of money that could enhance the lives of all the people in the community if it were managed well. Certainly, it was wonderful to see people getting together and doing their artwork, some of which is being sold in two of the towns to help raise money for the dialysis centre. The member for Morphett has his eye on a lovely piece that was painted by many of the ladies in the town. It was a group effort, and it is a stunning and huge painting that will be auctioned soon for anyone who has an appreciation or love of art.
That summarises most of the things that came up. It was a privilege to see and visit these communities and towns and to hear about the issues they are experiencing. But there is one more I will mention, which definitely should be solved soon, I hope: if a Coroner removes a body from the lands, they do not pay to bring that body back. The community needs to raise the money—I believe it is around $8,000—in order to bring it back. There are some government grants, but not enough. This issue was raised with us several times. It seems outrageous that, if a body is removed from the lands, they have to pay to bring it back.
There were also issues around the cost of funerals, because if somebody passes away out of country there is a large cost. Obviously, it is a remote area and very difficult to get to. Because there have not been any dialysis machines on the lands, many of the sick or elderly have had to travel to Alice Springs or Adelaide in order to have dialysis, and then if they pass away out of lands it is a very costly expense to bring them back to be buried on their lands. With that, I will close.