Australian news, and some related international items

Time to speak up: water apartheid is Australia’s dirty secret

Canberra Times By Erin O’Donnell, Kirsty Howey, July 4 2022

Imagine, in Australia, having to buy bottled water just so you can have clean water to drink. Imagine in 2022, in Australia, Aboriginal communities still have to do that, because they don’t have access to safe drinking water supplies.

While the 2022 NAIDOC week theme is get up, stand up, and show up, that’s an instruction for all of us.

All Australians need to get up, stand up, show up and speak up about this national shame.

In the Northern Territory, drinking water in remote communities regularly breaches guidelines for uranium, and heavy metals. It makes people sick. In Western Australia, the Auditor-General found 24 communities still require the government to truck in bottled water, as local supplies contain harmful contaminants, including uranium. In Queensland, remote, largely Indigenous, townships have faced ongoing water quality issues. Further south, NSW communities also struggled with water quality during the recent drought, and a 2022 study found towns and communities with higher Aboriginal populations and lower income levels were less likely to have access to free sources of filtered water within the community.

In the NT, predominantly white towns such as Darwin, Alice Springs and Katherine have a regulated and safe drinking water supply, but in Indigenous communities drinking water supply is unregulated, with many residents needing to resort to buying bottled water. And far from being an unavoidable consequence of life in remote communities, this is the result of ongoing failure by successive NT governments to plug gaps in water regulation.

………………………………………… The new Labor government’s commitment to restoring a National Water Commission must end water apartheid in Australia. The commission cannot come too soon for northern Australia, where this disaster is unfolding.


July 7, 2022 - Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment

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