A Letter From the Shire President - The West Newspaper Article

Published on Tuesday, 20 December 2022 at 3:52:52 PM

Dear Residents,
It was with mixed emotions that I read the front page of the West Australian on 19 December. I understand that by speaking to the media about the current antisocial behaviour and crime issues that our community suffering from, could possibly impact Carnarvon’s reputation but the issues have reached a level that requires State and Federal Government intervention and to-date that has not been forthcoming.
Your Shire has worked hard over the last 18 months to alert the State Government to the escalating issues that our community is suffering with very little response. Like you, I love our town and it is gut wrenching to see the impact that it is having on our community. Carnarvon is a wonderful place to live, work and raise our families. Now is the time to demand State Government legislate change so that we can realise our potential and continue to develop the spirit of the community that was so abundantly clear at our Christmas Street Party on Saturday evening. That is why we have taken the steps we have taken to bring to the attention of the State and Federal Governments, their failing in not legislating change to ensure accountability, consequences, and respect are reinstated in our community and across the country.
We know that Carnarvon, like many other towns and communities, urban, regional, remote, large, and small, is being impacted by issues that are complex as they are tragic. And the intent of the article was not to shed light only on Carnarvon, but to draw attention to the need for State and Federal Governments to review and rethink social policy.
We as a local government, are advocates for our community and many in our community, including leaders in the Aboriginal Community are crying out for change and for support in addressing the issues we all face, in Carnarvon but also across the country. This is not just anecdotal – the annual report on Closing the Gap targets shows that only four of the seventeen measures are on track. And while we as a local government do not have all the answers, we have worked with Community leaders in Carnarvon to develop our Intensive Family and Community Intervention which has a large number of initiatives, which need to be considered as a whole. This strategy was endorsed by Council and by the Yinggarda Aboriginal Corporation and has been jointly presented by Council and YAC to State Government Ministers. If you are not familiar with this document, please article HERE
I am aware that the article in the paper is quite confronting and has caused distress to some members of our Community and others feel that it is further damaging the town’s reputation. That was not the intent. I want to reassure the Community that we are aware of the various concerns and are trying hard to manage the tension between getting the support and change that is needed to address social issues, with the strong desire to see Carnarvon thrive and grow.
If you have any concerns or wish to discuss this with me, please come and see me or drop me an email at via shire@carnarvon.wa.gov.au
Yours sincerely,
Cr Eddie Smith

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