The question here is: Does the legal owner know that others are living in their properties and potentially receiving Government services?

Locals residents in the remote opal mining town of Coober Pedy are concerned that people have nowhere of their own to stay whilst visiting Coober Pedy seeking alcohol and potentially drugs. Visitors seem to believe that they have a right to live in other people’s properties, sometimes destroying those properties for the sole purpose of drinking alcohol in Coober Pedy’s hard earned dry zones and not getting pinched by the police.

With increased visitors and more alcohol charged fighting and the smell of human effluent increasing, the local residents are becoming anxious. With no water connected to some of the targeted properties, neighbours are being humbugged to supply water.

Local residents are complaining that there are several fires burning at night in the built up area and worried that if inhabitants fell asleep they could get out of control especially with the amount of dry Buffel Grass invading our properties.

Another property up on the hill on Brewster Street, unoccupied, has now pretty much been dismantled.

Some resident have posed the following questions and other commentary:

Resident Questions:

• Can anyone supply us with some perspective that might explain why vulnerable and potentially unvaccinated people from out of town are somehow trapped in our town at the height of the Covid-19 Pandemic?

• Is there a department for Aboriginal Affairs in South Australia, or is it a Federal department?

• We would like to know why, two years after the pandemic was announced the Indigenous people of this state are still fending for themselves, with Covid-19 running rampant on the APY Lands and elsewhere. Through lack of comprehension many are not embracing the process.

• With the APY Lands Covid-19 statistics escalating up towards 100 cases, wouldn’t it seem wise for there to be less movement and not more? Coober Pedy cases had been sitting under 10, until this week. The statistics are now over 40.

• Is it fair that those out of town visitors seemingly unable to get back to their communities on APY Lands are commandeering private properties and even the children’s playground, in some cases with only an empty VB carton as their pillow?

• Is it true that there are a number of Giardia cases around at present? [Query type of dysentery] We really hope that SA Health are on top of this. Does Coober Pedy not have vulnerable people also?

• Is it true that Government and NGO departments are fostering ‘trespass’ and providing services to properties where occupiers can produce no evidence of having permission to occupy?

• Can we not reasonably assume that the legal owners have no knowledge of any property infringements, and therefore afforded some protection? Is it not reasonable to assume that in most cases, if not all, occupancy of properties is not legal?

• Why are these people with homes in places like Mimili, and Fregon, begging on the streets of Coober Pedy? Why can’t they return to their homes? They are not better off here and neither are we.

• Why are so many gathered around the Bank or Bottle Shop day and night, yelling and fighting, and leaving a trail of VB cartons and other litter along our streets and inside the boundaries of private properties? There are now reports of nightly rapes surfacing, and Covid cases escalating. So much for protecting our most vulnerable!

• From another perspective, the fighting between the various land groups can be heard well into the night. Doesn’t this come under a general heading of ‘disturbing the peace’?

How does the Minister for Tourism want us to market our town? You can’t have it both ways.

Resident statements:
• “Coober Pedy is an industrial or mining town built only by the hard work of migrant opal miners, and deserves an ongoing status as the real Jewel of South Australia.”

• “This is purely an alcohol problem and the existence of this problem seems necessary for the employment of so many government departments at Coober Pedy. And that the purchase of alcohol and the spending of those pensions is nothing but a stimulus. We need to stop this exploitation and give all concerned some genuine dignity and respect”.

• “Time to put our foot down and put some rules in place. There’s too many out of town people who come into our town without our permission. We’re worried too, so if it was up to me I’d say no house no address. People need to go back to their own lands now and let us deal with our own mob.”

• “APY Lands cannot manage their own residents. Reduce their funding as well”. The minister for Aboriginal Affairs must act in the interests of the wider community.”

• “Liberal and Labor are currently grovelling around the City of Adelaide voters offering a $100M dollar swimming pool for the elite that nobody had even asked for. Our taxes should be spread evenly across the state and not used for pork barrelling votes at election time. Why not allocate that $100M to Hospitality Courses to teach responsible drinking in remote communities. You can be sure we will shout your praises so that city people can hear about it. Not that it is your money.”

Transients from the remote communities living inside private properties are supplied with tents and other comforts. Isn’t it time to trial Hospitality Courses and responsible drinking in remote communities? The claim that those areas are dry is a worn out joke and costing us a lot more than our taxpayer’s dollars.

Call to Action
The largest employer of this town is the State Government with budgets worth millions, all pertaining to serve the public. Does this money go solely on salaries?

How are these departments audited? Is it result based? There seems to be a significant imbalance when you try and align the growing amount of problems with the significant lack of outcomes. Perhaps the real problem lies at the upper level? Perhaps Marla would be a better location after-all?

Somebody, somewhere needs to crack the whip and get some serious services happening and start producing outcomes. We can’t continue to make “Closing the Gap on indigenous disadvantage” [first launched in 2007] the mantra for every election, with no meaningful outcomes.

Who wins and who loses when departments hand out tents etc to chronic drinkers, just so that they can be comfortable on someone else’s property while they hide from the police in dry areas? The amount of human effluent in and around Brewster Street and the children’s playground is alarming. The whole town needs to be tested for potential contamination?

• Compulsory income management support.
• Compulsory rehabilitation.
• Liquor Commission to reduce takeaway liquor hours until we get it sorted.”

Categories: GENERAL News

1 reply »

  1. The alcohol problem here is not only out of towners. Many that live here are also a big problem destroying government homes to the tune of thousands and nothing is done there either. The housing just keep getting repaired. (edited)

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