A DOZEN health experts, housing advocates and Aboriginal elders have slammed premier Mark McGowan for “stigmatising” homeless people by calling Tent City organisers “anarchists”.
The group, which includes former Derbal Yerrigan Health Service CEO Ted Wilkes and National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project director Megan Krakouer, wrote to Mr McGowan to say his comments were a “cheap shot” designed to deflect attention away from his government’s failures in public housing.
“Every tent in Pioneer Park represents at least 500 Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal families on the Department of Housing waiting list for public housing,” the letter read.
“How naive and gullible can you be to suggest to the WA public that ‘these people’ are only sleeping in tents in this extremely hot weather because they can access ‘ham off the bone and quite attractive food’.”
The letter, which calls on Mr McGowan to meet with the signatories, also rejects a statement put out by St Pat’s, UnitingWA, Wungening Aboriginal Corporation and Ruah criticising Tent City for drawing people away from expert services.
“The joint statement … refuting claims that a chronic lack of public housing was the driver of homelessness are simply ridiculous and I reject all comments made in their statement.
“Perhaps the multi-million dollars you direct to these agencies is the reason they chose to support your divisive, ill-informed and derogatory position.”
by STEVE GRANT