Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

New police stations officially opened in the APY Lands

Joint Media Release with:

  • Grace Portolesi MP, South Australian Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation

Law and order is improving and people are starting to feel safer in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands with the establishment of three permanent police stations.

Following recommendations from the Mullighan Inquiry into child abuse in the APY Lands, the Australian Government provided $22.5 million to build a new police station at Mimili and upgrade police stations at Amata and Pukatja. This funding also provided housing for police and child protection workers.

The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, today officially opened the new Mimili police station and the refurbished police stations at Amata and Pukatja.

The Mimili, Amata and Pukatja stations, which began operating in December 2009, January and March 2010 respectively, are each staffed by one sergeant and three police officers, giving the communities a permanent police presence for the first time.

Previously, Mimili did not have a police station and the stations in Amata and Pukatja were basic and in desperate need of repair.

The new police stations have provided police with resources to engage with APY Lands residents, and we are starting to see positive changes in the communities, including reduced crime.

The Governments are committed to protecting children and families on the APY lands by strengthening the police presence and providing safe accommodation.

In Mimili, police are working with families to strengthen relationships between parents and children and are also working as mediators to allow community members to peacefully resolve issues before they escalate.

To support the police in establishing a Mimili bike program, the South Australian Government donated 45 bikes and the Australian Government has provided $6000 for new bikes, helmets and accessories. The program teaches road safety and bike maintenance.

The Mimili police are also working with the community to:

  • Run information campaigns on how to get a drivers licence and the important of wearing seatbelts and travelling safely with babies in vehicles; and
  • Organise a fortnightly blue light disco with an entry fee of one bag of rubbish.

At Pukatija Police Station a Police Aboriginal Liaison Officer has been employed to provide specialist cultural knowledge and bi-lingual skills to assist the three Community Constables.

In Pukatija the police are working with the community to:

  • Conduct truancy patrols in partnerships with the local school;
  • Coach and participate in the Ernabella and Wintjalangu football teams;
  • Volunteer as members of the new Ernabella CFS Brigade; and
  • Conduct school-based programs such as film nights and sporting events.

In Amata, community members report feeling safer with police permanently stationed in the community.

There has been a reduction in violence and police are working with youth workers at the Amata Youth Shed to better support local young people.