The Australian government is flouting international law in an effort to give the mining and oil industry access to Aborignal land, according to a prominent Māori indigenous rights lawyer.
The Western Australia state government is proposing to shut down remote rural communities because it says a one-off payment from the federal government of $90 million will run out in three years.
Lawyer Dayle Takitimu said the government was breaching the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People by effectively forcing people to leave their communities.
Ms Takitimu said the Australian government's excuse, that it could not afford to subsidise the Aboriginal people's lifestyles, was just rhetoric.
She said it was really about getting the mining and the oil industries into those places without having to obtain official consent.
Ms Takitimu said Australian governments seemed obsessed about formalising things into hideous policies. The 'stolen generations' were an example, and this was just another, leading to the communities cease to exist in their current form.
Meanwhile, a protest hikoi has been organised in Hamilton in opposition to the plans to cut funding to remote Aboriginal communities. The march in Hamilton on Friday will coincide with a dozen rallies organised in towns and cities in Australia as well as one in Los Angeles, California.