Hugh Jackman calls for renewed fight to stop Indigenous community closures

Hollywood star Hugh Jackman (AAP) Source: AAP

Actor Hugh Jackman has renewed his call for the federal and WA government to stop the closure of Indigenous communities. Speaking exclusively to SBS, the actor said the fight to stop the closures must not end, warning that the country is verging on defeatism.

He's a Hollywood A-list actor, best known for his role as Wolverine and the Boy from Oz.

Now Hugh Jackman is calling for change on a bigger issue - the closure of Indigenous communities.

As a teenager, Jackman lived in the remote central Australian community of Areyonga.



"I just loved it, I'd never been happier in my life [than] being out there," he said.

Jackman returned last month for the first time in more than 20 years.

"The beauty of the people and the place, it's something we need to not only hang onto but encourage and do everything we can to support."

Earlier this year, the West Australian government announced plans to close up to 150 Indigenous communities.

"It's something we need to not only hang onto but encourage and do everything we can to support."  

Following the announcement, Jackman posted a picture on Instagram calling on leaders at a federal and state level to stop the closures.

He said the fight must be renewed.

"We're verging on a kind of air of defeatism, I suppose, from both sides," he said. "'What's the point? We can't do anything, or nothing seems to work'. I think we do need those quality conversations from both Aboriginal leaders and our leaders in an air of not condescension but an air of understanding of a long-term view."

National Congress of Australia's First Peoples Co-Chair Les Malezer agreed.

"It can get very depressing trying to get government to be responsive, to get government to think more clearly about the rights that our people have and how those rights need to be addressed," he said.

"We're verging on a kind of air of defeatism, I suppose, from both sides...'What's the point? We can't do anything, or nothing seems to work". 

WA Minister for Regional Development, Terry Redman, said the government would not close Indigenous communities and insisted it was listening.

"We're not going to force any Aboriginal person to disconnect from the land that is so fundamental. But I want to reinforce that the status quo for many communities is unacceptable."

Further national protests against the closures are set to take place in November.

Jackman spoke to SBS2's The Feed program. Watch the full interview: 

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