• University of Sydney Deputy Vice-Chancellor Shane Houston. (NITV)Source: NITV
Shane Houston tells The Point it's "entirely possible" to work with remote Aboriginal communities so they can take control and deliver better outcomes.
Ella Archibald-Binge

The Point
10 Mar 2016 - 10:03 PM  UPDATED 10 Mar 2016 - 10:03 PM

The recent suicide of a 10-year-old girl in Western Australia has seen questions resurface about the viability of remote communities, but Sydney University's Deputy Vice-Chancellor says closures are not the answer. 

"I found it a bit frustrating that people would jump to the notion of closing Aboriginal communities when I think there are, in many cases, technological solutions to some of the challenges – like power supply and water supply, good housing," he says. 

"We’ve got to find a different way of allowing, encouraging and enabling Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to run their own affairs." 

Watch Stan Grant's full interview with Shane Houston:

Professor Houston cited examples where empowered communities had found success, including remote communities in northern Australia that are making money by putting out bushfires and selling the carbon offsets. 

"There are innovative solutions," he says.

"If we look around the countryside we’re going to find enough examples. 

"We’ve got to invest the time and effort to look for these, to see how we can generalise them and how we can build the capability of local communities to take control of the services that they offer."

related reading:
An open letter to Nigel Scullion: Fund an Indigenous specific Lifeline service to help prevent suicides
This is a letter from Alex Ferguson the Executive Director of Lifeline Central West Inc, to the Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister, Nigel Scullion, calling on the government to support its proposal to develop a national call centre of 100 fully trained Indigenous suicide prevention counsellors.
Tom Calma: There are solutions to suicide prevention
University of Canberra Chancellor Tom Calma tells The Point we need courageous governments to take bold steps to address Indigenous suicide rates.
Stan Grant: This stops now
COMMENT | Children in our communities are taking their own lives. We need to speak out, or risk losing another generation.

 Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact BeyondBlue on 1300 224 636, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.