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."