Aboriginal affairs

Mary G conundrum

GEOFF VIVIAN

October 17, NEWS DAY

A prominent Aboriginal entertainer claims Laverton shire has imposed onerous conditions on an alcohol and drug free concert he is planning later this month.

Mark Bin Bakar AKA Mary G said the shire had initially demanded $17,000 of fencing be installed around the town oval for his No Grog, No Drugs concert.

Shire President Rob Wedge, who also runs the town’s only pub, said the shire had asked for the fencing to prevent any alcohol being taken into the concert.

“With the amount of people that may very well be in town, alcohol [would be] available [outside the concert],” Councillor Wedge said.

“Common sense says if you’re promoting a no-grog thing it’s best to ensure that grog wasn’t available.”

Mark Bin Bakar in Perth today

Bin Bakar, whose concerts often attract hundreds of people from remote Aboriginal communities, said Cr Wedge could have taken other measures.

“Why not just turn the [beer] tap off [in town] for the day – or no takeaways?” Bin Bakar said.

He said the shire had initially objected to the concert because it feared an influx of Aboriginal people could not be properly accommodated.

“You know what their concern was?” Bin Bakar said.

“Who’s going to pay for the accommodation of all the Aboriginal people that come in off the lands.

“No one pays for my accommodation when I come to Perth to see the Rolling Stones!”

However Cr Wedge said the shire and police had since agreed upon a temporary camping ground for people who could not stay with relatives in town.

“It wasn’t going to be knocked back,” he said.

“It was just getting enough information about how things are going to be organised.

“It’s great to have an event but all these things have to be addressed – like the alcohol, like the security.”

Cr Wedge said he was happy all of these issues had now been resolved.

“When the tour was announced, all that had to happen was probably a bit more information,” he said.

Bin Bakar said his concert organisers had had no such issues with the other shires in which he planned to tour the gig: Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Leonora, Wiluna, Meekathara and Mullewa.

Goldfields Land and Sea Council chairperson Di Logan said she was not surprised the tour had run into difficulties in Laverton.

“You just drive 130 kilometres down the road to Leonora and they bend over backwards to help Aboriginal people,” Ms Logan said.

The No Grog, No Drugs tour is planned to run from October 20 til November 10.

The Laverton concert is scheduled for October 27.

Photography: Geoff Vivian

Categories: Aboriginal affairs, Entertainment, News Day

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