Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara

Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara

Infobox Australian Place|type=lga
name=Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara

caption=Location of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara
pop=2,230 (2006 Census)
mayor=Bernard Singer
region=The Outback
near-nw=Kaltukatjara, NT
near-n=Imanpa, NT
near-ne=Aputula (Finke), NT
near-e=Outback Areas Development Trust, SA
near-w=Ngaanyatjarraku, WA
near-sw=Laverton Shire, WA
near-s=Maralinga Tjarutja, SA
near-se=District Council of Coober Pedy, SA

Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) is a large Aboriginal local government area located in the remote north west of South Australia. It consists of the Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara and Ngaanyatjarra peoples (or Anangu), and has a population of around 2500 people.


The council was formed in 1981 by the passing of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Land Rights Act, 1981 [ [ Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Land Rights Act 1981 at "Australasian Legal Information Institute"] ] by the Parliament of South Australia, and includes the Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara and Ngaanyatjarra groups. These groups have a long association with the area.Citation||title=Organizations|url=|access-date=2007-06-05]

'Ara Irititja' is a project of the APY, commenced in 1994 to identify, copy and electronically record historical materials about Anangu (Pitjantjatjara/Yankunytjatjara people). Its purpose is to prevent the loss of the history, and to allow the teaching of it to others in the community.Citation
last=Ara Irititja|title=Online overview|url=

The peoples of the region have not had any major economic development, apart from tourism, but there have been proposals to mine the area. There is also the Mintabie opal fields located in the area but separate. [ [ Mintabie profile at Outback Areas Community Development Trust] ]

The Musgrave Block in the Pitjantjatjara Lands, in South Australia's far north-west, has been viewed as having billions of dollars in potential mineral deposits and petroleum. But the Yankunytjatjara Pitjantjatjara people, have been wary of opening up the area to mining, concerned about the impact on sacred sites and the environment. There is ongoing discussion with mining companies to allay these worries.Citation
last=Nance Haxton, The ABC|title=Anangu Pitjantjatjara people agree to discussions with mining industry|url=

For decades two major issues throughout the APY Lands have been the low standard of health care (comparative with the rest of Australia) and drug abuse, namely alcohol, petrol sniffing, then cannabis and now other illicit drugs. There are manifest causes for these issues, but part of the problem with stamping out alcohol and illicit drug use has been the straddling of the indigenous areas of three jurisdictions: South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. The jurisdictional crossover has made police enforcement of drug trafficking laws difficult. However, recent collaboration has started to deliver results. [Adelaide Advertiser, 23 July 2007 [,22606,22116314-5006301,00.html] ]

Recent Developments

*In July 2007 SA Police in co-operation with liquor outlets in Coober Pedy (250km to the south-east entrance to the Lands) agreed to create a register of alcohol purchases, to enable police to identify persons who purchased large quantities of alcohol in Coober Pedy potentially for transportation into Aboriginal lands.

*Also in July 2007, Commonwealth Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough offered federal help for a "drug and alcohol crackdown" in South Australian Aboriginal lands - such as the APY Lands. ["Brough offer on Aboriginal lands", "Adelaide Advertiser", August 3, 2007 p14]

* in July 2007, UnitingCare Wesley set up a website [] to monitor State and Federal Government spending promises for the APY Lands, tracking the delivery of those promises

*In early August 2007, the Rann South Australian Labor Government announced a $34 million AUD package to "improve well-being of Aboriginal people" in the APY Lands. $25m will be spent on improving housing and most of the remaining $8m on law enforcement in Amata and Pukatja [ [ "$34 million package for the APY Lands" 'Minister Weatherill Media Release, 3 August 2007'] 'Retrieved on August 8, 2007'] .

*In November 2007, SA Police Commissioner Mal Hyde announced the signing of a new enterprise agreement for SA Police that would include incentive packages to lure police to work in rural and remote areas such as the APY Lands [ [ "Cash Incentives to boost rural SA policing" 'ABC News Online, November 15, 2007'] 'Retrieved on November 27, 2007']

*In May 2008, retired Supreme Court judge the Hon E. P. "Ted" Mullighan QC delivered his supplementary report to his Children in State Care inquiry, entitled the "Children on Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands Commission of Inquiry - a Report into Sexual Abuse" in which Commissioner Mullighan begins in the Preface as follows:

"This Inquiry has uncovered a sad stream of stories from the Lands. I have heard that sexual abuse of children on the Lands has been widespread throughout the communities for many years..." [ [ Mullighan Inquiry Report] 'Retrieved on May 7th, 2008']


The statutory functions of the APY are::(a) to ascertain the wishes and opinions of traditional owners in relation to the management, use and control of the lands and to seek, where practicable, to give effect to those wishes and opinions; :(b) to protect the interests of traditional owners in relation to the management, use and control of the lands; and:(c) to negotiate with persons desiring to use, occupy or gain access to any part of the lands; :(d) to administer land vested in Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara.


The 2006 ABS identified that the APY Lands had 2,230 residents, 50.6% of whom were female and 84.5% of whom were Indigenous Australians (compared to a national percentage of 2.3%).

The APY Lands communities had a significantly higher proportion of younger people than the overall Australian population, and accordingly significantly lower proportion of older people than the overall population.

98% of the residents were Australian-born (compared to 86.1% nationwide).

58.6% of residents listed Pitjantjatjara as the language spoken at home, whilst 14.3% listed Yankunytjatjara as their spoken language. 18.7% gave English as the language spoken at home, compared with 78.5% of the overall Australian population.

46.1% identified with being affiliated with the Uniting Church in Australia (compared to 5.7% with that affiliation nationwide), explainable by the UCA's significant presence in each community.

Median incomes in the APY Lands were significantly lower than the Australian population, with a median individual weekly income of $219/week compared with $466/week nationwide.

The APY Lands have a significantly larger proportion of single-parent families (30.1% cf 15.8% nationwide).

Home ownership is a distant reality for most people on the APY Lands, with only 7% of residents either fully owning or in the process of purchasing their own home - compared with 32.6% of Australians fully owning and 32.2% purchasing (a nett of 64.8%). The majority of APY Lands residents are likely to have a landlord.


The local government area encompasses a number of settlements of a range of sizes. The full list is: [ [ About Us ] ]
*Umuwa - The administrative centre of the APY
*Irintata Homelands
*Kaltjiti Homelands
*Mintabie, a largely non-indigenous opal mining community in the south (only accessible with APY permit)
*Tjurma Homelands
*Turkey Bore

The Anangu Lands Paper Tracker website operated by Uniting Care Wesley Adelaide provides an interactive map of the communities (see Links section below).

Public Transport

The UnitingCare Wesley Adelaide project, [ "Paper Tracker"] describes that as from October 2007 a bus service will operate through the lands connecting via Marla to Alice Springs:

In 2004, the South Australian Government allocated funding for a public transport bus service on the APY Lands. From October 2007, a twice-weekly return service will run from Alice Springs to Marla via main communities on the eastern-side of the APY Lands. [ [ APY Lands: public transport bus service] Paper Tracker Project, UnitingCare Wesley "Retrieved on October 2, 2007"]


Even in this remote area, houses have telephones, access to multiple television channels including (Imparja and ABC), and mail is delivered twice weekly by air from Alice Springs. Many of the localities described above are slated for broadband delivery in the near future.

Adjoining LGAs

In 2008, the Northern Territory proposes under its local government reforms to create the MacDonnell Shire which will span the south of the Territory from western to eastern border, thereby comprising the adjoining LGA across the top of the APY Lands.

The Outback Areas Community Development Trust in South Australia is not an LGA, but is the authority responsible for the development of areas adjoining the APY Lands (not including Maralinga Tjarutja to the south and the District Council of Coober Pedy to the non-immediate, but relatively nearby, south-east).


External links

* [ Official website]
* [ LGA website]
*Aboriginal Lands Joint Standing Committee of South Australian Parliament []
* [ Anangu Paper Tracker website interactive map including APY communities]
*Census 2006 AUS|id=LGA40250|name=Anangu Pitjantjatjara (AC) (Local Government Area)|quick=on|accessdate=2007-07-17
*cite web
title="The Pitjantjatjara Land Rights Act 1981" - Presentation by the Hon Robert Lawson MLC
work=The Bennelong Society 2003 Conference "An Indigenous Future? Challenges and Opportunities"

*cite web
title=Ministerial Press Release - "Financial counsellor for aboriginal communities"
work=South Australian Government - Minister for Consumer Affairs

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