Liberal National Government committed to strengthening regional and remote Aboriginal communities
New roadmap outlines 10 priority actions focusing on education, housing and service delivery
The Liberal National Government today announced major reforms to the delivery of housing, education, employment and human services for Aboriginal people living in regional and remote Western Australia.
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman and Child Protection Minister Andrea Mitchell released the ‘Resilient Families: Strong Communities’ roadmap, which sets out 10 actions the State Government will undertake in partnership with Aboriginal people to strengthen families, improve living conditions, increase job prospects and accelerate education outcomes.
The ministers launched the roadmap in Kununurra after more than 12 months of discussions with Aboriginal leaders and communities about their aspirations for the future.
Mr Redman said the roadmap was a milestone in the Government’s regional services reform and was a long-term commitment to change, supported by immediate actions and engagement with Aboriginal people on specific focus areas.
“The poor living conditions and general lack of opportunities for Aboriginal people in regional WA are not acceptable and must change,” he said.
“The status quo is unacceptable. This roadmap marks the beginning of a transition to a new way of working – one which builds opportunities and strengthens outcomes, while maintaining access to country, culture and kin.”
Ms Mitchell said the roadmap outlined new approaches to support families to succeed, including working collaboratively with Aboriginal communities and focusing resources on prevention, earlier intervention, capacity building and family empowerment.
“The Government will also engage with Aboriginal communities that want to reduce alcohol-related harm by introducing or strengthening restrictions on alcohol supply and consumption,” she said.
The 10 priority actions are:
- creation of a $175 million fund for extra housing for Aboriginal families in the Kimberley and Pilbara over four years, tied to greater participation in school and work
- a three-year $25 million Kimberley Schools Project targeting improved attendance, engagement and learning in Kimberley schools and communities
- ensuring residents of Aboriginal town-based reserves receive the same services and have the same responsibilities as other residents of nearby towns, starting with a $20 million project in the Pilbara
- creating work opportunities for Aboriginal people by changing how the Western Australian public sector recruits staff, lets contracts and buys goods and services in the regions
- identifying up to 10 communities by the end of 2016 with which to work to upgrade essential and municipal infrastructure, and introduce commensurate charges
- working with community leaders and organisations in Roebourne in 2016–17 to co-design a reorientation of Government-funded services to respond better to local needs and achieve better local outcomes
- publishing mapping of Government-funded services in the Kimberley and Pilbara during 2016–17 to support work between government agencies, other organisations and communities on developing place-based service systems
- commencing an initiative in Kununurra in 2016–17 with community leaders and organisations to co-design a family-centred, earlier intervention service delivery model to support and enable better outcomes for local families
- continuing to support the trial and evaluation of the Australian Government’s cashless debit card in the East Kimberley
- working with the Australian Government to implement the Compulsory Rent Deduction Scheme in WA.
Mr Redman said the State Government would invest over time to upgrade essential and municipal infrastructure such as power, water and roads, starting in larger remote communities that had the most potential to grow and be sustainable.
About 12,000 Aboriginal people live in remote communities in WA
Regional services reform is focused initially on the Kimberley and Pilbara and will expand to other regions over time
The $175 million housing program, $25 million Kimberley Schools Project and $20 million town-based reserves project are supported by the Royalties for Regions program
‘Resilient Families: Strong Communities: A roadmap for regional and remote Aboriginal communities’ is available at http://www.regionalservicesreform.wa.gov.au