Infrastructure projects building success in the Torres Strait
The Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, and Senator for Queensland, Jan McLucas, yesterday visited Warraber Island in the Torres Strait to see first-hand the positive impacts of major infrastructure projects funded by the Australian and Queensland Governments.
During the visit Ms Macklin and Senator McLucas toured several projects funded through the Torres Strait Major Infrastructure Program, including the Warraber Reticulated Sewerage and Treatment Project, Warraber Waste Pilot Project and the Warraber Water Cover Upgrade.
The Torres Strait Major Infrastructure Program – which has been jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland Government since 1998, and is administered by the Torres Strait Regional Authority-has been essential in improving the health and wellbeing of Torres Strait Islanders.
“I was very pleased to be there to see the difference these projects are making to people living here on Warraber Island and in the Torres Strait,” Ms Macklin said.
“We know how important improving water collection, water storage, drainage and sewerage is for the health of local communities, which is why the Australian Government has provided more than $100 million for projects like this for the past 14 years.”
Since the program began, about 90 major environmental health infrastructure projects have been delivered, including improvements to the water supply on Mabuiag, Poruma and Warraber Islands, and reticulated sewerage projects on several other islands.
“Thanks to matched investment from the Australian and Queensland Governments we have been able to improve infrastructure in the Torres Strait which has been instrumental in significantly reducing the level of infectious diseases in the region,” Ms Macklin said.
This year the Australian Government announced an extra $21.2 million to continue funding important infrastructure projects in the Torres Strait for four years. However, the Queensland Government is yet to make a commitment to ongoing funding for the program.
“I urge Premier Newman to match our funding so that the Torres Strait Regional Authority can start work on projects such as the Hammond Island sewerage works, drainage upgrades in Seisia and Badu and the Northern Peninsula Area road resealing.”
The Torres Strait Major Infrastructure Program also provides important training, work and business opportunities, and has already provided jobs to around 200 Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander residents.
“We are committed to supporting remote communities, and we recognise the important issues being faced here in the Torres Strait,” Senator McLucas said.
“That’s why we have committed up to $12 million to support seawalls and other coastal management measures in the region to help protect vulnerable Torres Strait Island communities against the impacts of inundation from king tides and storm activity.
“This will build on a range of important infrastructure that will serve the Torres Strait Island community now and into the future.”