Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Australian Army helps close the gap in Kalumburu

Joint Media Release with:

  • Warren Snowdon MP, Minister for Defence Science and Personnel

The construction of a health clinic, delivering a community health training program, and the improvement of dentistry services are central to the 2008 Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Program (AACAP) which this year is focusing its efforts on the community of Kalumburu in Western Australia.

Launching the program, the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, and the Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon said the program would deliver on-the-ground, practical measures to bring tangible benefits to people living in remote Indigenous communities.

“Health promotion, training activities and improving existing services within the Kalumburu community are key priorities and will include sports education, fitness, first aid and healthy living,” Ms Macklin said.

“The community airstrip and local roads will also be upgraded with the assistance of civilian construction agencies,” Ms Macklin said.

Mr Snowdon said military personnel would deliver both accredited and non-accredited vocational skills training to members of the local community.

“The program aims to make sure the benefits continue after the Army leaves, by emphasising trade training and skill development for Indigenous people. These include welding, leadership, drug and alcohol awareness, first aid, environmental health work, literacy and numeracy training, computing and multimedia training.”

“The Army, along with Navy and Air Force personnel, will construct a health clinic, a barge-landing site and a public toilet facility.

“The program provides the Australian Defence Force with an effective training opportunity that will assist in current and future overseas reconstruction operations. Just as importantly though, AACAP contributes to a more unified Australia through practical reconciliation by Australians working together to build better communities,” said Mr Snowdon.

The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs is providing $4.15 million for AACAP 2008 in addition to the Defence Force contribution of personnel and equipment. The Western Australia Department of Health is contributing $1.7 million for the construction of the health clinic.