Army celebrates 10 years of service to Indigenous communities
Today marks the 10th anniversary of the Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Program (AACAP), a Howard Government initiative in partnership with the Army and Indigenous communities that has provided improved health and living conditions for Indigenous people across Australia.
Projects mainly involve construction of new houses, medical centres, airfields, roads, rubbish tips, sewer works and other infrastructure. They also include health screening, men’s health programs, dental health screening and dog treatment programs. There is an emphasis on skills transfer and building strong relationships between Army personnel and Indigenous communities.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, representing the Prime Minister and Senator the Hon Sandy Macdonald, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence, attended the welcome home parade of the 21st Construction Squadron in Enoggera, Queensland to mark the anniversary
"I congratulate the Construction Squadrons for their hard work and commitment over the past 10 years to improve living conditions for Indigenous people in remote Australia," Mr Brough said.
"Since 1996, the Howard Government has committed nearly $60 million to AACAP."
AACAP has constructed over 100 houses in 21, mostly remote, communities across Australia including Oak Valley, South Australia; Docker River and Borroloola, Northern Territory; Jumbun and Palm Island, Queensland; Fitzroy Crossing and Pandanus Park in Western Australia.
Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Senator Sandy Macdonald, said AACAP provides the Army with invaluable skills for overseas deployments.
"AACAP is a unique program that delivers critical services to communities and provides training for soldiers in skills they will use overseas," he said.
The Howard Government will provide an additional $20 million under the 2005 Budget initiative, Addressing Indigenous Housing Needs – Healthy Indigenous Housing Continuation, to extend the AACAP program to 2009.