Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

$112 million reforms package announced for Indigenous communities in WA

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Michelle Roberts MLA, Minister for Employment Protection

The State and Federal Governments have announced funding of more than $112 million for a range of initiatives aimed at improving the living conditions of Indigenous people in Western Australia.

Indigenous Affairs Minister, Michelle Roberts and Federal Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough, announced the joint funding package in Halls Creek today.

Both Ministers said this was another example of the state and federal governments working closely together in a constructive and co-operative way to improve the circumstances of Indigenous people, particularly those in remote areas.

Mrs Roberts said the initiatives, worth more than $100 million, would be aimed at improving housing, health, training and employment outcomes for Indigenous West Australians.

“This includes $51.41 million for new housing, employment and training facilities and associated accommodation to be funded by the Federal Government to support the substantial investments already made by the Western Australian Government,” she said.

“The State is providing $60.85 million of capital and recurrent funding over four years, which includes $36.6 million already announced for intervention strategies in Halls Creek and $6 million for the new school at Wiluna.

“The package builds on the $75 million allocated by the State Government in response to the Gordon Inquiry, which included the establishment of multifunction police facilities in communities such as Balgo, Kalumburu and Bidyadanga.”

Mrs Roberts said the State and Federal funding would address:

  • new land tenure options to facilitate individual home ownership;
  • upgrades to community infrastructure and housing to address overcrowding in priority communities; and
  • help provide essential services to remote communities.

Federal Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Minister, Mal Brough, said the package aimed to improve the management of community infrastructure as well as provide social and economic benefits for individual residents by offering a choice to own an interest in land and their own home in selected Indigenous communities.

“The land reforms that underpin the Federal Government’s strategy will include a number of options tailored to the particular circumstances and opportunities at each community,” Mr Brough said.

“The additional investment from the Australian Government will support new ways of delivering Indigenous housing using a mainstream public housing model and home ownership in communities to be identified by both governments.

“This is not a one-size-fits-all approach, but one that will require the agreement of both Governments, the Indigenous communities involved, native title interests and local governments.”

The State Government, through the Department of Housing and Works, will manage housing in the communities targeted by the package by applying mainstream public housing standards.

In the East Kimberley, the initiative package will focus on Kalumburu and add to the State Government’s already announced reforms at Halls Creek including additional services for drug and alcohol rehabilitation, Mrs Roberts said.

More detail on other communities to be involved will be released in the coming months.

“This important funding will support a range of other initiatives that will help Indigenous people including providing access to accommodation and training for employment in the Pilbara; supporting new employment-focused Regional Partnership Agreements across the State; and innovative housing projects in Kimberley communities.

As part of the State Government’s commitment to providing essential support to the Halls Creek Community, Mrs Roberts opened the Department of Housing and Works’ new office.

“For the past 10 years, services to the town were delivered via a visiting officer from Kununurra.”

“The State Government’s decision to re-establish an office in Halls Creek means there will be an important local presence, ensuring a continued strong customer service focus for the town. ”

The new office will have a staff of seven, including a locally appointed Accommodation Manager, two Supported Housing Assistance Program (SHAP) workers, and a Housing Services Co-ordinator.