Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Multi-million Australian Government funding package for Indigenous communities in North West WA

Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, today announced a multi million dollar package of assistance in response to the incidence of child abuse in Indigenous communities in far north Western Australia.

While visiting the community of Kalumburu with National Indigenous Council Chair and Western Australian Magistrate, Dr Sue Gordon, Mr Brough outlined details of the package that the Howard Government had developed to provide community safety, to help communities recover and to help ensure that the abuse perpetrated on children is not repeated.

Mr Brough said that the package was in addition to $20 million provided to the WA Government for three multifunction police facilities (at Burringurah, Looma and Wingellina) and for police accommodation at Bidyadanga.

The key elements of the package are:

  • $7 million for a new Family Violence Service hub and outreach model which will deliver services including family violence counselling to women and children, early intervention and counselling for men and boys, referral services and outreach workers in communities;
  • Additional health checks in the East Kimberley, focusing initially on Halls Creek;
  • $857,000, to Warmun, Balgo and Kalumburu to run programs to educate communities on appropriate behaviours, and to support community safety and responsibility;
  • $808,000 for early childhood education services, and improved antenatal and postnatal health programs, and; Up to $1 million, in addition to a WA Government contribution, for a new Innovative Child Care Services Hub at Halls Creek.

“The package has been developed in consultation with the WA Government,” Mr Brough said.

“We know that people in these communities want to be rid of the trauma of abuse. The Howard Government will work with them and provide support and help them to move forward.”

“Kalumburu has felt the tragedy of child abuse and has been declared a strategic intervention site by the Australian and WA Governments. The Australian Government recently committed $19 million for a housing and infrastructure upgrades at Kalumburu which includes a new subdivision and more than 20 new houses, in addition to the 13 houses already under construction.

$5.5 million has been approved for the Australian Army to undertake significant infrastructure work at Kalumburu including repairing the barge landing, upgrading the airstrip, constructing a new health centre, and a new public toilet block.

Mr Brough said that the Government wants to help the community to recover from the significant impact of child abuse. Professor Judy Atkinson, an expert in this field from Southern Cross University, has been funded to conduct an intensive community rebuilding program for local people.

At Kalumburu Mr Brough was joined by AFL players from the successful WA Clontarf academy who conducted a football clinic with local school children.

“This community has been through hell,” Mr Brough said.

“They are brave people and they will tackle this problem and move forward. The Howard Government will support them.”