A $1.7 million upgrade of water infrastructure in the West Kimberley community of Junjuwa has just been completed.
The upgrades will help safeguard water supply for residents and included the design, installation and commissioning of two new groundwater tanks, upgrade of the pipework and control system, decommissioning and removal of three old ground storage tanks, and removal of an elevated tank and stand structure.
Junjuwa Aboriginal community is located in the Shire of Derby-West Kimberley in the town of Fitzroy Crossing, with a population of 326 at the time of the 2016 census.
The Department of Communities has overseen the project, which is funded through its Remote Essential and Municipal Services (REMS) program for regional and remote Aboriginal communities.
A number of other projects currently underway through the REMS program include:
- $1.1 million water treatment plant for Kadjina,
- $1.5 million water treatment plant for Parnngurr;
- $1.5 million replacement of tanks and platform at Tjukurla;
- $1.3 million replacement of tank, platform and stand at Jarlmadangah Burru; and
- $1.6 million each for new bores at Muludja and Balgo communities.
These projects are in addition to the $38.9 million funding announced by the State Government in August 2021 as part of the WA Recovery Plan to upgrade water and wastewater facilities in Aboriginal communities on the Dampier Peninsula, and ongoing upgrades of those services in Bidyadanga, Bayulu and Mowanjum.
Improving water and wastewater infrastructure in remote and town-based Aboriginal communities is a priority for the McGowan Government.
The projects listed above are part of the significant progress that the State Government has made on improving its delivery of essential services since a 2015 report by the Officer of the Auditor General (OAG) highlighted the challenges of delivering those services in remote communities.
A follow up OAG report in 2021 found that the Department of Communities had substantially improved reliability of water, power and wastewater services, and the coordination of the Remote Essential and Municipal Services program, which provides a mix of services to 141 remote and town-based Aboriginal communities.
These improvements have been achieved despite the Commonwealth Government ceasing to co-fund essential services infrastructure in remote Aboriginal communities.
As stated by Housing Minister John Carey:
“Ensuring people living in remote Aboriginal communities have access to reliable drinking water is a priority for the McGowan Government.
“The $1.7 million upgrades in Junjuwa will significantly improve the water infrastructure and importantly ensure we safeguard water supply for its residents long into the future.
“The McGowan Government is making significant investments to improve water infrastructure in a number of remote Aboriginal communities, including on the Dampier Peninsula and recently completed water treatment plants and upgrades at Kiwirrkurra in the East Pilbara, and Warburton in the northern Goldfields.
“These upgrades will see the delivery of more reliable and safe services that improve health and wellbeing, as well as create job opportunities and help more people remain in community.”
As stated by Kimberley MLA Divina D’Anna:
“Reliable water quality is essential for the health and wellbeing of people in remote Aboriginal communities. It is pleasing to see the Government undertaking a number of significant projects to improve water infrastructure in remote Aboriginal communities, just like Junjuwa.
“These projects will significantly improve the quality of available water, and ensure those living in the remote communities will have access to reliable water into the future.”