The McGowan Government has today committed more than $600 million to strengthen services that deliver positive outcomes for Aboriginal people and communities.
The significant State Budget investment supports the McGowan Government’s Aboriginal Empowerment Strategy and Closing the Gap Implementation Plan, targeting initiatives that will improve economic and social opportunities for Aboriginal people.
The funding has been targeted at priority reform areas, which align with the Closing the Gap Implementation Plan; formal partnerships and shared decision making; building the community-controlled sector and transforming government organisations.
Budget initiatives to build formal partnerships and shared decision-making include:
- $350 million Remote Communities Fund to support improved water, power and municipal services and increase housing availability in remote Aboriginal communities;
- $19.7 million to deliver on an election commitment to construct an Aboriginal Short Stay Accommodation facility in the Perth metropolitan area, with additional funding for planning similar facilities in regional areas;
- $16.6 million to expand earlier intervention services into regional areas, including Aboriginal Support Services and Family Support Networks;
- $15 million towards an on-country residential facility to provide an alternative to detention;
- $15.8 million of additional funding to upgrade water and wastewater services in Ardyaloon, Djarindjin, Lombadina and Beagle Bay;
- $11.1 million expansion of the McGowan Government’s successful Target 120 initiative, with a focus on the Kimberley, Pilbara and Gascoyne;
- $11 million for enhancement and management of Murujuga National Park, including supporting the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation’s central role in the Murujuga Rock Art Monitoring program and the formal training of two Aboriginal Rangers, and a new access bridge for the Murujuga National Park;
- $3.7 million to extend the HEART and Koort Boodja accommodation programs that address homelessness;
- $3.4 million to establish a co-ordinating body to deliver on the recommendations from the Environmental Protection Authority report on the cumulative impact on development on the Exmouth Gulf and to undertake marine research, management planning and on-country activities associated with the proposed Exmouth Gulf marine park; and
- $3.1 million to boost youth night patrols and intensive support for vulnerable families in the Kimberley.
Funding to build the community-controlled sector in the Budget includes:
- $12.4 million for implementation of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2021, including the ongoing co-design process;
- $6 million to operate and maintain three pools in Ngaanyatjarraku Lands remote communities;
- $4.5 million additional funding to extend the Kimberley Family and Domestic Violence Grants program;
- $2 million to expand the Solar Incentives Scheme, which will deliver community-owned roof-top solar to four of the largest remote Aboriginal communities in the Kimberley; and
- $2 million grants program to support local safety and security projects in the Kimberley.
Initiatives to transform government organisations funded in the Budget include:
- $14.6 million to establish an Aboriginal Empowerment Unit within the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety;
- $11.7 million to extend the Kimberley Schools Project to keep young people engaged with the education system;
- $7 million to implement an Aboriginal Midwifery Group Practice and Stronglinks, delivering on an election commitment to improve the uptake of antenatal care and improve maternity health outcomes for Aboriginal women;
- $3.7 million of additional funding for a pilot program to establish and commence the Aboriginal Health Practitioners (AHP) profession in Western Australia; and
- $1.6 million for tympanometers to improve Aboriginal children’s ear health.
Other investments focus on improving economic outcomes:
- $19.9 million for the implementation of joint management arrangements with the Traditional Owners of the proposed Matuwa Kurarra Kurarra National Park and the Lake Carnegie Nature Reserve;
- $8.4 million (on top of the Commonwealth contribution of $80 million) for the Remote Community Access Roads Upgrade Program; and
- $5.5 million to extend the Driving Access and Equity Program, empowering members of regional communities to improve driving skills.
For more information, visit https://www.ourstatebudget.wa.gov.au
As stated by Aboriginal Affairs Minister Dr Tony Buti:
“This significant investment underlines the McGowan Government’s commitment to Western Australia’s Aboriginal Empowerment Strategy and the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.
“I’m proud that we are investing heavily in a range of important areas, from community housing to improving health outcomes.
“A common thread throughout each initiative is job creation, which will provide Aboriginal people with the opportunity to control their futures and progress towards self-determination.
“Aboriginal Affairs is a whole-of-government responsibility, and it is important that Government partners with Aboriginal people to improve outcomes and create new opportunities.”