The McGowan Government will commit $4.8 million over four years to build a strong formal Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled service sector in Western Australia.
Building strong community-controlled service sectors is a priority reform under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap signed by all governments in July 2020.
In August 2020, the Australian Government committed $46.5 million over four years to build the capacity of the sector. State and Territory governments have subsequently announced contributions to the fund.
Consistent with the National Agreement, funding will initially be invested in the priority areas of early childhood care and development, housing, health and disability sectors.
The McGowan Government’s contribution includes $3.4 million for grants to the sector, in line with the Strategic Plan and Sector Strengthening Plans and the priority sectors in the National Agreement.
The remaining $1.4 million will be used to establish a consortium of Aboriginal community-controlled sectoral representatives in WA, with the guidance of the Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia.
This consortium will be tasked with:
- representing WA across the agreed National priority sectors and any other priority sectors identified for WA;
- enabling strong Aboriginal community-controlled sector participation in partnering with the WA Government in its implementation of Priority Reform Two, consistent with the National Agreement; and
- assisting in the development of Sector Strengthening Plans that will identify a comprehensive set of measures to build the capability of the sector in line with the Strong Sector elements outlined in the National Agreement.
As stated by Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt:
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled services can achieve better results for the community, employ more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and are often preferred over mainstream services.
“I look forward to the McGowan Government’s contribution directly supporting the development of the community-controlled sector in WA and progressing the Government’s commitment to working in partnership with Aboriginal people to achieve improved outcomes against Closing the Gap.
“I’d like to thank the Aboriginal Advisory Council of Western Australia for their leadership and strategic advice on this priority reform.”
As stated by Vicki O’Donnell, member of the Aboriginal Advisory Council of WA and State representative on the Aboriginal Coalition of Peak Organisations:
“This contribution from the WA Government will play an important role in developing a strong community-controlled service sector in WA, commencing with the establishment of a consortium of representatives from the National Priority Sectors, that can best identify and represent the needs of community-controlled sector in WA.”