The McGowan Government has committed more than $750 million in today’s State Budget to enhance the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal communities.
This a record investment in Aboriginal communities and highlights the McGowan Government’s commitment to building the resilience and capacity of Aboriginal communities and individuals.
The funding is split over three key policy areas: building strong communities, improving health and wellbeing and delivering social and economic opportunities.
Building stronger communities:
- $193 million to deliver essential services in remote Aboriginal communities, including repairs and maintenance for Aboriginal housing, tenancy support, and delivery of essential and municipal services, following the withdrawal of Commonwealth funding;
- $25 million for targeted maintenance of social housing in remote Aboriginal communities, as part of a broader $80 million provided to maintain regional social housing and subsidised housing for regional government workers;
- $20 million to build a 70 bed Aboriginal short stay accommodation facility in Kununurra, providing temporary accommodation for Aboriginal people visiting the area;
- $12.9 million towards the response to ‘Closing the Gap’, as a result of the withdrawal of Commonwealth funding;
- $38.9 million to deliver improved water and wastewater services in remote communities and town-based communities, including Ardyaloon, Djarindjin, Lombadina and Beagle Bay;
- $18.5 million over four years to support Aboriginal Short Stay Accommodation services in Derby, Broome and Kalgoorlie. These three facilities provide accommodation for Aboriginal people for up to 28 days while they access health or other government services in these regional hub towns; and
- $18 million for Geraldton Aboriginal short stay accommodation facility.
Improving health and wellbeing:
- $3.9 million will be spent over two years on the Syphilis Prevention and Control Program in the Kimberley, Pilbara and the Goldfields. This includes the recruitment of additional Aboriginal team members to work within syphilis prevention;
- $19.8 million to be spent on mental health initiatives to improve the wellbeing of Aboriginal people, including $9.8 million for Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Plans and $10 million under the Commitment to Aboriginal Youth Wellbeing package;
- $6.8 million in 2020-21 to fund the Aboriginal Community Connectors program to help improve community safety and reduce community consequences of alcohol and drug related at risk behaviours;
- $9.2 million over four years for ambulance services in the Kimberley, including three paid paramedics at Derby, Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek and six new ambulances for the Kimberley; and
- $11.5 million over four years to support adult dental services, support for people affected by lymphoedema, and improving employment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the aged-care sector.
Delivering social and economic opportunities:
- $72 million for an Economic Benefits Package, Business Development Unit, strategic water reserves, water monitoring activities, tourism development and land parcels as part of the Yamatji Nation Indigenous Land Use Agreement;
- $302 million for the finalisation of the South West Native Title Settlement;
- As part of the McGowan Government’s Kimberley Juvenile Justice Strategy, an additional $6.2 million will be spent over the next four years to improve youth justice outcomes in the Kimberley, including $1.2 million in 2020-21 to deliver a work pilot skills program for juveniles in Broome and Kununurra;
- $5.3 million will be spent over the next four years for the Gibson Desert Nature Reserve Agreement and Gibson Desert Nature Reserve Compensation Settlement;
- $1.3 million will be spent over 2020-21 to 2022-23 to establish an Empowered Youth Leadership Network in the Kimberley;
- $310,000 to support Aboriginal people to participate in elections, with the employment of a dedicated community liaison officer and casual regional community liaison officers to engage with Aboriginal communities in order to enhance the effectiveness of election services being delivered; and
- The Green Jobs Plan will not only protect WA’s natural environment and promote growth in conservation jobs across the State, it will also support Aboriginal employment on country and provide significant opportunities for young people and unskilled workers.
As stated by Treasurer and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt:
“This unprecedented investment to improve the wellbeing of our First Nation Peoples is about resetting the relationship between the State and Aboriginal communities.
“The wide ranging funding initiatives are an integrated social and economic development tapestry designed to empower Aboriginal people and their communities to benefit from a growing and inclusive economy.
“It builds on our policy announced last financial year to build the resilience and capacity of Aboriginal communities through a partnership model.
“No other Government has invested so significantly in empowering Aboriginal communities and individuals to make positive changes for their communities and themselves.”