Premier Mark McGowan has paid tribute to Kimberley MLA Josie Farrer, who today announced she would not re-contest his seat at the 2021 State election.
Born in Halls Creek and after spending her whole life in the Kimberley, Ms Farrer was elected to the Western Australian Parliament in March 2013. She was successfully re-elected in 2017.
In her inaugural speech to Parliament and in a first for Parliament in WA, Ms Farrer addressed the Legislative Assembly in her own ‘Gidja’ language.
In 2014, Ms Farrer introduced a Bill to amend WA’s Constitution to recognise the Aboriginal people as the First Peoples of the State, and the traditional custodians of the land.
The Bill was passed in 2015.
In 2016, following the tragic deaths of 13 young Aboriginal people in the Kimberley, Ms Farrer instigated a Parliamentary Inquiry into Aboriginal youth suicide, Learnings from the Message Stick: The report of the Inquiry into Aboriginal youth suicide in remote areas.
This report led to the State Government’s Commitment to Aboriginal Youth Wellbeing, a new framework to improve the outlook and resilience of young Aboriginal Western Australians in the Kimberley and across WA.
Since the election of the McGowan Government, Ms Farrer has delivered, or is in the process of delivering a suite important commitments including:
- $19.3 million to upgrade Broome Senior High School;
- $9.2 million to establish a comprehensive alcohol and other drug youth centre in the Kimberley;
- $9.7 million in funding to upgrade boating facilities at Entrance Point and Town Beach;
- Significant funding to address crime and youth justice issues in the Kimberley, including, $900,000 to deliver the Kimberley Juvenile Justice Strategy to find alternatives to detention and services aimed at diversion;
- $43.6 million towards improvements of the Gibb River Road;
- $1 million for the Kimberley Mobile Dialysis Unit; and
- $2 million for a new PCYC in Kununurra.
Ms Farrer worked closely with Premier Mark McGowan to developed the Kimberley Recovery Plan, to assist in the region’s social and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Plan includes significant upgrades to local infrastructure, TAFEs and community facilities to create a pipeline of work for local workers, and opportunities for local businesses.
As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:
“I congratulate Josie on her outstanding service to the Kimberley, and the State of Western Australia.
“Josie’s story is one of the most remarkable in the history of the WA Parliament. A proud Gidja woman, Josie was a member of the Stolen Generations in the 1950s, and rose to become a fierce advocate for Aboriginal people in the Kimberley.
“She continued to fight for Aboriginal people during her time in Parliament, while delivering significant improvements to health, mental health and education services to the Kimberley as a whole.
“During her campaign to secure the historic constitutional recognition for WA’s Aboriginal people, Josie urged the WA Parliament to ‘not be afraid, do not be timid, just be magnificent’.
“Josie has never been afraid, nor timid. She has simply been magnificent.
“I thank Josie for her service to the Kimberley, to Aboriginal people and to Western Australia, and wish her and her family well for the next chapter of her life.”