A total of 10 remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia are set to receive upgrades to power, water and municipal services in a historic move by the Liberal National Government to improve living conditions for Aboriginal people.
The communities in the Kimberley and Pilbara regions will be the first of the State's bigger communities to participate in a program to progressively bring basic services up to minimum standards.
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the State Government was delivering on a promise to reform essential and municipal services in remote Aboriginal communities, with a $52 million initial investment from Royalties for Regions.
"The Essential and Municipal Services Upgrade Program is one of 10 priority actions in the Government's 'Resilient Families; Strong Communities' roadmap," Mr Redman said.
"In many remote Aboriginal communities, poor living conditions negatively affect the health of residents, and their participation in school and work.
"We believe that living conditions can be improved through mutual accountability between households, communities and government. The State Government's contribution is a significant investment in upgrades to power, water, wastewater and municipal infrastructure. In turn, individual households will be metered and charged for power and water services."
The first 10 communities to participate in the program were selected based on principles outlined in the roadmap, which include strong community leadership on education and employment, business or work opportunities, the capacity for the community to be used as a service hub and no natural limitations on growth.
Child Protection Minister Andrea Mitchell said the investment was about much more than power, water and roads.
"Living conditions are the foundation on which family resilience and wellbeing are built," Ms Mitchell said.
"This investment will be the beginning of generational change for many Aboriginal families living in regional and remote Western Australia.
"Improved living conditions will also lay the groundwork for the development of greater economic opportunities for remote Aboriginal communities."
The State Government will work with the first 10 communities to develop a plan for each community, for the upgrades. Consultation and planning will take place over the next 18 months, with capital works expected to begin from July 2018.
All other remote Aboriginal communities that currently receive Government support for essential and municipal services will continue to do so.
The first 10 communities are: Kimberley - Ardyaloon, Bayulu, Beagle Bay, Bidyadanga, Djarindjin, Lombadina, Mowanjum and Warmun; Pilbara - Wakathuni and Yandeyarra
Collectively, the first 10 communities to participate in the program comprise more than 20 per cent of the total population of remote Aboriginal communities in WA
There are 274 remote Aboriginal communities in WA with a total population of about 12,000 residents
Regional Development Minister's office - 6552 6700
Child Protection Minister's office - 6552 5400