Remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia will benefit from a new planning policy, the first of its kind in the State.
In a joint launch today, Planning Minister Graham Kierath and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Kim Hames released the Statement of Planning Policy No. 13, Planning for Aboriginal Communities.
Mr Kierath said the policy was an important step in eliminating sub-standard living conditions in these remote communities.
He said all large, permanent Aboriginal communities would now be required to be identified and zoned as Settlement Zone within local government town planning schemes.
“Layout plans should be prepared for each of these communities under guidelines established by the Aboriginal Affairs Department (AAD) and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission,” Mr Kierath said.
“The layout plan should help to determine the spread of land uses in a community, and reflect community and cultural aspirations.”
Mr Kierath said local government would be required to assess the planning merit of a Layout Plan and the Western Australian Planning Commission would be required to endorse the plan.
“Importantly, all future development within these communities - particularly the provision or extension of infrastructure such as water supply and sewerage - must be in accordance with the approved plan,” he said.
“This is intended to improve environmental health by encouraging a better layout of facilities and better co-ordination of services.
“Through bringing Aboriginal communities into the mainstream town planning process, the Government hopes to achieve a small step towards these communities maintaining their cultural autonomy while seeking economic equality.”
Aboriginal Affairs Minister Kim Hames said extensive consultation with Aboriginal communities and agencies, as well as numerous Government departments, had ensured acceptance of the new policy.
“An indication of this is the wide support for a service agreement to be signed on Monday (August 14) by five Aboriginal communities, the Shire of Broome, AAD, ATSIC, the Ministry of Housing and the Ministry for Planning,” Dr Hames said.
“The Aboriginal communities of Beagle Bay, Bidyadanga, Djarindjin, Lombardina and One Arm Point will enter an agreement on the development, approval and amendment of community layout plans.
“This process will promote the orderly and proper planning of communities, and eliminate past problems such as inappropriate location of housing and inefficient, costly and haphazard provision of services such as water, sewerage, power and roads.”
Mr Kierath: Zac Donovan (08) 9213 6400; or -
Dr Hames: Mike Groves (08) 9424 7450