A new Aboriginal Affairs Department (AAD) office launched in Merredin today is a positive development for Aboriginal people in the local area.
Speaking at the official opening of the AAD Merredin District Office, Regional Development Minister and local MLA Hendy Cowan said the Coalition Government’s current expansion program reflected its continued commitment to Aboriginal affairs.
“Of the 50,000 Aboriginal people in Western Australia, more than 50 per cent live in regional areas,” Mr Cowan said.
“The regional expansion program aims to make AAD more accessible to Aboriginal communities, families and individuals throughout the State, even in the most remote locations.”
As the agency responsible for the coordination and monitoring of services to Aboriginal people, one of AAD’s key objectives is to assist Aboriginal people build partnerships with Government and the private sector to develop local solutions for local issues.
The regional expansion is being driven by the Local Area Co-ordination initiative, which seeks to ensure that AAD staff are located where Aboriginal people live and where they require services.
“To fulfil its role effectively, the AAD is best placed having staff in action on the ground, like George Hayden, here in Merredin,” Mr Cowan said.
“Getting to know their community means that Local Area Co-ordinators will be in a position to provide the appropriate information and advice to help Aboriginal people access the services they require.”
Since being launched by the State Government in 1998, the regional expansion initiative has seen the number of AAD offices increase from seven to 24.
Ken Suttie (Aboriginal Affairs) 9235 8067
Peter Jackson (Minister’s office) 9222-9595