- 'Don't Walk Away' national campaign will blitz print and online platforms
- Community urged to lobby Prime Minister on issue
The WA McGowan Government will run a national public campaign, starting tomorrow (June 30), to pressure the Federal Government to not abandon 165 remote communities in Western Australia.
The 'Don't Walk Away' campaign will feature online and print media advertising, and promote a website with a call to action for people concerned about the plight of the almost 12,000 people living in remote communities across WA.
Tomorrow (Saturday) marks the end of a 10-year, $1.2 billion funding agreement between the Federal Government and the WA Government to support remote communities through the provision of housing.
The WA Government contributes about $90 million annually to maintain these communities through the provision of essential services such as power, water and waste management, infrastructure and regular maintenance activity.
The Federal Government's own independent Remote Housing Review has identified that about 1,300 new homes will need to be built in WA in the coming decade to address issues of overcrowding in remote communities and to cater for population growth.
But despite months of haggling, the Federal Government has indicated it intends to wash its hands of further involvement in the provision of housing for remote services after making a payment of about $60 million over the next three years.
This will leave an approximate $400 million gap in the State's finances over the forward estimates.
The State Government today issued a national call to action for all caring Australians to lobby Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull - the so-called PM for Closing the Gap - to solve the current impasse and prevent indigenous Australians living in remote communities from further disadvantage.
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Comments attributed to Housing Minister Peter Tinley:
"It is morally reprehensible that the Federal Government can walk away from ongoing funding for remote communities after being involved in this space for 50 years.
"If the PM does not step in to resolve this issue - as requested in a formal letter sent to him by WA Premier Mark McGowan on May 11 - he will be showing his true stripes as the so-called PM for Closing the Gap.
"We want to Close the Gap - not slam the door."
Comments attributed to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt:
"The people living in WA's 165 remote communities are amongst the most vulnerable in Australia. There are significant challenges in servicing their communities to a suitable standard.
"For the Federal Government to suggest that this is solely a State responsibility is a nonsense.
"I would urge all Australians - including all members of the Liberal and National State Opposition whose silence on this issue to date has been noted - to get on board with this campaign."
Housing Minister's office: 6552 5300
Aboriginal Affairs Minister's office: 6552 5900