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Statement on RWWA chief executive Richard Burt9370Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml3/06/2020 7:27:50 AM2020-06-03T07:25:00Z State Government acknowledges outgoing RWWA chief executive Richard BurtThe State Government has acknowledged outgoing Racing and Wagering Western Australia chief executive Richard Burt for his 13 years of service, during which time he had led the organisation through a period of significant reform. Mr Burt has presided over important work to drive the competitiveness of the WA TAB and address market challenges to maximise returns to the WA racing industry - including a $159 million return to racing in 2019. He led the industry through important animal welfare reforms, enhancements to the WA TAB product and multiple infrastructure improvements. Mr Burt worked to help ensure 30 per cent of the State Government's Point of Consumption tax was returned to the WA racing industry to assist with its ongoing development. Mr Burt finishes in the role on September 30, 2020. Comments attributed to Racing and Gaming Minister Paul Papalia "On a personal note, it has been a pleasure to work with someone of Richard's calibre. His industry knowledge, business acumen and communication skills are second-to-none. "Richard's adept stewardship of RWWA has ensured the industry has met the significant challenges it has faced over the last 13 years. "His work to lead the State Government's significant animal welfare reforms, drive the WA TAB's competitiveness, and ensure the Point of Consumption tax delivers benefits to the industry has been commendable. "Richard's leadership and careful management has meant the organisation and wider industry are well placed to succeed into the future." Minister's office - 6552 5600
New paws on the beat in fight against contraband in prisons9368Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml3/06/2020 5:08:21 AM2020-06-03T05:00:00Z Four Corrective Services Drug Detection Unit dogs and officers graduate today New dogs to search prisons, mail and visitors across the State Current social visits suspension frees up resources for refocused drug search efforts Four new drug detection dogs and their handlers are set to join the effort to keep drugs out of Western Australian prisons at a time when attempts to smuggle contraband have changed because of COVID-19 protection measures. The new recruits have joined the Drug Detection Unit (DDU) at the Department of Justice, Corrective Services. The dogs have been trained to sniff out drugs and contraband on prisoners, in their cells and on prison grounds as well as people entering Western Australian jails including the prison car parks. The dogs can also assist with searching prisoners' mail. Labrador retrievers Blade, Zabel, Neo and Bowie along with Drug Detection Officers Jessica, Chris, Adrian and Jean-Luc underwent a 10-week Passive Alert Detection training program. They will be posted to the metropolitan arm of the DDU and can be deployed to regional prisons. During COVID-19 restrictions, including the suspension of social visits, the DDU has been able to increase efforts on screening mail and searching within facilities. Since March 23, there have been six interceptions of attempts to traffic the drug buprenorphine through mail sent to prisoners. Drug dogs assisted in some of the intercepts. The DDU has also been involved in high-profile searches of facilities conducted jointly with the Special Operations Group in metropolitan and regional prisons. The drug detection dog teams have carried out more than 250 searches during April and May 2020 resulting in eight drug and drug-related seizures. By comparison, during April-May 2019, there were about 650 DDU drug searches of which about 560 were visitor searches yielding 10 seizures. Comments attributed to Corrective Services Minister Francis Logan "These dogs and their handlers will play a significant role in Corrective Services enforcing a zero tolerance approach to drugs in prisons. "The suspension of social visits because of the COVID-19 pandemic has given the DDU the opportunity to increase its focus on finding drugs inside prison boundaries and among incoming mail. "There have been greater incidences of attempts to traffic drugs via prisoner mail, a trend observed by correctional authorities in other States and Territories. "When social visits return, the officers and dogs will resume their work preventing any attempts by visitors to bring drugs into prisons. "I would remind anyone attempting to do so that the penalties have been significantly increased and you could face a $12,000 fine and 18 months' jail under tough new laws brought in by the McGowan Labor Government. "The efforts of the DDU complement other Corrective Services programs to address drug and alcohol addiction among prisoners, which includes the opening later this year of a drug treatment facility at Casuarina Prison for men." Minister's office - 6552 6300
New initiative unveiled to help attract visitors to Hillarys Boat Harbour9366Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml3/06/2020 4:30:32 AM2020-06-03T04:30:00Z New walking trails launched for Hillarys Boat Harbour Initiative designed to attract visitors and support local businesses Local business and commercial operators need support post COVID-19 $117 million contract awarded to maintain WA's 38 maritime facilities Maintenance contract secures 117 local jobs Western Australians are being urged to visit WA's iconic boat harbour in Perth's northern suburbs, with a new walking trails initiative unveiled today. Premier Mark McGowan and Transport Minister Rita Saffioti today visited Hillarys Boat Harbour to talk to local businesses, launch the walking trails and announce a $117 million maintenance contract for Western Australian maritime facilities. The $117 million maintenance contract awarded to Broadspectrum (Australia) Pty Ltd will ensure ongoing maintenance on WA's 38 maritime facilities from Wyndham to Esperance. Up to 117 local jobs, including 12 apprentices, will be supported over the life of the project, which is initially for six years and can be extended for another four years. Local boat harbours support small businesses, including local retailers and hospitality venues, commercial fishing and tourism ventures, as well as encourage recreational activities. The new walking trails, to be completed by the end of the month, will showcase three separate walks at the popular tourist destination, highlighting key attractions along the way. The trails are designed to encourage families to visit these iconic destinations and support small businesses who have been doing it tough due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan "As a Rockingham local, I know how nice it is to be able to take the family down to the waterfront to enjoy some fish and chips in the sun. "Our boat harbours, like Hillarys, are home to a number of small businesses, including retail, hospitality and tourism ventures, so it's important we do our bit to support them. "Hillarys Boat Harbour is an iconic destination on our coastline. I urge Western Australians to support the local businesses who have been devastated as a result of COVID-19." Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti "The awarding of this major contract secures long-term employment in the marine sector for up to 117 Western Australians. "Having worked with the Department of Transport to ensure the State's harbours, facilities and navigation aids are fit for purpose since 1995 under different agreements and arrangements, Broadspectrum has proven experience and is an established provider with offices throughout WA. "This is a significant contract that will ensure we continue to have well maintained harbour facilities for our community to enjoy." Comments attributed to Kingsley MLA Jessica Stojkovski "Many Kingsley constituents love to pop down to Hillarys for a bite to eat, to launch the boat or do some shopping. "These new walking trails show the very best our area has to offer and will be a great support to small business to encourage more families and tourists to visit the area." Premier's office - 6552 5000 Transport Minister's office - 6552 5500
Building upgrades for 30-year-old North Woodvale Primary School9364Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml3/06/2020 3:35:39 AM2020-06-03T03:30:00Z ​North Woodvale Primary School will receive a $1.3 million upgrade to administration facilities Existing buildings will be refurbished and extended, and improved accessibility will benefit visitors and staff DWA Architects appointed as the lead consultant for the project Premier Mark McGowan and Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery have today announced plans to upgrade administration facilities at North Woodvale Primary School. The $1.3 million investment will include wheelchair access directly from the main car park, and new conference and interview rooms. A new interview room will provide improved space for staff to meet with parents, carers and school visitors to further strengthen community ties. The school has continued to grow since opening 30 years ago in 1990, now providing education for more than 400 students. DWA Architects has been appointed to lead the project, which is expected to be completed by late April 2021. Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan "These upgrades to North Woodvale Primary School are additional to the $453 million State Government investment into infrastructure in Western Australian schools in 2019-20 alone. "This significant investment enables us to improve infrastructure in public schools and create jobs. "Western Australian kids deserve to be learning in the best possible school facilities, which is why our infrastructure investment along with our $200 million package to address high priority maintenance works is vital in delivering this, while creating thousands of jobs for local workers." Comments attributed to Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery "It's very exciting to announce upgrades that will benefit the whole school community at North Woodvale Primary School. "Parents and carers will be able to meet with their children's teachers in brand new spaces, and a new wheelchair ramp to the car park will ensure all visitors can easily access these facilities. "As a growing school in a popular area, it's important the administration facilities are able to meet the needs of increasing numbers of students and staff." Comments attributed to Kingsley MLA Jessica Stojkovski "Last year when the McGowan Government announced that North Woodvale Primary School was to receive more than a million dollars in funding, the school community were overwhelmed by the confirmation that a new administration building is finally in sight. "I'll never forget the reaction from the North Woodvale Primary School community when I paid them a visit and delivered the news that the school would receive the significant funding for important maintenance works, which will benefit the school for years to come." Premier's office - 6552 5000
Peel Health Campus upgrades to get under way9343Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml3/06/2020 1:35:38 AM2020-06-03T01:35:00Z Peel emergency department upgrade works to recommence this month Upgrades to provide a new fast-track triage area and expanded short-stay unit Construction will provide a boost to the local economy Upgrades to the emergency department at Peel Health Campus will recommence this month after being paused as part of the State's COVID-19 pandemic preparations. Construction work on the emergency department is part of a $10 million funding commitment for Peel Health Campus by the McGowan Government. Other improvements include an expanded car park, overhauled nurse call system and increased security. Residents in the Peel region will benefit from the upgraded emergency department, which will assist with patient flow, enhance patient confidentiality and privacy, and improve overall patient comfort and satisfaction. The expansion includes a new fast-track area to improve patient triage; new holding bays designed for more privacy for patients awaiting inpatient admission; reconfiguration of the existing triage area to facilitate early senior medical review and to improve patient privacy and comfort; redesign of the emergency department waiting room; and additional beds to the short-stay unit to further streamline patient flow from the emergency department. The building work will be carried out by Western Australian business, Devlyn Construction. An estimated 100 subcontractors, including subcontractors from the Peel region, are expected to be employed on the project. The upgrades are expected to be completed early next year. Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook "The significant improvement in the COVID-19 situation in Western Australia means it is now appropriate for this project to commence. "This expansion and upgrade of the emergency department will ensure the Peel Health Campus can continue to deliver hospital services to the Peel region and is able to respond to the needs of the growing local community. "The project is also providing work for the civil and building construction industries, which will help boost the local economy which is an important step in WA's recovery from COVID-19." Comments attributed to Mandurah MLA David Templeman "These works were suspended as a precautionary measure, which was in the best interests of patients and local residents, but it is now appropriate for the work to go ahead. "This means people in Peel will soon have access to a state-of-the-art emergency department with the ability to improve patient flow." Comments attributed to Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke "This project will significantly improve the emergency department for people living in this district. "COVID-19 has had many effects on projects across Western Australia and the McGowan Government has prioritised giving the go-ahead on this important upgrade to Peel Health Campus." Minister's office - 6552 6500
New land release unlocks more jobs and business opportunities north of Perth9362Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml3/06/2020 1:42:47 AM2020-06-03T01:30:00Z New industrial lots released for development following market demand 149 construction jobs for local workers to expand Neerabup industrial estate Creation of Industrial Lands Authority, a key election commitment, deliveredThe McGowan Government is unlocking new business opportunities, through the expansion of an industrial estate in Perth's northern corridor, to create local jobs and boost the economy. Development WA has today released six new industrial lots, sized from 3,196sqm to 6,874sqm, for sale in Neerabup's Meridian Park industrial estate, creating a second entrance to the industrial precinct from Flynn Drive. A 9.98-hectare general industrial lot on Pederick Road has also been released to market. The new land release unlocks $42 million in private investment and is expected to support 149 jobs during construction. A further $110 million in annual economic output and 299 ongoing jobs are expected, once businesses are fully operational. The expansion of the industrial estate comes after Meridian Park was brought under the Industrial Lands Authority. A key part of the McGowan Government's Plan for Jobs was the creation of the Industrial Lands Authority, to cut red tape and encourage local job creation. Today's land release follows a wave of construction activity at the sought-after estate, with a Main Roads depot, a commercial bakery, a food wholesaler and multiple industrial units now complete. The Neerabup Industrial Area has been designed to meet the business needs of Perth's fast-growing northern corridor for the next 30 to 50 years, and is expected to ultimately generate up to 20,000 new employment opportunities. For more information, visit http// Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan "This estate will be a major employment hub for many years to come. "On completion, the Neerabup Industrial Area is expected to be one of the biggest industrial estates in Perth, and ultimately generate up to 20,000 new job opportunities." Comments attributed to Lands Minister Ben Wyatt "As the impacts of COVID-19 continue to impact WA's economy, the McGowan Government is focused on unlocking business opportunities to create WA jobs. "The desire for land at Meridian Park and the level of development activity seen in recent months is testament to the estate's quality and prime position in Perth's growing north-west corridor. "Most importantly, the businesses buying land and building premises at the estate are creating jobs for Western Australians - both during construction, and on an ongoing basis in the years to come. "It is an example of the invaluable role the Industrial Lands Authority plays in supporting our State's economic growth by delivering strategically located land for jobs, and for new or expanding businesses." Comment attributed to Wanneroo MLA Sabine Winton "This is an exciting opportunity for businesses to expand and for jobs to be created in the northern suburbs, and I expect the latest land release will create significant interest." Comment attributed to Burns Beach MLA Mark Folkard "As we continue the process of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, our Government will continue to do everything we can to cut red tape and support local businesses to support our economy and create jobs." Comment attributed to Joondalup MLA Emily Hamilton "Meridian Park Industrial Estate continues to grow, driving investment and job opportunities for people in the fast-growing northern suburbs of Perth." Premier's office - 6552 5000 Lands Minister - 6552 5900
Exciting new job opportunities at WA’s stunning new museum9333Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml3/06/2020 12:11:25 AM2020-06-02T22:00:00Z Visitor Services Officer positions for new museum go live Frontline, permanent jobs key to excellent visitor experiences Stunning new attraction on schedule to open in November 3,300 jobs have been created over the life of the project The new Western Australian Museum is on track to open in the Perth Cultural Centre in November, and is today advertising up to 30 new permanent positions for frontline visitor services staff, as well as opportunities to join a pool of casual staff. The positions are a mix of full-time and part-time Visitor Services Officer (VSO) roles. VSOs are key to creating an excellent journey and memorable experiences for every museum visitor. The new museum will share the stories of Western Australia's people and places. People from diverse backgrounds are actively encouraged to apply for these positions. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and those from multicultural backgrounds will be an important part of the team sharing the stories of our State with the rest of the world. The new museum will be a gateway for visitors to explore the wonders of Western Australia and will be a welcoming and inclusive place for everyone. It is one of seven public sites managed by the Western Australian Museum - a vibrant centre of inspiration, learning and enjoyment for people of all ages. The WA Museum preserves, documents and shares collections relating to the State's natural and cultural heritage. It collaborates with people across WA to share the voices and stories of diverse communities. It works alongside national and international partners, contributing to global research, promoting life-long learning, and hosting world-class exhibitions. The new museum building in the Perth Cultural Centre is a stunning architectural statement with deep historical roots. Designed by the international consortium of Hassell+OMA, it ingeniously integrates five of Perth's most extraordinary heritage buildings with a new, dynamic build that boasts clean lines and dramatic spaces. As part of the major building works the interiors of the heritage buildings have been cleaned and restored, and beautiful architectural features revealed. The WA Museum is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to having an equitable and diverse working environment, providing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people with disability, and people from culturally diverse backgrounds. For more information or to apply, visit http// Comments attributed to Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman "This is an exciting opportunity for anyone who loves museums and wants to help us share the amazing stories of Western Australia and its people, with the rest of the world. "We are looking for a dynamic, diverse team with a flair for customer service to ensure a great experience for all our visitors. "If you think this is you, then we want to hear from you!" Minister's office - 6552 5400
Aboriginal History WA helping Western Australians unlock their Aboriginal ancestry9334Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml3/06/2020 12:04:25 AM2020-06-02T21:00:00Z Western Australians can access a substantial range of historical and genealogical records pertaining to their Aboriginal history Truth-telling is an important part of healing and reconciliation for Aboriginal people Reconciliation Week gives Western Australians an opportunity to learn and embrace Aboriginal historyAboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt is encouraging Western Australians to use the services of Aboriginal History WA (AHWA) to learn about their Aboriginal ancestry, after gaining access to his own family records. The Healing Foundation recently identified the need for individuals impacted by past government policies to have access to records about themselves, their families and origins for healing and reconciliation to occur. The Minister, whose father was placed at Sister Kate's, a children's orphanage in Queens Park, previously accessed his family records to get a greater understanding of his ancestry and connection to country. AHWA, a unit in the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, manages access to restricted historical records and provides information in response to requests. It has a range of ways to locate family history and can create comprehensive genealogies. In the last financial year, AHWA responded to more than 300 applications for information. The AHWA also undertakes historical projects that promote an in-depth understanding and awareness of Aboriginal history of Western Australia. These projects include the Gnarla Boodja Mili Mili map, which shows the traditional Aboriginal place names for the inner Perth area. AHWA services align with a number of recommendations from the Bringing Them Home Report. For more information, and to apply for this service, visit https// Comments attributed to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt "My father was forcibly removed from his family as a child in 1940, and I only discovered this after his death by accessing family history information from Aboriginal History WA. "It was through this research that I realised he was born in Moore River Native Settlement, not Meekatharra where he said he was born. He never wanted to publicly claim Moore River as his birthplace. "He tried to ensure that my sister and I never had the same battles he did, so he shielded us from the pain he and his family endured by having their life controlled by authorities. "I encourage Aboriginal people who are seeking to work out who they are, where they are from and who they are connected to, to seek out their family history. "It is moving and confronting but knowing the truth can bring healing and reconciliation which is incredibly important for our lives and nation." Minister's office - 6552 5900
Western Australia expands asymptomatic COVID-19 testing9332Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements20120html2/06/2020 6:42:22 AM2020-06-02T06:30:00Z School staff, transport workers and tourism industry employees invited to participate in DETECT Snapshot program. Number of eligible staff increased by several thousand to provide greater insight into any undiagnosed community cases.Following a successful start to the two-week DETECT Snapshot asymptomatic COVID-19 testing program, the McGowan Government has today announced a major expansion of work groups eligible for participation. From tomorrow until Wednesday June 10, the following workers who are aged over 18 years and display no symptoms of COVID-19 will be able to undergo a swab test for the virus School staff involved in any function in a school setting (pre-kindergarten to Year 12), including Department of Education employees; Tourism sector staff of accredited tourism businesses; Transport workers such as truck, bus and train drivers, maritime workers, security and customer service staff working in public transport, and aviation workers Healthcare workers including Western Australian Health staff, employees in private hospitals, residential aged care facilities, general practices, pharmacies, the disability sector, or any worker employed by an organisation delivering health services; WA Police staff; Meat workers employed in an abattoir, meat packing or in further processing such as small goods manufacture Retail workers such as employees in supermarkets, department stores and specialty stores; and Hospitality workers such as employees in cafes, restaurants, pubs or hotels.Participation is voluntary and testing is available at more than 100 public and private clinics and drive-through facilities across WA. The program is being delivered with the support of PathWest, WA's public health service providers, Australian Clinical Labs, Clinipath, and Western Diagnostic Pathology. There are convenient drive-through options in Burswood, Busselton, Mandurah, Midland, Mt Hawthorn, and Myaree, and testing is available in mobile clinics at Bunbury Forum, Galleria, Lakeside Joondalup, Mandurah Forum, and Midland Gate shopping centres. Since the start of DETECT Snapshot, approximately 3,000 tests results have been returned and all were negative for COVID-19. The majority of participants were healthcare workers (76%), followed by retail workers (14%). The program has provided further evidence in support of the view that WA has no sustained community transmission. People who fit the criteria can resume normal activities immediately and will be informed of a negative result via SMS. Anyone who tests positive will be followed up in line with existing Public Health procedures, including isolation and identification of any contacts for follow-up and quarantine. Testing for the remainder of the population still requires COVID-19 symptoms to be present, with the exception of those participating in approved research studies or where approval has been granted by the Chief Health Officer Anyone with fever, history of fever, or respiratory symptoms including shortness of breath, cough and/or sore throat should be tested at a designated COVID-19 clinic. Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook "To have about 3,000 people participate to date in the DETECT Snapshot program is outstanding and it is extremely pleasing that we have detected no cases of COVID-19. "From today, more clinics have opened so that there are a range of convenient testing options available and some private operators are in a position to offer larger employers testing in their workplaces. "I would encourage participation from as many eligible adults as possible before close of clinics on Wednesday June 10, 2020." Minister's office - 6552 6500
Joint media statement - Freeway upgrades to ease traffic pain9331Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements19830html2/06/2020 12:08:57 AM2020-06-02T00:00:00Z Commuters will enjoy a smoother run on both the Mitchell and Kwinana freeways this week with additional lanes opening and speed limits returned to 100kmh. Construction on the Mitchell Freeway upgrade from Cedric Street to Vincent Street was finished over the long weekend and means speed limits have returned to 100kmh. Later this week a new third lane on the Kwinana Freeway between Russell Road and Beeliar Drive will also open as well as a third and fourth lane from Berrigan Drive to Farrington Road. More than 500 local jobs have been created across both the Mitchell and Kwinana freeways widening projects highlighting the Federal and WA Governments' commitment to local jobs. Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said the works were part of a wider transformation of Perth's roads with an unprecedented number of projects underway. "You can see construction activity everywhere across the city, on the Kwinana Freeway, Scarborough Beach Road and Armadale Road to North Lake Road Bridge and of course the massive METRONET," Mr Tudge said. "Making sure we are injecting much needed infrastructure funds into the WA economy and creating jobs for hard working West Australians is a top priority as we make our way out of the COVID pandemic." Western Australian Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the Western Australian Government continued to change Perth's roads for the better. "Mitchell Freeway carries some of the highest traffic demands in Perth, with up to 180,000 vehicles per day and links Perth's northern suburbs to the CBD and wider metropolitan area," Ms Saffioti said. "The widening of Kwinana Freeway northbound is the third of our congestion-reducing projects in Perth's southern suburbs to reach completion, with the activation of our Smart Freeway north of Canning Highway not far away. "Upon completion of our Kwinana Freeway Northbound Widening and Smart Freeway project, over 15,000 current road users will save up to 21 minutes on their morning commute from Rowley Road to Narrows Bridge." Federal Member for Stirling Vince Connelly said four continuous Mitchell Freeway southbound lanes had operated since December but improvements to median barriers between the railway line and traffic lanes had kept traffic management and reduced speed limits in place. "Speed limits have now returned to 100kmh with the project providing relief for morning commuters. Drivers will no longer face bottlenecks at two separate locations where the freeway used to merge from four lanes down to three," Mr Connelly said. "This project will save 16,500 road users up to 13 minutes on their morning commute from Warwick Road to Vincent Street, which means spending more time with family and more productivity." The Mitchell Freeway southbound widening project is jointly funded by the Australian ($32 million) and Western Australian ($8 million) governments and has created 280 jobs. An additional $19 million has been allocated by the State Government for the Principal Shared Path (PSP) with the new bridge and path across Scarborough Beach Road scheduled to open at the end of June. The additional lanes opening on the Kwinana Freeway will reduce travel times and improve safety for commuters while also providing better access to key local services such as Fiona Stanley Hospital. This will be followed in July with the opening of a new third lane for one kilometre adjacent to Cockburn Central station, upon completion of vital METRONET and pier installation works for the Armadale Road to North Lake Road Bridge project. The Kwinana Freeway northbound widening was also jointly funded by the Australian ($39.2 million) and Western Australian ($9.8 million) governments, generating 340 jobs. Transport Minister's office - 6552 5500
McGowan Government commences historic Rottnest Island Wadjemup Project9330Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements16660html2/06/2020 12:01:08 AM2020-06-01T22:00:00Z Cultural authority to develop a pathway forward to reconcile Rottnest Island's history Project to begin healing the wounds resulting from island's history as a prison and forced labour camp for Aboriginal men and boys Whadjuk Noongar people to lead consultation on proposal for commemorating Aboriginal ancestors buried on the island and developing the QuodA project to reconcile the history of Aboriginal people's imprisonment at Rottnest Island is one step closer, with the development of a cultural authority process to lead State-wide Aboriginal community engagement. The Wadjemup Project, named after the Noongar name for Rottnest Island, will be one of Australia's first large-scale and genuine acts of recognition related to the impacts of colonisation on Aboriginal people. It will focus on how best to commemorate the Aboriginal men and boys who are buried on the island, and the use of the old prison building at the historic Thomson Bay settlement known as the Quod. Rottnest Island was used as a place of incarceration, segregation and forced labour for Aboriginal men and boys from across Western Australia from 1838 to 1931. More than 4,000 Aboriginal people from all over WA were forcibly taken there and almost 400 men and boys, who died while imprisoned, were buried in unmarked graves on the Island. The Whadjuk Noongar people are putting in place cultural authority protocols to lead engagement with other Noongar and Aboriginal people across WA. All Aboriginal people recognise that Wadjemup is part of Whadjuk Noongar traditional country, and consistent with Aboriginal customary protocol, it is proper that Whadjuk people lead community engagement for reconciling the island's history. Comments attributed to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt "Extensive research, ground probing radar and community consultation has taken place over many years to recognise and commemorate Rottnest Island's Aboriginal history. "However, there have been challenges developing a unified State-wide Aboriginal view, which has meant that reconciling the island's history has been difficult to conclude. "Ensuring the history of Aboriginal people on the island is recognised is imperative for reconciliation and will begin the healing process of historic and intergeneration trauma from the colonisation of Aboriginal people. "I commend Whadjuk Noongar elders Mr Farley Garlett and Mr Neville Collard for their leadership in developing a cultural authority process that brings together a unified Aboriginal voice to reconcile the history of Wadjemup." Comments attributed to Tourism Minister Paul Papalia "Appreciating the significance and story of Wadjemup will help us all better understand our shared history and move together on a journey of reconciliation. "The pathway of cultural authority and processes proposed by Whadjuk elders will deliver over time a reconciled story of Rottnest that will be inclusive of all Western Australians and enhance the island's status as an iconic tourist and cultural landmark in Western Australia." Comment attributed to Whadjuk Elder Neville Collard "This has been a very important issue for Aboriginal people for many years, but we now believe the time is right to work with Government to recognise and commemorate the history of the Island." Comment attributed to Whadjuk Elder Farley Garlett "As Whadjuk people we really appreciate the responsibility we have, under Aboriginal cultural protocol, to lead this engagement. It is a responsibility we take up in the spirit of healing and moving forward." Aboriginal Affairs Minister's office - 6552 5900Tourism Minister's office - 6552 5600
WA locals urged to ‘Wander out Yonder’ and explore stunning State9329Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements23110html1/06/2020 3:48:33 AM2020-06-01T03:45:00Z New intrastate campaign encourages people to experience WA adventures Western Australians who can are urged to holiday in WA and support small businesses Advertising includes radio, digital, partnerships and print Supported by State Government, through Tourism WA Swimming with whale sharks, stargazing with the world's first astronomers or discovering hidden waterfalls and forgotten gorges are just some of the unique Western Australian experiences that form part of the State Government's new intrastate campaign to entice people to get out and explore our wonderful Perth city and regional WA. Launched on WA Day, the 'Wander out Yonder' campaign is supported by the State Government, through Tourism Western Australia, and follows the majority of regional travel restrictions being lifted on Friday, May 29. The State Government has also written to the Federal Government to have travel permitted again into the Kimberley region from Friday, June 5. The campaign will initially feature print, digital media and radio advertising, and later expand to include targeted co-operative marketing campaigns, including holiday offers across hotels, holiday parks, campervans and a variety of tours and experiences. The campaign's focus is to encourage Western Australians to take a different kind of holiday, enjoy a staycation in Perth or travel to new places, and seek out new experiences across the State. The tagline 'We're free to Wander out Yonder' aims to celebrate the feeling of freedom on our first adventures since travel restrictions were lifted as part of the WA roadmap. With more Western Australians able to holiday and explore WA, instead of going interstate or overseas during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is a chance to drive more economic activity to WA tourism businesses and support local jobs. Since COVID-19 hit, the McGowan Government has introduced a new $14.4 million Tourism Recovery Program on top of the $1.8 billion stimulus and relief package invested so far in response to the pandemic. Examples of the 'Wander out Yonder' campaign materials are available at https// Western Australians are encouraged to support the campaign by using the hashtag #wanderoutyonder when visiting their favourite destinations around the State. Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan "There has never been a better time to travel in our own backyard and support local Western Australian tourism businesses in Perth and across the regions. "The State Government is focused on reinvigorating and supporting WA's tourism industry, which significantly contributes to the State's economy. "With most of the State's borders now lifted, it is time to wander out there, explore and support your State. "Whether it's a longer trip across our State or just a staycation in your home town - be it the city or regions, take your time and go for a wander, you'll be impressed with what we have to offer." Comments attributed to Tourism Minister Paul Papalia "We're asking people to visit places they may have been before, but experience them in a different light. "For example, book into a luxury hotel in the city, take a road trip down to Margaret River and walk part of the Cape to Cape track, or head up to the Coral Coast and explore the many wonders of the Ningaloo Reef. "The campaign reminds everyone that whatever kind of holiday you are dreaming of, you can have that experience right here in Western Australia. "We also want to encourage West Aussies that now is the time to visit that local destination you have been dreaming of. "There are so many adventures available throughout our wonderful State just waiting to be discovered - it's time to Wander out Yonder and have a memorable holiday in WA." Premier's office - 6552 5000 Tourism Minister's office - 6552 5600
Indigenous burning practices to be adopted in WA-first9325Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements11390html1/06/2020 3:33:32 AM2020-06-01T02:00:00Z New Traditional Fire Programs Coordinator role at Department of Fire and Emergency Services Coordinator will engage with Australia's First Peoples to incorporate traditional practices with contemporary methods The traditional fire management practices of Australia's First Peoples will become part of Western Australia's efforts at reducing bushfire risks following the creation of a Traditional Fire Programs Coordinator role. The new fulltime position with the Department of Fire and Emergency Services is also believed to be an Australian first and will help incorporate traditional bushfire management practices with contemporary methods across Western Australia. The new Coordinator will spend their first year engaging with traditional owners, other land managers, and communities to better understand their cultural connection with fire and its uses for mitigation and firefighting. The Coordinator will then help bring together Western Australia's various traditional fire techniques and learnings with contemporary fire management to create new or adapted methods. Kayteyte man Wayne Davis has been appointed to the new position and brings almost 40 years' experience as a traditional fire practitioner and land management consultant. Mr Davis, who is now based at the Bushfire Centre of Excellence, has worked with Federal and State Governments and Aboriginal Corporations in the Northern Territory, Queensland, northern Western Australia and South Australia including in Arnhem Land and the APY Lands. Comments attributed to Emergency Services Minister Francis Logan "Australia's First Peoples have tens of thousands of years of knowledge about the use of fire to reduce bushfire risks and to manage the land. "So the creation of a Traditional Fire Programs Coordinator within a State government agency is a very welcome step in adapting bushfire management and mitigation in Western Australia to recognise that long history. "The Department of Fire and Emergency Services already works closely with Aboriginal people through a range of Aboriginal advancement initiatives and this new role is a progression of that existing relationship. "Traditional owners have also worked with the department across the State to identify and protect culturally significant sites during bushfires. "I would like to congratulate Mr Davis on taking up this inaugural position and I look forward to seeing the complementary integration of traditional fire practices with contemporary fire management to help make WA more resilient to bushfires." Minister's office - 6552 6300
New ‘Super Max’ unit at Casuarina for disruptive prisoners9326Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements9590html1/06/2020 1:15:04 AM2020-06-01T01:00:00Z Disruptive prisoners to be housed in new Casuarina unit to improve behaviours New high-security unit expected by end of 2022 Casuarina Prison on track to be WA's biggest and most complex prison by 2023 Prisoners who seek to disrupt the good order of a prison will be placed in a purpose-built, high-security unit at Casuarina Prison with no external movements or privileges. The Super Max unit is expected to have 40 cells divided into four wings where prisoners will have to prove that they are no longer a threat to others, including prison staff, to move out of the unit. Some extremely violent or disruptive prisoners may also be held in cells that have a small enclosed exercise yard, which they will only be able to access for an hour each day. The rest of the time they will be confined to their cells. Meals will also be served in the cells, and prisoners will be handcuffed moving in and out of their cells and around the unit. Rehabilitative, educational and other programs will be delivered in the high-security unit and anyone entering the unit, including staff, will be searched. The new unit is a progression of the current Disruptive Prisoner Protocol that can be applied to prisoners who have assaulted staff or other prisoners, are actively undermining the good order of a prison or are highly disruptive. Under the protocol, prisoners are transported with little notice to any prison around the State and privileges revoked to help prisoners change their behaviour and comply with prison rules and procedures. The new unit is expected to be complete by the end of 2022 and is part of the 344-bed expansion of Casuarina Prison's custodial capacity, which will also include support for priority one mental health cases, and aged care and special needs prisoners. The 344-bed expansion, along with the recent addition of 512 new beds including a new alcohol and other drug treatment prison for men, will make Casuarina the State's biggest and most complex prison by the end of 2023. Comments attributed to Corrective Services Minister Francis Logan "The Disruptive Prisoner Protocol has delivered good results since it was introduced to help certain prisoners understand that they do not run a prison and that the rules and practices apply to them as well. "This new punishment unit should send a very clear and simple message to those prisoners and any others who think to undermine the good order of a prison if you play up, you get shipped out. "You will not enjoy your time in the Super Max, and your movements will be severely restricted until you change your behaviour. "These measures are to ensure strict discipline across our prisons so that the actions of a certain few do not adversely affect the majority who follow the rules. "This also helps with staff safety and rehabilitative efforts. A prison's good order keeps everyone safe. "When this new unit is complete by the end of 2022, as is currently proposed, it will be a game-changer for how our prison estate is run. "I hope that the cells are rarely used, but if they are, I hope that those who pass through them spread the word throughout the prison estate that it is not a place you want to go." Minister's office - 6552 6300
State-of-the-art operating theatres open at Northam Health Campus9328Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements10750html1/06/2020 1:03:01 AM2020-06-01T00:00:00Z Two fully integrated operating theatres featuring state-of-the-art technology now operational at Northam Health Campus $42 million hospital refurbishment part of biggest transformation of country hospitals and health services in more than a generation Improved, modern facilities bring world-class care closer to home for Wheatbelt residents Northam Health Campus has officially opened two new fully integrated operating theatres featuring state-of-the-art technology as part of the McGowan Government's $42 million hospital redevelopment. The refurbishment is part of the biggest transformation of country hospitals and health services in more than a generation. Northam Health Campus has increased its operating theatre capacity from one to two theatres, as well as unveiled a refurbished recovery suite and a central sterile services department fitted with high-tech equipment. Western Australian Country Health Service clinicians have already performed multiple procedures in the theatres in line with the staged approach to recommencing elective surgeries following a temporary reduction as part of WA Health's COVID-19 response. The improved, modern facilities enable the Wheatbelt community access to high-quality healthcare closer to home. Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook "The McGowan Government has maintained a firm commitment to giving country healthcare the attention it deserves and these new, state-of-the-art theatres at Northam Health Campus see us continuing to deliver on that pledge. "These improved facilities mean people in the region now have access to new, modern, state-of-the-art facilities. "We're committed to providing the services people need, close to where they live." Comments attributed to Agricultural Region MLC Laurie Graham "The increased theatre capacity is an integral part of the $42 million redevelopment of the Northam Health Campus and it's great to see more services available in the Wheatbelt. "I commend the WA Country Health Service for ensuring continuity of care throughout this time." Minister's office - 6552 6500
Sounds of the Kimberley heard around the world9327Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements9030html31/05/2020 11:56:12 PM2020-05-31T23:00:00Z Compilation of songs by Kimberley music acts released online Songs have been played across Australia and streamed in 20 different countries Part of the $3 million Contemporary Music Fund A compilation playlist produced on Country has been broadcast and streamed to over 20 countries around the world. Sounds of The Kimberley features 10 original songs from Kimberley-based acts who worked with established Western Australia producers and sound engineers to record the tracks on Djugun/Yawuru Country. Since its release on April 24, the compilation has been streamed over 10,000 times on SoundCloud, YouTube and Spotify. Songs from the album have been played by over 100 community broadcasters across Australia. This includes WA-based ABC stations and nationally on Triple J and Double J. The album has also earned 'feature' record status at local station RTRFM and appears on the National ABC local playlist which services over 70 stations nationally Sounds of The Kimberley is a part of West Australian Music's Regional Recording Programs which will continue to visit towns and communities across the State. Applications for the next iteration, Sounds of The Mid West, are open now. $215,000 from the Contemporary Music Fund was invested in the programs in order to support music artists and audio engineers with limited or no access to professional recording facilities to record, publish and promote original songs. Listen to the Sounds of the Kimberley at http// Comments attributed to Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman "There is extraordinary creative talent to be found in regional Western Australia and the Contemporary Music Fund is supporting these up-and-coming musicians and producers to share their new and original work with the world. "As the physical launch of the project was unable to go ahead because of COVID-19, I am delighted to see the incredible success of this playlist online." Comments attributed to Kimberley MLA Josie Farrer "To have 10 original songs from Kimberley-based acts broadcast and streamed around the world is just wonderful. "Thanks to the McGowan Government's Contemporary Music Fund, our local artists have had valuable exposure to new markets, something that would have been very difficult to achieve otherwise, if not impossible." Minister's office - 6552 5400
Next step needed to protect children from tobacco harm9323Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements12860html31/05/2020 1:49:10 AM2020-05-30T23:00:00Z Theme of today's World No Tobacco Day is protecting youth from industry manipulation Growing concerns over cigarette engineering designed to get children hooked Western Australia leading charge in making tobacco products less appealing to young people The McGowan Government is leading the charge across Australia in considering bold new measures to combat the way cigarettes are engineered. There are growing concerns that it is not only the ingredients in tobacco products that are highly dangerous, but also the way they are manipulated which makes the taste more appealing. This includes designing filters with special venting and 'squeeze' flavour capsules that can be crushed to release flavours that mask the chemical taste. As a result, young people trying them for the first time can more easily inhale without the harsh taste, and this can lead to quicker addiction and a considerably shorter and unhealthy lifetime of smoking. Health Minister Roger Cook is planning to raise his concerns with Commonwealth, State and Territory health ministers to investigate whether new laws were needed to control the composition and engineering of cigarettes. New measures to regulate the ingredients and design of tobacco products are seen as the 'next step' in tobacco control and have been identified in key planning strategies including the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the National Tobacco Strategy 2012-2018 and the Western Australian Health Promotion Strategic Framework 2017-2021. Australia has been a world leader in tobacco control measures such as plain packaging, and last year the McGowan Government introduced a raft of laws, including several specifically aimed at reducing tobacco exposure in children. These include banning the sale of fruit and confectionery-flavoured cigarettes, and packets that can be split into smaller packs of less than 20 cigarettes to appeal to children. From September this year, retail shop assistants under the age of 18 will not be able to sell tobacco products. This is part of the McGowan Government's plan build on its success story in significantly reducing smoking rates in children. Weekly smoking rates in 12 to 17-year-old school students fell from 21 per cent in 1984 to five per cent in 2017. Over the same period, the proportion who had never smoked increased from 32 to 83 per cent. Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook "While the fall in the number of Western Australian kids and teenagers smoking is very encouraging, we know the tobacco industry is always looking for new ways to get them hooked and make it hard for them to quit. "I will be raising the issue of the contents and design of tobacco products with my health colleagues in other States to look at what we can do to regulate products. "Requiring full disclosure of individual cigarette ingredients has been on the national tobacco control agenda in Australia for many years, and merits further consideration. "We cannot sit back on our laurels while we still have more than 1,500 Western Australians dying each year because they smoked, and we certainly don't want any new generations of smokers." Minister's office - 6552 6500
New WA code provides certainty for commercial tenants9320Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements14960html29/05/2020 7:04:42 AM2020-05-29T07:00:00Z Framework for rent relief negotiations between commercial tenants and landlords Code applies to small businesses with turnover of less than $50 million a year Landlords required to respond to written requests from tenants in 14 daysThe McGowan Government has introduced a new code of conduct to help commercial tenants and landlords reach agreements about rent during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The code applies to small businesses, including retail stores, with an annual turnover of less than $50 million and which qualify for the JobKeeper scheme or have experienced a decline in turnover of 30 per cent or more during the emergency period (six months from March 30, 2020). Small charities only need to show a 15 per cent reduction in turnover. The code provides guidelines to assist commercial tenants and landlords to negotiate a rent relief agreement during COVID-19 to ensure businesses survive the economic downturn associated with the pandemic. It implements the key principles of a national code released by National Cabinet last month. The code outlines a process for tenants to request rent relief and landlords are required to offer relief at least proportionate to the reduction in turnover that the business has suffered; and provide at least half of that rent relief as a waiver, with the rest to be either deferred or waived.The code was developed by Consumer Protection as part of the regulations of the Commercial Tenancies (COVID-19 Response) Act 2020. The code will operate in conjunction with the Act, which provides protections such as a moratorium on evictions for small commercial tenants and prevents a landlord from increasing rent or charging interest on arrears during the emergency period. For more information about the legislation, visit http// For practical advice on the best way to reach an agreement on rent relief under the new code, small commercial tenants and their landlords are encouraged to visit the Small Business Development Corporation's website http// Comments attributed to Commerce Minister John Quigley "The McGowan Government's code complements a moratorium on commercial tenancy evictions for non-payment of rent and the setting aside of $100 million in the COVID-19 stimulus package for land tax relief grants to be paid to certain commercial landlords in exchange for rent relief given to small businesses. "As the Minister who oversees Consumer Protection I would like to thank all of the stakeholders who participated in the consultation during the code's development. These included many individuals who wrote to me and other members of the Government and business sector representative organisations." Comments attributed to Small Business Minister Paul Papalia "We know many WA businesses are doing it tough. This commercial tenancies code will assist them to negotiate rent relief with their landlords and come out the other side of the COVID pandemic with their business intact. "Commercial landlords and tenants are urged to enter into negotiations with a collaborative attitude to reach mutually agreeable outcomes to contribute to the survival of small businesses in Western Australia during the emergency period." Commerce Minister's office - 6552 6800 Small Business Minister's office - 6552 5600
Phase 3 of COVID-19 roadmap to commence from Saturday, June 69319Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements142000html29/05/2020 5:15:27 AM2020-05-29T05:15:00Z Phase 3 of the WA roadmap to ease COVID-19 restrictions will commence on Saturday, June 6 (11.59pm Friday, June 5) Further restrictions eased based on the best health advice for Western Australia WA the first State to remove the four square metre rule, replacing it with a two square metre rule for indoor and outdoor venues Non-work gatherings limit lifted to 100 people, with up to 300 people in some settings Phase 3 will continue to re-start WA's economy and allow more social activities More information is available at The McGowan Government has announced Phase 3 of the roadmap to ease COVID-19 restrictions in WA, with significant changes coming into effect from Saturday, June 6. The roadmap is the State Government's four-phased plan to safely get Western Australians back to work, social and recreational activities, and continue to restart WA's economy. Phase 3 can be introduced from June 6 due to the success in limiting community transmission of COVID-19 in WA during Phase 2, and on the advice of the Chief Health Officer and State Emergency Coordinator. As part of Phase 3, Western Australia will be the first State in the nation to implement a two square metre per person capacity rule for venues, replacing the previous four square metre rule, which is the current national advice. Western Australians must continue to practice physical distancing and good personal hygiene at all times. Phase 3 will come into effect from Saturday, June 6 (11.59pm Friday, June 5). It includes non-work indoor and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people at any one time, per single undivided space, up to 300 people in total per venue (100/300 rule); food businesses and licensed premises may operate with seated service; alcohol may be served without a meal at licensed premises (patrons must be seated); food courts can reopen with a seated service; beauty therapy and personal care services to reopen; saunas, bath houses, float centres, massage and wellness centres to reopen (100/300 rule); galleries, museums, theatres, auditoriums, cinemas and concert venues can reopen (during any performance, the patrons must be seated. (100/300 rule)); Rottnest Island to reopen to the WA general public; Perth Zoo to open with no patron limit for the whole venue (the 100/300 rule applies to indoor spaces and cafés/restaurants); wildlife and amusement parks can reopen (100/300 rule); arcades (including pool/snooker, ten pin bowling, Timezone), skate rinks and indoor play centres to reopen (100/300 rule); auction houses and real estate auctions can reopen; TAB and other gaming venues (other than the Casino which is being considered separately) are permitted to reopen; full contact sport and training is now permitted; playgrounds, skate parks and outdoor gym equipment are permitted to be used; parents/guardians will be able to enter school grounds to drop off or pick up their children; gyms, health clubs and indoor sports centres will be able to offer the normal range of activities, including the use of all gym equipment (gyms must be staffed at all times and undertake regular cleaning). Large community sporting facilities or wildlife parks that can accommodate more than 300 patrons, while allowing for two square metres per patron, may be able to apply for an exemption to the 300 patron limit through for a decision by the Chief Health Officer. Travel will now be permitted throughout Western Australia, including into the Kimberley region, pending the Commonwealth's approval to remove the Biosecurity Area on June 5. Access into remote Aboriginal communities will remain prohibited. WA businesses are reminded that they must submit a COVID Safety Plan, prior to reopening, to ensure they mitigate the risk of COVID-19, in line with health advice. Premises that opened during Phase 2 should update their COVID Safety Plans accordingly. Phase 4 will be finalised in the coming weeks, based on the advice from the Chief Health Officer and will take into account the impact of Phase 3 in the WA community. As per the advice from the Chief Health Officer, Western Australia's hard border with the rest of Australia will remain in place. Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan "This is another significant step in our roadmap to recovery and sees Western Australia continue to lead the way on easing restrictions. "We've been able to commence Phase 3 earlier than initially planned, due to consistently low numbers of COVID-19 and based on health advice, as has always been the case. "Western Australia's performance has been world-leading. Each and every Western Australian can feel proud that their hard work and willingness to do the right thing during what has been an incredibly difficult time, has got us to this point. "I know how frustrating the restrictions can be. I wish we could remove them all at once, but we need to be responsible and follow the health advice - it's worked so far. "Phase 3 is a big step forward for our State. It allows more people to get out and enjoy a meal or a drink with friends and family, supporting local businesses. "Reducing the four square metre rule down to the two square metre rule is possible thanks to WA's success in minimising the spread of COVID-19, and our hard border with the Eastern States. "It will also allow Western Australians to enjoy more social and recreational activities and continue to get back to a more normal way of life." Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook "Western Australians have all played a big role in our success of managing COVID-19. "Phase 3 is a crucial part of our roadmap to get Western Australia moving again, but in a COVID safe way. "The further easing of restrictions will be welcomed by many, but I ask everyone to maintain strict health guidelines, like good personal hygiene and physical distancing, to ensure Western Australians are kept safe. "The roadmap allows for health experts to review the impact of the changes, before we move to the next phase of restrictions being lifted. "I encourage Western Australians to embrace these changes and continue to support local small businesses as much as possible." Premier's office - 6552 5000 Health Minister's office - 6552 6500
Minister congratulates Yindjibarndi people on High Court outcome9318Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements14410html29/05/2020 4:55:23 AM2020-05-29T04:55:00Z High Court decision marks the end of 17-year struggle by Yindjibarndi people Yindjibarndi people in the Pilbara now have their native title rights conclusively recognised Decision confirms Yindjibarndi people's exclusive possession of 2,700sqkm in the Pilbara Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt today congratulated the Yindjibarndi people for their patience and determination in their 17-year struggle to have their native title rights conclusively recognised. This morning, the High Court ruled to end a legal challenge against a decision by the Full Federal Court in November 2017 which recognised the Yindjibarndi people's native title rights including that of exclusive possession native title. The Full Court, upholding the initial Federal Court decision, recognised that the Yindjibarndi people hold exclusive native title for an area of 2,700 square kilometres just north of the Karijini National Park. This claim was first lodged by the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation in 2003, making it one of the longest running native title claims in the country. Comments attributed to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt "Today's High Court decision marks the end of a successful 17-year struggle by the Yindjibarndi people in the Pilbara to have their native title rights conclusively recognised. "I hope the divisions created through this process can now begin to heal, and all parties can embrace a new era of co-operation and consultation which respects the rights of the native title holders. "Congratulations to the Yindjibarndi for the patience and determination they have demonstrated since first lodging this claim in 2003." Minister's office - 6552 5900