More education and employment opportunities for Aboriginal people in regional and remote Western Australia have emerged as a major theme of the WA Government’s engagement with remote Aboriginal communities.
Visiting the Fitzroy Valley region and in the East Kimberley, Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said on-the-ground engagement to discuss the regional services reform roadmap was a good way for communities to share their vision of their future, and for government to consider how that vision could be supported.
“The Regional Services Reform Unit has travelled to more than 100 of WA’s 274 remote Aboriginal communities to discuss the roadmap and better understand local priorities,” Mr Redman said.
“These communities have ranged from those with hundreds of residents, such as Bidyadanga and Ardyaloon in the West Kimberley, to remote outstations like Tirralintji in the East Kimberley that have fewer than 10 residents.
“What the team has heard is Aboriginal people want their communities to prosper but they recognise that this means being sustainable and economically viable.
“The level of economic opportunity in regional and remote parts of WA varies enormously – the key is to ensure jobs and business opportunities are available as they are drivers of family and community wellbeing.”
Visiting agencies in the Pilbara today, Child Protection Minister Andrea Mitchell said other priorities raised by remote communities included better service co-ordination for families with complex needs; jobs in communities for skilled local people; access to mental health and drug and alcohol services; and maintaining connection to country and culture.
“This engagement is the foundation on which meaningful reform will be built,” Ms Mitchell said.
“The roadmap sets the broad direction for improving housing, education, employment and human services but understanding the unique circumstances of each community is the start of a journey towards long-term and systemic change. In a relatively short time, there has been good progress with reform, but these are complex challenges and there is no quick fix.”