Nine Queensland councils will receive funding from the State Government to upgrade vital water, wastewater and solid waste facilities to improve the health and safety of indigenous communities.
Minister for Local Government, Stirling Hinchliffe, said almost $20 million from the Indigenous Councils Critical Infrastructure Program has been approved to kick-start the first projects.
“This program is ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in discrete communities have infrastructure to suit their specific needs and the training to support the infrastructure over the long term,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“The end result is safer, healthier drinking water and environment with every community receiving vital infrastructure to provide for a sustainable future.”
The vital projects include a $3.75 million upgrade of a wastewater treatment plant on Saibai Island and an almost $2 million upgrade of the wastewater treatment plant on Mer Island for the Torres Strait Island Regional Council, while other Torres Strait communities will receive upgrades to improve water quality.
The Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council will receive a $2.76 million upgrade to its water treatment plant, wastewater and solid waste facilities and the Aurukun Shire Council will receive a $1.8 million upgrade to its solid waste facility.
Member for Cook, Cynthia Lui, said, “This funding is fantastic news for Queensland Indigenous communities, including Cape communities in the Far North.
“It will deliver these communities infrastructure to suit their specific needs and the training to support the infrastructure over the long term. The Palaszczuk Government continues to deliver for the Cape, and this is another great example of our commitment to the region.”
Aurukun Shire Council Mayor, Dereck Walpo, said the project is tailored to meet the needs of the community.
“Our solid waste facility is in need of refurbishment and this funding program will make a real difference to the community’s health and wellbeing,” Mr Walpo said.
Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council Mayor, Arnold Murray, said the upgraded infrastructure will keep up with the community’s demand for water.
“These projects will directly benefit the community’s health and wellbeing. They will build on other projects in Cherbourg to improve the surrounding environment and help make the town a better place to live,” Mr Murray said.
In the 2017-18 State Budget, the Queensland Government announced funding of $120 million over four years for the ICCIP, which delivers repairs and upgrades to critical water, wastewater and solid waste infrastructure for 16 Indigenous councils.