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Water service upgrades worth $38.9 million will be fast-tracked for Western Australia’s remote and town-based Aboriginal communities as part of the state’s $5.5 billion COVID-19 Recovery Plan.

Western Australian Water Minister, Dave Kelly, announced the funding to upgrade and normalise water and wastewater facilities in Aboriginal communities around the state.

“It is great news that the McGowan Government is bringing forward the delivery of high-quality drinking water to regional and remote Aboriginal communities,” Mr Kelly said.

“Critical to the success of this program is early engagement and a partnership approach with Aboriginal communities to deliver the infrastructure upgrades.

“We look forward to working with these communities to deliver outcomes which support and enhance their way of life.”

The Western Australian Government said improving water and wastewater infrastructure in remote Aboriginal communities and town-based communities was one of its priorities, falling within its commitment to provide remote Aboriginal communities with access to the same standard of essential services enjoyed by other Western Australians.

Kimberley MLA, Josie Farrer, said, “One of the McGowan Government’s priorities during the COVID-19 pandemic has been to help protect the health and well-being of people living in remote Aboriginal communities.

“These upgrades will see the delivery of reliable and safe services that improve health and well-being, as well as create new job opportunities and help more people remain on country.”

These upgrades will see Water Corporation become the licensed water service provider for the remote communities of Ardyaloon, Djarindjin, Lombadina and Beagle Bay on the Dampier Peninsula in the West Kimberley, with planning and investigations to also commence for other remote communities. 

Western Australian Housing Minister, Peter Tinley, said, “The WA Recovery Plan for water and wastewater infrastructure upgrades will provide health, social and economic benefits in remote and town-based communities.

“The delivery of reliable and safe services through the WA Recovery Plan funding will also create a range of employment opportunities for Aboriginal people and businesses.

“I’m pleased that the Water Corporation will work in partnership with the Department of Communities, leveraging the knowledge and experience of both agencies to deliver best outcomes for Aboriginal communities.”

Ardyaloon, Djarindjin, Lombadina and Beagle Bay were identified under the Essential and Municipal Services Upgrade Program as priority communities for water and wastewater upgrades.

Water Corporation will partner with Aboriginal communities on all aspects of the upgrade program, including opportunities to deliver improved livability outcomes.

The upgrade program will also aim to create jobs for local Aboriginal people and businesses, including sustainable traineeships and new employment opportunities to assist with essential service delivery, operations and maintenance once the project is delivered.

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