Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) and Torres Cape Indigenous Council Alliance (TCICA) have signed an MoU designed to provide access for councils to exchange knowledge, best practice and learning, and continue to develop new pathways for skills programs that have been running across First Nations communities.
TCICA Chair and Mayor of Kowanyama, Robbie Sands, TCICA Executive Officer Michael Miller, previous executive officer Melinda Eades, and infrastructure and water specialist Alex Ung, gathered to discuss the opportunities ahead at TCICA offices.
TCICA represents 14 of Queensland’s 17 Indigenous local governments, as well as Cook Shire Council and Weipa Town Authority.
TCICA operates as a collaborative partnership of councils to represent the common interests of local governing bodies within the region.
WSAA said the MOU is designed to create an opportunity for TCICA, its members and expert service providers to join a national network for water service providers committed to Closing the Gap and striving to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, with a focus on SDG6.
The MOU is designed to provide access for these councils to exchange knowledge, good practice and lessons learnt and continue to develop new pathways for skills programs that have been running across First Nations communities.
WSAA said the challenges of providing clean water and sanitation for First Nations communities are significant, yet with collective wisdom, collaboration, sharing and networking across the country, these challenges can be – and should be – tackled head on.
WSAA also said there was a need to move swiftly towards a model where opportunities to improve water services are done with communities, not to communities, highlighted in the Productivity Commission’s Closing the Gap Review.
WSAA said that bringing TCICA in at a national level would be complementary to the work that the Queensland Water Directorate is doing with local government across the state, as well as the risk assessment work the Queensland Government is conducting, to help build a robust investment and support program for First Nations communities into the future.
Featured image: Signing of the MOU. Courtesy of WSAA.