Jackie Mahoney and Pam Corbett, Members of the First Nations community at Alpurrurulam

Water Services Association Australia (WSAA) welcomes a commitment by the Federal Government to support First Nations water infrastructure and provide safe and reliable water for remote and regional Indigenous communities through the National Water Grid Fund, targeting communities that currently do not have access to clean drinking water.

The $150 million is the main component of a total package of $424 million. WSAA estimates that it will require a minimum investment of $2.2 billion to bring drinking water to remote and regional Indigenous communities in line with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. WSAA are pleased to see initial steps towards improving water supplies for these communities.

WSAA has continued to engage with the Federal Government since the release of the WSAA Closing the water for people and communities gap report in November 2022. At the launch of the report, Jackie Mahoney and Pam Corbett, Members of the First Nations community at Alpurrurulam, spoke about the struggle for good quality drinking water in Alpurrurulam. 

The joint announcement was made by Linda Burney MP, Minister for Indigenous Australians, along with other Ministers, including Tanya Plibersek MP, Western Australia Minister for the Environment and Water. 

As part of the announcement, Ms Plibersek said, “In a country like Australia it is shocking that there are still communities who don’t have a clean and reliable source of drinking water. Many of these communities are remote, First Nations communities.

“There are towns that are unable to run dialysis machines as there is not enough clean and safe water. There are communities where the heavy metals and minerals in the water are at such concentrations that the water cannot be consumed safely. We want to start to change that with this investment.”

WSAA continues to engage with the Federal Government as it works with state and territory governments and key stakeholders to identify priority projects. As part of project development, engagement with impacted Indigenous communities is required to ensure their views, aspirations and priorities for their own communities are known.

Feature image provided by WSAA

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