5 May 2015 | General Interest
The future of remote Aboriginal communities in South Australia appears more stable following a funding agreement announced by state and federal governments.
Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, and South Australian Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Kyan Maher, said the agreement would benefit more than 1500 Aboriginal people in remote South Australian communities.
There had been concerns that – due to federal funding cuts to essential services including power, water, sewerage, and rubbish collection – roughly 60 remote communities in the state would effectively be shut down.
The agreement will see the South Australian Government provided with a funding package, of reportedly $15 million, to take up responsibility for delivering municipal and essential services in the remote Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands from 1 July.
“This agreement demonstrates the collaboration that exists between the two governments and is a positive move away from the ad hoc way in which services have been delivered in the past,” Mr Scullion said.
The Federal Government now has funding agreements with Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and South Australia, with the Federal Government’s current funding commitment due to expire in June.
The future of remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia is not as assured, with the state Government planning to close up to 150 remote communities.
Late last year Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett signed an agreement with the Federal Government that would see the state take over responsibility for municipal and essential services of the remote communities. Despite receiving a $90 million payment for the transition, Mr Barnett argues that to continue supporting the communities is not financially viable.
Leading the chorus of voices apposed to the community closures is #SOSBLAKAUSTRALIA, a community-led movement that has been conducting rallies in cities and towns across the country. To learn more about the situation in Western Australia visit the #SOSBLAKAUSTRALIA website, or get involved via the community Facebook page.
A joint media release regarding the announcement from Mr Scullion and Mr Maher is available online.