Town service reform plans by year’s end

Tom Zaunmayr andPeter De KruijffPilbara News
Camera IconRoebourne. Credit: Pilbara News

A plan to begin the overhaul of Roebourne’s government-funded services has been earmarked for completion by the end of the year as the State Government presses ahead with its regional services reforms.

Roebourne 6718 Advantage Plan stakeholders have been meeting since the start of the year to identify ways to close the gap for disadvantaged Aboriginal residents.

A Department of Communities Regional Services Reform Unit spokeswoman said the plan would help government achieve better local outcomes.

“Co-chaired by a Roebourne elder and a local service provider, (it has) identified priorities, including the need to establish a one-stop shop for government services in the town, a dedicated family support centre, more family-centric housing, homemaker skill development and cultural healing,” she said.

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“The 6718 Steering Group is working on a strategic plan to outline priorities for effort and investment towards the end of 2017.”

Ngarliyarndu Bindirri Aboriginal Corporation chief executive Susan Shirtliff said the community was proud of what had been achieved to date, but the conversation was only beginning.

“The guidance that the 6718 community is giving is very clear, in that the services need to be created and often delivered by local people, and we are encouraged that the Government might be hearing that,” she said. “Unlike many projects or programs, 6718 will not be a short-term thing, it will keep going until Roebourne is able able to say the gap is closed.”

“We are encouraged by the determination of elders and leaders in Roebourne to keep going down this path, against a tide of frustration and disappointment, to deliver such a milestone project for the people in Roebourne.”

Ms Shirtliff said delivery of services in Roebourne required considerable change in how Government conducts its business.

“We look forward to achieving more traction, more respect for the ideas and the needs of the people in the community, and we really look forward to seeing those changes take place,” she said.

The plan, born in Roebourne’s elders’ yarns, forms part of the wider regional services reform announced by the previous government in response to concerns about the closure of WA’s Aboriginal communities.

The department spokeswoman said the reform unit had begun essential services audits to help work out what basic services improvements were needed to bring each community up to a minimum standard from mid-2018.

Ms Goolmeer said the reform unit had commenced essential services audits in the early implementation sites in partnership with Horizon Power and Water Corporation.

“The audits will inform planning by examining the current state of the infrastructure to help determine what is needed to bring basic services up to minimum standards in each community, with the upgrade work to begin in mid-2018,” she said.

In December Wakathuni and Yandeyarra were among 10 communities chosen for power, water and municipal services upgrades.

The $20 million Pilbara Town Based Reserve project plan, which focuses on infrastructure upgrades and support services, is anticipated to take up to three years to implement.

Consultation for this process is nearing completion.

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