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Western Australia Priority Communities

Ardyaloon – Dampier Peninsula
Western Australia

Ardyaloon is located on the northern tip of the Dampier Peninsula, 220km from Broome along the Cape Leveque road. It was settled in the 1970s and has grown quickly to be one of the larger communities on the Dampier Peninsula, with a population of approximately 500 people.

Issues

Ardyaloon is the base for municipal service operations for the neighbouring communities of Lombadina and Djarindjin and a service hub for a number of long term and seasonal outstations.

The Ardyaloon community supports a number of enterprises. The store is community owned and operated and provides a wide selection of goods. It has experienced a long period of stable management and profitability and has a focus on nutritional products.

The Hatchery/Aquaculture Centre seeds, harvests and sells trochus shells and is visited by 4 000 people each year. Depending on the season, 5-10 local CDEP participants are engaged in these activities.

At my meeting on 29 October 2009 I was advised that maintenance, expansion and increased operating capacity for the childcare centre and early childhood services are a number one priority for the community. Funding was approved in August 2009 for an Indigenous Parenting Support Service in Ardyaloon.

The meeting also expressed concern about policing and the response times from the Multifunction Police Facility in Djarindjin which is 40 minutes away by road. They requested that the Warden's Program be reinstated in the community to assist with community safety and school attendance. Reinstatement of this program was also recommended by the Blank Page Summit held in Billard on the Dampier Peninsula in July 2009.

Follow-up

Further expansion of early childhood services will be progressed through the Local Implementation Planning process and will be actively monitored by my Office. The WA Coordinator General is investigating options for the Warden's Program with the WA Police.


Beagle Bay – Dampier Peninsula
Western Australia

Beagle Bay is located approximately 125km north of Broome near the western coast of the Dampier Peninsula. Beagle Bay has a resident population of approximately 300 to 350 people, as well as has a significant satellite population who use the community as a social, service and resource hub.

Issues

Beagle Bay is experiencing some noteworthy successes including the recent reform and improvement of the community store (despite sub-standard buildings and fitout), the establishment of a popular bakery with a widespread reputation, and a motivated women's group with clear plans for the development of early childhood services and an upgrade of the Beagle Bay Women's Centre.

However, a number of longstanding issues were apparent in my 29 October 2009 visit. Community governance remains a challenge which impacts on service planning and access. The interim Community Reference Group is working with governments to plan future development.

Services and opportunities for young people are also a concern for the community. Organised activities for young people are rare, and the region has a significant problem with youth suicide. A youth worker, and youth services and activities were requested. Community members also expressed concern with policing response times. There is a multi-functional police facility for the Dampier Peninsula located in Djarindjin, 65 kilometres from Beagle Bay.

Follow-up

Funding has been approved for a Locational Supported Playgroup and Indigenous Parenting Support Service in Beagle Bay.

Issues raised by the community will also be addressed through the Local Implementation Planning process and timetables, and resources from existing State and Commonwealth Government programs will be identified to address the priorities. Stakeholders and service providers, including WA Police, will be encouraged to participate. I will monitor progress and intervene when necessary with my WA colleague to ensure effective implementation.

I will also ensure that the Local Implementation Planning process includes additional support to address the issue of community governance.


Fitzroy Crossing
Western Australia

Fitzroy Crossing is located on the Great Northern Highway approximately 260km from Derby and 353km from Broome. Indigenous population estimates for Fitzroy Crossing range from 625 to 733 people. Fitzroy Crossing services over 30 small, remote Aboriginal communities and outstations situated in the Fitzroy Valley.

Issues

Alcohol restrictions were introduced in Fitzroy Crossing in September 2007, as a result of a community led campaign which I have covered in more detail in the Closing the Gap section.

The Fitzroy Valley is also notable for its outstanding leadership and robust governance through the Fitzroy Futures Forum. The Indigenous membership of the Governing Committee is broadly recognised as the interface between government and the communities of Fitzroy Crossing and the surrounding Fitzroy Valley. The members have been instrumental in assisting government to better understand community needs and working with them to develop appropriate service responses.

My meeting with the Fitzroy Crossing community on 30 October 2009 was strongly attended. Issues of concern raised at the meeting included a lack of connection between the local TAFE and CDEP activities. The availability of housing for local community members and for workers providing services to the community was a concern as this limits the services that can be provided to the community.

However, the key concern expressed was that the role and value of the Fitzroy Futures Forum be recognised and used in the implementation of the Remote Service Delivery partnership.

Follow-up

I am discussing the issue of training for CDEP workers with the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

I am pleased to note that the Regional Operations Centre has confirmed that the Fitzroy Futures Forum has already engaged with government and will be a key partner in the Local Implementation Planning process.


Halls Creek
Western Australia

Halls Creek is situated on the edges of the Great Sandy and Tanami Deserts, 362km south west of Kununurra. Indigenous population estimates range from 853 to 1500.

Issues

Alcohol Restrictions were introduced in Halls Creek in May 2009. Calls for the restrictions were lead by the Halls Creek Alcohol Management Group despite significant opposition from alcohol retailers in the community. The restrictions have resulted in major improvements in community safety and the health and well being of residents. Police in Halls Creek have noted a 48% reduction in the number of arrests, 35% reduction in incidents of domestic violence, and a 48% reduction in the number of incidents police attend.

The main issues raised at my meeting with the Halls Creek community on 30 October 2009 were the shortage of housing, the condition of public housing and housing allocation, the need for local dialysis services, availability of opportunities for training and employment, and the state of community infrastructure. The existing child care facility (Little Nuggets) is inadequate for the needs of the community. There are currently 25 places available for children, with another 16 on the waiting list.

A further major concern was the lack of progress made on two projects of community significance: construction of the Halls Creek Worker's Hostel on Burks Park Station and the issues with the land set aside on Moola Bulla Station for Stolen Generation activities. These projects were delayed as a result of heritage claims on the proposed sites.

Follow-up

Funding for Locational Supported Playgroups and an Indigenous Parenting Support Service has recently been approved. The Australian Government has also recently announced the establishment of a Child and Family Centre for the community. Construction is expected to be complete by December 2010, with the centre operational in February 2011.

Following my visit, and discussions with the WA Coordinator General, the Kimberley Land Council has agreed to expedite the examination of the heritage claims for these important projects. Local community meetings organised by the Kimberley Land Council to test the heritage claims have now been held.

The WA Department of Indigenous Affairs and the Kimberley Land Council are now working together to expedite the development of the Worker Hostel at Burks Park Station.

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