Western Australian Local Governments with Aboriginal communities are supportive of efforts to improve the living conditions and governance in these communities.
There are 280 discrete Aboriginal communities in Western Australia accommodating approximately 17,000 Indigenous people spanning 26 Local Governments.
Local Government Roles
Local Government plays an essential role in the design and investment of services in Western Australia. Local Governments have a statutory obligation to provide services to the residents within the community, not only by way of access to town-based services and facilities, but also directly to town based and discrete Aboriginal communities.
In nearly five decades since the 1967 Referendum, successive Commonwealth Governments have developed and funded policies and programs designed to improve the socio-economic status of Aboriginal Australians, and overcome a long history of poverty and marginalisation. Despite these efforts, there has been only modest improvement in some areas, and many Aboriginal Australians continue to experience high levels of disadvantage in living standards, life expectancy, education, health and employment.
Closing the Gap
The Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) National Aboriginal Reform Agreement provides the current framework for the Commonwealth, State, Territory and Local Governments to work together with Aboriginal Australians and the broader community to achieve the target of ‘Closing the Gap’ in Aboriginal disadvantage.
The Closing the Gap strategy includes six targets relating to Aboriginal life expectancy, health, education and employment, which need to be in place in order to address the current level of disadvantage.
The Western Australian Government has established a regional services reform program to enable better education, health, social wellbeing and employment outcomes for Aboriginal people living in regional and remote areas. It is a commitment to a long-term process and investment in transformational change.
It is part of the committment by the Western Australian Government to reform service delivery and human services. The starting priority locations are the Kimberley and Pilbara.