March 14, 2019

NSWALC WELCOME'S NSW LIBERAL/NATIONAL PARTY RE-ELECTION COMMITMENT TO IMPROVE ABORIGINAL COMMUNITIES

The New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council welcomes the re-election commitment announced at Bowraville by the NSW Liberal/National Party. The commitment would see $55m dedicated to a new "Roads to Home Program" covering 10 communities aimed at improvements in services and infrastructure.

Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts, Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Sarah Mitchell and Roads Minister Melinda Pavey announced essential upgrades to roads, footpaths, drainage, street lighting, power and telecommunication services.

The first 10 communities to benefit from the scheme are:

·         Bellwood Reseve, Nambucca

·         Bowraville, Nambucca

·         Cabarita, Forster

·         Gingie Mission, Walgett

·         Gulargambone Top, Weilwan

·         La Perouse Mission, La Perouse

·         Namoi Reserve, Walgett

·         Narwan Village, Armidale

·         Three Ways, Griffith

·         Wallaga Lake Koori Village, Merriman

NSWALC Chairman Roy Ah-See said "this announcement was a strong start addressing a considerable problem across the state that has been in dire need of assistance for way too long."

"The level of disadvantage and challenges our 61 former missions and reserves across NSW are facing is well known. They have been waiting a long time for this and it brings me optimism to know how much it will improve their quality of life," Cr Ah-See said.

"We look forward to seeing this factored into the NSW budget forward estimates regardless of which political party is elected. Financially assisting 10 communities is a great start but there are 51 others who also need the same level of support as a matter of urgency. The government Ministers making this announcement today committed to expanding the program".

"NSWALC welcomes this commitment but we are also acutely aware that the state is in election mode and this issue is much bigger than a political campaign. We can't have this commitment being jeopardised by party division so we are seeking bi-partisan support for today's announcement."

Cr Ah-See said he was hopeful these upgrade projects would also help stimulate ongoing and sustainable employment opportunities for the Aboriginal community, noting that NSWALC was well-placed to facilitate economic engagement through the recent establishment of its Aboriginal Business & Employment Hub.