WSAA has welcomed the announcement by the federal government to commit $150 m over four years to support First Nations water infrastructure and provide safe and reliable water for remote and regional Indigenous communities through the National Water Grid Fund.
This will be targeted at communities that currently don’t have access to clean drinking water. The $150 m is the main component of a total package of $424 m.
WSAA estimates that it will require a minimum investment of $2.2 billion to bring drinking water in line with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and are pleased to see initial steps towards improving water supplies for these communities.
WSAA has continued to engage with the federal government since the release of its WSAA Closing the water for people and communities gap report in November 2022.
The joint announcement was made by Linda Burney, Minister for Indigenous Australians along with other Ministers including Tanya Plibersek, the Minister for the Environment and Water.
As part of the announcement, Minister Plibersek said that in a country like Australia, it’s shocking that there are communities who don’t have access to clean and reliable drinking water. Many of these communities are remote, First Nations communities.
“There are towns that are unable to run dialysis machines as there is not enough clean and safe water. There are communities where the heavy metals and minerals in the water are at such concentrations that the water cannot be consumed safely. We want to start to change that with this investment,” said Plibersek.
WSAA has promised to continue to engage with the Australian Government as it works with state and territory governments alongside key stakeholders to identify priority projects.
As part of project development, engagement with impacted First Nations communities is required to ensure their views, aspirations and priorities for their own communities are known and taken into account.