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Improvements in Torres Strait infrastructure welcomed.

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M e d i a R e l e a s eThe Hon Philip Ruddock MP Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Telephone: (02) 6277 7860 and Indigenous Affairs Facsimile: (02) 6273 4144Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Reconciliation

Portfolio information is also available on the Internet:

IPS 075/2002


Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Philip Ruddock has congratulated the Torres Strait Regional Authority on the achievements it has made, in partnership with the Commonwealth and Queensland governments, in the first five years of the Major Infrastructure Program.

“This is a wonderful example of what can be achieved when governments and communities work together,” Mr Ruddock said.

“Only five years ago, island communities didn’t have access to basics that most Australians take for granted - clean water, flushing toilets and sewerage. This was a real problem for people in terms of family health.

“Thanks to the Major Infrastructure Program, jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments, almost all of the seventeen Torres Strait Island communities now have these facilities.

“This is going to make a big difference to Torres Strait families who’ve had to put up with the lack of these basic amenities in the past.

“In particular, it will reduce the risk to children of contracting illnesses such as giardia and gastroenteritis.

“Local councils are playing a major role in project construction.

“Local people are finding real jobs and gaining skills through apprenticeships. These are opportunities which just weren’t there before.

“I look forward to the further progress that will occur over the remaining years of the Program.”

The Commonwealth committed $30 million towards the six-year project, which was matched by the Queensland Government to make a total of $60 million.

05 December 2002

Media contacts:

Minister Ruddock’s Office: Jeremy Chitty 0418 971 042 Torres Strait Regional Authority: Wayne See Kee (07) 4069 0700