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Kimberley project benefits Aboriginals

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'EMBARGOED UNTIL 7 (EST). 1,1 July. 1975


(Joint statement by the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Mr Les Johnson, and'the Western Australian Minister for Community Welfare, Mr Norman Baxter)

The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Mr Les Johnson, and the Western Australian Minister for Community Welfare, Mr Norman Baxter, said today that the special Kimberley project, agreed upon at a joint meeting of Federal and State Ministers on 31 January 1975, was bringing considerable benefit to Aboriginal ' people in the Kimberley region. ■

The project, which involves health, welfare and education authorities represented in the area,' as well as the Department for the North-West, includes the provision of accommodation, for nursing and teaching.staff and classrooms, at various locations throughout the Kimberley region; powerhouse equipment at Fitzrcy Crossing; support for the experimental production of broom millet at Kununurra; audio visual equipment for use in schools; the employment of Aboriginal aides and liaison officers as field workers in kindergartens and primary schools; and funds

for Shires to enable them to employ and train Aboriginal workers. A total of $2.231M has already been allocated to this project. .

The research and planning study into the educational needs of Aborigines in the Kimberley region also approved is now nearing completion and should be available by the end of July. This study, focussing on an analysis of the relation­ ship between the schools, the community and the contemporary Aboriginal way of life will make recommendations as to the ways in can be made more meaning­

ful and more effective for Aborigines.

At the end of June the various programmes were well under way and the majority of capital projects have now been either fully or partially completed. Aboriginal liaison officers and aides have been appointed by the Pre-school Education Board, the Catholic Education Commission and the Education Department, and negotiations are under way to enable the appointment of welfare aides attached

to the Department for Community Welfare.

Grants to Aboriginal organisations in Kununurra, tiyndham and Halls Creek have enabled these groups to commence developmental programmes aimed at upgrading their social situation. It is hoped that these programmes will ultimately make it possible for these groups to develop the skills necessary to undertake major self- . help projects aimed at improving the quality of their lives.

Grants totalling $102,000 were made to the Shires of Derby-West Kimberley, Wyndham, Halls Creek and Broome, to enable them to employ Aboriginal men on projects which are designed to provide training for the Aborigines, as well as enabling the Shires to undertake capital improvements of benefit to the whole community.

Mr Johnson and Mr Baxter said they were pleased with the progress made to date. They said that this co-ordinated approach of a number of agencies to the problems of the Kimberley, region established a pattern which would make it possible to utilise available resources in the interests of the Aboriginal people anywhere in the

state where the need became evident. ' · ' ·

CANBERRA A.C.T. · ■ . ' ' . ' -

PERTH. · W.A. " . - " ... · ’ . -