State to fund $18m Aboriginal short-stay accommodation for Geraldton

Geraldton Guardian
The government says local businesses are in the box seat to carry out work at the short-stay accommodation.
Camera IconThe government says local businesses are in the box seat to carry out work at the short-stay accommodation. Credit: kadmy/Getty Images/iStockphoto

An $18 million Aboriginal short-stay accommodation facility will be built in Geraldton, as part of a State Government COVID-19 economic recovery plan for the Mid West.

Central Regional TAFE’s Geraldton campus will also receive $2 million to create more specialised art spaces for fashion design, jewellery making, multimedia and digital technologies.

In today’s announcement, the government said its Buy Local policy would ensure local businesses were in the box seat to carry out work at the short-stay accommodation, along with other projects.

The announcement also highlighted $5.5 billion in State spending for roads, construction, manufacturing, tourism and hospitality, renewable energy, education and training, and agriculture, which it said would benefit the region.

Premier Mark McGowan said the Mid West Recovery Plan would drive economic and social recovery in the region to ensure it could recover stronger than ever.

“It will create a pipeline of short and long-term jobs for locals and deliver huge improvements to local infrastructure and services,” he said.

Fisheries and Housing Minister Peter Tinley said the plan would help industries maximise opportunities to hit the ground running when normal trade and investment restarted.

“Initiatives under the regional recovery plan also have a focus on developing skills and building capacity for future jobs,” he said.

“Developing industries such as aquaculture, clean energy programs, improved transport infrastructure and tourism initiatives all have a part to play in protecting, creating and supporting jobs in the Mid West and benefiting the broader community of WA.”

About 96 jobs and $37 million in economic activity is expected to be generated in the Mid West during construction of the Geraldton Aboriginal Short Stay Accommodation (GASSA) facility, which is to be modelled on similar operations in Kalgoorlie, Broome and Derby.

The aim of building the facility is to provide safe, affordable and culturally appropriate accommodation for Aboriginal people.

In developing the Geraldton project, the Department of Communities worked with stakeholders including Mid West Aboriginal Organisations Alliance and Bundiyarra Aboriginal Community Aboriginal Corporation. They identified Bundiyarra’s property, on the corner of Eastward Road and Blencowe Road in Utakarra, as a culturally significant site for the facility.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt said short stay accommodation facilities were one way the State Government was working to close the gap for Aboriginal Western Australians.

He said research showed up to 10 per cent of Aboriginal people in regional centres were temporary residents from surrounding remote communities visiting family or attending to shopping and personal business.

“Building a network of safe, secure and culturally appropriate accommodation across regional WA ensures people from remote communities can get access to services only available in larger regional centres,” Mr Wyatt said.

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