Housing Minister Peter Tinley met with the major stakeholders today on the preferred site of the proposed $20 million 70-person capacity Aboriginal Short Stay Accommodation facility in Kununurra.
While the details of the proposed development are still to be finalised, including a detailed structure plan, there is broad support among the various stakeholders – including the Miriuwung Gajerrong Aboriginal Corporation, the Shire of Wyndham-East Kimberley and the Department of Communities – to locate the facility on an existing workers village site.
The facility, the State’s fifth Aboriginal short stay facility, will provide a safe, welcoming and affordable accommodation for Aboriginal people.
The State Government has provided $20 million in funding under the State Recovery Plan to build the East Kimberley Aboriginal Short Stay Accommodation project (EKASSA), which will provide local employment opportunities both during and after construction.
Construction of the facility is anticipated to create more than 100 construction jobs and generate some $41 million in economic activity for the region.
The development will be modelled on existing successful facilities in Broome and Derby. Since opening in December 2018, Broome has provided over 3500 people with over 33,600 bed nights of accommodation, while Derby has provided more than 61,595 bed nights since September 2014.
Both facilities also employ many local Aboriginal people, averaging an Aboriginal employment rate of approximately 70 per cent at each facility.
Research shows that up to ten per cent of Aboriginal people in regional centres like Kununurra are temporary residents from surrounding remote communities who have travelled into town to access services that are only available in larger regional centres, visit family and to attend to shopping and personal business.
The Kununurra facility will offer approximately 70 beds and is scheduled for completion in the second half of 2023.
WA’s first Aboriginal short-stay facility opened in Kalgoorlie in 2012, followed by Derby in 2014 and Broome in 2018. In August this year the Government announced funding and a site for a short stay facility in Geraldton.
As stated by Housing Minister Peter Tinley:
“The East Kimberley Aboriginal Short Stay Accommodation (EKASSA) project will deliver a modern and welcoming facility for Aboriginal people and their families visiting the town.
“In the process it will create more than 100 jobs during the construction phase and inject more than $41 million into the East Kimberley economy to help with the region’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“EKASSA will be a welcome addition to Western Australia’s network of purpose-designed facilities in key regional centres, which have significantly reduced the number of people sleeping rough in those towns.
“Aboriginal people visiting Kununurra from remote communities will be able to enjoy safe, secure and culturally appropriate accommodation with access to support services in modern facilities when the new centre opens in 2023.
“The Kimberley’s first Aboriginal short-stay facility in Derby has provided more than 61,000 bed nights of accommodation since launching in 2014 and was selected as a finalist in the 2015 Premier’s Awards for its contribution to Improving Aboriginal Outcomes in Western Australia.”