Premier Mark McGowan has announced details of the State’s fifth Aboriginal short stay facility which will be built in Kununurra providing safe, welcoming and affordable accommodation for Aboriginal people.
The McGowan Government has provided $20 million in funding as part of the $5.5 billion WA 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 3,500 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. A site and design for the facility will be confirmed following community consultation with the Kununurra community and key stakeholders. Consultation will begin in coming weeks.
The Department of Communities will work closely with key stakeholders to ensure the development is culturally appropriate and meets the needs of the Kununurra community and Aboriginal people travelling to the town.
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 Premier Mark McGowan:
“This is a significant investment for Kununurra as part of the $5.5 billion WA Recovery Plan to support local jobs and stimulate our economy.
“The East Kimberley Aboriginal Short Stay Accommodation project will deliver a modern and welcoming facility for Aboriginal people and their families visiting the town.
“In the process it will create an estimated 107 construction jobs and inject more than $41 million into the East Kimberley economy to help with the region’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Projects of this scale also have major benefits for the local economy and will boost job opportunities during construction and after completion in the ongoing operation of the facilities – all of which will be essential to the State’s recovery from COVID-19.”
As stated by Housing Minister Peter Tinley:
“The East Kimberley Aboriginal Short Stay Accommodation development 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 by providing Aboriginal people who are coming into town with a reliable accommodation option.
“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 Aboriginal short stay 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.”
As stated by Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt:
“This project will provide many opportunities for the traditional owners of the Kununurra region to further their communities’ participation in the local economy.
“It also fulfils the State Coroner’s recommendation for the construction of a culturally appropriate, short-term accommodation facility in Kununurra for Aboriginal persons visiting the East Kimberley Region.
“Short Stay facilities are one way the State Government is working to close the gap for Aboriginal Western Australians and demonstrate the benefits of the Aboriginal community partnering with the Government to drive economic and social development in our regions.”
As stated by Member for Kimberley Josie Farrer:
“These facilities have proved successful in other parts of the region and I’m pleased to see this significant investment in Kununurra.
“It will provide a vital safe accommodation option for people coming through the town, while creating jobs for Aboriginal people.”
Premier’s office – 6552 5200
Housing Minister’s office – 6552 5300