The Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA) is pleased to learn today that the WA Government’s 2023-24 Budget has allocated $6 million over four years to fund the operation of the newly established Council of Aboriginal Services WA (CASWA).
“This is an exciting moment in history for Aboriginal people, communities and organisations in WA, because we are finally seeing Government coming to the table to provide the funding that we need to make real changes,” said AHCWA Chairperson, Vicki O’Donnell. “This funding will mean that Aboriginal people in WA can be better represented and be supported to lead service delivery that works for our mob.”
CASWA will be independent and sit alongside AHCWA as the second Aboriginal peak body in WA. It will not be affiliated with any one social sector; rather, it will represent the broader Aboriginal community-controlled organisation (ACCO) sector in WA. CASWA will deliver policy advice and advocacy to Government and other stakeholders, and will provide governance and administrative support to help strengthen capacity within the ACCO sector.
In providing funding to CASWA, the WA Government is taking steps to meet its obligations under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap (National Agreement). Priority Reform Two of the National Agreement requires governments to increase funding for services that are designed and delivered by ACCOs.
While the allocated funding is welcomed, there is still a long way to go in regards to investments in Aboriginal peak bodies in Western Australia, compared to investments being made by other states and territories. This funding is a welcome starting point and will enable CASWA to commence operations in the coming months.
AHCWA hopes the WA Government continues to see the commitment and merit in having increased representation for WA Aboriginal communities on the National decision-making stage, and commits to longer-term, more sustainable funding moving forward.
Media contact: Andrew Webster – Executive Manager – Corporate Services – 08 9227 1631