The community of Toomelah in the far north of NSW is receiving a significant upgrade to its infrastructure, as well as health and training benefits for local residents, thanks to the Coalition Government’s Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Programme (AACAP).
The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, and the Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton, visited Toomelah today to see first-hand the benefits AACAP was providing to the local community.
The AACAP, now in its 21st year, is an annual project that delivers infrastructure, skills training and health care to remote Indigenous communities.
The Coalition Government is providing $7 million to fund the investment in infrastructure and other services through the Indigenous Affairs portfolio in addition to the support provided by the Australian Army, which contributes personnel and equipment to plan, design, manage and complete the works.
“Around 160 Army personnel are on the ground in Toomelah building a new multi-purpose facility, repairing and constructing roads, renovating the church and making improvements to the local sports oval, among other projects,” Minister Scullion said.
“As a direct result of this programme, residents are participating in training courses in fields including construction, hospitality, business administration and first aid. This will equip local residents with skills to take advantage of employment opportunities as they arise.
“This is a great example of the Coalition Government working side by side with our First Australians and I acknowledge the efforts and advocacy of Mr Coulton in securing this outstanding programme for the community he represents.”
Mr Coulton said the AACAP was also enhancing existing services such as veterinary centres, health education and clinical treatments.
“Army Fitness Trainers are running extra programmes in Boggabilla, including training the much-loved MacIntyre Warriors rugby league team which I’m very pleased to say has made a strong start to the season,” Mr Coulton said.
“Over in in Goondiwindi, the Army is helping to establish a local cadet unit and for the first time high school students are attending the Army camp to participate in invaluable work experience opportunities.”
With NAIDOC Week beginning this weekend, Minister Scullion and Mr Coulton said they were delighted to see the benefits the AACAP programme was providing for local Indigenous Australians.
“This programme is working with the Toomelah community to improve health outcomes and giving local residents the skills to take advantage of job opportunities – two key priorities for the Coalition Government,” they said.
Toomelah is the 43rd community to be assisted by the AACAP since its inception.