For the 20th consecutive year, the Australian Government has delivered infrastructure, vocational skills training and health care to a remote Indigenous community through the Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Programme (AACAP).
CAPTION: Australian Army plumber Corporal Terry Walker (left), who is an Indigenous liaison officer for the Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Programme in Laura, northern Queensland, working with local resident Kendall Bowen to mentor and pass on his skills. Photo by Sergeant Janine Fabre
This year AACAP has delivered works to improve environmental, health and living conditions in Laura in Far North Queensland. The AACAP has provided almost $6 million investment in Laura, funded by the Government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy and delivered in partnership with the Australian Army, which contributes personnel and equipment to plan, design, manage and complete the works.
Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, said AACAP 2016 showcased the construction and training skills of the Australian Army.
“The 200-strong contingent of Army members, together with multinational elements from Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and Tonga, have spent five months living and working in the Far North Queensland town of Laura,” Minister Payne said.
“During this time, soldiers from a variety of Army trades and professions have constructed a waste water disposal system, a multi-purpose facility, a roof over the local basketball court and new footpaths.
“In delivering these projects, the men and women of the Australian Army have served Laura, providing assistance and opportunity at home as they have done overseas.”
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion, said AACAP was a practical way of delivering project management, construction, health and veterinary services to remote Indigenous communities.
“AACAP is about listening to the needs of the Indigenous residents and working together to make a real difference at a local level. The programme delivers on-the-ground assistance to improve essential services like water, power and sewerage, community infrastructure, health and municipal services,” Minister Scullion said.
“In 2016 the Army training team, in collaboration with the registered training organisation Training Connections Australia, delivered nationally-accredited courses in construction and hospitality.
“The Army also worked with the Indigenous capacity-building organisation, Many Rivers, to provide business and administration training specifically tailored to the needs of the local Aboriginal corporation, Ang-Gnarra. Training was focused on employment opportunities and healthy lifestyles. The National Rugby League also conducted accredited referee and coaching courses.
“The Government will continue to support AACAP into its 21st year, with the Army deploying to the remote Indigenous New South Wales community of Toomelah. The 2017 project will have a budget of up to $7 million to deliver improvements to environmental, health and living conditions.”
Federal Member for Leichhardt, Warren Entsch, thanked the Army personnel for their contribution and efforts in the Laura community.
“I was touched by the respect and dedication shown by the detachment members in supporting the community through the loss of one of their very senior elders and his son,” he said.
“At the funeral, it was particularly heartening to see the AACAP participants help with transport and supplies for the funeral, and also catering for the wake.
“It’s these sorts of actions that really build long-term relationships between those involved in the military attachment and the local community.
“It was a job very well done.”.
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