Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Programme 2019 finished

The remote East Pilbara community of Jigalong in Western Australia came together today for the Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Programme (AACAP) 2019 Closing Ceremony.

FILE PHOTO (14 June 2019): Students and staff of the Parnngurr Remote Community School in East Pilbara welcome AACAP19 soldiers Corporal Ben Fidge, 6th Engineer Support Regiment; Warrant Officer Class Two Alex Buckman, Training Warrant Officer with The Pilbara Regiment; Corporal Kye Claney, 2nd General Health Battalion; and Warrant Officer Class Two Keith Williams, 6th Engineer Support Regiment. Photo by WA Police Senior Sergeant Mark Williams.

This was the 23rd consecutive year the Australian Army has deployed to a remote Indigenous community to deliver infrastructure, vocational skills training and health-care services.

More than 150 ADF personnel, along with teams from Papua New Guinea and Tonga, have spent three months building projects including a public amenities block and a youth and family centre.

Minister for Indigenous Affairs Ken Wyatt said AACAP was an important element of the Australian government’s Closing the Gap initiative.

“The Army has done incredible work during AACAP 2019 to improve health, education and employment outcomes for the Jigalong community,” Minister Wyatt said.

“The Army Dental Clinic made a significant contribution to improving health in the community, treating more than 60 residents in Jigalong.

“The Vocational Training Program was also a huge success with four paid positions in the local construction industry created, along with one paid position in the local school, and TAFE qualifications in tourism awarded to three trainees.”

Local Federal member and Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said Jigalong was the first Pilbara community to benefit from AACAP.

“On behalf of the people of Jigalong, in my electorate of Durack, I wish to thank the Army for their hard work and involvement in the community over the past three months,” Minister Price said.

“The Jigalong community have thoroughly enjoyed hosting the AACAP members, and have engaged with them through weekly sport, school visits and special events, including a Welcome to Country ceremony and NAIDOC Week celebrations.”

AACAP is a joint initiative between the National Indigenous Australians Agency and the Australian Army, conducted annually since 1997.

Planning is already underway for the next AACAP, which will be delivered in Pormpuraaw, Queensland.

For further information on AACAP visit:
https://www.army.gov.au/our-people/army-indigenous-community/army-indigenous-initiatives
https://www.niaa.gov.au/indigenous-affairs/land-and-housing/army-aboriginal-community-assistance-programme.
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Brian Hartigan

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