While NSW political parties battle over how to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on water infrastructure in Sydney, many Aboriginal communities in NSW remain without adequate water and sanitation services.
NSW government agencies have identified over 50 communities, which for historical reasons have not had a single NSW government agency oversighting the quality of drinking water or the construction and maintenance of urgently needed infrastructure.
In 1994 the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission reported on ‘third-world’ standard of water and sanitation services in Aboriginal communities across Australia. These communities have been waiting for over ten years for Government to take urgently needed action, said Robin Banks, CEO of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre.
As the drought across NSW intensifies, these communities remain unable to access NSW Government drought relief measures, such as subsidised deliveries of water for drinking purposes.
Tomorrow, March 22nd, is World Water Day. This year’s theme is ‘Coping with Water Scarcity’. It highlights the increasing significance of water scarcity and the need for cooperation to ensure sustainable, efficient and equitable management of scarce water resources.
PIAC is supporting the Local Government and Shires Association call for NSW political parties to turn their attention to Aboriginal communities in regional NSW, which remain without any level of governmental accountability for the provision of essential services.
We are calling on a commitment from NSW parties to address water and sanitation needs in Aboriginal communities. A lead agency needs to be appointed and a budget to provide ongoing infrastructure investment and support must be urgently delivered.
All NSW residents should have access to basic water and sanitation infrastructure.
MEDIA CONTACT: Dominic O’Grady, Media and Communications Officer,
Public Interest Advocacy Centre. Ph: 02 8898 6532 or 0400 110 169