A study commissioned by the State Government and carried out by researchers from The University of Western Australia has provided the first detailed analysis of government service provision and expenditure in the Kimberley and the Pilbara and its impact on Indigenous communities.
Lead researcher Professor Paul Flatau, Director of UWA Centre for Social Impact said the report showed that Indigenous outcomes differed significantly between areas within the Kimberley and the Pilbara, highlighting the need for local area assessment.
“For example there are vast differences in education, health and employment outcomes between sub-regions,” Professor Flatau said.
“The report also highlights that health expenditure accounts for the highest share of Indigenous-specific government spending in the regions.”
The study examined 12 sub-regions over the 2015/16 financial year. The researchers assessed areas relating to governance, leadership and culture, early child development, education and training, health, economic participation, home environment and safe and supportive communities.
Professor Flatau said the development of a framework that could be used to measure the service provision and expenditure at a local level was crucial.
“We need to know what services are needed, where they are needed, who they are reaching and most importantly what change they affect,” he said.
“This is essential if we are to meet our targets for closing the gap in Indigenous outcomes. Studies like this are crucial, as progress cannot be measured without a starting point.”
Executive Director, Regional Services Reform Unit, Paul Isaachsen said the study highlighted the need for government policies and programs to take into account the significant differences in demographics, geography and economy in the regions and between regions, in order to provide services that achieve positive outcomes.
“We need a collaborative approach between government agencies, organisations and communities to develop place-based services that meet the needs of Aboriginal people living in the regions.” Mr Isaachsen said.
“These findings are already informing service assessments and planning across the new Department of Communities, of which the Reform Unit is part.”
The study has been published on the Government of Western Australia Regional Reform Unit website on the following links: regionalservicesreform.wa.gov.au/p/mapping-government-funded-services
Professor Paul Flatau (Director, UWA Centre for Social Impact) (+61 4) 47 767 719
Jess Reid (UWA Media and PR Advisor) (+61 8) 6488 1366
Paul Isaachsen (Executive Director, Regional Services Reform Unit) (+61 4) 09 298 810