East Kimberley communities to receive economic development funding boost

The Albanese Labor Government is investing funding to support job opportunities, economic development and promote self-determination and choice in former Cashless Debit Card program sites.

Following Monday’s announcement of funding for Ceduna, Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth, said that two organisations in Western Australia would benefit from the Community-led Solutions Economic Development (CSED) grant opportunity, sharing in a total of almost $4.45 million. 

The organisations to receive funding are:

  • Wunan Foundation Inc ($3.8 million) to deliver a project transforming Wunan's Lily Lagoon Resort in Kununurra into a cultural tourism precinct, increasing First Nations employment and training options and facilitating access to First Nations tourism product throughout the region.
  • Waringarri Arts Aboriginal Corporation ($628,000) to provide a pathway for community engagement, capacity building and skills training, delivering innovative employment and training opportunities in the cultural tourism sector and arts industries.

The CSED was established in response to feedback and advocacy from community leaders seeking to break the cycle of welfare dependence by providing pathways to employment.

Up to $23 million will be available across former Cashless Debit Card program sites.

Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said the Government was investing in community-led capital and infrastructure projects to help create self-sustaining and ongoing local job opportunities. 

“The funding for these initiatives will provide innovative opportunities for training, upskilling and employment in the arts and cultural tourism industries in the East Kimberley.” Minister Rishworth said.

“This work aligns perfectly with our focus on creating self-sustaining and ongoing local employment opportunities in former Cashless Debit Card communities, promoting economic development and greater self-determination and choice for First Nations communities.

Ian Trust, Chairman of Wunan Foundation said the CSED grant would generate long-term social and economic benefits for the community.  

"We believe that the economic benefits generated by this initiative will be significant, and we are committed to ensuring that the East Kimberley community benefits in a meaningful way. We have worked hard to develop tailored opportunities for community members that promote skill development and employment, and that empower individuals to take control of their own futures," Mr Trust said. 

Dora Griffiths, Waringarri Aboriginal Arts Chairperson said the federal funding would be used to create employment opportunities in the cultural tourism sector. 
“Waringarri Arts is very happy to have received funding to develop infrastructure that will grow and sustain the art centre’s capacity to provide jobs and skill development opportunities for our people in arts and cultural enterprise.’’ Ms Griffiths said. 

The Albanese Labor Government has delivered on its commitment to abolish the mandatory Cashless Debit Card program and remove restrictions on how social security recipients spend their payments. 

“We’ve delivered a long term and fully funded plan to ensure certainty, choice and support to communities moving off the CDC program and this grant opportunity is a part of that.” Minister Rishworth said. 

“We will continue to work with local communities across Australia to ensure people are supported, and individual community needs are met.”

A second tranche of targeted funding will also be available from next financial year to progress further economic opportunities and initiatives with key organisations in former Cashless Debit Card sites.  

More information about the outcomes of the CSED grants and feedback for organisations is available on the Community Grants Hub website at www.communitygrants.gov.au.