Passing of Bill will give access to project grants
The Tjuntjuntjara Community has warmly welcomed the passing of a Bill that will allow it to seek government grants for vital health and infrastructure projects.
The Reserves (Tjuntjuntjara Community) Bill 2018, which seeks to excise an area of about 78,578ha from the Great Victoria Desert Nature Reserve to enable the granting of registrable tenure for the community, passed both Houses of Parliament yesterday after overwhelming support.
The Tjuntjuntjara community has existed on the western extent of the nature reserve since at least 1988 but has never had a registrable interest over the area it occupies, or legal access to it.
The lack of formal tenure has limited the community’s ability to seek investment for critically required infrastructure such as an expansion of its health clinic and the building of houses, while also restricting the community’s pursuit of on-ground economic activities.
Paupiyala Tjarutja Aboriginal Corporation chief executive Moray Ralph said this was fabulous news — and a long time coming.
“It’s been in the pipeline for a while and is not something the Government rushed through, but it’s fantastic that it’s finally happened,” he said.
“It’s been very difficult for the community to attract funding for housing up here like we did recently, and this Bill will change that.
“Things are moving ahead, and we are drafting a community plan with the Menzies Shire council.
“There is quite a lot that’s about to happen, mainly around the whole idea of structuring the community so it’s not just dust tracks in the middle of the desert.”
PTAC chief executive Moray Ralph.