Water quality well below standards in remote communities

Thursday, May 7

An Auditor General’s report, tabled last night in parliament, has revealed dangerous levels of uranium and E.Coli in several remote Aboriginal community’s water supplies.

Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal Affairs said the damning statistics showed there was a considerable shortfall in investment in Aboriginal health in WA.

“To have communities of people in WA where the uranium content of their water supply is as much as double the level allowed under Australian guidelines is absolutely alarming,” he said.

“Furthermore, tests have detected unsafe levels of E. Coli and Naegleria in as many as sixty-eight communities both of which cause serious illness and can be fatal.

“Access to clean, safe drinking water is a basic human necessity that some West Australians are currently being denied.

“One of the matters I discussed with the Auditor General was the lack of integration of service providers to remote communities; the costs and time delay of sometimes having two service providers travel out to communities on separate days.

“The Auditor General agreed that a holistic approach to service provision rather than the current siloed approach would lead to better health and fiscal outcomes.

“It makes we wonder if the government’s proposed community closures represent an easy way out for problems such as these; an opportunity for them to ‘wash their hands free’ of problems considered too difficult to address.

“This is not a matter to ‘look into later’ or for political bargaining; closing the gap in Aboriginal health means taking revelations such as this seriously and acting upon them immediately.”

For comment please contact Robin Chapple on 0409 379 263 or 9486 8255.

Media liaison: Tim Oliver // 0431 9696 25          

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