Good living conditions are an important foundation for family wellbeing. They are a base from which families can grow and children can develop. Basic services that support better living conditions include:
- Essential services – reliable electricity and water supply, and sewerage treatment.
- Municipal services – such as road building and maintenance, environmental health, rubbish collection, and local planning controls.
- Housing services – social housing for those who can’t afford a private rental, or in areas in which there is no private housing market.
For most West Australian households, these services are assured. However, the arrangements for delivering these services in remote Aboriginal communities are unusual and ad hoc, contributing in many instances to poor living conditions. The same is true in some Aboriginal reserves in regional towns.
These conditions affect residents' health and wellbeing. When a living environment is unsafe, unclean and overcrowded, children are less likely to attend school and adults are less likely to be employed.
Regional services reform recognises that the living conditions of families in remote Aboriginal communities must improve through mutual accountability between households, communities and government.
- Residents must maintain their house and pay the bills.
- Communities are collectively responsible for the condition of public space.
- In larger communities, governments should provide essential, municipal and housing services.