Some Aboriginal people in Western Australia still live on reserves in or adjacent to a regional town. Many of these residents are separated from economic and social opportunities in the town by poor living conditions, missing services and unusual legal arrangements for land and housing.
About 3,000 Aboriginal people live in 37 town-based reserves across 20 towns in Western Australia. Services vary by reserve, but in contrast to the rest of the town:
- Water Corporation services typically stop at the reserve boundary
- few households receive local government services or pay local government rates
- residents cannot own their homes
- there are usually no individual household lots and no gazetted roads or parks.
The State Government will work with reserve residents, traditional owners, local governments and other stakeholders to ensure that residents have the same services, opportunities and responsibilities as other residents of the town.
The State Government has begun implementing a town-based reserve project in the Pilbara and a similar project is being developed for Derby in the West Kimberley.