A scan of the current status of water, sanitation and hygiene services and challenges in remote Australian Indigenous communities identified challenges and options for stakeholders to respond to these challenges.
Project implemented: July 2017
To understand the status of SDG6 in remote Australia- in order to meet the targets.
The population living in remote, discrete Indigenous communities in 2011 was approximately 116,000 in 2011. The 2016 Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage report identified that health outcomes for remote Indigenous communities were compromised by a range of environmental health factors within homes and communities. Water, sanitation and hygiene challenges such as poor water quality, limited access to safely managed water, hygiene status and marginal living conditions, have been seen as contributing to these continuing health disparities.
A discussion paper from The University of Queensland and WaterAid (http://gci.uq.edu.au/filething/get/13903/UQ_WASH%20scan%20in%20Indig%20Communities-FINAL-LR-2.pdf) presents a scan of the current status of water, sanitation and hygiene services and challenges in remote Australian Indigenous communities. It was conducted to make explicit the challenges requiring attention and to propose questions to stimulate discussion as to how various stakeholders can respond to these challenges. It was guided by examples of initiatives that have improved WASH services and behaviours.
The results outlined in this report can be summarised as:
A range of effective contributions have enhanced the status of water, sanitation and hygiene. This includes ongoing programs to fund long-term and well-maintained water and wastewater treatment services; to repair and upgrade health infrastructure in communities; to build new housing in communities with insufficient accommodation; and to ensure functioning hardware in homes to enable effective washing and cleaning.