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What the Papers Say

Power and water a boost to community

The opening of a renewable energy plant and water filtration system are set to dramatically improve power and water supplies at the Pilbara’s Mingullatharndo Aboriginal community.

The community’s new water treatment plant, which uses advanced membrane technology, and a solar diesel hybrid power system with battery storage was opened by Federal Member for Durack Melissa Price at a commissioning event at Mingullatharndo on Monday, March 19.

In what could be a pilot project for other Aboriginal communities, the new systems will provide the entirety of Mingullatharndo’s potable water supply and 80 per cent of its power, stopping residents from having to go out of their way to avoid contaminated water and deal with unreliable and expensive electricity.

Mingullatharndo chairman Marshall Smith said having reliable access to energy and water would allow the community to focus on expanding its business activities. “Our plans are to build the economic base of the community through commercial enterprise to support these endeavours and I am pleased to say that this project has allowed this to commence,” he said.

The off-grid water and power project was funded by $181,900 from Aboriginal advancement organisation the Unity of First People of Australia and $545,700 from the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund.

First Acuity Management Enterprises managing director Noel Bridge, who oversaw the project, said he was proud to support a project of social and economic benefit to Mingullatharndo and help improve access to basic resources, which was too often a problem in remote Aboriginal communities.

“Water is as essential to life as the air that we breathe and I know there are many other communities in Australia that lack these basic human needs,” he said. “The newly installed offgrid community solar power and water project will breathe new life into the community and allow for such activities as the former extensive plant nursery to be reopened and . . . the art and craft production to continue more economically and at greater volumes in the future, leading to a more independently sustainable community.”

Ms Price said the plant would improve livelihoods.

“The plant provides around 50 people living in Mingullatharndo with flow-on benefits including additional direct and indirect employment opportunities,” she said.

Source: Pilbara News 

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