Far West Coast
The Far West Coast region stretches across western South Australia.
Jawun commenced operations in the Far West Coast in July 2017.
The region is home to a number of Indigenous people:
Oak Valley is a community established by the Southern Pitjantjatjara (referred to as Anangu) on Maralinga Tjarutja lands. The population, which fluctuates significantly and is usually approximately 100, comprises Traditional Owners moving regularly between Yalata and Tjuntjuntjara across the border in Western Australia and communities on the APY lands to the north. During times of the year where special cultural activities occur, the population can reach up to 1500 people. Community members have a strong traditional culture and ties to country, with English being a second language.
The Scotdesco homeland property, ‘Tjilkaba’ is approximately 10,000 hectares in area and is used predominantly for farming, housing and cultural activities (such as hunting). The community comprises approximately 55 persons. The people are Wirangu with links to Kokatha and Mirning families and cultures.
Yalata is located on the traditional land of the coastal peoples, 140 kilometres south of Ooldea. In the 2016 Census Yalata population was given as 197 and a median age of 28 for the Indigenous peoples of the area. The descendants of Pitjantjatjara Anangu desert people, they were brought to Yalata Mission from their traditional lands to the north and northwest when the Australian and British Governments decided to use their lands for testing atomic bombs.
Koonibba is one of the oldest Aboriginal communities in South Australia, and in the 2016 Census listed 127 people as residents and a median age of 23 years. The local Aboriginal people predominantly speak English as their working language, but their endangered local Aboriginal languages of Wirangu, Mirning and Kokotha are currently being preserved and revived within the community.
According to the 2016 ABS Census:
- 20,498 people live in the Far West Coast region, of which 1,432 (7%) identified as Indigenous
- 70% of Indigenous 20-24 year olds completed Year 12 schooling or equivalent compared to 85% of the non-Indigenous population
- 46% of the Indigenous workforce age population are employed full time compared to 57% for the non-Indigenous population
The combination of a large geographical area, small population, industrial diversity, and a pristine coastal and land environment presents a range of challenges for the region’s sustainable development. There are numerous competing economic, community and environmental needs that are affected by economies of scale. Working toward a sustainable future is challenged by the distance from metropolitan Adelaide, and the limited capacity of transport and utility infrastructure, which constrains development and prevents many opportunities from being realised.
The region’s leaders are focused on creating a sustainable future for Indigenous people including through enterprise and youth empowerment.