Australia is committed to providing opportunities to assist indigenous peoples – both in Australia and overseas – to overcome social and economic disadvantage.
On 6 July 2016, Australian Special Envoy for Human Rights Philip Ruddock and High Commissioner to Guyana John Pilbeam joined Mark Adams of Guyanese NGO partner Special Needs for Life to officially hand over a community water and solar power project to the indigenous population of the Quarrie Village area in the Central Rupununi.
For many years, community facilities in the often drought-affected Quarrie area, apart from the school, have lacked a safe and reliable water supply and the community centre has not had electricity.
With funding from the Australian High Commission's Direct Aid Program (DAP) and the villagers themselves, a water catchment was established on a large roof, a sanitation block and a produce-washing stand were built and an artesian well was restored. Solar panels were installed on the roof of a community meeting place so night-time gatherings could now take place.
Speaking at the project opening, Human Rights Envoy Philip Ruddock said the Australian Government was working in Australia and around the world to improve the lives of indigenous peoples.
Australian High Commissioner John Pilbeam told the gathering that one of the reasons Australia was standing for the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2017 was to encourage people around the world to act to improve the lives of indigenous peoples everywhere.