Cul­tural cen­tre to heal rifts

Broome Advertiser - - News - Jakeb Wad­dell

Con­struc­tion is to be­gin on a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar cul­tural heal­ing cen­tre in Broome, af­ter a turn­ing of the sod cer­e­mony last week.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Nyamba Buru Yawuru were joined by politi­cians, indige­nous el­ders and com­mu­nity mem­bers be­hind their of­fice in the Kim­ber­ley town, where the Liyan-Ngan Nyir­rwa fa­cil­ity will be built.

A num­ber of pro­grams will be rolled out at the $6 mil­lion cen­tre, which will also be a meet­ing place for the com­mu­nity and im­prove the con­nec­tion of the Yawuru peo­ple with their tra­di­tional prac­tices.

The cer­e­mony last Mon­day de­clared the land ready for con­struc­tion.

Yawuru chief ex­ec­u­tive Peter Yu said the cen­tre is a mile­stone for na­tive ti­tle holder em­pow­er­ment.

“Af­ter many years of plan­ning, the cen­tre will al­low Yawuru to bet­ter de­liver cul­tural and com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment ini­tia­tives,” he said.

“We hope this cen­tre can be a lead­ing light for oth­ers across the coun­try who are work­ing on a strength-based ap­proach to com­mu­nity well­be­ing and de­vel­op­ment.”

Among those in at­ten­dance at the tra­di­tional cer­e­mony were se­na­tors Dean Smith and Pa­trick Dod­son, as well as WA Abo­rig­i­nal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Ben Wy­att.

Mr Smith said the fa­cil­ity would be ben­e­fi­cial for the town and its econ­omy.

“The fact the cen­tre is a lo­cal ini­tia­tive, run and owned by the indige­nous com­mu­nity, is the key rea­son for its suc­cess,” he said.

“The project will cre­ate 50 jobs dur­ing con­struc­tion and an­other 17 on­go­ing jobs post-con­struc­tion, which will pay div­i­dends for the lo­cal econ­omy.”

Mr Dod­son said the heal­ing cen­tre would wel­come the wider com­mu­nity, not just indige­nous peo­ple.

“Through our un­der­stand­ing, ap­pre­ci­a­tion, re­spect and work­ing to­gether, we will find the com­mon ground to ex­press in a way that en­hances us, rather than di­min­ishes us.”

The Fed­eral Govern­ment in­vested more than $2.9 mil­lion into the project through the Build­ing Bet­ter Re­gions Fund. The State Govern­ment com­mit­ted the re­main­ing $3 mil­lion.

As well as the con­struc­tion of the cen­tre, the fund­ing also en­sures an ex­ten­sion to Yawuru’s ex­ist­ing Lan­guage Re­sources Hub, in­clud­ing a new hall, gath­er­ing place, gar­den, cafe kitchen, din­ing ar­eas and work­shop.

Pic­ture: Jakeb Wad­dell

Yawuru chief ex­ec­u­tive Peter Yu, Sen­a­tor Dean Smith, Min­is­ter for Abo­rig­i­nal Af­fairs Ben Wy­att, Yawuru board chair­man Fran­cis 'Lulga' Dji­ag­ween, Sen­a­tor Pa­trick Dod­son, Fran­cis Bel­lou, June Dji­ag­ween, Neil McKen­zie, Di Ap­pleby and Nini Mills at the cer­e­mony.

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