Cultural centre to heal rifts
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.
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.