Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd today helped open the Wiradjuri Study Centre in Condobolin, which aims to boost employment prospects for the local Indigenous community in fields such as mining, construction, transport, and general administration.
Owned and managed by the Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation, the Indigenous Study Centre was built using local materials and local Indigenous labour, and will apply culturally-appropriate teaching methods to engage the local Aboriginal community and encourage participation in nationally-recognised vocational courses.
The Centre will also feature a Cultural Centre, Keeping Place, Conservation and Environment Centre, Wellness Centre, ‘Yarn Up Space’ and sporting facilities.
It will work with existing local health services to improve health and wellbeing among the Indigenous community by providing culturally-appropriate assistance to deal with drug and alcohol misuse.
Mr Rudd said that initiatives like the Wiradjuri Study Centre affect positive change in Indigenous communities offering access to education, and employment, and improved health, well-being and social inclusion.
“I congratulate the Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation on their hard work and dedication to the project which will benefit the Indigenous and non-Indigenous community alike.”
The Study Centre was formed as part of an ancillary deed between the Wiradjuri Traditional owners and gold mining company Barrick Limited in 2003.
The Australian Government provided $635,000 towards the Centre. This included $300,000 through the Indigenous Community Strategic Investment program to enable the Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation to employ a business manager to oversee the operation of the centre.
The building is made of pressed earth blocks and cypress timber, which circles around a scar tree and features carved red gum doors and Wiradjuri symbols.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin said the Wiradjuri Study Centre is a wonderful addition to Condobolin.
“As a quality venue for workshops and conferences, this place will serve the wider Wiradjuri nation and the local community as a whole.”
Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Jobs, Senator Chris Evans said the Australian Government’s Industry and Indigenous Skill Centre program was pleased to contribute a $335,000 grant to help ensure Indigenous job seekers can receive industry specific, accredited qualifications.
“The Wiradjuri Study Centre will focus on outcomes for vocational education and training such as information technology studies, small business skill needs, horticulture and agriculture related studies, tourism, mining and health related studies and driver licence and heavy equipment tickets,” Senator Evans said.
“The construction of this state-of-the-art facility by the Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation will help overcome barriers to employment and encourage participation in nationally recognised training.”