In a significant boost for Aboriginal Elders and seniors in Kununurra, the Western Australian Government this week announced the completion of a 16-unit Aboriginal Elders Residential Complex.
The project aims to cultivate cultural connection, reduce isolation, and furnish culturally appropriate housing for First Nations people in the East Kimberley region.
Constructed under the State Government's Spot Purchase Program, the complex will serve Aboriginal seniors on the public housing waitlist.
The refurbishment, which cost more than $850,000 was undertaken by Kimberley-based Aboriginal building group MGC Building and Maintenance Pty Ltd.
In addition to residential units, the complex includes an indoor community room and an outdoor meeting space.
Joining with Kimberley MP Divina D'Anna and community members in officially opening the new facility Housing Minister John Carey spoke to the importance of co-designing and having a genuine partnership with the Aboriginal community.
"Co-design and genuine partnership are essential to ensuring that this new housing development is a successful and vibrant place for community members."
"Our Government is committed to investing in culturally safe and appropriate housing and the Aboriginal Elders Residential Complex is a much-needed housing expansion in Kununurra."
This commitment to collaboration is echoed in the project's management model. As Carey noted, "Locally-based Kimberley businesses and corporations were engaged to undertake the refurbishment works," reaffirming the Government's commitment to community involvement.
State Member for Kimberley, Divina D'Anna, celebrated the project as a "great outcome for the Kununurra community."
D'Anna highlighted the multi-pronged impact of the project, "These homes will provide new, culturally appropriate accommodation for our Aboriginal elders." She also remarked that the facility will address health and well-being issues, including overcrowding, among Aboriginal people over 50 in Kununurra.
The Cook Government's effort in partnering with a reference group for co-designing and implementing protocols for tenanting, servicing, and managing the complex holds promise for an integrated approach to tenancy and property management going forward and has reflected a consistent approach by Housing Minister John Carey to invest in Aboriginal community infrastructure.
In the 2022 Western Australian state budget, Carey announced a $350 million program to invest in housing, water and power for remote Aboriginal communities.