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Munarra Centre for Regional Excellence exceeds social procurement targets ahead of 2024 opening

Callan Morse -

Shepparton's Munarra Centre for Regional Excellence (Murrara) is a step closer to opening its doors after topping out on Thursday.

To mark the instillation of the facility's roof, Yorta Yorta Elders were joined by the Centre's partners, Munarra Limited, Kaiela Institute, Rumbalara Football Netball Club and parliamentary secretary for First Peoples, Christine Couzens, to celebrate the milestone.

Murrara is being constructed by majority First Nations-owned construction company, TVN On-Country, which is providing a range of opportunities to First Nations peoples before the Centre's completion.

Ahead of the scheduled early-2024 opening of the complex, the award-winning firm has exceeded all social procurement targets, providing Indigenous Victorians with employment opportunities throughout the project's construction.

Indigenous Victorians have so far comprised 30 per cent of TVN's project team, double the original target, with 23 per cent of the project's labour hours contributed by Indigenous peoples, exceeding the original target of four per cent.

Victorian acting minister for Treaty and First Peoples, Lizzie Blandthorn, said Indigenous Victorians are having a meaningful impact on the Centre's construction.

"The development of the Munarra Centre for Regional Excellence is an inspiring example of how First Nations Victorians are creating beautiful spaces to support the delivery of culturally responsive education, employment, health and wellbeing initiatives," she said.

The TVN On-Country-led project is on track to meet a 10 per cent target of contract value spent with Indigenous businesses, with current commitments at 7.6 per cent of the estimated contract value.

Yorta Yorta Elders were joined by Munarra partners Munarra Limited, Kaiela Institute, Rumbalara Football Netball Club and parliamentary secretary for First Peoples, Christine Couzens on Thursday. (Image: supplied)

The project is the largest ever awarded to a First Nations owned and operated company in the state, creating 12 new jobs and offering direct training opportunities, including cadetships and work experience, for First Nations students interested in construction.

Victorian parliamentary secretary for First Peoples, Christine Couzens, said the project is an example of "self-determination in action".

"The Munarra Centre for Regional Excellence illuminates the path of First Nations-led initiatives and self-determination in action, by actively employing and supporting First Nations people," Ms Couzens said.

Kaiela Institute Executive chair, Paul Briggs said Munarra "represents the future".

"It will impact here and contribute locally, nationally and globally... We are planning and looking forward to the launch of MCRE," he said.

The Munarra development is supported by an investment of $30.2 million from the Victorian Government.

Once complete, it will be a First Peoples-led pathways-based university – the first of its kind in Australia - designed to deliver culturally-responsive education, employment, health and wellbeing initiatives.

Current planning anticipates the construction of Munarra will complete in early 2024.

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