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New on-Country school facility helps Martu students thrive close to home

Giovanni Torre -

Martu students from remote communities will have greater access to secondary schooling and vocational programs after the opening of a new residential facility for students in Newman, Western Australia.

The project received $4 million in funding from the WA Government to convert three houses into male and female student accommodation, administration and a meeting place.

BHP gave the properties to Jamukurnu-Yapalikurnu Aboriginal Corporation who worked with the Martu Schools Alliance and Pilbara Development Commission to develop the project.

Jamukurnu-Yapalikurnu Aboriginal Corporation chairman Melvin Farmer said Martu children who wanted to further their academic studies could now do so while also being close to family and Country.

Two Martu students from Jigalong who are living at the college, Selena Barney and Cheyenne Barney (back row, centre), along with their parents and younger brother, met with Minister MacTiernan and others.

"The Martu Student Hostel will allow students who want a good high school education to have that without moving away from their families," he said.

"Families can stay on-country and in communities and know their children are safe and getting a good education close to home.

"The Martu Student Hostel will be a place for learning and for these young people to become the Martu leaders of tomorrow."

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Tony Buti said reducing educational disadvantage was vital to the close the gap.

"Projects like these make learning more accessible to students in remote areas where barriers to education are often greater," he said.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the project would help Martu students adjust to the challenges of larger school campuses.

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