WA’s State and Federal Governments will invest in an innovative accommodation project at Perth’s St Catherine’s College, to support young Indigenous people from remote communities to complete tertiary study.
$12.8 million dollars will be invested into the initiative to double the capacity of the Dandjoo Darbalung programme at the college, located at the University of Western Australia.
Funds will support housing for students from remote communities and build on the programmes the Commonwealth currently has in place to increase the amount of Indigenous students who complete university study.
The Western Australia Housing Authority will work with St Catherine’s on the procurement and construction, while St Catherine’s will be responsible for the management and ongoing operation.
The Commonwealth will fund the project under the National Partnership on Remote Housing, while also devoting $253 million over four years through the Indigenous Student Success Programme.
Construction will begin in 2017 and is expected to be fully operational by the start of Semester 1, 2019.
Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion said it is an investment for the Indigenous community.
“The Coalition Government is absolutely committed to supporting Indigenous students to undertake their university studies in an environment that supports them to complete their studies and transition into employment,” he said.
“I am also keen to see Indigenous employment and business procurement be a key focus of this investment to ensure our investment supports jobs for our First Australians.”
Western Australian Housing and Youth Minister Peter Tinley said the project will have a positive impact on young Indigenous students through the Dandjoo Darbalung programme.
“The Dandjoo Darbalung programme offers a holistic living and learning environment that activates and celebrates Aboriginal culture and supports academic success and employability.”
“The McGowan Government is pleased to support the Dandjoo Darbalung programme, which has the capacity to change lives and positively affect educational outcomes for young Aboriginal people and their communities.”
He said the project at St Catherine’s College has already been successful, but has the potential to do more for young Indigenous Australians.
“It (Dandjoo Darbalung) has achieved a 90 per cent retention rate for Aboriginal students and places are in great demand,” Mr Tinley said.
“Doubling its capacity to 100 students will make it the biggest tertiary programme of its type in Australia.”