STATE Housing Minister Peter Tinley today joined other leaders at the University Of Western Australia (UWA) for the turning of the first sod on a $12.8 million project aimed at accommodating Aboriginal students at St Catherine’s College.
Federal Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt, turned the first sod.
Funding for the project came through the Employment and Educational housing program, facilitated by the State-Commonwealth National Partnership on Remote Housing (NPRH) agreement.
When completed, the Dandjoo Darbalung program will be doubled in capacity, providing accommodation to Aboriginal students from regional and remote communities enrolled in tertiary education.
“This latest development will not only helps create and support local jobs during its construction phase, the program itself has the capacity to change lives and improve educational outcomes for young Aboriginal people and their communities,” Mr Tinley said.
He said the Dandjoo Darbalung offers a holistic living and learning environment, celebrating Aboriginal culture and supporting academic success and employment outcomes.
“The program’s 90 per cent retention rate for Aboriginal students places it in great demand. Doubling its current capacity to 100 students will make it the biggest tertiary residential program of its type in Australia,” he said.
The Department of Communities is working with St Catherine’s on the project’s procurement and construction.
St Catherine’s will manage the operation of the Dandjoo Darbalung program which is expected to launch in time for Semester 1, 2019.