The Federal Liberal and Nationals’ Government is investing $3.5 million into the construction of a tourism and art centre in Wilcannia to preserve and celebrate Indigenous culture.
Member for Parkes Mark Coulton was pleased to make the announcement in Wilcannia along with Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion.
“Having fought hard to secure this funding, I am delighted to announce that $3.5 million has been committed to Central Darling Shire Council for the development of the Baaka Tourism and Art Centre in Wilcannia,” Mr Coulton said.
“This Centre will showcase Indigenous culture and tradition, providing a boost to the local economy through Indigenous employment, and building on the Wilcannia community’s strong sense of identity.
“This project will go a long way to grow Wilcannia’s tourism offering in the long-term.”
Minister Scullion said everything the Coalition has delivered since coming to office has been in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
“The Indigenous Advancement Strategy is working in partnership with Indigenous communities to deliver more jobs for Indigenous Australians and more opportunities for Indigenous businesses to grow,” Minister Scullion said.
“Mark Coulton has championed this project and I can’t wait to see the benefits this Centre will bring to the local community and the region.”
General Manager of Central Darling Shire Council, Greg Hill, has welcomed the announcement.
“This is fabulous news for the Wilcannia community and the entire Central Darling Shire,” Mr Hill said.
“The Baaka Tourism and Art Centre will help ensure we can continue to be proud of this region and its unique heritage.”
Bob Constantine, Project Leader – Baaka Cultural Centre Wilcannia Aboriginal Corporation said the announcement presents a great opportunity for Wilcannia.
“Today’s Commonwealth funding announcement of $3.5 million presents an amazing opportunity to breathe fresh life into Wilcannia; once known as the ‘Queen City of the West’,” Mr Constantine said.
“This grant is testament to the goodwill and generosity of our government and so many Australians. The proposed Baaka Centre to be built here in Wilcannia, with its magnificent sandstone buildings, river port history and more, will showcase a proud Baakantji culture and tradition.”
The $3.5 million investment is being delivered out of existing funding within the $5.2 billion Indigenous Advancement Strategy. The New South Wales Government will also contribute $3.5 million to the project.
Photo Caption: Member for Parkes Mark Coulton (right) and Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion (left) in Wilcannia.