New life for Noongar centre

AN EXCITING collaboration being undertaken at Mount Barker promises positive long-term benefits for the local community.

WA Police via the Mount Barker police station, Pardelup prison farm and Pivot Support Services have joined forces with the Mt Barker Aboriginal Progress Association to get the local Noongar centre back on its feet.

The progress association has possession of a building in Montem street but has struggled to get it to a standard that attracts the community to become involved.

L-r: Jared Rotoff, Pardelup section 95 officer; Ian Clarke, Great Southern police district superintendent; Frank Krakouer; Lester Yorkshire; Simo Skitt, section 95 officer; Jodi Miller, Pardelup superintendent; Sgt David Johnson; Joyce Ugle; David Patterson, Pardelup assistant superintendent; Quinton Colbung; Samantha Benavides and Renee Pearce, Pivot Support Services. Photo courtesy of Pivot Services

Officer in charge of the Mt Barker police station, Sgt David Johnson, previously developed and ran a similar facility at Kellerberrin, where it had a dramatic effect on social issues and crime in the town. “I can assist the Mt Barker community to develop a model here,” Sgt Johnson said.

Pardelup will be an instrumental player, providing labour and skills to breathe new life into the old building through tasks such as painting, tiling, gardening and other maintenance jobs.

Great Southern TAFE will award credits to inmates enrolled in its courses for work they do on the centre, which will give them employability skills and qualifications upon release.

“We are excited to be involved with refurbishing the Noongar centre,” Pardelup superintendent Jodi Miller said. “It is an opportunity for our men to participate in constructive, meaningful community activities that promotes a reduction in crime. “This project will provide a safe and healing environment, and allow prisoners to engage in reparation to the community through rehabilitation, education, training and learning new skills that may lead to employment pathways. “It will also help break down the community stigma associated with prisoners, as they prepare to reintegrate back into the broader community.”

Pivot Support Services run programs within the prison system, delivering wellness programs, life skills and parenting courses. The organisation will also be able to deliver a post-support outreach service. While focusing on the local Aboriginal community the Noongar centre will also be open to the wider community, through access to its programs. The building includes two purpose-built meeting spaces to suit other service delivery organisations.

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