NSW commences $1.8m upgrade of 8 community hubs to support First Nations families
The New South Wales Government has commenced work on $1.8 million worth of upgrades to eight community hubs, dedicated to supporting the wellbeing of vulnerable Aboriginal children and families.
The state’s Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services, Alister Henskens, said Aboriginal Child and Family Centres provide culturally appropriate services to thousands of families across NSW, offering supportive and nurturing environments that encourage child development and help keep Aboriginal families safely together.
“The early years of a child’s life provide the foundation for a happy and healthy life,” Mr Henskens said.
“These community hubs provide important support and are connected to a wide network of services that aim to improve outcomes for vulnerable children.”
The upgrades across the sites will include new play areas for Aboriginal children with sensory sections, a misting system for outdoor play as well as new fencing, air-conditioning, toilets to enhance the centres.
NSW currently has nine Aboriginal Child and Family Centres, providing early childhood education and care for children aged up to eight and tailored support to Aboriginal families.
Collectively, they also offer 68 different wrap-around services, including:
- parenting support groups;
- supported playgroups;
- disability screening and support;
- speech therapists;
- occupational therapists;
- maternal and child health care; and
- advocacy services.
Work has started at centres in Brewarrina, Gunnedah, Lightning Ridge, Minto, Mount Druitt and Nowra, with NSW Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Don Harwin acknowledging that the centre upgrades will contribute to the NSW Government’s commitment to Closing the Gap.
“The centre upgrades offer critical services that can assist young Aboriginal children and families in many areas, particularly increasing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children engaging in high quality, culturally appropriate early childhood education,” Mr Harwin added.
The NSW Government recently delivered the first NSW Implementation Plan for Closing the Gap in partnership with the NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Peak Organisations.
The NSW 2021-2022 Implementation Plan for Closing the Gap can be viewed on the Aboriginal Affairs website.