Champion Centre Reopening

Federation Chamber - CONSTITUENCY STATEMENTS - Burt Electorate: Champion Centre

Watch Matt's speech here

Mr KEOGH (Burt) (16:06): On Friday, I joined in celebrating the reopening of the Champion Centre in Armadale, a unique local government community hub for Indigenous people in the community of Burt that provides a central location for our Aboriginal people to come together to access all sorts of vital government community services and programs. Over the last 11 years, countless community groups and services have been through the centre, providing life-changing support to our local Aboriginal community. In Armadale, we have about a 60 per cent higher Aboriginal population than the average across metropolitan Perth, and so supporting this urbanised Aboriginal community, which gives us such a great history and culture, is more important in our area.

I've brought a number of my federal colleagues to the facility over the years, and it has left them all asking the same thing: why don't we have other similar facilities like this run by local government in other parts of the country? This is a safe space, providing groups and individuals with the help that they need in a comfortable setting. It literally can save lives whether it's through assisting with accessing Centrelink, accessing health services or arranging food hampers when families need them. With Noongar language classes, cultural support, assistance in getting a drivers licence or even simply a place to go to have a yarn, it's unique, and I'm proud to have it in my community of Burt.

The Champion Centre's rebuild was funded through Lotterywest, a one of a kind Western Australian initiative that sees funds from the purchase of lottery tickets reallocated to community grant programs. This $4 million grant is one of the largest single grants ever given to a local government and is a testament to the great work that the Champion Centre has been doing for our community.

I was very proud to be able to have with us at the opening Senator Patrick Dodson, who joined us alongside our state colleagues Dr Tony Buti, the member for Armadale, and Ben Wyatt, the state Treasurer and Minister for Indigenous Affairs. Senator Dodson is known as the father of reconciliation, and he shared with those in attendance that the Champion Centre and what the city of Armadale is doing with it, and, indeed, what all levels of government are doing, is a perfect manifestation of what reconciliation is and what it should aim to look like. And what is excellent is that the council and the city of Armadale, along with state government and others, have given the staff in the centre complete autonomy to do what they need to do to help our local Indigenous community in the way that they need help.

It was brilliant to be able to be part of the opening that occurred on Friday. It was also an excellent opportunity for myself to be able to congratulate our outgoing, longstanding mayor, Henry Zelones, from the City of Armidale, who together with his council and his predecessors have done so much to fight to make sure that we have the funding needed for this vital service. My final thing in this speech is to implore the Minister for Indigenous Australians to ensure that the funding for this centre continues long into the future.