Feasibility study underway for proposed Aboriginal Cultural Centre

25 Oct 2004

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A feasibility study and business plan for a proposed Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Tumut is underway.</>

The Snowy Mountains Elders Aboriginal Corporation (SMEAC), Forestry Corporation, Hume Region and Tumut Shire Council are jointly developing a proposal for an Aboriginal Cultural Centre for Tumut.

Forestry Corporation Aboriginal coordinator, Ms Alice Williams, who is the centre's project manager, said Mr Jim Richards, a consultant from the Wagga Wagga Business Enterprise Centre,  had been engaged to produce a feasibility study and business plan for the proposed centre.

A working committee has been formed to oversee the project, comprising members of the local Aboriginal community, SMEAC, Forestry Corporation, Hume Region and Tumut Shire Council.

The committee met at Tumut on Thursday 4 November to discuss the feasibility study and business plan.  

“We need to examine the feasibility of promoting the recognition of Aboriginal cultural values through the development of the centre,” Ms Williams said.

“And we also need to ensure it is a viable enterprise for the local Wiradjuri Aboriginal community.”

She said the Tumut Shire Council had demonstrated its support for the project by offering a site for the centre.

“The SMEAC recognises that the development and operation of the centre could be most effectively achieved in partnership with other agencies and the non-indigenous wider community,” she said.

Ms Williams said the local Aboriginal community recognised an urgent need to protect its heritage and to promote an understanding and appreciation of its current and ongoing culture.

“The Hume Region is rich in Wiradjuri Aboriginal cultural history and heritage.

“Tumut was a significant meeting place for many Aboriginal nations and clan groups that passed through the area on their way to the Bogong Mountains for annual ceremonies that took place in the mountains,” she said.

Funding for the feasibility study and business plan has come from the Commonwealth Department of Employment and Workplace Relations and Regional Forest Agreement.

The study and plan are expected to be completed by 31 December.

Mr Richards said it was invigoration to be involved in a program, which had so much support from the key stakeholders in the region.

“It is important that the committee gain the confidence and support of the community of Tumut and the area. 

“There is so much indigenous heritage and culture that needs to be documented and passed on to future generations. I believe that this project is the ideal format for storing history and taking that knowledge forward,” he said.

Images available.

Media contact: Sarah Chester on (02) 6036 2110 or 0417 207 669.