More than $2 million in Australian government funding will help pave the way for new developments at Gunida Gunyah Aboriginal Corporation in Gunnedah.

The $2.1 million grant will help fund expansion of the corporation’s Community Cultural Hub Project.

Located on Conadilly Street, the new hub developments will include a community meeting and workshop space, an exhibition centre, a café and functional kitchen, a gift shop, outdoor yarning circle, accessible bathrooms and laundry, a mural artwork on the building’s exterior and improvements to signage.

The Gunida Gunyah project, first reported by the Gunnedah Times earlier this year, is being delivered under round one of the Growing Regions Program, which is providing about $207 million to fund 40 new local priority infrastructure projects across the country.

NSW Senator and Labor’s duty senator for the federal seat of Parkes, Deborah O’Neill, stopped by Gunnedah this week on announcement of the funding.

The government representative said the Gunida Gunyah project was assessed through a merits-based process initially involving senators and members from across the parliament, and then was further assessed by the department which determined the final successful bids.

Senator O’Neill said the Gunnedah project and others like it will bring significant benefits for local communities.

“Infrastructure is essential to growing the economy and creates jobs,” she said.’

“I look forward to seeing the benefits flow as works get underway – supporting local jobs and the local economy.”

Lower house MP and Federal Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton, said the project will help meet the growing needs of the Gunnedah community.

“Demand for temporary accommodation and food hampers has increased as a result of the current cost-of-living crisis and the new facilities, particularly the new kitchen, bathrooms and laundry, will support vulnerable individuals and families who are in need of a meal or a place to shower,” Mr Coulton said.

“Although the announcement of successful applicants for the Growing Regions Program was delayed by more than two months, I’m very thankful to Infrastructure Minister Catherine King for recognising the importance of this worthwhile project.”

Senator O’Neill defended the program’s rollout and said the delay was minimal – a matter of weeks – and urged people to keep the big picture in mind.

“People need to trust their government, they need to know meritorious projects are going to advance and that’s why this community should very proud (that it is going ahead),” she said.

“The more I know as a government representative what is going on, the more I can feed into our processes what is a fair and just way to respond the challenges of regional and rural Australia.”
Gunida Gunyah CEO Jane Bender said the hub upgrade will have a significant impact on the Gunnedah community, enhancing their services to meet a growing community need.
“We’re lost for words; this is such a positive investment into our community,” Ms Bender said.

“Our client intake has increased by 1000 per cent since we moved into this space in the CBD. We have approximately 900 walk-ins a month from people looking for some form of support and we provide 49 food hampers a week.

“This grant enables us to extend our hub, creating a more relaxed environment that will ultimately enhance the experience of our clients, boosting social inclusion and service provision.

“By incorporating a cafe, giftshop, exhibition space, and workshops, we aim to create a vibrant hub that promotes cultural awareness, economic empowerment, and community connection.
“We wouldn’t be able to do this for many years if we didn’t get this grant.”

The Gunnedah grant was one of several announced for the north west region. Also to receive funding was Walhallow Local Aboriginal Land Council ($1.5 million) for the Walhallow community infrastructure project at Caroona; Narrabri Shire Council ($1.4 million) for Narrabri Shire tourism and cultural precinct; Moree Plains Shire Council ($9.6 million) for the Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre redevelopment; Brewarrina Shire Council ($10 million) for the Brewarrina PCYC Youth Hub and Indoor Sports Centre and Dubbo Regional Council ($7.1 million) for Wiradjuri Cultural Tourism Centre and Keeping Place.

Layout design of the new facilities to be constructed at the rear of the existing Gunida Gunyah premises in Gunnedah, facing Little Barber Street.

Construction on the Gunida Gunyah development is expected to start on July 1.

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