Premier opens Aboriginal health hub
THE metaphorical ribbon has been cut on the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-operative’s six-million-dollar health hub on Armstrong Street North.
In opening the hub Co-op CEO and Yorta Yorta woman Karen Heap spoke about the gains made in providing an Aboriginal controlled and culturally safe healthcare space.
“The centre is such an important step forward for Aboriginal health and self-determination. It can hardly have been imagined by our founding members just 40 short years ago,” she said.
“BADAC began with a group of Ballarat Aboriginal people meeting to try and improve the lives of our people. Since then the strength of our community and support from funding partners has enabled us to grow to provide culturally safe service and programs that Aboriginal people need today.
“This fantastic building illustrates the very important partnership between BADAC and the State government.”
Before speeches got underway, a smoking ceremony and Welcome to Country was held, and afterwards dignitaries took a tour of the facility.
Premier Daniel Andrews acknowledged the importance of many aspects of the new building and the services offered from it.
“I can’t think of a better way to invest $6 million, create local jobs and provide for local Aboriginal people a place that is truly your own,” he said.
“A place to meet and gather in a culturally appropriate setting, a place to receive integrated care and support, a place that can be a real centre of care and love and respect and support.”
BADAC’s new health hub offers a range of services including a medical clinic, family and elder care, play groups, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, and social and emotional wellbeing programs in an Aboriginal controlled setting.