- Largest tertiary Aboriginal residential programme of its type in Australia
- Over 90 per cent retention rate for Aboriginal students
- $12.8 million facility was jointly funded by State and Commonwealth
Housing Minister Peter Tinley has officially opened the innovative new Dandjoo Darbalung student accommodation block at St Catherine's College - giving indigenous youngsters from regional Western Australia greater opportunity to pursue tertiary studies.
The joint State Government-Commonwealth funded construction of the building was made possible through a $12.8 million capital investment through the National Partnership on Remote Housing and a Lotterywest grant of $190,000.
This project, funded by the Commonwealth under the National Partnership on Remote Housing, will double the capacity of the Dandjoo Darbalung programme at the college, located at The University of Western Australia.
The new building will allow St Catherine's, with the Department of Communities, to more than double the capacity of the Dandjoo Darbalung program.
Dandjoo Darbalung helps students from remote communities with accommodation while they attend tertiary education and also assists them to maintain close links with their families and their rich cultural heritage.
The program focuses on strengthening identity, increasing engagement, achieving academic success and ensuring work readiness.
The accommodation is designed to showcase the identity and culture of the Dandjoo Darbalung students as well as making practical use of the design to provide teaching opportunities through the melding of culture and spaces.
With the new building complete, total residential capacity will grow from 50 to 102 students.
Comments attributed to Housing Minister Peter Tinley:
"Dandjoo Darbalung is a unique model for closing the gap on Aboriginal education and employment outcomes. It offers young people living in remote communities the chance to engage with tertiary education in an environment respectful of their lives and culture.
"When they come to Perth to study, they're a long way from home. But St Catherine's has worked with elders, students and educators to develop a program that meets their needs at a holistic level.
"At Dandjoo Darbalung students can access affordable and appropriate accommodation and be supported while they undertake their studies in Perth.
"With the completion of this building, St Catherine's is now home to the biggest tertiary residential program of its type in Australia.
"It will ensure indigenous students from regional and remote WA can continue their studies at any of Perth's five universities and benefit from all the opportunities that come with having a tertiary education."
Minister's office - 6552 5300