Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Jeanette Powell today launched a program that will establish an Aboriginal precinct within the Ballarat Cemetery while providing ten young trainees with training and qualifications.
Minister Powell was joined at the launch of the program by Member for Western Victoria David O’Brien.
“Through Finding Futures Ballarat, ten young Aboriginal people will obtain a Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management, while helping to create a peaceful and culturally sensitive resting place,” Mrs Powell said.
“At the completion of the project, the students will have a recognised qualification and the practical skills to help them gain employment in their field of interest.”
Mrs Powell said the new Aboriginal precinct will adjoin the area known as Poet’s Walk, and at approximately 75 by 35 metres in size, will be the largest project of this kind in Victoria.
“It will provide a culturally appropriate burial place for local Aboriginal people and members of the Stolen Generation who may not be able to be buried in their traditional homeland,” Mrs Powell said.
“It will also be open to non-Aboriginal people who may wish to be buried there as a mark of respect for Aboriginal culture.”
Mrs Powell said the Finding Futures Ballarat project is modelled on the successful Dreamtime Project at the Echuca Cemetery.
“Building on previous experience, this project balances the desire to acknowledge and pay respect to the past while keeping a firm eye on the future,” Mrs Powell said.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is working with communities to achieve higher levels of education and training to unlock the potential of Aboriginal Victorians.”
The project’s partners include the Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation, Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative, the City of Ballarat Koori Engagement Action Group and local Elders. It is managed by the Ballarat training and employment service provider, Finding Futures.