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Byron Shire
May 15, 2021

Labor promises to fund Arakwal Cultural Centre Masterplan

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Labor candidate for Ballina Asren Pugh, Labor spokesperson for regional development and Aboriginal affairs David Harris, Arakwal director Rhonda King, native title claimant Norm Graham, general manager of the Arakwal corporation Sharon Sloane, Annette Kelly, chair of the Arakwal corporation, and Rita Roberts. Photo Jeff Dawson

Candidates and their parties are putting their ideas out there for us to make a decision on how we will vote in the March 23 state elections.

Local Labor candidate Asren Pugh has said Labor will put forward $100,000 for the long-awaited Arakwal Cultural Centre Masterplan.

‘We expect and demand a lot of our local Arakwal and when I went to them and asked what they need they said “jobs for our own people on country” and an Arakwal Cultural Centre is a way of providing this and giving something back,’ said Mr Pugh.

Making the announcement local Labor spokesperson for Aboriginal Affairs, David Harris, said, ‘The Cultural Centre will be a shot in the arm for the local economy and provide sustainable jobs and sustainable income for the Arakwal people.’

Talking to The Echo Mr Harris confirmed that Labor was committed to the funding announcement if they were elected regardless of whether their candidate was elected in the seat of Ballina.

‘Since 2001 the cultural centre has been in the making,’ said Sharon Sloane, general manager of the Arakwal Corporation.

‘This funding will give us the opportunity to develop a full masterplan around what we want as the Arakwal community integrated with Byron town and the lighthouse.’

‘It would be great, after all these years, to be able to tell our stories,’ agreed native title claimant Norm Graham whose mother Yvonne Graham was one of the original claimants with Aunties Lorna and Linda.

‘This will give us the chance to be able to tell our stories our way of where we come from, how we belong to this land, and to pass on our culture.’

The funding would be a kick-start to the planning process for the cultural centre that is envisioned to be a link not only between the town of Byron and Cape Byron lighthouse but also a key to ensuring that local culture and stories are told and understood.

‘It is about us and what we can give in our stories,’ said Annette Kelly, chair of the Arakwal corporation.

‘We can take people on a walk around on country and explain our stories, talk about respect and caring for our country. It’s going to work if we work together.’

In previous surveys, more than 50 per cent of visitors to the region said cultural tourism was a key reason they chose to visit the north coast.

‘Labor has a proud history of supporting the Arakwal people and helping deliver local jobs, including through the joint management of Cape Byron. This centre will create more jobs and ensure the Arakwal see some benefits from the local tourism

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  1. Great news and long overdue. If Labor comes up with the seed funding,I suggest a massive crowd funding campaign for the rest. Or do that anyway. The Arakwal have waited long enougn. Mungo

    • Tho really not enough has been done for the NCCCM. We all are in need of this suport. Myself my culture has been sidetracked enough, I wish to know my original identity before I became a robot. So please consider suppport for the Neanderthal Commmunity Culture Coexistence Masterplan. After all, we all come from somewhere, even aliens. Rah rah boo hoo oi oi oh cool.

    • There are these analytic arguments about Homer, about what has been written down and what was once an oral tradition. The fact is we still use language as something passed down, something established from past usage, phrases like ‘what the f do I know’ and a million others, and then the gems. If the Arakul have real stories still, then keep them alive. It’s not all the written word, tho that is the tendancy.

    • The Arakwal do have a land use agreement over the national park, which as Quadrant points out means nothing or no more than hunting and gathering rights, still, the article could point that out, who else will search for an hour. Modern life means some form of modern income, before we all have to revert to villages.

    • Jingi walah, too. I have many doubts about history including my own as an ant wanders around on my hand and then disappears, my murphies were gold diggers and mitchells were tree cutters, my origins in ireland scotland england and france are really unknown to me as i have been to none of those places, but there is literature and history as well as first account. As much as I wish the economic masterplan well I would also wish for truth, some time down the track. Rousseau was an idiot.

  2. Can you smile with … confidence … or care for a … tree … look at your ads boys and girls, they tell the story … a modern story with a twist of lemon, nice to smell but uneatable … come on Arakwal, beat this modern business, stand for what we all stand for, free will when there is none, a decision based on just there being a transcendant god, nothing we understand … and nature learned like a language, a screech of corella or miming of butcher birds … this poetry, not politics … pass Caesar’s coin back to him


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