The Indigenous community of Yarrabah in far north Queensland has a new Aboriginal community-controlled Youth Hub.
The Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, attended the opening and said he hopes the hub will have a positive effect on the community.
“This great facility is a safe-space for young people to meet up and connect with each other and access support services that promote wellbeing, resilience and responsibility,” he said.
“It is a place that shows young people facing challenges in Yarrabah that they don’t need to do so alone.”
Under the broader Yarrabah Youth and Family Social and Wellbeing Project, the facility will aim to help disengaged and at-risk youth and families aged 15-25.
Located 55 kilometres east of Cairns, the community is home to over 2,500 people.
According to the latest ABS statistics, 97% of Yarrabah residents are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander with more than 50% under the age of 25.
The Hub, operated by Gurriny Yealamucka Health Services Aboriginal Corporation, includes a community kitchen, laundry facilities and bathrooms as well as counselling rooms, office space and more social areas.
It follows a new report from the Productivity Commission that says Indigenous people are three times as likely to suffer from high levels of psychological distress compared to other Australians.
It also recommends Indigenous-controlled organisations to operate Aboriginal suicide prevention programs, online navigation programs, and additional funding for mental health nurses in Indigenous communities in particular.
Minister Wyatt says making support services more accessible in remote regions will have a flow-on effect.
“The whole community is lifted when its youth have a bright future and Yarrabah is doing great things to provide the best opportunities for the next generation,” Minister Wyatt said.
Days after announcing the federal government will begin 12 months of consultations on an Indigenous voice to government, the Minister spent his time in far North Queensland visiting the Yarrabah State School and the Mandingalbay Yidinji Eco-Cultural Tourism project