By Margaret Mackay
Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said this week that he welcomed the announcement of funding of more than two million dollars for a new Community Transition and Learning Centre to be located at Manguri on Mount Clarence Station, near Coober Pedy.
This funding is for a joint initiative between the Commonwealth and the South Australian Government to support Indigenous prisoners when they are released from jail.
“This facility will assist people transitioning from jail back in to their communities by focusing on employment outcomes and addressing risk factors to reduce their risk of re-offending and ultimately break the cycle of imprisonment,” he said.
“It can be tough for people to find their way and get back into the community after spending in time in jail and the impact on their future life, career and families can be profound.”
“The transition centre will be located about 37kms out of Coober Pedy on Mt Clarence Station which is far enough out of town to ensure participants will be able to focus on the support and training offered by expert organisations.”
Mr Ramsey said Community Transition and Learning Centre participants will receive individualised case management and transition plans.”
“The training provided will focus on addressing individual risk factors and needs that include a focus on employment outcomes,” he said.
“The aim of this will be for offenders to transition to employment and that is a really important component of the rehabilitation process.”
This funding is for a joint initiative between the Commonwealth and the South Australian Government to support Indigenous prisoners in South Australia – called the Community Transition and Learning Centre.
The CTLC will be close to Coober Pedy on Mt Clarence Station. The land is managed by Antakirinja Matu-Yankunytjatjara Aboriginal Corporation (AMYAC) which is the Prescribed Body Corporate representing the interests of local Traditional Owners, and A.M.Y. Nominees (its commercial arm) with input from Walarintja Landholding Inc (the Pastoral Lease holders)
This project is a joint venture between the A.M.Y. Nominees, AMYAC, Walarintja Landholding and the South Australian Department of Correctional Services (SA DCS). SA DCS is providing $350,000 in in-kind funding for project establishment costs, legal fees, land transfer fees and community consultations.
The joint venture is governed by a Memorandum of Understanding and will develop the capacity of A.M.Y. Nominees. ORIC and the Department will also support A.M.Y. Nominees to further develop its internal capacity throughout the delivery of this project.
A.M.Y. Nominees has not previously managed such a large infrastructure and service delivery project but has sufficient governance and financial management processes in place to do so.
A.M.Y. Nominees has entered into a mutually beneficial memorandum of understanding with the SA Department for Correctional Services, which will ensure appropriate aspects of program delivery will be subcontracted to organisations with relevant expertise.
Providing funding to A.M.Y Nominees will ensure that local Indigenous people are employed in the construction of the facility and in ongoing service delivery roles. A.M.Y. Nominees will be supported by ORIC and the Department to further develop their internal capacity throughout the delivery of this project.
The Community Transition and Learning Centre participants will receive individualised case management and transition plans addressing individual risk factors and needs that include a focus on employment outcomes. The aim of this will be for offenders to transition to employment.
Participation in the CTLC will enable Aboriginal offenders to complete their custodial orders in a community residential setting with access to cultural support and therapeutic treatment. This will lead to longer term, sustainable outcomes through the provision of drug and alcohol or domestic violence programs, rehabilitation programs, vocational and employment preparation and independent living, health and wellbeing programs (such as drivers licence, budget and healthy eating).
The CTLC will also support the return to community (or other location) through ‘at the gate’ pickup and resettlement support.
The site of the proposed Manguri Centre is near the Manguri Siding also used by the Great Southern Rail to disembark tourists travelling to Coober Pedy on the Ghan Train.
Nick Troisi Manager of the Umoona Opal Mine believes there could be a range of benefits to the region in the proposed development at Manguri, particularly if the road were to be sealed.
“The project could open the way to a future tourism expansion. Some of the beneficiaries would be station owners, outback drivers, Tallaringa Conservation Park, Opal Miners, and accomodation operators that transport clientele to and from the Ghan Train. So yes it will impact the town for the better I believe,” said Mr. Troisi.
The Manguri project is still only at the drawing board stage, but one thing is certain the local indigenous people will be part of the building process.
Some of the local questions for example are:
Where will fresh water for the facility be sourced? It is thought that solar would be an option. Bores combined with rainwater tanks have been use in communities like Mintabie quite successfully since the 1980s.
How will electricity be generated?
As the current State Government closure for TAFE educational campuses in some areas, locals are speculating that the project may help save Coober Pedy’s TAFE.
One of the big questions is how will the Manguri Road deal with increased traffic?
Local business operator Nick Troisi points out some of the benefits to the region of the only road to the rail being sealed in light of this major development.
There will be more on this project in the coming weeks.