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North Burnett


COMMUNITY and culture were at the centre of the Official Opening of the new IWC North Burnett facility on Thursday 16 September.

Elders, Traditional Owners and other Indigenous community members were among almost 100 people at the event which featured Eidsvold State School students delivering traditional Indigenous dance, led by Corey Appo, and a didgeridoo performance by Dale Brown.

A Welcome to Country was delivered by Traditional Owner / Elder and IWC team member Clem Shadford, and speeches were made by Mark Denning, Eastern Divisional Manager of the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC),

IWC CEO Wayne Mulvany and IWC Director Peter Malouf, of the local Wakka Wakka and Willi Willi tribes.

IWC is Aboriginal community-driven and a Registered Charity, delivering services to all people, Indigenous and non-Indigenous. It delivers a holistic model of whole-of-person care within a Reconciliatory framework.

Emma and Frank Robinson, whose family originally donated the indoor stadium – now in the final stages of refurbishment and upgrading by IWC – were among the guests at the opening, as was North Burnett Mayor Rachel Chambers.

The IWC Health & Wellbeing Community Centre is on the site of the former Gayndah YMCA building, which was closed in 2016. The project so far has come in at more than $3 million, with a contribution of $980,000 by the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation.

IWC CEO Wayne Mulvany said: “The IWC North Burnett construction project has been five years in the making, and is setting the bar high around community services. Our warm thanks to everyone who helped make the Official Opening of the IWC North Burnett Health & Wellbeing Community Centre a great event. It represented everything IWC is – inclusive, culturally responsive and focused on a positive future for all in our communities.”

He said: “The upgrading of the indoor sports stadium has required much more work than anticipated due to its state of disrepair when we took it over.

“Work undertaken to date includes many costly items including installation of appropriate gutters and stormwater disposal piping plus roof / sheeting repairs and replacements. There had been major rain leaks which also caused substantial water damage to the floor.

“In addition, IWC has undertaken rewiring and full replacement of the stadium lighting, replaced the louvre windows and installed protective window barriers, plus we have paid for engineering checks of fixed features and arranged removal of non-compliant equipment and also of the netting.

“We have repaired walls, including replacing one whole external wall and providing connection to the adjoining gymnasium area, put in new internal wall bracing and linings, and installed new roller doors.
This is on top of creating an additional entry and dedicated toilets, showers and change facilities which are disability friendly.

“Within the whole development, there also has been a lot of other external electrical, plumbing and drainage, and civil works that have complemented the refurbishment and development of both the stadium and gymnasium areas.

“The whole project is bringing significant value to the community, and we know they do appreciate it.”

As part of IWC’s commitment to supporting local businesses, caterers Downright Delicious, Gayndah Bakery, Cam & Sue’s Meats and Gayndah Meat Hall were all involved in delivering lunch to the guests, with Biggenden SES members manning the barbecue.

“The quality of the local produce and catering could not be faulted,” said Mr Mulvany.

Another special guest at the event was artist Jacky Poulter, who has worked with IWC and Traditional Owners / Elders on the centre’s Screens Project. Jacky created the artworks that have been used to create the large aluminium screens that depict specific Indigenous features for the townships of Eidsvold, Monto, Gayndah, Mundubbera, and also Ban Ban Springs which borders Biggenden. The artworks are on display inside the building.

With the official event completed, the doors were thrown open to the public from 1pm-2pm for tours of the building.

“The community turned out in large numbers, many coming from townships across North Burnett,” said Mr Mulvany. “The centre is being well received, and we look forward to building services for people right across the North Burnett.

“Details of when the brand-new rehabilitation gymnasium, which up to 18 people can access at any one time, will be released in several weeks’ time once the adjoining stadium works are completed. Affordable memberships and / or visit passes will be available and it will be open to everyone in the community.

“The stadium will be re-opened once the floor is resurfaced and allowed to cure. Details will be provided through our communications channels.”

IWC also has an award-winning Health & Wellbeing Complex in Bundaberg.

More pictures of this event can be seen on the IWC Facebook page.