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Pat Conaghan MP

Reconnecting at-risk Indigenous youth in Kempsey with culture

The Coalition Government is investing $400,000 in Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation (KBHAC) to help Indigenous young people in Kempsey and surrounding areas build stronger connections to their families, Elders and culture.

Stage one of the Indigenous Youth Connection to Culture (IYCC) program will operate in Kempsey as well eight other communities across the country, at a combined investment of $3.6 million.

Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP, said the IYCC program has been co-designed with the Kempsey community to increase activity engagement, improve mental health and reduce the risk of suicide of young Indigenous people by reconnecting them with their traditional culture.

“These activities are community-led and have been developed with the support of specialist facilitators through a robust co-design process,” Minister Wyatt said.

“Activities will be squarely aimed promoting positive relationships and improving the wellbeing of young Indigenous people in Kempsey, which in turn will build resilience and reduce anti-social behaviour.

“We’ll achieve this by building stronger connections to culture, families and Elders. It’s about strengthening cultural identity and cultural continuity to foster resilience, self-esteem and pride as protective factors against youth suicide and self-harm.”

Pat Conaghan Federal Member for Cowper congratulated the KBHAC and Kempsey IYCC team for their outstanding efforts to date in consulting not just local youth, but elders, family members and school and preschool representatives, collecting and collating critical information to create their unique Community Action Plan.

“Hundreds of hours of consultation have gone into this work from Jo Kelly and the IYCC team, so it’s fantastic to see the funding secured to see the KBHAC Community Action Plan come to life. The plan includes a range of activities including creating networks and partnerships in the community; culture camps; bush cooking; giving the youth a voice and inclusion on community decisions; mentorship; developing cultural pride and preserving local languages,” Mr Conaghan said.

This program contributes to Target 14 of the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap, which aims to achieve a significant and sustained reduction in suicide of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples towards zero.

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