Opportunities for Aboriginal youth in Geraldton to attend sport and recreational activities in and around the Midwest and to Perth is about to get a whole lot easier.
The Geraldton Sporting Aboriginal Corporation (GSAC) has recently purchased a 14 seater commuter bus with the assistance a government grant, some generous donations from the community and GSAC’s own monetary contribution.
Late last year Lenny Papertalk, Research Assistant for the WA Centre for Rural Health (WACRH) and Chairperson for GSAC, was attending a National Poche Network meeting for Indigenous Health in Melbourne with other WACRH staff. At a lunchtime conversation with Kay van Norton Poche, the co-founder of the Poche Centres, Lenny talked passionately about the needs for a bus to help ensure Aboriginal children could engage in sporting activities. Ms van Norton Poche was so impressed she pulled out her cheque book and made a personal generous donation to set the wheels in motion towards buying the bus.
A successful grant submission to the federal government’s Stronger Communities Grant, which was advocated by Federal Member for Durack Melissa Price MP and a co-funding arrangement with WACRH in Geraldton, has meant that Lenny's dream to support local Indigenous engagement in sports and recreational activities can be realised through the purchase of the bus.
WACRH Director Professor Sandra Thompson is pleased at the opportunity to strengthen their partnership with GSAC through the shared use of the bus.
"This is a great example of multiple agencies having a common vision and working effectively together to achieve a great result that none of us could do on our own. We are absolutely committed to working closely with GSAC to develop and strengthen programs for the Indigenous community".
GSAC Project Officer Adrian Bartlett stated that in the past they had needed to hire buses to commute local Aboriginal youth to various programmes which extended as far as Perth and Mandurah to compete in State Talent Identification Programs.
“The acquisition of the 14 seater bus now enhances GSAC’s ability to increase participation for Aboriginal youth in positive, healthy, effective sporting and educational programmes locally and around the State,” Mr Bartlett said.
The bus will be used to transport people to a variety of programs run through GSAC for all ages of the community, such as: school breakfast programs, surfing, talent programs, wildflower drives for seniors, sport matches locally and in Perth.
The bus recently transported local Indigenous 13-15 year old girls and boys down to Perth (Kirby Bentley Cup) and Mandurah (Nicky Winmar Cup) respectively to participate in the State Indigenous Football Carnivals. The Yamaji Sharks teams went well with the boys’ team winning the Nicky Winmar Cup grand final for the first time in its 10 year history.