A new Aboriginal cultural centre is in the pipeline that will preserve and showcase the rich history of the Noongar people of the Peel and South West regions of Western Australia.
South32 Worsley Alumina has committed $2 million over two years to begin planning for the cultural centre, which will showcase local artefacts, detail the long history of the Gnaala Karla Booja region and its people, and create economic opportunities for Aboriginal people.
The Gnaala Karla Booja region covers more than 30,000 square kilometres of land in Western Australia and encompasses the towns of Boddington, Collie, Bunbury, Mandurah, Narrogin and Williams, among others. The region is home to the Wilman people of the Noongar nation, one of the largest Aboriginal cultural blocks in Australia, having lived in WA's South West for more than 45,000 years.
South32 Worsley Alumina will work with Traditional Owners and other stakeholders to ensure the new centre respectfully and accurately reflects the traditions and ambitions of Aboriginal community members.
South32 Worsley spokesman Noel Pillay said the miner was excited for the centre which would tell the rich and meaningful stories of the region and its people.
"We are committed to working with Traditional Owners to build mutually beneficial relationships and create new opportunities for Aboriginal people," Mr Pillay said.
Traditional Owner James Khan, of the Wilman people of the Noongar nation, said it was "a great opportunity to preserve our culture and create a sustainable business and community asset for the future".
"We look forward to working in partnership to make the project a reality," Mr Khan said.
Ongoing engagement with Traditional Owners and other key stakeholders will help develop and refine the plans for the cultural centre, including where in the Peel or South West regions the centre may be located.
This initiative builds on South32's Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan and was announced during NAIDOC Week 2021.