One stop shop for Narrandera Youth

Narrandera’s new one stop shop approach, catering for the educational, social and recreational needs of its Aboriginal youth through a range of community initiatives, is one of the first such agreements in New South Wales.

Narrandera, which has a population of 7,500, is located on the Murrumbidgee River in the heart of the NSW Riverina.

The ‘one stop’ is a Shared Responsibility Agreement (SRA) between the Narrandera Indigenous community and the Commonwealth Government. The SRA implementation meeting in April brought together representatives of various government agencies, Narrandera Land Council, other Aboriginal organisations and the Narrandra Shire Council.

The agreement provides a one stop shop for education and other activities designed to improve the self esteem of young Indigenous people and provide work related skills. All levels of government and the local community believe they can work through the issues together and provide the means to address them.

Narrandera Shire Council’s Director Environmental and Community Services, Heather Bell, said the new body was going extremely well and had exceeded all expectations.

“We are now working as one group to reach a consensus position on a range of issues affecting Indigenous youth,” she said.

Improving school retention rates for Aboriginal youth is a top priority as it was recently revealed that about 20 per cent of Narrandera’s 150 Aboriginal young people under 18 were skipping school. To address this situation, various activities will be provided in return for an agreement to go back to classes.

The funding commitment detailed in the agreement provides for $31,040 from the Federal Attorney General’s Department and $60,000 from the Organisation of Indigenous Coordination to fund improved pathways to employment for Aboriginal youth at risk.