Today, in collaboration with Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council, the Western Cape Communities Trust has announced an incredible $1.65 million investment to rebuild the historical (landmark) Mapoon Church in one of Queensland’s most scenic Top – End regions.
The major investment comes after fifteen years advocating for funding for the significant project.
The WCCT Transition Manager Michelle Kostecki says the aspirations of residents and traditional owners (past and present) to rebuild the church has finally become a reality, regardless of the rejected funding applications they received.
“The CEO, Mayor and councillors continually look for opportunities to build capacity, strategic partnerships and unity for the community, and the Northern Sub-Regional Trust (NSRT, part of WCCT) is proud to have the financial capacity to support their significant project under community development,” says Ms Kostecki.
Recognising traditional ownership and cultural heritage (site protection), the funding will directly support renovations and the entire redevelopment of a new church in the remote area.
Mayor Aileen Addo says the community is “truly grateful” for the investment.
“For fifteen years, residents of Mapoon Aboriginal Shire, along with other organisations, have been working hard to secure funding support to rebuild the historical town church,” says Cr. Addo.
“Destroyed during the removal of families (in Mapoon) in the 1960’s, the church is an essential infrastructure of high importance, both culturally and spiritually.”
Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council CEO Naseem Chetty says the Council has aimed to gain support from both State and Commonwealth Governments for funding support, but has been unsuccessful on every instance.
“It has been a lengthy and tiresome process to gain support for such a culturally (and spiritually) significant historical site,” says Chetty.
“Such critical infrastructure is essential for many around Australia (and the world)… this investment is met with great recognition to the WCCT.”
The Red Beach site for the new building has been pre-approved by all interested parties, with community consultations to commence early in 2019.
“The funding will greatly support our progression and allow our residents a place to worship, pay respects and hold funerals,” says Chetty.
“Also, the project will directly employ approximately 9 local (indigenous) residents on a full time basis, which is an excellent outcome and part of our region goals to empower our community.”