27/05/2021 | Michelle Lensink MLC | Better Services

A new $10 million village where Aboriginal elders can live independently in affordable, long-term, culturally appropriate housing will be built south of Adelaide, backed by a $4 million Marshall Liberal Government commitment.

“The Elders Village” will be built close to “Warriparinga” – a culturally significant site – near the Sturt River in Bedford Park.

The development is a partnership between the Marshall Liberal Government, national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander not for profit housing provider Aboriginal Community Housing Limited (ACHL), the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC) and the Kaurna Yerta Aboriginal Corporation.

Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink said the village would create long-term housing for Elders in a village designed to be culturally inclusive.

“The new Elders Village has been designed in partnership with Aboriginal people and will provide 40 individual homes for our Elders at risk of homelessness, in housing built and managed by Aboriginal people,” said Minister Lensink.

“This initiative will provide more choices for Elders who would otherwise be accommodated in public housing and enables us to help other South Australians at risk of homelessness as people transition from public housing properties to the village.”

Culturally inclusive features include an outdoor fire pit and homes feature mobility aides, allowing residents to remain in their homes as they age.

The ILSC will grant the land, about 13km south of the CBD, to the Kaurna Pangkarra Property Trust, a subsidiary of native title holders Kaurna Yerta Aboriginal Corporation (KYAC). ACHL will oversee construction and provide tenancy management services once the village, consisting of 40 independent homes, is built.

ACHL Chair Maureen O’Meara said the village’s unique design incorporating the importance of people gathering together, would provide elders cultural comfort as well as housing certainty.

“ACHL is proud to be a part of this unique and much needed project as it will provide a secure, stable, affordable, accessible, supportive and culturally appropriate ‘ageing in place’ opportunity for the older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Adelaide,” said Ms O’Meara.

Following consultation with the Aboriginal community, Adelaide firm C4 Architects included disability friendly units with kitchen, dining, living, separate bedroom and bathroom to promote independent living of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders.

Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation CEO Joe Morrison said the organisation was proud to play a pivotal role in providing a culturally appropriate independent living solution for Aboriginal people in South Australia.

“The ILSC believes the joint approach between native title holders, the State Government, community organisations and a federal government entity is the key to successfully delivering a project which will provide long term social and cultural benefits for Aboriginal elders on Kaurna country,” said Mr Morrison.

“As the current landowner, ILSC is working in partnership with Kaurna Yerta Aboriginal Corporation to further unlock the potential of the site to enable them to acquire assets that will generate significant benefits for the broader Kaurna community.”

Kaurna Nation Pangkarra Property Trust Chair Garth Agius said the Aboriginal Elders Village is a welcome opportunity for both the Pangkarra Trust and the Kaurna Nation.

“Adelaide has been our home for thousands of years,” Mr Agius said.

“This is still our traditional lands, our Yarta, our country Pangkarra, but as the traditional owners we still do not own our own homes,” said Mr Agius.

“KYAC is appreciative for the support shown from all the funding partners to allow the Aboriginal Elders Village to proceed.

The cultural safety of our Elders and their wellbeing is our highest priority and is well supported by the tailor-made design on land of cultural significance to the Kaurna people. It is with tears of joy that KYAC will see Elders well cared for into the future.”

Construction of the village is set to commence in early 2022.