Deputy Premier John Barilaro with Aunty Jenny Skinner in the playground at Wongala Estate today.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro with Aunty Jenny Skinner in the playground at Wongala Estate today. TREVOR VEALE

Playground to make a difference for the kids

AS A child Aunty Jenny Skinner played in the park of what was a four-house Aboriginal mission at Park Beach.

At the time the city of Coffs Harbour was expanding towards the community.

Today as a Gumbaynggirr elder and custodian of her community, Aunty Jenny shared a proud moment, welcoming news that Wongala Estate and the Coffs Harbour and District Aboriginal Lands Council will receive State Government funds to build a new playground for the kids.

The grant caps off years of hard work by the Land Council and Clark Webb of Bularri Muurlay Nyanggan in reactivating the culture of the community through positive mentorship, sharing of the Gumbaynggirr language and the planning of youth leadership programs.

Sitting on a swing, kicking his heels in the dust, it was pretty evident to Deputy Premier John Barilaro today just how badly the local kids need a new playground.

Mr Barilaro and Nationals candidate Gurmesh Singh announced the funding of $206,000 for Wongala Estate from the State Government's clubs grants program.

"They have got a plan, they applied and today we are funding it,” Mr Barilaro said.

"On top of that there is an additional $50,000 for waste management here so again if you want to beautify the community you have to deal with waste but at same time improve facilities for the community and the kids here.

"As Aunty Jenny explained she grew up here when it was a mission with only four houses and across the road here was just a preschool, but now we have got a lot more people here and to improve this space is important.

"These are the nice things we do in our job,” he added.

Land council executive officer Nathan Brennan said the $50,000 for waste management would be shared between Wongala and the Corindi Beach Aboriginal community off James Runner Dr.

"We have looked at investing our own funds into building a new playground, costs can be high, I don't think people appreciate how much it costs to build a playground these days, and with this grant we can now invest the land council's funds into other economic development initiatives,” Mr Brennan said.

"Our kids will now have a new space to congregate in and to be safe.”



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