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Aboriginal Resource Centre

Boomerang returns to Emerton

Mt Druitt Standard - 10th October 2011

SUPPORT services backed by the Catholic church for the Aboriginal community have returned to Emerton in the form of a newly opened boomerang-shaped headquarters.

Aboriginal Catholic Services had for many years been based at Penrith, but the move back to Emerton puts it in Holy Family Parish.

Team leader Janice Kennedy said the building was in the shape of a boomerang to encourage people to come back.

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New Aboriginal Catholic Services Centre opens

Go to Aboriginal Catholic Services Centre News Story

With Aunty Janice Kennedy (from left): Uncle Ray Leslie, Bishop Anthony, Uncle Ben Taylor-Cuiermara, and CatholicCare’s Chaplain, Fr Phil Medlin CSsR. Photo: Alphonsos Fok & Grace Lu

An Opening & Blessing Ceremony of a new Aboriginal Catholic Services Centre in the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta was held in Emerton on Friday 30 September.

Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, Catholic Bishop of Parramatta, blessed and opened the centre, which is located in the grounds of Holy Family Parish.

The centre will be the new base for Aboriginal Catholic Services (ACS), which has operated from Penrith for more than 10 years.

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Click here to be view the photos from the centre opening.

Opening & Blessing Ceremony Video

Media Release

29 September 2011

Aboriginal Catholic Services Centre to open in Emerton

10am on Friday 30 September 2011, in the grounds of Holy Family Parish 254 Luxford Road (enter from Emert Parade), Emerton. 

The Catholic Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, will bless and open the new Aboriginal Catholic Services (ACS) Centre in the grounds of Holy Family Parish on Friday 30 September. ACS is a service of CatholicCare Social Services in the Diocese of Parramatta. The centre will be the new base for ACS, which has operated from Penrith for more than 10 years.

Invited guests at the opening include The Hon Ed Husic MP, Member for Chifley, representing The Hon. Kate Ellis MP, Minister for Employment Participation & Childcare and the Status of Women, and the Australian Government. 

The opening ceremony will begin at 10am with Acknowledgement of Country from Uncle Ray Leslie, welcome from Aunty Janice Kennedy, and smoking by Uncle Brian Boney. 

During the liturgy, Bishop Anthony will bless the centre. 

Uncle Ben Taylor will deliver a message from the Aboriginal community in Perth, WA.  

The ceremony will include performances by an Aboriginal Dance Group and children from Willmot Public School. 

Bishop Anthony said the opening of the centre was an historic occasion and a cause for great celebration. “Indigenous people are a very significant group within our Diocese, the largest urban population of Aboriginal Catholic people,” he said. 

“While the community is centred in Mt Druitt and Blacktown they are also spread throughout our Diocese: from Rydalmere in the east to Mt Victoria in the west, from Kurrajong in the north to Greendale in the south.” 

Bishop Anthony said the opening of the centre was a marker event. “This new home has long been a dream of the Aboriginal Catholic community and its friends – and I think this centre is one they can be proud of.

“It is a centre conceived by Aboriginal people for Aboriginal people. It will be a base for Aboriginal people as they continue to be active agents of Christian discipleship, leadership and service in Western Sydney.”  

Aunty Janice Kennedy is the Team Leader of ACS and a member of CatholicCare’s Executive. “The centre will be a great asset to the Mt Druitt community. I am pleased that we have finally been able to return ACS to Mt Druitt where it started more than 20 years ago,” Aunty Janice said. 

The centre was built with the assistance of substantial grants from the Federal and State governments. Funding for the centre’s operations is provided by the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta as its ongoing commitment to the Indigenous people of Western Sydney. 

The centre fulfils a promise made by the previous Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Kevin Manning, to provide a centre for Aboriginal people in Western Sydney. The new centre will continue to offer the programs it has been delivering from Penrith as well as inviting community and government groups to deliver services and programs from the centre.  

ACS is a service of CatholicCare Social Services in the Diocese of Parramatta. ACS programs and services include: domestic violence groups, young mothers’ groups, youth groups, art groups, depression groups, children’s homework groups, access to mobile health clinics, working with people in prisons, mentor early release ex-prisoners and people on probation and parole, and hospitality. Tel: (02) 9628 0084. 

CatholicCare’s Mission: Our primary task is to provide social services in the spirit of Christ to support people, relationships and communities as together we strive for justice and empowerment. 

CatholicCare’s Vision: Our vision is for individuals, families and communities to be strengthened and to live in safety and harmony, where there is respect of individual rights and responsibilities and the dignity, equality and participation of each person is promoted. Australia’s Indigenous community has a special place as our First Nation people. 

CatholicCare’s Services: Our services include: Aboriginal and Community Building, Family and Community Support, Disability, Mental Health and Ageing, and Counselling and Education. For more information, visit:

Dreams become reality

7th April 2010

On Friday 26 March, 2010, Centacare Catholic Social Services received Federal Government funding to commence work on building a new Aboriginal Service & Resource Centre at Emerton.

This new centre, to be built in the grounds of Holy Family Parish, Mt Druitt will provide new premises for Aboriginal Catholic Social Services replacing the existing centre currently housed in the Old Council Chambers at Penrith, and will offer more room for counselling and education projects.

Aboriginal Catholic Social Services is a programme area within Centacare Catholic Social Services, the welfare arm of the Catholic Church in the Parramatta Diocese and provides services to up to 2000 people every year.

Senator Mark Arbib and the Member for Chifley, Roger Price MP, announced the $393,000 funding for the Diocese of Parramatta under the Get Communities Working stream of the Australian Government’s Jobs Fund.

“All the staff and volunteers are thrilled that this money has been made available by the Government,” Otto Henfling (Executive Director of Centacare Catholic Social Services) said. “The team at Aboriginal Catholic Social Services have waited for this for a number of years and will now be able to extend the range of services offered to the Aboriginal community in western Sydney” Mr Henfling said.

Senator Arbib said the Aboriginal Service & Re-source Centre would create 20 jobs – 30 work experience and some trainee positions in construction, landscaping and service delivery.

Two Yurts (round houses) will be constructed on the site. These prefabricated units will be assembled by local Indigenous people under the guidance of the manufacturer.

It is envisaged two or three people will obtain apprenticeships in this form of construction, with fit-out and landscaping of the site leading to more traineeships in other fields.

In line with current trends, the construction will also be environmentally friendly with rainwater tanks installed underneath the structures and solar panels fitted to each roof.

The Mt Druitt and greater Blacktown area has the largest urban concentration of Indigenous people in Australia. As Minister for Indigenous Employment Participation in the Federal Government, Senator Arbib attended the meeting at the Holy Family Centre with Rev Phil Medlin, Chaplain of ACCS; Mr Otto Henfling, Executive Director of Centacare Catholic Social Services; Rev Edward Dooley, Parish Priest of Holy Family Mt Druitt; Mr Charlie Lowles, Mayor of Blacktown; members of the ACSS team and elders of the Indigenous community who have worked so diligently to bring the project to fruition.

At the close of the meeting, before an inspection of the site, Senator Arbib made plans to return with representatives from the Department of Education, Employment & Workplace Training and other state and local government bodies to meet with the ACSS team to address issues in the area.

By Virginia Knight

Media Release

Jobs Fund supports employment in Mt Druitt

Minister for Employment Participation Mark Arbib and Member for Chifley Roger Price today announced $393,000 funding for the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta under the Get Communities Working stream of the Australian Government’s Jobs Fund.

To read full media release click Media Release here.

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