“Culturally safe” aged care home to be built for Indigenous elders in NSW’s Lake Macquarie region

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Awabakal Ltd and Biraben Local Aboriginal Land Council have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to develop a 72-bed facility with Awaba, 30km southwest of Newcastle, earmarked as the preferred location.

Under the MOU, the Aboriginal community-controlled Awabakal Ltd will provide medical and services for the site, while Biraben LALC will provide the land.

Biraben LALC chair Edward Smith told The Newcastle Herald that traditional aged care homes sometimes failed to cater for cultural aspects significant to Indigenous elders.

“This MOU officially brings together an Aboriginal landowner in Biraben LALC and a strong Aboriginal service provider in Awabakal Ltd. Together, we can ensure that our community and elders are cared for in a culturally safe environment,” he said.

Awabakal Ltd deputy chair Raymond Smith added the new facility would maintain cultural awareness, and facilitate large gatherings of family travelling to see elders.

There are estimated to be 2,504 Aboriginal people in Lake Macquarie and 1,770 Aboriginal people in Newcastle who may be in need of residential aged care.

The site is expected to be two to three years in planning and development.

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Ben is an experienced writer and content producer, having covered finance, retirement income, travel and technology in previous roles. He provides editorial support for the DCM Group’s mastheads.