A new Child and Family Centre has been described as the seed for reconciliation at its official opening today.
In front of a crowd of more than 80, Minister Eva Lawler cut the ribbon with Katherine's Mayor Fay Miller and Kalano Chief Bill Headley.
The new centre is part of the government's commitment to driving generational change following recommendations set out in the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the NT.
A year in the making, the Child and Family Centre has been set up to bridge the gap between the many organisations offering lifelines in Katherine and families in need.
Roslyn Firth, a traditional owner from Kalkarindji, played a key role in the initial stages of setting the centre up.
She said she hopes it will break down barriers, tackle racism and create a safety net for Katherine's most disadvantaged.
"I see families all the time living in the long grass, we have young kids committing suicide. In the past they might not have had support, or they didn't know where to find it, but hopefully the [Child and Family Centre] will change that," she said.
"This is where reconciliation can start... I've experienced racism here in Katherine, it is a small town, we have problems together.
This is a safety net for a multi-cultural town.Roslyn Firth
"I hope the central location creates relationships and people realise it is not just for Indigenous people."
Katherine's Child and Family Centre will be the second of 11 new centres across the Territory, running youth diversion, transport services and support for families.
First announced at the beginning of last year, through local decision making and extensive community consultations, Kalano Community Association was chosen as the organisation to run the centre.
It was the NT Government's hope the centres would be key drivers in creating safer communities and even lead to generational change.
"As a government one of our priorities is around [children's] first 1000 days, those zero to five years, for the future of the Territory," Minister Lawler said a the official opening.
"We know if we're to make generational change we really do need to address and put a lot of resources and commitment into those first five years of every single child's life in the Northern Territory."
She said the Government has a goal of establishing 17 Child and Family Centres across the Territory, with $11.4 million already committed.
"The great thing from my point of view is that every one of the centres will be different. What they need to be driven by is the community that they are a part of," she said.
"There is one centre in Palmerston, in my electorate, and that has a strong focus on young mums, child care and families as first teachers, because that's what that population needs to concentrate on.
"To me the Child and Family Centres need to have a focus on what the community's needs are.
"It is amazing to come down the main street of Katherine and to be able to come into this facility... if you are a family you can come here and you will get the services and support you need."
The centre is located on Katherine Terrace where the Rise Ventures building was previously situated.
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