Milestone For Marlamanu On-country Diversionary Program

  • Marlamanu Pty Ltd funding agreement signed and operational model developed to progress delivery of an on-country diversionary program for at-risk youth in the Kimberley
  • Recruitment to commence in the coming months, with construction set to kick off on Mount Anderson station by mid-2024
  • Part of a comprehensive $40.4 million package to help break the cycle of youth offending in the Kimberley

An Aboriginal-led proposal for an on-country diversion facility in the Kimberley has reached a major milestone this week with Marlamanu Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of KRED Enterprises, signing a funding agreement with the Cook Government to progress delivery of the three-year pilot program for at-risk youth.

An operational model has now been finalised, with assistance from the Kimberley Development Commission and Department of Communities.

The Aboriginal-led diversionary program will be established at Mount Anderson station, approximately 123 kilometres southeast of Derby. This location was selected after significant flooding impacted the proposed site at Myroodah station last year.

It follows completion of the program’s design which is aimed at providing up to 16 places each year for male youths between 14 and 17. Work is underway with agencies, including Police, Communities and Justice, to refine the pathways for referrals to the program, including from the courts.

Since 2022, the State Government has been working closely with Aboriginal leaders and other experts on the design of the Marlamanu program, which provides alternative rehabilitation pathways and builds on cultural strengths.

The State Government has allocated $18.2 million towards the three-year pilot program subject to approval of the final infrastructure cost plan.

It is expected the facility will open in the second half of 2024, with construction and recruitment to commence in the coming months.

The on-country facility is part of a comprehensive cross-agency $40.4 million package which has seen a range of programs and initiatives rolled out to tackle youth crime and help break the cycle of reoffending in the Kimberley.

The $2 million Kimberley Community Action Fund has also delivered grants to 23 local projects to better engage youth and improve community safety over the next two years.

The rollout of Target 120 in Broome is well established, with young people and families also engaging with Target 120 Plus, which supports a smaller cohort of at-risk youth who have already entered the justice system.

Operation Regional Shield has also seen additional police officers deployed to the Kimberley and Pilbara to target the youth crime in the regions.

The Kimberley Youth and Community Justice Response builds on the $26.7 million the Government has already invested towards the Kimberley Juvenile Justice Strategy.

As stated by Regional Development Minister Don Punch:

“Our commitment to the Marlamanu program will give young offenders in the Kimberley a genuine alternative to detention.

“We are supporting the KRED vision of giving young offenders the option to participate in a structured program on a working pastoral station, where they can learn from indigenous role models to build relationships of trust and responsibility and benefit from skill development.

“It’s a very complex project in a remote location, working with vulnerable youth and their families, but I’m confident it’s a positive step towards helping the community break the cycle of youth offending in the region.”

As stated by Community Services Minister Sabine Winton:

“The Marlamanu program will provide an opportunity to facilitate a diversion program that is genuinely locally led and Aboriginal owned, built on best practice and our own knowledge and skills in supporting our young people.

“The Cook Government is focused on supporting communities to break the cycle of youth offending in our regions.”

As stated by Kimberley MLA Divina D’Anna:

“I welcome the Cook Government’s commitment to the Marlamanu diversionary program – it’s one of many ways our Government is working with the community towards breaking the complex issue of youth crime in the Kimberley.

“I am hopeful this program will help educate and empower young people in the justice system, by bringing them closer to culture and country.

“I believe with the right support, education and structured program, youth offenders in the region can get their lives back on track.”

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