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Red Centre community celebrates opening of $3 million swimming pool

Red Centre community celebrates opening of $3 million swimming pool
October 4, 2013

The Northern Territory community of Mutitjulu, in the shadow of Uluru, has celebrated the opening of a new $3 million swimming pool.

The opening of the Mutitjulu Tjurpinytjaku Centre marks the end of a long campaign by the traditional owners of the community of Mutitjulu, backed by the Central Land Council (CLC), to develop and to secure ongoing operational funding for the facility.

As a result, the pool will be managed by Adelaide-based Casa Leisure which has committed to employing and training local staff for day-to-day pool operations, with pool safety being of utmost importance.

Announcing their four-year management contract, Casa Leisure Chief Executive Phil Grey explained "we are excited about securing the management of the Mutitjulu pool and can see the health, education, and social benefits the pool is bringing to the local community as well as the recreation outlet for children over the long hot summer month."

Casa Leisure will also be working with the local school to establish a 'Yes School Yes Pool' policy and encourage the use of the pool for education purposes.

Water safety programs are also to be established and additional funding sought for the introduction of swimming lessons. A visiting physiotherapist to the community will also be conducting Aqua classes which will see the pool used for wellness purposes.

The Mutitjulu community celebrated the pool opening on Tuesday 24th September with a ceremony combining inma (traditional song and dance) with exuberant acrobatics by local youth, the Tjitji Ninja, and the desert sounds of the Tjintu Band.

Many children from the local community got to enjoy the celebrations and long awaited first swimming session of the pool season.

The traditional owners have worked patiently with the CLC's Community Development Unit to make this project happen in a way that respects and protects the surrounding world heritage environment.

CLC Director David Ross applauded the dedication of the community, stating "they have demonstrated their unwavering commitment by saving up $1.5 million of their own money to operate the pool for the next five swimming seasons.

"At a time when other remote community pools are closing because governments fail to fund them Mutitjulu have an experienced professional organisation managing the pool in consultation with a community committee."

An Aboriginals Benefit Account grant of $3 million and $100,000 from the traditional owners' rent money funded the construction of the pool.

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