Aboriginal people succeeding through ability, opportunity and reward for effort


Wunan believes a good home, together with real work and a proper education for children are the key ingredients for Aboriginal people and families in our region to re-establish control over their lives and enjoy making real choices.

Living Change is a community-led, place-based initiative for cultural, economic and social renewal in the East Kimberley. It is driven by Wunan’s belief that Aboriginal success comes from investing in people’s abilities, providing real opportunities, and encouraging and rewarding aspiration and self-responsibility.

Wunan is seeking to be the catalyst for Living Change in select East Kimberley communities, starting in Halls Creek, and in partnership with communities, government agencies, service providers, and corporate affiliates through Jawun.

How does it work?

Living Change has two components:

  1. A responsibility component that involves Aboriginal leaders driving the re-establishment of individual and parental responsibility as a base for cultural, economic and social renewal, built on four elements:
    • Communities agreeing a set of responsibilities (e.g. children attend school every day)
    • Establishing a panel of community leaders (possibly with statutory authority) to work with people who are not meeting the community-agreed responsibilities
    • The panel using case managers to connect those people with appropriate support services (e.g. drug and alcohol counselling) to help them meet their responsibilities
    • Encouraging those who start to meet the responsibilities, while using income management as a tool to support those who continue to not meet the responsibilities or fail to engage with support services
  2. An opportunity component that involves business, government and the not-for-profit sector ensuring access to high standard opportunities in education, employment and housing for responsible families and communities committed to difficult social change. Those opportunities might include access to good boarding schools, fly-in fly-out mining jobs and a housing model that enables working people to transition from public housing to private rental and home ownership.

By relying on community-based decision making and Aboriginal leadership, Living Change increases community independence, respect and responsibility for tackling current problems, rather than seeking to blame outsiders. By establishing a set of responsibilities, it sends a clear signal to community members about the base conditions that underpin a cohesive and vibrant community. By seeking additional opportunities for families and communities committed to positive change, it rewards those who are willing to help themselves and challenges prevailing notions about getting something for nothing.

In December 2012, Wunan provided to the Australian and Western Australian Governments a scoping study on implementing Living Change in Halls Creek. This study was based on nearly two years of community consultation and policy design, and is available on the Wunan website. It makes four recommendations on actions one or other of the governments should take to support the implementation of Living Change.

Download the Living Change Report (PDF 1270KB)