Aboriginal people succeeding through ability, opportunity and reward for effort

Building a Foundation for the future

“We set up Wunan Foundation to succeed and counter the widespread perception that Indigenous organisations only ever last for a short while before they eventually fail.” Ian Trust – Founding Chairperson, Wunan Foundation

Wunan is an Aboriginal development organisation in the East Kimberley, with a clear purpose and strategy to drive long-term socio-economic change for Aboriginal people by providing real opportunities, investing in people’s abilities, and by encouraging and rewarding aspiration and self-responsibility.

Since establishment in 1997, Wunan has methodically built its capacity to make a difference in the East Kimberley. With a strong asset base that includes a number of commercial investments, Wunan is able to invest in innovation and carry a long term, independent strategy for change. We are committed to building partnerships with the community, business sector, and Government to make the East Kimberley a place where Aboriginal people can look forward to building a stronger and more independent future for themselves.

Today, a key objective for Wunan is to shift the balance of dependence of Aboriginal people on welfare from 80% to 20% over 20 years.This objective is based on a clear guiding philosophy that Aboriginal success grows from investing in people’s ability, real opportunity, and reward for effort. We facilitate long term and sustainable change by focusing on our strategic priorities:

  • Education
  • Employment
  • Accommodation & housing
  • Welfare reform
  • Leadership
  • Health

As an organisation we have worked hard to gather a coalition of support to advocate and lobby for changes to welfare. In 2015, Wunan Chairman Ian Trust, and other local Aboriginal leaders, took the courageous decision to write to the Federal Government calling for the proposed Cashless Debit Card to be trialled in the East Kimberley. The Card is like any other debit card, but it cannot be used to purchase alcohol, drugs or gambling products. After some months of discussions, Minister Alan Tudge announced that Kununurra and Wyndham would be trial sites for the card. We believe that the Cashless Debit Card could be the catalyst we need to break the cycle of welfare dependence and alcohol abuse in the East Kimberley and early results are promising.