Historic Opportunity for Real Change

15 June 2015

I don’t recall a time when there has been a greater focus on Indigenous issues at a state and national level as there is right now.

The Forrest Review, the Empowered Communities Report, the Recognise campaign, and the recent debate about remote Indigenous communities, are all examples of the increased policy interest in issues affecting Indigenous people.

The real question for us is: how do we most effectively convert this increased interest into improved social outcomes and economic opportunity for our people?

One thing I know for sure is that more spending on the same failed policies will only make things worse. Without radical change, in particular to the welfare system, there is a real risk that yet another generation will lose the opportunity to develop the capabilities necessary to make positive choices that lead to independent and fulfilling lives.

Wunan regularly engages with people in business and government who want to back the vision and leadership of local Indigenous people who are prepared to challenge the way things have been done in the past and drive real change.

In the East Kimberley, with the recent signing of the East Kimberley Aboriginal Charter by local Indigenous organisations committed to working together, we are beginning to see support for the radical changes required to improve the lives of our people gaining real momentum.

There appears to be a real appetite in government and business for joining us in leading change in the East Kimberley. As much as we need to appreciate that we need to drive the change process, it’s equally important for us to know that we have strong support from government and business.

I believe that with an Aboriginal-led partnership with government and business leaders, if we have the confidence to seize this historic opportunity, there is an enormous amount we can achieve together over the next few years.

This is a critical moment for Indigenous leaders across the country – and particularly in the East Kimberley. Will we be prepared to use our seat at the negotiating table to drive radical change in Indigenous policy?

At Wunan, we are encouraged by our discussions with both government representatives and local Indigenous leaders. For the first time, real change seems within our grasp.

Ian Trust, Founder & Executive Chair, Wunan Foundation

Topic: Wunan