Strong leadership is the backbone
of strong Aboriginal communities

Strong Indigenous leadership is the driving force towards social-economic change. Since its beginning, Wunan has advocated for the Aboriginal people in the East Kimberley Region. Wunan has identified certain areas of Indigenous disadvantage and approach them strategically to enhance the opportunities for the community.

Theory of Change

Historically, our Aboriginal Communities have exhibited high levels of responsibility and maintained disciplined, self-reliant family groups for millennia. The introduction of the welfare system in the 1960’s drove these Aboriginal families to become reliant on government ‘handouts’ as a permanent solution. Wunan’s aim is to influence a community-wide change in the norms and responsibilities that will drive individuals and their communities forward, towards success, prosperity and self-reliance.

Welfare Reform

Wunan recognises the negative impacts of passive welfare that has created a cycle of dependency in our communities. We advocate on behalf of our communities to influence the government to change policy and to continue on developing opportunities such as education and employment for people to exit the welfare system. Our efforts are focussed on breaking this cycle with the establishment of social norms and enabling individuals and groups to develop a purpose for themselves.

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, which does not allow users to purchase alcohol, drugs or gambling products, to be trialled in the East Kimberley.

Alcohol Reform

Alcohol is a nation-wide issue which has had adverse effects on local Aboriginal communities in the East Kimberley. The devastating effects of alcohol abuse on Aboriginal families, especially with the combination of welfare dependence have been hindering the progress of our communities for decades. The effects are carried forward for generations through conditions such as Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), family violence and neglect due to alcohol abuse.

Wunan has advocated for increasing the alcohol restrictions in the region and will continue to advocate for increasing opportunities for our communities.

Recognising Aboriginal Accomplishments

Wunan believes in the importance of recognising the achievements of Aboriginal Australians.

The East Kimberley Aboriginal Achievement Awards (EKAAA) is an initiative by Wunan to endorse the hard work of individuals and organisations striving to improve the quality of life for Aboriginal people in the region.

Wunan Governance Program

Wunan delivers the Governance Program with the funding of the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) as a part of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS). The purpose of the program is to support Indigenous organisations to strengthen their leadership, capacity and governance.

The Governance Program has been successful since its beginning in 2015 and was renewed for a further 3 years until 2021. The program’s success was due to its tailored approach to tackle the unique needs of each individual organisation. The program supports organisations with financial management, reporting, grants and other necessary areas.