Pathways March 2019: Message from the Chairman

28 February 2019

This year has started off with some promising news on funding and services that Wunan will continue to deliver or begin to deliver to build capacity and improve the lives of people in the East Kimberley.


Wunan has successfully renewed a number of important service agreements and contracts this year, including the Remote School Attendance Strategy, Child and Parent Centres, Jobs and Skills Centres, Financial Wellbeing Hub, and PaCE. The board appreciate the amount of detailed work that needs to go into a successful tenders and submissions.

Following a recent independent evaluation, negotiations for a new Pipeline to Transitional Housing contract with the Department of Communities are well advanced.   Wunan has been successful in securing a ‘Proceeds of Crime’ (Confiscated Property) Grant from the Department of Justice to support the Youth Hub in Halls Creek, subject to certain conditions. The Financial Wellbeing and Housing Hub has also been successful in securing contracts to provide Emergency Relief and to undertake a pilot capacity-building project assisting inmates at the Wyndham Work Camp.

Other tenders and submissions are still to be decided.  These include our comprehensive Regional Economic Development (RED) scheme application. If successful, it would enable Wunan to expand driver-training services. Wunan has also lodged a tender that may enable us to provide tenancy support services, but a decision is some months away.

Empowered Communities Initiative

Funding from the Commonwealth budget is required to meet the operational costs of BBY and the other regions around Australia where the Empowered Communities initiative is established. The current funding agreement ceases in June this year. As National Chair of Empowered Communities, I have been involved in the process of negotiating secure funding.  We are hopeful that ongoing funding will be forthcoming soon.


Horizon Power

Together with staff from Social Compass and the General Manager Programs, I attended a workshop with senior people at Horizon Power in December. They are keen to work with an Aboriginal organisation to deliver on solar power initiatives in our region. Jawun has assisted Wunan with the recruitment of an engineer who will work as a secondee for six weeks exploring the potential of such a partnership.  Michael Hanlin from Woodside will join us in coming weeks and will be working closely with Shan and Wayne from Wunan Maintenance Services (WMS). 

Coles Service Agreement

Wunan has a service agreement with Coles to assist them to screen and mentor Aboriginal people for work in stores in Broome and Kununurra.  Early results have been disappointing in Kununurra, a town with widespread unemployment.  However, our Jobs and Skills Centre (JSC) have achieved a considerable increase in Coles numbers January 2019. The JSC is now providing on-the-job employment mentoring for five employees at the Kununurra Store and nine at Broome. The Jobs and Skills Centre welcomes suggestions on how we can increase the employment momentum as we head into the tourist season. If you have ideas or can recommend people who are looking for work please speak with Richard, Tarn or Sienna at the JSC in Kununurra or Lyndon and Shulyn in Broome.


Executives from companies that support Jawun will visit Wunan in June this year. This excursion will be similar to previous visits where the corporate leadership group visit the region for three days to inspect projects that are making a difference in the social and economic life of Aboriginal people in the region.

Aboriginal Police Relations

I have been developing a relationship with the senior members of the WA Police Force and explaining to them the factors that have contributed to the social and economic disempowerment of Aboriginal people in the East Kimberley. They have been keen to understand this story.  They have expressed an interest in exploring how they could contribute to our endeavour to alleviate the status quo.

Community Development

I have had a number of meetings with different sectors of the community in recent times.  These include Aviair, Kununurra Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Governor of Western Australia, the Honourable Kim Beazley.  They have all expressed their desire to see our local community to do well.

In addition, I have met with local Police in Kununurra. Currently they co-ordinate children’s activities on certain days at the skate park at Whitegum Park. Wunan has also contributed to this activity by purchasing ten scooters that police loan to children who do not have their own.

There is an opportunity, I believe, to tap into community goodwill in order to develop more projects on a volunteer basis. The WA Department of Communities does have a program that supports volunteering.  Perhaps this could be an avenue to trial new ideas which could benefit the general community?

Social Enterprises

Medical Centre

We are continuing efforts to secure funding for the new Wunan Health and Wellbeing Centre. Wunan has already purchased the land near the 24hr BP Roadhouse where the centre will be built.  The proposal is to construct the Centre on this site. This is a $5 million project and finding the money required to build the Centre has been elusive to date. However, once completed this facility will provide a huge benefit to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people of the North East Kimberley.


Dedicated iBase staff continue to grow our accounting and bookkeeping business. A new office has opened in Broome and some staff are now located in Perth.

Wunan Maintenance and Wunan House

Jawun secondee, Kalyn Jiang recently, assisted iBase, Wunan House and Wunan Maintenance Services to develop marketing plans.

Social Compass

Social Compass, our research consulting business, is enjoying considerable commercial success.  Congratulations to Michael’s team on securing a contract to evaluate the Intensive Family Support Service (IFSS).  They have also been conducting an evaluation of Wunan’s Governance and Leadership Program.


The East Kimberley Aboriginal Achievement Awards will be held in Kununurra in September this year. We are looking at holding it at a venue that will accommodate 400+ guests in order to provide more opportunities for families to purchase tickets.

Staffing and Board Changes

Change in Board Membership

Olive Knight has recently stepped down from the Wunan Board.  The board is currently looking to appoint one or more new Directors.  We wish to thank Olive for her service.

CEO Recruitment

Jim Lewis has unfortunately, recently resigned as CEO of Wunan for health reasons.   We wish him well with his future health and thank him for his work as both CEO and, previously, as a Director.

The Wunan Board has advertised the crucial CEO leadership and management position. We hope to recruit a replacement in the next couple of months.

Management of Support Services

Several Managers and Team Leaders have moved on from Wunan in recent times.  We wish to thank each and every one of them for their commitment and contribution.

I am pleased that the process of recruiting people into these roles is now well advanced, and I wish to welcome new recruits Ollie Smith (Manager Halls Creek), Carolyn McAdam (Manager Early Years and Family), David Moore (Acting Team Leader KEEP), and Richard Beeck (Acting Manager Employment and Training) to the team.

Topic: Accommodation & Housing, Education, Employment, iBase, Leadership, Wunan