Signing of EK Charter

30 March 2015

Twelve months into the design stage of Empowered Communities in the East Kimberley, seven Aboriginal organisations in Kununurra recently made history by coming together to sign the East Kimberley Aboriginal Charter.

This Charter formalises their commitment to work together to close the gap of social and economic disadvantage experienced by Aboriginal people in the East Kimberley. For the first time we have an Aboriginal coalition of support for change which will provide leadership in our communities, encouraging individual responsibility and empowering Aboriginal people to live positive, healthy lives.

Another significant milestone in the Empowered Communities process was the recent Community Leadership and Action Planning workshops held in both Kununurra and Halls Creek. The objective of the workshop was to:

– Identify and prioritise the issues, blockages and success factors

– Identify the things we need to focus on to achieve a successful community

– Provide an environment that encourages alignment and agreement

– Challenge the status quo and stimulate thinking

Both workshops were well attended and community members were keen to provide input on how they would like to see change implemented within their communities. As a result of the workshops, they produced a draft list of regional priorities and are now positioned as leaders to commence work on setting the regional agenda for the East Kimberley.

These workshops were an important example of how local leadership can be active in the decision-making process, thereby ensuring that future policies and programs meet specific local needs.

A regional governance structure for Empowered Communities in the East Kimberley has now been developed and will have four key elements:

  1. East Kimberley Board of Directors
  2. Backbone Organisation to provide secretariat support to the Board of Directors
  3. Community Forum to implement a grass roots decision making process
  4. Negotiation Table whereby the EK Board will meet with government to negotiate regional priorities and delivery plans

These key elements will allow the Indigenous governance structure to make decisions about priorities and to ensure that funding agreements, policies and programs are consistent with the reform agenda and are properly coordinated.

Empowered Communities is now in the process of finalising the policy report to Prime Minister and Cabinet for official approval of a model that will be a vehicle for the delivery of a National Social Reform Agenda.

Topic: Foundations, Wunan