Empowered Communities Governance Structure for the Kimberley 2017-10-09T14:02:38+00:00

The proposed Governance Structure

Empowered Communities Governance Structure for the Kimberley diagram

Kimberley Futures


Kimberley Futures will comprise strategic Indigenous leaders with two members appointed from each of the Empowered Communities boards. It will also have two independent board members (who may be non-Indigenous) with specific skills, such as in finance, policy or strategic leadership.


Kimberley Futures will:

  • set the strategic direction for the Kimberley by developing a 10-year strategic plan
  • drive policy and legislative reforms at the regional, state and national levels
  • provide an interface for corporate supporters and investors in the Kimberley.

Kimberley Empowered Communities boards


Each board will consist of up to four Indigenous leaders who are recognised strategic thinkers and who will be representative of the broader community in either Central Kimberley (Fitzroy Valley and Derby) or West Kimberley (Broome, Bidyadanga and Dampier Peninsula).


The boards will:

  • make decisions about Empowered Communities in their region
  • work with communities to determine the membership and process for community panels
  • collaborate with other Empowered Communities boards and Kimberley Futures on Kimberley-wide initiatives and strategic planning
  • measure the regional impact of programs and services and engage with government on funding decisions.

Opt-in organisations


Opt-in organisations will be majority Aboriginal-owned and will ‘walk the talk’ of reform. Leadership must be strong and be able to demonstrate cultural authority within solid governance practices—beyond the standards of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission or the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations.

Organisations must have a track record of delivering positive change, be innovative and be prepared to do things differently according to community needs and with a focus on families and individuals.


Opt-in organisations will sign a memorandum of understanding that ensures clear accountability and transparency. They will provide services aligned with the Empowered Communities values and aim to leave a legacy beyond their remit and the contract expiry date.

Community panels


Each community that chooses to opt in to Empowered Communities will be required to establish a community panel. The panel will consist of three or four members. Panel members will be chosen for their links within the community and must demonstrate their personal commitment to the West Kimberley Empowered Communities vision.

The community panels will:

  • identify community needs and define the requirements for response
  • develop and implement a long-term community plan and an effective communications strategy to obtain buy-in and support from community and service providers
  • monitor service delivery performance and community progress—with performance measures set by the community, not by government.

The panels will have the authority to enforce values and reward progress. They will also:

  • manage communications to and from the regional board and backbone organisation
  • collaborate with other services and ensure that a rigorous engagement process is developed and adhered to by their staff.

Backbone organisations — Aarnja Limited & Wunan Foundation


Aarnja Limited will manage and oversee a small dedicated team of professionals who will facilitate and administer planning and governance policies, processes and procedures.


The backbone organisation will:

  • lead the development of the governance model
  • provide administrative support—planning, coordination, meetings and record management
  • coordinate and negotiate with opt-in organisations
  • undertake research and policy development
  • validate performance with communities.