Below is an extract from the Report that sets out the vision for how Empowered Communities will work in the Kimberley. But it is only the very beginning. The next crucial step is designing how it will work on the sub-regional and community level. What criteria will opt-in organisations have to meet? How will the individuals sitting on the sub-regional boards be chosen? What will the make-up of Kimberley Futures be? These are fundamental questions that the Aarnja team alone cannot answer because it’s not up to us. It up to the organisations who are interested in being a part of this new process and it’s up to the people on the ground, in the communities who will be receiving the services and taking part in the programs that will flow from these new practices.
Our vision is for the Kimberley to have a thriving and sustainable values-based Indigenous cultural foundation, from which we:
build Aboriginal enterprises that offer choices for our people to take up employment opportunities
create wealth and wellbeing for our community
achieve positive social reform across the region, in which
Culture is strong, celebrated and maintained.
Adults participate in training and work.
Children are school ready, on time and attend school.
Children and the vulnerable are cared for and safe.
People do not commit crimes and they look after their homes.
Culture is at our core. Rarely, if ever, is our Aboriginal culture considered when governments design, develop and deliver policy and services for the Kimberley.
Empowered Communities for the Kimberley also means not having to retrofit our ideas to the government of the day’s priorities. We know what needs to be done. We know how to do it. We need to be empowered so that services and supports are designed, developed and delivered by our mob, with our mob, for our mob. Indigenous led responsibility is the first principle for Empowered Communities because we know that ultimately we are the ones who can achieve what successive governments have failed to achieve in decades. This principle is not negotiable.
Nor do we want to repeat the mistakes of the past. That is why the Empowered Communities model will not be imposed on any organisation. Participation must be by opting in; the choice to participate is critical to ensuring that those organisations and communities that are involved in Empowered Communities do so with free, prior and informed consent.
Funding for programs must be based on outcomes, with communities given flexibility to innovate and do things better, and with incentives for individuals, families and organisations to change behaviours. Innovation and the ability to take managed risks and learn from them, as well as robust performance measurement and sharing of best practice, need to be built into the Empowered Communities framework.
To download Empowered Communities: Empowered Peoples Design Report, please click here.