The West Kimberley is a unique and diverse region, both geographically and culturally. Aboriginal people across a wide array of nations, language groups, cultural blocs and communities make up a significant proportion of the region’s population. This includes communities across the Broome, Derby, Fitzroy Valley and Dampier Peninsula sub regions.
West Kimberley Futures – Empowered Communities (WKFEC) is responsible for spearheading the Empowered Communities reform program within the West Kimberley region, bringing communities together as part of one voice and driving a reform agenda with significant opportunity for legislative, policy and practice improvements. WKFEC is facilitating a strategy of change to improve outcomes for West Kimberley Aboriginal people and to increase the profile of their issues throughout all levels of government. This strategy is built on the foundation that in order for any reform to effectively meet the values and needs of Aboriginal people it must be Aboriginal-led.
Empowered Communities in the West Kimberley region was originally established in 2016 under the auspice of Aarnja Ltd. During this time, Empowered Communities co-designed the Dampier Peninsular Family Empowerment Project together with local family leaders and with support of Save The Children. This project provided ongoing support and guidance to community navigators empowering families through their Aboriginal-led Woombooriny Amboon Angarriiya Partnership Initiative, which progressively worked with governments towards systemic changes and recognition for Aboriginal peoples’ priorities.
It was agreed in late 2019 that Empowered Communities in the West Kimberley would transition to its own independent ‘backbone’ organisation. After a transition period under the auspice of the Kimberley Land Council, WKFEC has been operating as an autonomous organisation since early 2021.
WKFEC Leaders are a group established to drive work on priorities related to the EC reform agenda, as well as other state and national strategies related to Aboriginal self-determination and empowerment. Leaders represent a broad range of national, state, regional and local Aboriginal organisations and peak bodies which have responsibility for policies, programs and services related to the self-determination and advancement of Aboriginal people. These bodies all have elected governing boards which are accountable to their membership. WKFEC also directly engages with grassroots family and community representatives across the region, to understand the practical impact of programs and services on local people and communities.
Together with partners and stakeholders across community and government, WKFEC is proud to be championing change that improves outcomes for West Kimberley Aboriginal people.
Image credits: Kimberley Land Council