The West Kimberley region includes the towns and surrounding communities of Broome, Derby and Fitzroy Crossing. It also includes a number of Aboriginal communities on the Dampier Peninsula and in the region south of Broome towards the Pilbara. The Kimberley Land Council (KLC) is the West Kimberley Empowered Communities Backbone Organisation and works closely with Wunan, the East Kimberley Empowered Communities Backbone Organisation, to ensure that the design of a regional governance model for Empowered Communities is coherent, coordinated and consistent across the entire Kimberley region.
Renowned for its vibrant colours, remarkable landscape and unique biodiversity, the Kimberley is rich in Indigenous culture and tradition. Kimberley Aboriginal people are part of the oldest continuous culture in the world, dating back more than 50,000 years. The Kimberley is a living landscape and the relationship between Aboriginal people and country is one of mutual respect and benefit. Country provides a source of physical and spiritual well-being for Kimberley Aboriginal people, who have resisted, survived and adapted to ensure Indigenous culture, heritage, custom, law and language remains alive and strong.
There are, however, significant challenges facing West Kimberley Aboriginal people, particularly in the areas of employment, education and health. For example:
- only about 25% of West Kimberley Aboriginal people are in genuine employment;
- most Indigenous students in the West Kimberley region are not meeting national educational benchmarks;
- only 19% of West Kimberley Indigenous students graduate from secondary school, and very few West Kimberley Aboriginal people hold postsecondary qualifications;
- suicide, ‘lifestyle’ diseases and violence associated with chronic poverty have led to unacceptably high mortality and morbidity rates, and a life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people of up to 30 years (figures as at 2015).
Our vision is for the West Kimberley region to have a thriving and sustainable values-based Indigenous cultural foundation from which we can build Aboriginal enterprises, which offer choices for our people to take up employment opportunities and which will create wealth and wellbeing for our community while achieving positive social reform across the region.
Image credits: Kimberley Land Council