Annual Report 2010-2011

Published: December, 2011

Output 4.4 Community Development

Many programs and projects designed to help improve the wellbeing of Aboriginal people in Central Australia are failing, and gaps in many socio-economic indicators compared with
mainstream Australia are increasing. Community development, which has local participation at its core, is increasingly being identified as an appropriate engagement strategy in Aboriginal development. It involves a set of principles and processes that build self-reliance, strengthen communities and promote good governance through the participation of local people in designing and implementing their own development projects.

Since 2005 the CLC has used a community development approach to work in partnership with Aboriginal people to direct their own resources to initiatives that both maintain their Aboriginal identity, language, culture and connection to country and strengthen their capacity to participate in mainstream Australia through improving health, education and employment outcomes.

The four objectives of the CLC Community Development Program are:

  • Maximise opportunities for Aboriginal engagement, ownership and control, particularly in relation to the management of resources that belong to them
  • Generate service outcomes which benefit Aboriginal people and are valued by them, including social, cultural and economic outcomes
  • Build an evidence base for the CLC’s community development approach and the value it has for contributing to Aboriginal capabilities
  • Share lessons learnedwith other government and non-government agencies


In 2010-2011, the CLC’s Community Development (CD) Unit continued to implement its three large community development projects, the Uluru Rent Money Project, the Warlpiri Education and Training Trust (WETT) and the Granites Mine Affected Areas Aboriginal Corporation (GMAAAC) Project.
The smaller Tanami Dialysis Support Services Project and the new Wunara Mine Community Development Project also continued. Significantly, a major new project – the NT Parks Rent Money Community Development Project - commenced this year, involving 16 traditional owner groups and over $1million in rent per year.

WETT and the Dialysis Project use mining royalties for wide and sustainable education, training and health benefits respectively. The Uluru Project and the NT Parks Project put rent paid to the relevant traditional owners towards a range of sustainable initiatives. The GMAAAC Project supports community committees using ‘affected area’ monies flowing from mining for community benefit projects.

Finally, the Wunara Mine Community Development Project has seen exploration compensation money used to upgrade housing and essential services at Wunara.
In June 2011 Praxis Consultants finalised an independent monitoring report on four of the CLC’s established community development projects during 2010 – the WETT Project, the Uluru Rent Money Project, the GMAAAC Project and the Tanami Dialysis Support Service Project. The information in this report is being used to inform the ongoing refinement of the CLC’s community development approach and in project planning.
The overall conclusion of the report was that the CLC’s Community Development Unit is working effectively towards its four major objectives. Key findings included:

  • In most of the projects there was strong and increasing engagement of Aboriginal people and an increasing sense of their control and ownership of the projects.
  • Aboriginal people were able to identify the benefits of projects and increasingly were focused on enlarging benefits for the whole community not just for individual gain. In many of the projects external stakeholders were also able to point to tangible and intangible project benefits.
  • Aboriginal people’s capacities and capabilities were being increased through the community development approach, however there are also suggestions that the way services were provided by other organisations may undermine some of the benefits of this approach.
  • Due to limited resources for monitoring and evaluation, some challenges still remain around creating a further evidence base for the community development approach and communicating the value of this to external audiences.

In 2010-2011 staff continued to meet with an external reference group of three community development experts.

The WETT Project

WETT was set up in 2004 and uses royalties from Newmont Asia Pacific’s mining operations in the Tanami region to improve education and training outcomes for Warlpiri people.
The Trustee for the fund is the Kurra Aboriginal Corporation, and WETT is administered by the CLC.
The CLC consults Warlpiri to identify their education and training priorities and then facilitates the development of projects with input from relevant project partners.
These projects are considered and further developed by the WETT Advisory Committee, which includes eight representatives from the Warlpiri-patu-kurlangu Jaru Association (WpkJ – the peak Warlpiri education body), and one representative each from the CLC, Newmont, NT DET and DEEWR. Projects are then recommended to Kurra which decides on funding.
This year the governance of WETT was further strengthened with two very successful meetings of the new Kurra WETT Directors Committee (a sub-committee of eight from the full 16 Kurra Directors).
In the last year the key activities and outcomes of this project focused on the implementation, consolidation and expansion of four long-term education and training subprojects prioritised by Warlpiri communities.

Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Program   

This year CLC staff worked closely with the WETT Committees and the program partner, World Vision Australia, to extend the successful WETT Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Program. This two-year extension involved over $2.6million in new funding from WETT and will ensure that the project which started in 2008 continues until 2013. Additional funding was also secured from NT DET for an ECCD Program facilitator position for the 2010-2011 period.
Key outcomes of the Program in 2010/2011 included:
Early childhood activities

  • Playgroups were established/supported in each of the four Warlpiri communities and a range of positive activities for young children were provided to assist them become school ready, while parents were supported to develop their parenting skills.


  • 12 students completed either their Certificate I or Certificate II in Children’s Services in Yuendumu in 2010
  • 20 students are currently enrolled in and working toward their Certificate I, II or III in Children’s Services across the four Warlpiri Communities
  • 10-week nutrition and health cooking project delivered in Nyirrpi to children and parents
  • 14-week nutrition project delivered to children and parents in Willowra

Aboriginal Employment

  • Three Warlpiri ECCD Program facilitators employed at 0.5 FTE
  • Seven Warlpiri staff employed to run playgroups in Nyirrpi, Yuendumu and Lajamanu.

Capacity building/Advocacy

  • Ten early childhood workers and seven WpkJ members of the WETT Advisory Committee gave two presentations to more than 100 participants of the national SNAICC (Secretariat  of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care) conference in July 2010.

Youth and Media Program

The WETT Youth and Media Program, managed by the Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation (WYDAC, formerly known as Mt Theo) in partnership with Pintupi Anmatyerre Warlpiri (PAW) Media, continued to provide a broad range of diversionary and training activities to significant numbers of young people in the Tanami region. The funding provided by WETT since 2008 has enabled WYDAC to extend its youth service from Yuendumu to include Willowra, Lajamanu and Nyirrpi.
Project monitoring in 2010 found that community members in Willowra, Lajamanu and Nyirrpi identified the program as a major reason why crime and other negative behaviour among young people is decreasing.
Key outcomes of the Youth and Media Program in 2010-2011 included:
Youth activities

  • After-school and evening programs, including ‘night club’ supporting homework completion, country visits and a community festival in Willowra


  • 17 media trainees completed five weeks of video training and produced eight short films in Willowra
  • 18 media trainees completed two weeks of video training and produced eight short films in Nyirrpi
  • Numerous art, dance and music workshops were held in all three communities

Aboriginal Employment

  • Three 0.5 FTE Warlpiri program mentors employed across Nyirrpi, Willowra and Lajamanu
  • One ‘Jaru’ trainee employed full time as a youth worker
  • 113 Warlpiri ‘Jaru’ trainees worked on either a voluntary or paid basis coordinating youth activities in Lajamanu, Nyirrpi and Willowra.

The Kurra Aboriginal Corporation approved over $2 million in April 2011 to extend the WETT Youth and Media Program, including funding for one full-time training and career development position and one full-time media trainer.

Learning Community Centre Program  

The Warlpiri Learning Community Centre Program sets up learning hubs in the Warlpiri communities which provide a range of formal and informal learning opportunities for all community members, as well as library and internet access.
In this reporting period a 12-month Learning Community Centre pilot project was funded by WETT in Nyirrpi and run in partnership with the Batchelor Institute for Indigenous Tertiary Education (BIITE). The Centre is staffed by a local Warlpiri coordinator with support from a non-Aboriginal coordinator and has been delivering a variety of formal and informal training programs to community members.
Feedback from community members indicates a high level of usage and enthusiasm for the Learning Centre.
Training outcomes from the Nyirrpi Learning Community Centre in 2010-2011 include:

  • 8 students attained a ‘White Card’ in Occupational Health and Safety to work in the construction industry
  • 15 students began a Certificate II in Construction
  • 34 students began a Certificate I in Vocational Education
  • 22 students began a Certificate I and II in Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Cultural Arts; and
  • 17 students began a Certificate II in Warlpiri Own Language

Informal training delivered included sewing and curtain-making, and fire training and gun license training for rangers.

In 2010-2011 a $2.6million funding agreement with the ABA was approved by the CLC Executive for the construction of the Willowra Early Childhood and Learning Community Centre, staff accommodation and a vehicle.
This funding supplements the $660,000 that has been committed by Kurra from WETT funds. The Willowra Land Trust directed the CLC’s legal section
to lease the buildings. The S19 lease has been approved in principle by the Central Desert Shire and has been submitted to FaHCSIA for approval.
Secondary School Support Program
This Program supports Warlpiri secondary students studying in their communities and at boarding and other schools, both in the Northern Territory and interstate. This year three Warlpiri community schools organised excursions for secondary school aged students to Melbourne involving a total of 29 students.
Monitoring interviews with students and teachers after the excursions indicate very tangible benefits, including more confident use of English, an understanding of the link between school attendance and reward activities, and enthusiasm to encourage other children to attend school and also go on excursions.
In addition to the excursions, 38 Warlpiri students (an increase from 12 in the previous year) from a range of boarding schools across Australia received up to $2,500 each from the Trust towards sports or music equipment or lessons, school uniforms and school excursions.

Uluru Rent Money Project 

Every year the traditional owners of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park allocate funding from the rent from the national park to community development projects.
CLC staff facilitate planning processes to identify priority issues, develop projects that address these issues and bring in partner organisations capable of implementing projects. Once costed, projects that comply with the project’s selection criteria are endorsed by the traditional owner group and signed off by the CLC Executive, funding agreements are put in place and the projects are implemented.
Monitoring in 2010 found that the focus on community benefit is increasing in this project as people identify what they can achieve with their own resources, and also found evidence of Aboriginal capacity development, particularly in Mutitjulu.
In 2010-2011 key project outcomes included:

  • Two meetings of the full traditional owner group
  • Four meetings of the Mutitjulu Working Group

Project development:

  • Support from the traditional owner group to develop and fund a regional dialysis project
  • Meetings conducted to develop projects at Umpiyara, Aeroplane, Iltjitjari, Lilla and Ukaka
  • Significant progress towards the construction and operation of a swimming pool at Mutitjulu

Completed projects:

  • Renovation and upgrade of the Mutitjulu recreation hall and basketball court
  • Outstation upgrades at New Well outstation (SA) and Kulpitjara Outstation
  • Installation of emergency water points on two remote roads in the NT
  • Improvements to the new Imanpa Store including installation of additional refrigeration
  • Production of an informational DVD about the project

Project funding approved:

  • $1.5 million allocated by the Mutitjulu Working Group to cover five years of swimming
  • A three-year extension and an additional $195,000 for the regional Ara Irititja Project.

GMAAAC Project  

In 2010-2011 the CLC continued to implement the comprehensive CD process introduced in 2008-2009 with all Granites Mine ‘affected area’ monies in accordance with the Granites Mine Affected Area Aboriginal Corporation (GMAAAC) rules. Between July and December 2010, CLC staff worked with GMAAAC Community Committees in each of the nine communities to make decisions on the funding of project submissions developed by eligible community organisations in the first half of the year.
One hundred community benefit projects were funded by GMAAAC in 2010 totalling $2,960,956. A wide range of projects were funded including youth and cultural activities, health services, education, aged care, community infrastructure improvements, sporting clubs and art centre projects.
Monitoring shows that the GMAAAC Community Committees are increasingly funding projects that will have broad development outcomes for their communities and build community members’ capabilities to manage in Aboriginal and mainstream Australian worlds. For example, through the Warnayaka Art Centre project in Lajamanu, eight local people are now employed in either a part-time or full-time capacity, sales are up 98 per cent from the year before and local artists now have the support they need to enter national art exhibitions and competitions.
Overall, the monitoring shows a clear shift in community members’ attitudes toward GMAAAC now that they have a better understanding of the objectives of the project, with one committee member stating that “GMAAAC projects help all the community. Help support things that are important to [Warlpiri people]”.
Between February and June 2011, CD staff began a new round of community consultations to apply 2011 GMAAAC funds. This included convening two rounds of meetings at each of the nine GMAAAC communities.

Tanami Dialysis Support Services Project

The CLC continued to oversee the implementation of the Tanami Dialysis Support Service Project on behalf of the Kurra Aboriginal Corporation. This project is managed by the Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation (WDNWPT), and provides much needed remote health services to kidney disease patients. The project also provides support to Warlpiri patients on dialysis in Alice Springs.

ABOVE: Queenie Stewart on dialysis in Yuendumu with Corey Patterson.
This financial year saw a major development in this project with the opening of a dialysis service in Yuendumu in August 2010. The $1.5 million dialysis facility and staff accommodation were funded by Kurra, and operational costs are being co-funded by Kurra and the Australian Government.
In the six months of operation up to March 2011, 27 clients from Yuendumu, Nyirrpi, Willowra and Yuelamu used the service either in Yuendumu or Alice Springs. Community interviews show that people identify being able to return home to Yuendumu as a significant benefit for them:
“It is better to have dialysis in Yuendumu. I sit down here three months and after that I go back to town for check-up and sit down there for one week. I feel more comfortable and well here. It’s good.”
Significant steps were also taken this financial year towards the establishment of a dialysis service in Lajamanu for Aboriginal people living in the Northern Tanami region including:

  • Following the completion of a Kurra-funded feasibility study   which demonstrated strong   demand for a service, Kurra   approved a further $90,000   for WDNWPT to engage a Project Manager to support the   development of this service.
  •  Support service commenced for   Warlpiri Darwin-based dialysis   patients.
  •  Application for $2,366,000 submitted by WDNWPT and   approved by the ABA in June   2011 for a Lajamanu dialysis   facility, staff accommodation and   three years of operational funds   for this new service.

NT Parks Rent Money Community Development Project

During this reporting period the CD Unit began implementing a fifth large, regional community development project involving 16 traditional owner groups across the CLC region and over $1.1 million in national park rent each year (see output 2.2).
In November 2010 CLC members passed a resolution directing that all the rent from these 16 parks be used for community benefit projects determined by each traditional owner group and not distributed to individuals.
Although this project is still in its early stages, project planning has commenced with two park traditional owner groups.

Wunara Mine and Other Projects 

Traditional owners for the proposed Wunara phosphate mine used $150,000 ofexploration compensation money to renovate five houses at the Wunara outstation.
With improved housing some traditional owners intend to move back to Wunara to take advantage of business and employment opportunities if and when mining operations commence. The traditional owners remain committed to working with the CLC using royalties for community development when mining starts.