Doris Jurrah plays a reading game with students who predict which object will sink.

Yapa (Warlpiri for Aboriginal people) teachers and traditional owners of Newmont Tanami/Granites gold mine complex set up the Warlpiri Education and Training Trust (WETT) in 2005.

They wanted to use mine royalties to improve education and training outcomes in Yuendumu, Nyirrpi, Willowra and Lajamanu.

Since then the trust has invested over $57million across five focus areas designed to meet community-identified education priorities:

  • Children and families supports Warlpiri governance and staff in early childhood services in Yuendumu and delivers a playgroup in Willowra in partnership with World Vision Australia.
  • Language and culture in schools supports communities to maintain culture by funding country visits, Warlpiri language curriculum development and wages for and elders to teach in the classroom and on country. Read more
  • Youth development delivers out-of-school literacy activities for youth in partnership with World Vision Australia.
  • Secondary school support funds interstate excursions for school students and students away at boarding school.
  • Learning community centres promote adult learning and literacy for work, life and wellbeing. This innovative venture has seen a centre set up in each community, serving as classroom, library, internet café, cultural archive and service hub.

We work with an advisory committee of majority Yapa members who design, plan and monitor WETT-funded initiatives. Four representatives from the four communities are joined by one each from Newmont and the CLC.

The committee meets at least three times a year and advises the directors of the Kurra Aboriginal Corporation whose members are traditional owners of the mine site. The Kurra directors then decide how exactly to spend the royalties paid by Newmont Goldcorp to the corporation for the WETT.

In 2017, Ninti One reviewed the effectiveness of the trust after its first ten years of operation. The review identified how it can in fact improve its education and learning outcomes.

The WETT Brochure

The WETT Story

The WETT’s advisory committee won the prestigious Indigenous Governance Award in the non-incorporated category.

In 2018, the WETT’s advisory committee won the prestigious Indigenous Governance Award in the non-incorporated category. The award recognised its outstanding support for bilingual, bicultural education and lifelong learning programs.

“We are a strong committee that has always been working for education. We have always used the money the right way,” WETT advisory committee member Yamurna Oldfield says. “It was really hard sometimes, but we kept working through,” Fiona Gibson, one of the WETT founders, says. “We are feeling really proud to be recognised with this award after a long time.” Read more.