SPONSORED: Operating out of Derby, Western Australia for over 30 years, Winun Ngari Aboriginal Corporation is now helping to deliver the NDIS to remote communities in the West Kimberley region.
Providing a range of community programs, Winun Ngari services approximately 15 communities around Derby and has run the Community Development Program (CDP) for the Derby, Looma and Gibb River regions since 2013.
As part of their CDP operations, Winun Ngari Employment Services (WNES) helps Aboriginal people gain employment and retain it.
“Our job is to … [work] closely with a jobseeker, or CDP participants, and train and get them job-ready, and put them into employment opportunities,” said Operations Manager, David D’Antoine.
“That in itself brings about challenges because we’re in a remote region of the Kimberley.”
D’Antoine said while small businesses generally have basic labouring opportunities available such as cleaning or gardening, finding work is a very real struggle for jobseekers in the West Kimberley region.
“There are not too many opportunities at this stage because it’s not a really well-developed area,” he said.
When there aren’t many jobs going, WNES ensures jobseekers are participating in activities to develop and strengthen their skills.
Recently, Winun Ngari secured a contract with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to become a remote community connector, a hub for people to go to when they need NDIS-related services.
Winun Ngari then connects community members to the relevant providers and support they need.
“They come to [Winun Ngari] and … we link them up with our services so they can be thoroughly assessed.
“[We] put in an application [with clients] … to determine what kind of support these people really require to live some sort of normal life.”
D’Antoine said as Winun Ngari grows with more contracts through programs like the NDIS, partnerships with other organisations grow too.
“We’re partnering … to be able to connect people to those [services], because they’re the experts.”
Although the NDIS contract was only secured mid-2019, D’Antoine said Winun Ngari is starting to envision the difference they could make once effective procedures are established.
“We’re starting to get some success there … I should imagine by the time we get the support provisions in place [there will be] a noticeable impact.”
Like many other Indigenous organisations, Winun Ngari struggles with resourcing – despite being one of the largest service providers in the West Kimberley.
To combat this, the corporation has a position devoted entirely to seeking out potential funding that could help the organisation thrive.
“We have a dedicated person that searches for that information and looks to see how we can complement the corporation … [and] everything we do.
As Winun Ngari grows, they plan to keep an eye out for any grants that may support and complement the programs they undertake in the present and the future.
By Hannah Cross