A recent meeting in Broome provided a rare chance for remote community leaders to work together to support each other and to work toward solving some common areas that impact them.

The forum involved Chairs or key Council representatives and Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) from 15 of the largest remote Aboriginal communities in the Kimberley.

It was the first time that these leaders had met in such a forum, following the success of a meeting for CEOs in 2018. It provided an opportunity for remote community leaders to meet with a range of government and non-government agencies to share information and to consolidate strong linkages across the Kimberley region.

Discussion during the event focused on a broad range of subjects, ranging from COVID-19 preparedness, emergency planning and community mobilisation to governance, leadership and sustainability.

Other issues raised included housing availability, maintenance and repairs, cost of living in remote communities and economic sustainability.

Organised through the Department of Communities, Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Commonwealth National Indigenous Australians Agency, Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services, Wunan Foundation, Horizon Power and Water Corporation, the forum was well received, with positive reflections and feedback from participants.

For some participants, it was a meeting that provided them with a clear direction and allowed cross fertilisation of ideas with other community leaders. Most work carried out in communities is done in isolation with little peer group support and development.

Participants believed bringing remote community representatives together was helpful, providing an opportunity to voice their concerns among their own and other communities.

Additional feedback was that information provided from different perspectives was helpful and that bringing agencies and services to the forum was also beneficial.

Attendees at the remote communities forum.

Image 1: Attendees at the remote communities forum.

Dianne Appleby conducts the Smoking Ceremony at the start of the forum.

Image 2: Dianne Appleby conducts the Smoking Ceremony at the start of the forum.

Facilitator Alan Stewart and Greg Billycan from Bidyadanga.

Image 3: Facilitator Alan Stewart and Greg Billycan from Bidyadanga.

A discussion of community members led by Marty Sibosado.

Image 4: A discussion of community members led by Marty Sibosado.

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