20 June 2006
AUSTRALIA'S COMMUNITY IDOL DECIDED
EAST KIMBERLEY INDIGENOUS GROUP NAMED BEST
Wunan Foundation has been announced as the winner of the Australian Community Idol 2006 competition. The announcement was made today at the Communities in Control Conference 2006, co-convened by Our Community and Centacare Catholic Family Services.
Wunan (www.wunan.org.au) from East Kimberley in WA, supports training, jobs and related activities for the 5000-strong Indigenous community in a region as big as the state of Victoria. It creates sustainable businesses itself, involving local Aboriginal people as well as providing management and governance support to other Indigenous groups to help them be more effective and sustainable in serving their local communities.
"We really didn't know if we stood a chance but it's rewarding to see that a contemporary approach to an old issue can get the nod from the biggest community conference in the country," said Wunan's Business Development Manager Paul Davis.
Over 300 Australian community groups entered the competition which aimed to find the group with broad levels of participation, excellent board management and innovative services. The winner was decided by the delegates to the conference, which attracted more than 1300 community representatives over three days, and announced by AFL legend Kevin Sheedy, coach of Essendon.
The group, along with the two other finalists had to compete in a TV Idol format - arguing their case in front of conference-goers who voted on the spot for their favourite.
As winner of the Australian Community Idol 2006 Wunan will receive $3000 prize money. All three finalists will also receive a collection of Our Community publications on fundraising, grants, board building and more plus subscriptions to all Our Community newsletters.
"All three were Idol worthy but the people have spoken," said Dr Rhonda Galbally AO, Chief Executive of Our Community. "Clearly Wunan is tackling this country's greatest challenge. In a way that is a hand-up rather than a hand-out."
The other two finalists were:
- Way Out Rural Youth & Sexual Diversity Project based in Kyneton, Victoria. Way Out is a group of young people raising awareness on sexual diversity and homophobia. It works with schools and local health professionals. It prides itself on being youth-driven and open to gay and straight members of the community. www.wayout.org.au
- Sanctuary For Refugees based in Coffs Harbour, NSW. Sanctuary Refugee Foundation, based in Coffs Harbour, NSW sponsors, welcomes and settles refugees accepted under Australia's unfunded Humanitarian Program. It provides interest-free travel loans which are repaid then 'recycled' to help others in need. Sanctuary's work has inspired 10 new community groups across Australia and receives no government funding. www.sanctuaryrefugeefoundation.org