Empowered Communities is being led by Indigenous people, for Indigenous people, in 8 regions across Australia.
To understand this new idea it is important to understand the definition of empowerment in the context of Empowered Communities.

What do we mean by empowerment?

Empowerment means simply that Indigenous people must exercise the right to take responsibility. This entails two key components:

  • first, that Indigenous people have the right to take responsibility for their own lives and futures;
  • second, that government has the responsibility to equip Indigenous people with the rights and supports necessary for this empowerment.

There is a need to rebalance the responsibilities of government and Indigenous people

Empowered Communities is about rebalancing the relationship between governments and Indigenous communities. Under this approach, Anangu leaders, organisations and communities take the lead in driving change and governments support us in doing this.

For too long, our voices have been overpowered by government policies and agendas. Governments spend money on programmes for our communities, but the results are not what they could be and we all want better results. The goal of Empowered Communities is for the relationship between governments and Anangu to be more focused, and certain with Anangu and governments being clear on their role and performing their role effectively – wiru way (proper way).


Government and Indigenous Responsiibliliy

Reform Principles

To create an enabling environment for development, it is necessary to establish a set of principles against which all inputs to Empowered Communities regions can be tested. This is the policy reform test.

The Indigenous Empowerment policy reform test (see Indigenous Empowerment policy reform test below) captures a set of principles that would provide the ‘reform funnel’ through which all policies, funding and programs must be filtered. As such, the principles should guide the efforts of Indigenous people, governments and non-government organisations in all work in Indigenous affairs.

Indigenous Empowerment policy reform test:

  • The Empowerment test: Is what is proposed consistent with the Indigenous Empowerment policy?
  • The Development test: Is what is proposed supported by the international lessons of development?
  • The Productivity test: Is what is proposed the most productive use of the available resources and opportunities?

The 5 Empowered Communities goals and our vision for the NPY Lands


Children are at the centre of our vision for the NPY Lands and are also central to the 5 long-term goals of Empowered Communities. Empowered Communities is about creating the freedom and opportunities for Anangu to make better choices and to move forward for the benefit of our children.

“A child born into the post-EC world should have a better chance at life.” (Andrea Mason, Co-ordinator of NPY Women’s Council, June 2014).

The 5 long term goals of Empowered Communities are:

  1.   That children have access to quality education opportunities, and that they are supported to be ready, willing and able to take advantage of those opportunities, and attend school with the active involvement and encouragement of their parents and families.
  2.  That the safety and welfare of children and the vulnerable, by which we mean people who are frail, aged or disabled, remains of paramount concern and that they are cared for, healthy, supported and safe in their families.
  3. That all capable adults participate in training, work or meaningful engagement in community and family life.
  4. That all community members have access to appropriate housing options, and that there is acknowledgement of the mutual responsibility between housing providers and community around availability, choice, maintenance and upkeep of houses.
  5. That communities work urgently and seriously to tackle the problems of domestic, family and community violence and alcohol and drug abuse, and ensure that communities are safe and the rights of all community members are recognised and respected.

To have any chance of success firstly these goals must be seen as interconnected and interrelated and secondly that success in one area will drive positive change in another area.

Nyawa! Kuranyu kutu palyantjaku. Look! To make a new future.

Our vision for the NPY Lands is to increase the capacity of our people to lead healthy and meaningful lives: to live in safe and positive communities; and to have improved life choices in all areas that matter in our communities, including:

  • Education
  • Law and culture
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Training and work
  • Access to justice
  • Housing and accommodation
  • Social, economic and community development
  • The needs and aspirations of young and vulnerable people

“This is our dream for our families and communities. Empowered Communities is about making that dream come true.” (Margaret Smith)

More information

If you want to know more about Empowered Communities, please click on the links to the left or visit the official Empowered Communities website at empoweredcommunities.org.au

Alternatively, please contact:

Peter Riley

Empowered Communities Regional Coordinator

NPY Lands


(08) 8958 2329 / 0412 774 448


Andrea Mason

NPY Women’s Council CEO


(08) 8958 2319