On Friday 7 July Kimberley leaders and community representatives met in Broome to discuss a collaborative regional approach to reduce the trauma and harm caused to Aboriginal communities by alcohol.

Indigenous and non-Indigenous community leaders came together with representatives from the Police, Kimberley local government Shires, researchers and health services and Bunuba woman June Oscar AO, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner.

This is the Statement on the “Community Driven Strategy for Alcohol Management”, endorsed by the Aboriginal representatives at the meeting.

Submissions and reports were delivered by a number of expert guests (see attached list) concerning the high levels of alcohol abuse in the region, the resulting poor health, family trauma, lower levels of educational achievement and suicide.

The Roundtable was initiated by Nyamba Buru Yawuru with support from the Kimberley District Office WA Police and Commissioner Oscar. It calls for a collaborative regional approach for long term solutions that are driven by community need and community response.

In the face of the horrific trauma and community stress that is the result of alcohol abuse, the Roundtable seeks a new relationship with government and a partnership approach to resolving this community crisis.




Aboriginal leaders and community representatives from across the Kimberley region met in Broome on 07 July to address the tragic consequences of alcohol abuse on Aboriginal people. The Roundtable heard presentations from police, and other government and non-government experts in the field about the extent of the social crisis and the various measures that have been, or are being, implemented such as alcohol restrictions, the banned drinkers register and income management.

The Roundtable agreed that responses by government have so far been piecemeal, fragmented and appallingly inadequate. The meeting noted that the recently commenced Coronial Inquest into 13 suicides in the Kimberley region is an indictment on the failure of government to respond adequately to the 2007 Coronial Inquest into a number of Kimberley Aboriginal deaths which that inquest found were almost all alcohol related.

The Roundtable agreed that incremental change and more inquiries could no longer be tolerated in the face of irrefutable evidence about the role of alcohol concerning the number of deaths, illness and on-going trauma experienced by Aboriginal people throughout the Kimberley. The Roundtable agreed on the following overriding principles which should guide a comprehensive Kimberley strategy:

  1. There must be a comprehensive multifaceted regional Kimberley strategy which would empower communities to implement local solutions.
  2. Measures adopted should be developed and implemented based on consent from affected communities.
  3. There must be a structural partnership developed between Kimberley Aboriginal communities and the State and Commonwealth governments with the aim of jointly developing and implementing a comprehensive Kimberley wide strategy underpinned by legislation and regulatory reform.
  4. An agreed framework for evaluation and measurement of outcomes must be incorporated in the regional strategy.
  5. The vision for developing an inclusive Kimberley civil society must incorporate sustainable relationships between Kimberley Aboriginal communities and the four Kimberley Shires.
  6. The development of a comprehensive Kimberley strategy must be underpinned by the recognition of the depth of social and cultural capital which resides within the Aboriginal community and not directed by deficit thinking.
  7. Whilst recognising that urgent short to medium term measures are needed to address the social crisis, sustainable solutions must be based on the recognition of Kimberley Aboriginal people’s rights to traditional country, security of culture and participation and equity in the regional economy.

The Roundtable agreed to establish a regional Aboriginal Task Force to commence a dialogue with the State and Commonwealth governments and the four local governments to develop a partnership to develop a Kimberley Regional Strategy. Such a strategy must be implemented with the informed consent and partnership of the Aboriginal communities of the Kimberley region.

Endorsed by:

Lawford BENNING           Yawoorroong Miriuwung Gajerrong Yirrgeb Noong Dawang – MG Corporation

Samantha BETTS               Binarri-binyja Yarrawoo Aboriginal Corporation

Chris BIN KALI                    Broome Regional Aboriginal Medical Service

Peter BROWN                   Binarri-binyja Yarrawoo Aboriginal Corporation

Emily CARTER                     Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre

Rosemary COFFIN           Yawuru Native Title Holders Aboriginal Corporation

Kia DOWELL                        Codeswitch

Brenda GARSTONE          Yura Yungi Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation

Patrick GREEN                   Leedal Pty Ltd

Carli MACKAY                    Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Ltd

Bob MAHONEY                 Broome Regional Aboriginal Medical Service

Johani MAMID                  Yawuru Native Title Holders Aboriginal Corporation

Nini MILLS                           Nyamba Buru Yawuru Ltd

Jean O’REERI                      Binarri-binyja Yarrawoo Aboriginal Corporation

Mary O’REERI                    Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Australian Government

June OSCAR                       Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission

Marty SIBOSADO             Aarnja Ltd

Tonii SKEEN                        Nyamba Buru Yawuru Ltd

Jacob SMITH                      Nyamba Buru Yawuru Ltd

Ian TRUST                            Wunan Foundation

Peter YU                              Nyamba Buru Yawuru Ltd




 Allan ADAMS                     Superintendent, Kimberley District Office, WA Police Service

Mark DAVIS                        Manager, Community, Shire of Broome

Tracey GILLETT                  Department of Community Services, WA Government

Kate GOLSON                    Researcher

Tony JEAVONS                  Kimberley District Office, WA Police Service

Ron JOHNSTON                President, Shire of Broome

Steve KINNANE                Adjunct Research Fellow, Nulungu Research Institute, The University of Notre Dame Australia

Brent MCINTYRE              Assistant Director, Cashless Debit Card: East Kimberley, Department of Social Security, Australian Government

Jim MIGRO                         Superintendent in Charge of WA Licencing Enforcement Division, WA Police Service

Aletta NUGENT                 Director, Community and Development, Shire of Broome

Michael O’DONNELL       Former Chairperson of the Alcohol and Drugs Tribunal of the Northern Territory

Alistair SHERWIN              Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Australian Government