HICSA CRDP fact sheet launch, 14 June 2017. (L-R) Wurundjeri Elder Kim Wandin, Woor-Dungin EO Christa Momot, HICSA CEO Anne Jenkins and Anita Koochew from Eastern Community Legal Centre

HICSA criminal record fact sheet launch, 14 June 2017. (L-R) Wurundjeri Elder Kim Wandin, Woor-Dungin EO Christa Momot, HICSA CEO Anne Jenkins and Eastern Community Legal Centre’s Anita Koochew


On 14 June a series of criminal record fact sheets were launched at Healesville Indigenous Community Services Association, based at Healesville in the beautiful Yarra Valley.

The fact sheets were produced by Woor-Dungin’s Criminal Record Discrimination Project team, in collaboration with our Aboriginal partner organisations, in response to our partners’ requests for plain-language fact sheets to inform members of their communities with a criminal record of their rights and responsibilities under current legislation when it comes to getting a job, joining a board, getting insurance and other situations they might face.

Following the Melbourne launch of the fact sheets in September 2016, a number of Woor-Dungin’s partners have launched or will launch locally branded versions for their respective communities.

You can download and read the Melbourne metro versions of the fact sheets here.

IFIP Pacific Regional Hui, Otaki, NZ 8-9 May 2017


On 9 May Woor-Dungin presented a session at the International Funders for Indigenous Peoples’ Pacific Regional Hui (‘gathering’) in Otaki, New Zealand, titled ‘How can philanthropy walk with us? A key to successful philanthropy with Aboriginal communities’.

Woor-Dungin’s presenters spoke about what philanthropy can do to work more effectively with Aboriginal community-controlled organisations to build respectful relationships and ensure successful outcomes. Central to this is the concept of dadirri, or ‘deep listening’ – listening with all the senses.

The message to philanthropy was summed up in the following simple but powerful words:

“Walk with us.
Not in front of us, not behind us, and definitely not over us.”

‘How can philanthropy walk with us?’ was received with great interest by the other presenters and by representatives of philanthropy in the audience. It was reportedly one of the highlights of the hui.

International Funders for Indigenous Peoples (IFIP) is the only global donor affinity group dedicated solely to Indigenous peoples around the world. The New Zealand hui was one of 14 major conferences IFIP has organised over the past 17 years, bringing thousands of donors and Indigenous leaders together.

Woor-Dungin’s Executive Officer, Christa Momot, was on the hui’s organising committee.

  • Watch a recording of ‘How can philanthropy walk with us? A key to successful philanthropy with Aboriginal communities’ here
  • Read more about IFIP here
  • Read more about Woor-Dungin’s Respectful Relationships program here

Photo of hui participants courtesy of IFIP Pacific Regional Hui’s Facebook page.

MDAS logoMDAS logo_text Bouverie Centre


Thirteen staff from Mallee District Aboriginal Services (MDAS) have recently completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Family Therapy.

MDAS is one of Woor-Dungin’s Aboriginal partner organisations.

The one-year course was delivered by Alison Elliott and Fiona McIlwaine from the Indigenous Program at the Bouverie Centre. The Bouverie Centre is a key stakeholder in Woor-Dungin’s Aboriginal Community Worker Support Program.

The successful graduates work in MDAS’ family services, social and emotional wellbeing, and executive teams at Mildura, Swan Hill, Kerang and Robinvale. They attended a graduation ceremony at the Mildura campus of Latrobe University on 21 April.

Click here for MDAS’s website and here for their latest newsletter.

Willum Warrain's third birthday, 25 Mar 2017

On 25 March Willum Warrain celebrated their third birthday.

Willum Warrain is one of Woor-Dungin’s Aboriginal partner organisations.

Over 180 people attended the Gathering Place at Hastings on a beautiful sunny day.

The celebration began with a smoking ceremony, and during the BBQ a pair of wedge-tailed eagles were seen circling overhead.


Woor-Dungin wishes Willum Warrain many happy returns, and acknowledges their kind permission to reproduce photographs taken on the day.

For more information, please visit Willum Warrain’s Facebook page.

Bunjil launch at Willum Warrain with Minister Hunt

A magnificent statue of Bunjil, creator spirit of the peoples of the Kulin nations, was unveiled 28 April at Willum Warrain’s Gathering Place on the Mornington Peninsula.

Willum Warrain is one of Woor-Dungin’s Aboriginal partner organisations.

The sculpture, made by local artist Paul Mutimer, was funded through the generosity of the George Hicks Foundation.

The unveiling was attended by Federal Member for Flinders Greg Hunt.

Here is a report of the event courtesy of Willum Warrain’s Facebook page:

It was a wonderful event tonight at Willum Warrain with 100 or so people in attendance. Uncle Chris West from the Bunurong Land Council had some supportive comments to make whilst he did the Welcome to Country. Lionel, Nola, Jeanette, Wenzel and Neil did us proud with the smoking ceremony and water blessing.

Well done MC-ing and organising everything Karsten and Dawnie, Vicki and Anne for the catering.

We appreciated the kind words and participation from Greg Hunt, Bev Colomb and Stephanie Exton. Thanks to everyone who came and shared in the unveiling.

A big day for Willum Warrain!

Paul Mutimer, the sculptor, wasn’t able to be there to see his great statue unveiled but everyone loved his Bunjil. It was good that his wife and daughter were there instead.

Bunjil at Willum Warrain

The fabulous photographs also come from Willum Warrain’s Facebook page and are reproduced here with kind permission.

Read more about Willum Warrain here.

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The Public Advocate, Colleen Pearce, has awarded Woor-Dungin member Jane Rosegrave the Public Advocate’s Best Achievement in Disability Advocacy award at the 2017 Funds in Court Inspire Award presentations, held 26 April in Melbourne.

“Jane is a very worthy recipient,” Ms Pearce said.

“Jane is a proud Aboriginal woman and disability advocate who is widely respected for her fearless advocacy regarding violence against people with disability. With 90% of women with an intellectual disability experiencing sexual abuse, Jane’s willingness to speak about her experiences and tireless advocacy has given a human face to this shocking statistic and brought much-needed public attention to this previously ignored issue.”

Jane is also a member of Reinforce Self-Advocacy and a board member of First Peoples Disability Network Australia.

We congratulate Jane on her achievement.

Recently another milestone was reached by Woor-Dungin’s Criminal Record Discrimination Project (CRDP).

On 4 April 2017 a consultation was held with representatives from our Aboriginal partner organisations and a range of other stakeholders to seek the views of community on the best approach to advocate for a spent convictions scheme in Victoria and the introduction of anti-discrimination legislation.

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Currently Victoria is the only state in Australia that does not have spent convictions legislation. It is also legal for employers to discriminate on the basis of an irrelevant criminal record, since Victoria is one of several states without equal opportunity protection for people with criminal histories.

The conference, attended by around 20 people, was held at the law offices of Ashurst in Melbourne and was facilitated by Michael Bell, CEO of Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation and convenor of the CRDP Advisory Committee.


A discussion paper prepared by Stan Winford, Associate Director of RMIT University’s Centre for Innovative Justice and convenor of the CRDP Law Reform Working Group, was presented at the consultation. The paper contained feedback from community and stakeholders about how the lack of legislative protection affects Aboriginal people in Victoria and information about spent conviction schemes and equal opportunity protections in each Australian state and territory. The discussion paper also included proposals for reform, with which there was almost unanimous agreement among the attendees.

The consultation will help to inform the development of a Woor-Dungin position paper, which will outline the draft content of a legislated spent convictions scheme in Victoria and a draft amendment to the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act.


Woor-Dungin will seek support and endorsement for the model for reform proposed in the position paper in a report to be tabled at an Aboriginal Justice Forum later this year. This report will also contain the stories of Aboriginal Victorians interviewed by CRDP project workers, and will show that current legislation in Victoria is a barrier to achieving economic reform and self-determination and does nothing to stem rising rates of Aboriginal incarceration.

Read more about the Criminal Record Discrimination Project here.

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In late March 2017 members of Woor-Dungin’s partner organisation Willum Warrain, based in Hastings, Victoria, visited another of our partner organisations, Winda-Mara, on country in south-western Victoria. Here is the report, reproduced with kind permission, from Willum Warrain’s Facebook page:


Some of our mob went on a trip to Winda-Mara mob at Heywood the last few days. Thanks to Christa from Woor-Dungin for organising this visit to Gunditjmara country.

It was a really interesting to hear about Winda-Mara’s community organisation and their journey over the last 25 years. it helped a lot with our dreaming. We learnt heaps and it filled us with confidence for the future.

It was also a great privilege to have Michael Bell (a T.O.) take us out on country to see the old eel traps, the remnants of old stone huts and new ones – we also saw their eel trap design education building and the old Condah mission site, places both fascinating and deeply moving.

We hope to take community there to visit our friends in the future.


Woor-Dungin and our partner organisations attach great importance to visits and meetings on country. They signify respect on the part of the visitors and are an opportunity for the hosts proudly to show their country to others.





Click here to go to Willum Warrain’s Facebook page.

Click here to go Winda-Mara’s website.

Following our recent DGR endorsement from the Australian Taxation Office and our registration as a fundraiser with Consumer Affairs Victoria, Woor-Dungin is very pleased to announce that we have teamed up with GiveNow to launch a new donations facility.

givenowbuttontall2GiveNow is an initiative of the Our Community Foundation, a not-for-profit established through the financial support of Our Community, and is supported by Westpac. Our Community is a world-leading social enterprise that works to support and accelerate the impact of Australia’s 600,000 community and not-for-profit groups through its website, through its online donations service and through other resources. Our Community also supports government (local, state and federal) to improve its engagement with the community through the Australian Institute of Grants Management, and does the same for business through the Australian Institute for Corporate Responsibility.

Please click the ‘Make a Donation’ button to go to GiveNow’s Woor-Dungin cause page, where you can choose to make a one-off or a regular donation.

All donations over $2 are tax deductible.

‘Right Way, Wrong Way, Which Way?’, a session co-sponsored by Woor-Dungin and the Fellowship for Indigenous Leadership at Philanthropy Australia’s 2016 National Conference, is now a webinar.

‘Right Way, Wrong Way, Which Way?: Respectful funding relationships and cultural safety with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ is produced by Philanthropy Australia and Pro Bono Australia and will be presented by Belinda Duarte, Peter Aldenhoven and Genevieve Timmons.

Belinda, a Wotjobaluk woman, is a Fellowship for Indigenous Leadership 2006–2007 Emerging Leader and CEO of Culture is Life. Peter, a descendant of the Nughi clan of the Quandamooka peoples of Moreton Bay, Queensland, is president of Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association and a member of Woor-Dungin’s Aboriginal Advisory Committee. Genevieve is Philanthropic Executive at Portland House Foundation.

Respectful relationships and cultural awareness are essential first steps in establishing effective funding relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, leaders and organisations. The presenters will discuss what cultural awareness and cultural safety mean for people working in philanthropy, the benefits and importance of deeper listening, common ‘mistakes’ people make, and barriers to respectful funding relationships.

Click here to go to Pro Bono Australia’s website to read more about the webinar or here to book via Eventbrite.


‘Right Way, Wrong Way, Which Way?: Respectful funding relationships and cultural safety with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’

Date: 23 February 2017 at 2.00 pm
Presenters: Belinda Duarte, Peter Aldenhoven and Genevieve Timmons
Duration: 60 minutes

Welcome everybody to what promises to be Woor-Dungin’s most exciting year yet! After a restful Christmas and new year period, our office will reopen for a busy 2017 on Tuesday 7 February. Our office hours are Tuesday to Thursday from 9.00 AM to 4.00 PM.

Click here for further contact details.

Jane from ReinforceWoor-Dungin member Jane Rosengrave, a Yorta Yorta woman and disability advocate, has received the Tony Fitzgerald Memorial Community Individual Award at the Australian Human Rights Commission’s 2016 Human Rights Awards.

The Tony Fitzgerald Memorial Community Individual Award is given for the promotion and advancement of human rights in the Australian community on a not-for-profit basis.

Jane works at Reinforce, and often pops into Woor-Dungin for a chat. You can read more about Jane and her story on First Peoples Disability Network Australia’s website.

Jane’s story was also recently featured on ABC TV’s Lateline. You can watch it here. Please be aware that the story carries a trigger warning.

2016_1116Woor-Dungin-AGM-20160040Woor-Dungin is pleased to announce the success of our third Annual General Meeting, held 16 November at law firm Colin Biggers & Paisley.

Robyne Latham, already a member of Woor-Dungin’s Aboriginal Advisory Committee, was welcomed to the committee of management.

2016_1116Woor-Dungin-AGM-20160043The meeting was more than an occasion to meet the formal requirements of an incorporated association, however. It was a celebration of the great work we have achieved across the year and an opportunity to thank the people – our staff, partners, members, program participants, pro bono supporters and funders – who have contributed to this achievement.

2016_1116Woor-Dungin-AGM-20160083We celebrated the achievements of the women in our Maarni Aboriginal Women’s Leadership Program. Participants Kirsty Bell, Brooke Wandin and Sherree Chaudhry spoke wholeheartedly about the positive impact the program has had upon their working and personal lives.

We celebrated the important work of everyone involved in our Criminal Record Discrimination Project – Woor-Dungin staff, pro bono supporters and, most especially, those members of Victoria’s Aboriginal communities whose lives have been affected by Victoria’s lack of a spent-conviction scheme and by the fact that it is not unlawful to discriminate on the basis of an irrelevant criminal record in Victoria.

2016_1116Woor-Dungin-AGM-20160054Special awards were given to mark the behind-the-scenes achievements of volunteer staff members Denis O’Hara, our IT and communications mentor, and Marty Gutride, our Social and Emotional Wellbeing Coordinator and communications team member. Denis, an IT and operations consultant, began his association with Woor-Dungin through Leadership Victoria in 2015 and has been instrumental in upgrading our information-management and telecommunications systems. Marty, drawing on his professional background in psychology, has lent his skills to individuals in need and worked in a number of other roles.

2016_1116Woor-Dungin-AGM-20160066Aunty Frances Bond and Aunty Glenys Merry Awards, named in memory of two of Woor-Dungin’s founders, were presented to returning committee member Shantelle Thompson, whose achievements are noteworthy and many; Woor-Dungin supporter Leslie Falkiner-Rose, who has spent much time mentoring Shantelle; and staff member Peter Flanagan, who has been associated with Woor-Dungin for many years.

2016_1116Woor-Dungin-AGM-20160090We also thanked pro bono supporters Arnold Bloch Leibler, Ashurst and Colin Biggers & Paisley for their invaluable services over the year. Small organisations like Woor-Dungin cannot function without the pro bono support of corporates such as these.

We extend many thanks to Colin Biggers & Paisley for generously providing the venue, the catering and the organisational and technical services of a number of personnel. It is greatly appreciated!

The 2016 Annual and Financial Reports are now available on the Annual Reports page of our website.

We are very pleased and excited to announce that the Australian Taxation Office has now endorsed Woor-Dungin as a deductible gift recipient (DGR).

DGR endorsement means that donations made to Woor-Dungin by members of the public can now be claimed as tax deductible.

Previously donations made to Woor-Dungin had to come via the Brotherhood of St Laurence.

DGR endorsement is a boon for small organisations like Woor-Dungin that rely on grants from foundations and other donors to fund their work. We can now ask interested members of the public to consider donating directly to our programs.

We look forward in the coming weeks to setting up a new donations page. Stay tuned!

Woor-Dungin is pleased to announce the release of a series of fact sheets put together by its Criminal Record Discrimination Project team to help members of Victoria’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities adversely affected by an irrelevant criminal record.

Victoria does not have a spent-conviction scheme, unlike the majority of Australian states and territories. An individual’s criminal record, including where charges were laid but without a finding of guilt, will continue to show up when a criminal-record check is undertaken.

This results in people being faced with additional barriers: to obtaining employment, gaining work experience, applying for kinship or foster carer registration, and obtaining insurance, housing and other services available to the general community.

The Criminal Record Discrimination Project aims to provide evidence to support an amendment to the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act for an irrelevant criminal record to be included as a protected attribute, as well as advocating to the state government on the need to introduce legislation to create a spent-conviction scheme in Victoria.

Each fact sheet provides information on a particular area, details how people with a criminal record are affected, and offers further contact information.

To read and download the fact sheets, please click here or follow the above link.

Woor-Dungin’s Criminal Record Discrimination Project team would like to invite you to a screening of Prison Songs, a documentary musical filmed in Darwin’s Berrimah Prison in 2014, shortly before the prison closed down.The film gives voice to the Aboriginal inmates and highlights the crisis of Aboriginal over-imprisonment.

Tuesday 27 September 2016
2.00 – 3.30 PM
Ashurst, Level 26, 181 William St, Melbourne

Please RSVP to Christa Momot by 20 September
(03) 9639 9043

To print the invitation as a PDF file, please click hereTo read more about Prison Songs, visit Documentary Australia Foundation’s website.

Woor-Dungin’s Criminal Record Discrimination Project team would like to invite you to the launch of a series of fact sheets.

Victoria does not have a spent conviction scheme, unlike the majority of other Australian states and territories. Therefore, a person’s previous criminal record, including when charges were laid but without a finding of guilt, will continue to show up when a criminal record check is undertaken.

This results in people being faced with additional barriers, which prevent them from obtaining employment, the opportunity to gain work experience, to register as a kinship/foster carer or obtain insurance, housing and other services available to the general community.

The project aims to provide evidence to support an amendment to the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act for irrelevant criminal record to be included as a protected attribute, as well as advocating to the state government on the need to introduce legislation to create a spent conviction scheme in Victoria.

A series of fact sheets on the following areas and how they impact on Aboriginal people with a criminal record have been developed:

  • Employment
  • Becoming a kinship carer
  • Obtaining insurance
  • Joining a board or community committee of management
  • Representing community on a government advisory committee
  • What is a criminal record and what is a non-conviction order?
  • Powers of attorney

The fact sheets will be launched by Michael Bell, CEO of Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation. Michael is an Elder at the Portland, Hamilton and Warrnambool Koori Court and former executive officer of Barwon Regional Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee.

Tuesday 27 September 2016
4.00 to 5.30 PM
Ashurst, Level 26, 181 William St, Melbourne

Please RSVP to Christa Momot by 20 September
(03) 9639 9043

To print out the invitation as a PDF file, please click here.

HUI-NZ-RM-PosterWoor-Dungin is pleased to announce its involvement in the organising committee for the International Funders for Indigenous Peoples (IFIP) Pacific Regional Hui, to be held in Otaki, New Zealand on 8–9 May 2017. Woor-Dungin EO Christa Momot, together with a number of our Aboriginal members, will be attending this truly international event thanks to a grant from the Reichstein Foundation.

IFIP’s mission is to convene Indigenous peoples, donors and foundations in order to advance partnerships that can improve the lives of Indigenous peoples globally, build communities of practice among donors, and address contemporary challenges. As such, IFIP’s mission accords with Woor-Dungin’s own work in our Respectful Relationships program.

The Hui (a term meaning ‘assembly’ originally from the Maori and now used more broadly in New Zealand English), is named Remembering Our Past, Reclaiming Our Future, and its themes are resilience, climate change and Indigenous practices for sustainability.

Read more about the Pacific Regional Hui on IFIP’s website here.


At this year’s Melbourne Festival, Woor-Dungin alumni partner ILBIJERRI Theatre Company is again co-presenting Tanderrum, a traditional Kulin song, dance, trade and cultural exchange ceremony. On opening night, five nations of the Eastern Kulin will come together to welcome local and international artists to perform on country.

ILBIJERRI was first approached in 2013 by Melbourne Festival to facilitate the creation of a new ceremony to engage audiences in a meaningful exchange with the traditional owners of Melbourne. Tanderrum, celebrating the proud and living culture of the land’s traditional owners, is the result.

See Tanderrum on Wednesday 5 October 2016, at 6:30 PM, at Federation Square, Melbourne.

To read more about Tanderrum, click here to go to ILBIJERRI’s website, or here to go to Melbourne Festival’s.

ILBIJERRI Which Way HomeILBIJERRI Theatre Company, one of Woor-Dungin’s alumni partners, is staging a new play at Northcote Town Hall, Melbourne, from 24 August to 3 September 2016.

Written by Katie Beckett, performed by Katie Beckett and Tony Briggs, and directed by Rachael Maza, Which Way Home draws on Katie Beckett’s personal memories of growing up with her single Aboriginal father.

Read more about Which Way Home and about other ILBIJERRI productions here.


Promoting and strengthening respectful relationships between Aboriginal community-controlled organisations and philanthropy is a key part of Woor-Dungin’s work.

An exciting opportunity to further this work has recently been identified through a partnership between Woor-Dungin, the Fellowship for Indigenous Leadership (FIL) and Philanthropy Australia, the peak body for philanthropic organisations and individuals in Australia.

Woor-Dungin and FIL are co-sponsoring a workshop session at Philanthropy Australia’s 2016 National Conference in Sydney on 22 September called “Right Way, Wrong Way, Which Way: Stories from the field, practical steps and tools to forge respectful relationships and invest in leadership of Aboriginal Australia.”

The session will provide an opportunity for Aboriginal people and grantmakers to have open dialogue about what is good practice, what are the challenges and what are some of the lessons learnt.

Workshop participants will work towards a set of guiding principles that can support and strengthen respectful relationships with each other, and work towards improved outcomes.

Woor-Dungin Aboriginal members Peter Aldenhoven (Chair, Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association) and Tim Goodwin (Roberta Sykes Indigenous Education Foundation) are both participating on the workshop panel.

The conference workshop is only the first of a number of partnership activities that will be developed over the next 12 months, including two further thought-leadership events and six articles directed at Philanthropy Australia members.

Click here to go to Philanthropy Australia’s 2016 National Conference webpage, or follow the link above.

This week Woor-Dungin acknowledges NAIDOC Week. NAIDOC Week celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Events are held across Australia every July in which Indigenous and non-Indigenous people take part. NAIDOC originally stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’ but has since become synonymous with the week of celebrations. Read more about NAIDOC here.

We welcome Robyne Latham to our Aboriginal Advisory Committee.

Robyne is a Yamatji woman originally from Western Australia. An academic and fine artist, Robyne has lived and worked in Melbourne for some 30 years. Robyne’s most recent works are the installation Empty Coolamons at Melbourne Museum’s Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre (2014–2015), and the performance work The Aborigine Is Present at the Koorie Heritage Trust Cultural Centre, Federation Square, Melbourne (2015). There are plans underway to tour The Aborigine Is Present nationally.

The Aboriginal Advisory Committee supports Woor-Dungin in its role as Philanthropy Australia National Moderator for Indigenous Issues, recommending papers, articles, websites, videos etc on current issues and events relevant to Aboriginal communities, which Woor-Dungin then submits to Philanthropy Australia every two–three months for inclusion on its website.

Former Reconciliation Victoria co-chair Vicki Clark has agreed to join our Aboriginal Advisory Committee. The Committee supports Woor-Dungin in its role as Philanthropy Australia National Moderator for Indigenous Issues, recommending papers, articles, websites, videos etc on current issues and events relevant to Aboriginal communities, which Woor-Dungin then submits to Philanthropy Australia every two–three months for inclusion on its website.