Published ON 01 May 2024

National agreement power sharing needs government investment

Social enterprises and not-for-profits around the nation are delivering power sharing initiatives which align with the requirements of the National Agreement and require government partnership and investment according to Founding Director of Worldview Group Kurt Gruber.

The comments come with the recent release of the Productivity Commission’s study on Australia’s progress against the National Agreement on Closing the Gap, which calls for shared power and self-determination.

Kurt helped to establish Worldview Group which incorporates the registered charity Worldview Foundation, creating job opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men, some of whom have previously been incarcerated. 

Worldview Foundation adopts a holistic approach including support services, such as helping participants to obtain a drivers licence, and learn more about their culture and community.

The registered charity aspect of the organisation is community controlled, with their leadership team involving both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal members.

According to Kurt, the early days of establishing the not-for-profit involved many conversations with Aboriginal elders, and meetings inside prisons and men’s groups to create a program designed for young Aboriginal men to create a fulfilling life.

“Where we have struggled to acquire funding is due to our holistic approach, with the program crossing over different portfolios and ultimately various government departments. Our program has been created by those it helps. As a social enterprise committed to breaking through the power sharing limitations, state and federal governments have struggled to connect with what we are trying to do.”

One of the unique aspects of Worldview Foundation’s Intensive Program is a connection to Country, led by Aboriginal advisors, helping young Aboriginal men to learn more about their identity through a variety of cultural contact experiences these young men may not have previously had including, bushtucker and learning more about their ancestors.

“It’s about helping people overcome disadvantages and to be proud of who they are.  There is so much work to be done, but we can’t do it alone, we need the government to walk with us, and finally begin to close the gap,” Kurt said.

Past Worldview program participants have gone onto work in a full-time capacity for the Australian Defence Force Industry, Airmaster Australia and in construction, with the Worldview Foundation holistic approach also teaching critical life skills and providing emotional support along the way.

“We know that over 60% of Indigenous young adults in non-remote areas of Australia are not engaged in full-time work or study, which results in low-income, and limited opportunity is hard to overcome,” Kurt said.

According to Kurt, successful transition into full-time employment can reduce reliance on income support payments, and improve choice and access to quality food, housing, physical exercise, social participation, and health care.

Worldview Foundation alongside WV Technologies have approached the government for funding to further expand their program nationally beyond its current delivery in the Capital region and South-east Queensland.