Waltja CEO Sharijn King Jan 2018

Waltja CEO Sharijn King

January 2018

What sets Waltja apart is our ability to engage and network with community members through our cultural connections and responsive programs, gaining the respect we enjoy in our region. Waltja is well recognised as a significant contributor and stakeholder and this year we have built on this reputation to extend our footprint.

Over the past 12 months Waltja has travelled to 20 of the communities in our area and worked alongside families and community members to provide capacity building, training, advocacy, support and services to improve the daily life outcomes for all age groups. Some of these were around school and education, working to address the effects of social media and substance misuse, supporting people with a disability and their carers with respite, beds, blankets and mobility aides, providing urgent emergency relief, working with young people and their extended families to reconnect and for everyone to feel valued, respected and hopeful for the future. Waltja worked to link everything together by building on the strength of kinship and culture and providing opportunities to share skills, experiences and knowledge.

Waltja partnered with Life Without Barriers to host an Aged and Disability Festival in Central Australia. We were proud to manage this event that included nearly 250 people. Together we raised nearly $90,000! Thank you to everyone who donated their time or money and goods to allow for so many disadvantaged people from bush to relax, have fun, and enjoy each others company away from the stress and challenges of living in remote locations.

Waltja ran pre conference and cultural workshops at our new property Kungka Kutjara, which brought us many new friends and generated lots of ideas for the future. Waltja successfully submitted for a stimulus package from the NT Government. This was used to improve the facilities and access to the camping grounds. This enterprise was a new direction for Waltja and while we haven’t made a profit, it has already saved us money. We can now host our own Directors meetings with 60 members at a time and hold other workshops and training sessions on site catering for up to 75 participants for a week each time. We are hoping to extend these services now that the infrastructure is near completion.

Waltja held our AGM and once again the Executive and Director positions were hotly contested! April Martin Nangala had overwhelming support to be re-elected as Chairperson. Irene Nangala, Rachel Tilmouth and Isobel Gorey were also re-elected and joined for the first time by Enid Gallagher. The Executive worked tirelessly through out the year, always slow to judge, willing to learn and give advice and managed the welfare and aspirations of Waltja and its members. The Executive also worked with me to provide staff support and program direction and to ensure the members understood Waltja’s financial position, assets and liabilities so they could make informed decisions and set realistic goals.

The Executive team and Directors provided us with excellent leadership and governance, further strengthening the organisation. The Directors are such generous volunteers. Their vision inspires us all to work harder for better health, lifestyle, safety, economics and equity outcomes for families living on remote central desert communities. The Directors and members repeatedly demonstrate what they can achieve when they work together for the good of all.

Waltja continues to strive for financial sustainability for our members: generating our own operational costs, travel costs for our Directors, delivery of cultural, emergency relief and aged disability programs and many of the staff and project support salaries.

This year we moved to a new financial cloud system with Deloitte and continue to enjoy the support, mentoring and advice provided by Laura Sebastiani, a Deloitte Director in Alice Springs. We also continued with the audit services from Brian Tucker Accounting. Brian visits several times during the year to oversee our financial records, meet with the Executive members, prepare audit and acquittal documents and provides advice for Waltja’s on going financial accountability.

Thank you to all of our supporters, funders, partners, service providers, trainers, participants, families and clients. Thank you to Jane Clark at Netgrrl for improving our media outputs and online contacts and to Joy Taylor at Centred in Choice for program and management support. You all play a vital role in the Waltja story. A special thank you to the Waltja staff having worked both tirelessly and in harmony to translate the Waltja dreams into the Waltja Way!

In the future: We hope to build on our respectful place within our community, to grow our profile across Australia, attracting new friends and partners and spreading our good governance story. In a few months from now, Waltja will be incorporated for 20 years. We will be planning celebrations in March 2018 when the weather is cooler and cultural ceremonies and commitments are over.

Hopefully we will see you then!
Sharijn

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