Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation (WYDAC)

2012 finalist

Formerly known as the Mt Theo Program, WYDAC was established as a grassroots community outstation rehabilitation program in 1993 to address chronic petrol sniffing in the remote Northern Territory community of Yuendumu. Since then, it has grown into a large and diverse organisation with a range of successful programs and services throughout Warlpiri communities in Central Australia. By championing ongoing and effective partnerships between Kardiya (whitefellas) and Yapa (Warlpiri), WYDAC has not only eliminated petrol sniffing in the community, but has developed a strong, effective and principled governance model.

“It is quite extraordinary that WYDAC has managed to solve the problem of petrol sniffing amongst young people based in its Warlpiri communities. However, that the organisation has continued to operate, effectively, during a period of fundamental divisions within the community is an outstanding demonstration of good governance and organisational resilience.”

Simon Longstaff, Director, St James Ethics Centre and IGA judge

“Too often remote communities are portrayed as passive entities, in need of ‘intervention’… the Mt Theo Program stands in clear contrast. It is a testament to the value of grass roots solutions, the importance of local ownership, authority and engagement in decision-making.”

Brett Badger, Operations Manager, WYDAC