- The Guardian
- Issue #2064
Wyndham Youth Aborignal Corporation Staff. Photo: WYAC.
A Youth Aboriginal Corporation in the Kimberley has told Ngaarda Media that it would have to close its doors temporarily due to a lack of available funds.
Wyndham Youth Aboriginal Corporation (WYAC) runs youth diversion programs in the town, aimed at keeping kids out of the justice system.
The diversionary programs are funded by the Kimberley Juvenile Justice Strategy and the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA).
WYAC CEO Neville De Silva says they have been promised funds by NIAA to keep their programs running, but have not received the appropriate contracts.
He said that until he receives the contracts, he’s unable to receive money and pay WYAC’s employees.
“This is the last pay cheque, there’s no more money,” he said.
He said he was having to pay staff out of reserve funds.
“The people that are employed, even they don’t have any money, because that money was supposed to have been finished on the 30th of June and we’ve actually run at a loss,” he said.
“The money that we have right now is the COVID funds that we were not supposed to acquit for.”
Mr De Silva says his organisation does good work for the community, but that Wyndham will experience more social problems if the Centre’s programs aren’t able to keep running.
“We have already achieved targets such as reducing crime, by 22 - 23 per cent,” he said.
“We have stopped crime, we have stopped the kids running around at night … this is where family violence starts.
“The kids who are old enough to know a few things start committing crimes, this is what I’m trying to stop.”
A spokesperson for NIAA said it has agreed to continue to fund two programs with the Wyndham Youth Aboriginal Corporation Until 30th June 2026.