The Yuendumu community is celebrating its 2 year anniversary of peace thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the Yuendumu Mediation and Justice Committee and the Yuendumu residents.
Yuendumu’s ability to build & maintain peace after 3 years of interfamily conflict is a success story worth telling.
With the support of the Central Desert Regional Council and funding through the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet, the Yuendumu community identified a number of neutral people who trained as mediators to help solve community disputes and lead the peace process. As time progressed, more people embraced the peace movement and were trained as mediators. Now Yuendumu has 14 trained mediators and the program is being coordinated by local Community Leader Robert Jampijinpa Robertson.
Community control has been at the heart of the success. “I’m very proud to be the new coordinator of the Mediation and Justice Program. All the community has worked hard to solve our differences. It’s been really important to have trained, local people here who respond really quickly to problems as they come up. We sit down with families and talk in language, our language. We help people understand the other side and move people towards saying sorry”. Mr Robertson said.
Over the past two years, the improved community relations has resulted in a number of significant milestones including the resumption of the Yuendumu Sports Weekend, the conduct of the Yuendumu Careers Expo, the upgrading of community infrastructure and the publication of the Warlpiri Mediation Manual. The Manual is a road map to assist other communities solve their own problems before they escalate into violence.
Central Desert Regional Council President, Mr Adrian Dixon says the program is making a real difference to the region not just Yuendumu.
“The Yuendumu Mediation and Justice committee has helped to stop fights in Yuendumu that lead to injury, property damage and jail. Its saved lives and money. Families are really happy. It’s a great example to other communities as well. Neighbouring communities are looking at the Yuendumu model and following their lead. We’re all really proud of what everyone has achieved in Yuendumu. It’s saved a huge amount of money for all the Governments.” Mr Dixon said.
The funding for the Yuendumu Mediation and Justice program ends on 31 December. Central Desert CEO Cathryn Hutton says that an Independent cost benefit analysis is being conducted to measure the financial impact of the Yuendumu peace program. “We’ve commissioned the University of Canberra to conduct a cost benefit analysis. We’re very confident that it’ll demonstrate a massive saving to Government in the areas of policing, health care, justice and housing. We’re equally confident that it will demonstrate that having a safer, more harmonious community has a positive impact on use of childcare, school attendance, workforce participation and social cohesion. We hope that this will be enough evidence for Government to embrace the model.” Ms Hutton said.
For More information call John Gaynor, Director of Community Services on 0428 849 520