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Developing relationships and addressing historical wounds between First Nations Peoples and non-Indigenous Australians.


By addressing unresolved mistrust and the deep wounds caused by colonisation, the trustbuilding team organises events and dialogues that bring non-Indigenous Australians and First Nations Peoples closer together. We are walking alongside communities on the path to building trust and recognition. 

Why is trust needed? 

Australia’s history of colonisation continues to impact the health of its communities. Colonisation has resulted in inequity, racism and the disruption of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. The divide between non-Indigenous Australians and First Nations Peoples has remained deep and painful. 
The trustbuilding project began as a response to the invitation by First Nations leaders to all Australians to join in ‘a movement towards fair and truthful relationships’. Their vision for the movement was expressed in the ‘Uluru Statement from the Heart’, issued in 2017 at a national convention to consider changes to the Constitution, which has no recognition of the 60,000 years of First Nations’ possession and heritage on the Australian continent. 

The agenda of establishing a First Nations Voice to Parliament at a national level, a Makarrata Commission to oversee forming a treaty and truth-telling process, has only been taken seriously by the change in the federal government in 2022. An educational campaign explains to Australians what it would mean to vote in favour of the Voice to Parliament in a referendum. 
IofC Australia’s trustbuilding project grew from the intention to participate in a movement towards this national agenda, launched as ‘Our Uluru Response’. 

How is trust built?

White male speaking to semi-circle of white and indigenous Australians outdoors
Truth-telling and truth-hearing

The trustbuilding methodology is used to connect and transform relationships in safe spaces. In-depth workshops and dialogues are co-designed with First Nations people to reveal the true history, facilitating personal change and enabling acceptance of the other. 

Three women and one man smile at the camera during an outreach event
Forming positive relationships

Relationships are built between non-Indigenous Australians and First Nations Peoples through dialogues and events, such as yarning circles and historical site visits. 

Impact to date

The team's work has reached over 3,447 people directly through 82 trustbuilding activities, such as the TURRUK immersive workshop series and historical site visits.  

Turruk Smoking Ceremony

'Congratulations on running such a profound initiative. It was clear from all I spoke to that people were learning and making deeper connections to understanding the situation for Indigenous Australians through the teaching of Uncle Shane and the speakers. I found it very moving and keep reflecting on the day.'
~ Program Director, Wade Institute University, Melbourne. 

'My visit to Myall Creek was one of the first times I connected on a deeper level with an Aboriginal person. Through deepening this relationship, I began finding similarities between Indigenous intergenerational trauma and the genocide experienced by my Jewish family in WW2. The connection has been profound and enabled me to identify with "belonging to Australia first" before describing myself as a Jewish immigrant.'  
~ Participant


Direct beneficiaries


People trained


Truth-telling and truth-hearing events

Learn more about Trustbuilding in Australia

Margaret Hepworth
Executive Officer IofC Australia

Sarah Naarden
Trustbuilding Project Manager

Uncle Shane Charles
Cultural Integrity Advisor IofC Australia

Mike Brown
IofCA Our Uluru Response Chair

Ron Lawler
Trustbuilding International Liason IofC Australia

Amiel Nubaha
IofC Australia Board Member

David Clisby
IofC Australia Board Member

Caroline Edwards
IofC Australia Advisor

Aurecon Engineering