Winangali & Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy

Melinda Parrett, Project Manager,
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy - Supply Nation Member Since November 2011

Noel Niddrie, Director,
Winangali - Supply Nation Certified Since May 2010

Melinda Parrett - Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy

When I first meet Noel I quickly realised that he is very knowledgeable. He has the unique combination of really understanding Indigenous issues and also the way government works. Add to that his knowledge of effective communication strategies and ability to reach a target audience and you can see why Noel and his company Winangali is such a valued partner to the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE).

We have been working with Winangali on the television digital switchover. We had an important message to get through to Indigenous Australians about being digital ready with the ending of analogue television. The risk was that people who didn’t get the message would not be digital ready and would lose access to television as the analogue service was switched off.

We had to be sure the message was delivered, but just as importantly we had to be sure it was a culturally appropriate to ensure people actually understood the message. We had all heard stories of communications campaigns that had no traction because they were not suitable for the target audience. We needed an expert to ensure we got this right. We knew Winangali was certified through Supply Nation so we were confident that Winangali was authentic, and we needed someone with cultural and local knowledge and the right experience.

Noel and his company Winangali have been invaluable with this work. Our partnership has meant that Indigenous communities are aware of the digital switchover, so they won’t suddenly and unexpectedly lose free to air television channels. And Winangali has achieved it in an impressive and culturally effective way.

Noel Niddrie - Winangali

When I heard the plan for digital switch over and the need to reach Indigenous communities I knew straight away what we had to do. We developed an engagement strategy that used Indigenous media, and local people from the various communities – we called them ICLO’s (Indigenous community liaison officers). We developed culturally appropriate messages and ensured they were delivered in a way to create cut through – in other words to ensure the message got to where it was needed.

Over the years we’ve seen communication strategies that have traction all round Australia – yet don’t penetrate Indigenous communities. So, like any target audience, you really need to understand what motivates them. With an Indigenous audience you need to consider the oral tradition, Aboriginal English and the community and political structure. In the case of our partnership with DBCDE we have been very effective at getting the message out. We have personally shaken hands with 25% of the target population in Victoria and personally handed them the culturally appropriate information material.

We were very happy to work with a large client like DBCDE. Although we quickly realised we had to step up as a business to ensure Winangali could adequately meet their needs. We had to put on more staff, change our project management reporting procedures, even change our billing system, but we were happy to do that because we realised that if we wanted to take on the size and number of projects available we had to take the business to the next level and increase our capacity.

We have the depth of expertise that makes our services invaluable to any organisation that wants to communicate with Indigenous people. Supply Nation gives us the tick of authenticity so we don’t have to spend time convincing people we are a genuine certified Indigenous business. We think all genuine Indigenous businesses should sign up with Supply Nation, but they need to remember that Supply Nation only provide the introduction. It is up to the business to show they can deliver to a corporate standard. We get appointments we never would have without Supply Nation, but after that it is up to our own merits and quality to succeed.

Working with DBCDE is a great opportunity but it has been up to us to make it succeed.