The concept behind the formation of the Kimberley Specialists Outback Research Program emerged primarily from the growing concern of its founders of the escalating environmental issues confronting the Kimberley. This problem was compounded by the lack of co-ordinated research, and the fact that if any did take place, no-one ever heard about it. This meant that most scientific information was taken away from the Kimberley and Government decisions were being made on the basis of all too little research information. It was also seen by our group that the vastness and isolation of the Kimberley and the prohibitive costs incurred by anyone wanting to work in the area was also impacting on researchers coming to the Kimberley.
Our first objective was to see how Kimberley Specialists could best assist towards facilitating and stimulating more research in the Kimberley. It was also decided that any assistance provided by Kimberley Specialists to researchers would continue to be a non-profit exercise, with funding (if required) to come from Kimberley Specialists in Tourism to support the research. A number of specific projects and objectives were defined by Kimberley Specialists several years ago, and finally implemented in 1998 in the form of sponsored and funded student research projects and programme's, environmental art exhibitions and 'enviro' educational fire forum's. Three very successful art shows, involving Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists have been run since this date. The educational forums have enabled researchers, individuals and groups involved in land-care and resource management to present research results and to discuss environmental issues facing the Kimberley.
The 2001 forum and art exhibition involving 18 speakers resulted in a Kimberley Specialists publication of the papers presented by the speakers.
Research interests and participation in research programs was also established with other academics from both Australian and overseas universities.
This, with our own personal research program strongly in place, has produced a number of important and relevant research results and publications. The benefits of this Kimberley Specialists assisted program of research in the Kimberley has encouraged Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal landowners and resource managers to access relevant information and to become active in facilitating a number of research programs. There has also been an increasing interest from various regional government bodies to participate in this independent research process.