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Indigenous Australia

Our Engineering On Country program works to improve the quality of life of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people and their communities.
Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Population: 649,200
Native Titles determined: 301
Australian Indigenous languages spoken in homes: 150

Despite being one of the world’s oldest civilisations with a rich and proud history and culture, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people remain some of the most disadvantaged. Since Australia was colonised by European settlers, Australia’s Indigeous people have been vulnerable to discrimination, inequality, mis-treatment and cultural disconnection – many Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people continue to experience a poor quality of life and restrictions to self-determination.

years gap in the average life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women compared to non-Indigenous women

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households live in a dwelling with at least one major structural problem

times higher rate of unemployment of Indigenous people compared to non-Indigenous people

times more likely for Indigenous Australians to have severe or profound disability than non-Indigenous Australians 

* Australian Human Rights Commission, 2014-15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, ABS Census 2016, Australian Law Reform Commission.

Our Work

EWB Australia works to improve the quality of life of people living in disadvantaged Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander communities. Since 2015, our Engineering on Country program has aimed to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are able to meet their aspirations through engineering and appropriate enabling infrastructure.

Our work is impact-led, with a focus on positive, sustainable and long-term change. We do this within local communities, to ensure we build the capacity of the people who live and work in them. Through this approach, we have established relationships with local organisations with whom we partner, to ensure the solutions developed are evidence-based, relevant and, importantly, co-designed with each community. 


Our work with Indigenous communities delivers these outcomes through a range of initiatives and activities.

Community Development


  • Pro-bono: facilitating pro-bono engineering and professional services for communities
  • Community Partnerships: skilled secondments to support mentoring and capacity building, as well as community visioning and codesign for community-identified projects
  • Research & Technology Development: community-centred research and appropriate technology development



  • Professional Skills Development: developing the skills of the engineering professional services sector to engage effectively and facilitate people-centred problem-solving approaches
  • School Outreach “Regioneering”: our program inspires primary and secondary students to become the next generation of engineering and technical professionals, and includes the “Regioneering” program which reaches remote communities in the Torres Strait to deliver STEM workshops.
  • Chapters: our 20+ Chapters throughout Australia build capacity and cultural competency amongst their networks through cultural awareness training, education and partnership activities and events.

Our Partners

We currently work with the below partners to create positive social change for Australia’s Indigenous people.

Stories of Engineering On Country

Portrait of a new stereotype 18 December, 2019 - Patricia Tatel, a student from the University of Queensland, joined as a volunteer on EWB's Torres Strait Regioneering trip last month. Led by EWB/Mecca MPower grant recipient Erin Hughes, the trip aimed to build on the school outreach work that EWB has previously delivered in the region, and to specifically assess the educational impacts of… read more
Announcing our 2020 EWB Challenge community partner 18 October, 2019 - Each year, the EWB Challenge works alongside a community partner to design a brief that can directly address the challenges of a specific community. For many years we’ve focused this work on our overseas partnerships, with past Challenges exploring solutions for communities in Cambodia, Timor-Leste, Vietnam, Vanuatu, Zambia, India and Nepal. But in 2020, the… read more
Grassroots collaboration for Engineering On Country Grassroots collaboration for Engineering On Country 4 September, 2019 - Leaders and representatives of the Engineering on Country (EoC) regional focus groups from nations around Australia gathered on Ngunnawal country, in Canberra, for an immersive weekend of learning and collaboration in January 2019. The aim? Develop the capacity of the EWB Australia EoC Knowledge Hub (KH) volunteers - made up of regional EoC focus groups… read more