$10 million funding boost for Australia’s future Indigenous leaders

25 Jun 2024

Designed and led by Australia’s top Indigenous educators, the Kambri Scholars Program is empowering Indigenous youth across the country to embrace life-changing education at The Australian National University (ANU).

A transformational gift of $5 million was committed by Wesfarmers Limited and documented in the inaugural corporate partnership supporting Kambri in early 2024, providing additional Indigenous students with financial, academic and pastoral support throughout their time at university.

“As the inaugural corporate partner to the Kambri Scholars Program, we see an opportunity to support practical measures that will impact and deliver benefits for Indigenous communities,” says Rob Scott, Wesfarmers Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.

“The Kambri Scholars Program helps to make an excellent education more accessible for talented Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, wherever they live in Australia, delivering benefits far beyond this partnership.”

The donation from Wesfarmers stands as the largest single contribution to a scholarship for Indigenous students in the history of ANU. This generous commitment is matched by the University dollar-for-dollar, bringing the total contribution to $10 million and ensuring sustained support for Indigenous students to access world-class education for generations to come.

“A university degree can have a profoundly positive impact on individuals, their families and their communities,” says ANU Chancellor, the Hon Julie Bishop.

The Kambri Scholars Program is helping to create the next generation of Australia’s Indigenous leaders, setting them up for success at university and in their future careers.


Thomson Fleming, a Barkindji and Malayangapa man from Broken Hill, received a Kambri Scholarship in 2020. Now an ANU alumnus, he reflects on how the Kambri Scholars Program changed his life for the better.

“Growing up in a single mother household with five siblings, including a younger sister with cerebral palsy, I faced numerous challenges such as domestic violence, housing instability, and financial hardships,” says Thomson.

“My aspirations to attend university were seemingly out of reach due to family commitments and financial limitations. However, discovering the Kambri Scholars Program presented a life-changing opportunity.”

Thomson graduated from ANU in 2022, with a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in accounting, finance, and management. He has moved into full-time employment at Ernst and Young, where he works in the Turnaround and Restructuring Strategy Practice and the Indigenous Sector Practice.

Through his work, he has delivered advice in areas such as financial management, restructuring and turnaround, and corporate governance. He works on highly sensitive engagements with deeply affected stakeholders, predominately in the Indigenous, mining and health sectors.

For Thomson and others, the Kambri Scholars Program is more than financial aid; it is a pathway to a brighter future. The program acts as a catalyst for personal and professional growth and empowers Indigenous youth to realise their full potential and become agents of positive change. Thanks to the support of donors who see that education is the key to equality, the program continues to sow the seeds of hope and resilience, nurturing a generation of leaders poised to shape a brighter, more inclusive future for Australia.

To learn more about Thomson's story and the Kambri Scholars Program, download the 2023 impact report.

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