PALS, an initiative of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, encourages young Western Australian school students to develop projects that promote reconciliation in their local community. PALS commenced in 2004 and is based on the core attributes of:

Partnership between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people;
Acceptance of difference as unique and to be respected;
Learning more about ourselves and each other, and,
Sharing a common journey along the path of healing and reconciliation towards a more harmonious and optimistic future.

In 2015, 367 schools from across the State coordinated 422 PALS projects that aimed to increase students understanding of our unique Aboriginal culture.

Through project work students expand their knowledge of traditional Aboriginal culture and lifestyle and explore how it has been impacted over the past 200 years by external factors including European settlement, government policies, religion, technology and education. This new level of understanding is used to introduce a positive change in the community.

PALS complements the teaching syllabus and was developed in collaboration with the Department of EducationCatholic Education Office and the Association of Independent Schools WA.

PALS participants contribute to building a better society – a community that is ultimately free of racism and prejudice and instead filled with harmony, hope, understanding and acceptance.

Timeline of PALS program:

Term 1 PALS applications open in February and close in March
Term 2

PALS funding is provided to successful applicants during Term 2.
Schools work on their PALS projects.

Term 3 PALS projects are acquitted by September.  
Acquitted projects are eligible for the PALS Awards.
 Term 4

PALS Awards are presented to successful schools.

All Western Australian schools are invited to apply for PALS funding by designing and submitting a reconciliation project relating to one of the six PALS categories that they believe will influence positive change and understanding in their school environment.

Projects can vary and range from producing Aboriginal art murals, bush tucker gardens, running NAIDOC Week events or fostering relationships between students and Aboriginal Elders through school incursions and excursions. All funded projects must be acquitted in September by submitting the completed project. The projects will then be judged as part of the annual PALS Awards process.

Awards are offered to outstanding PALS projects in each category every year and are presented at a PALS Awards ceremony, including an overall winner who receives the Troy Cook Award.

Mr Troy Cook, representing the David Wirrpanda Foundation, has been the PALS ambassador since 2006 and plays a part in choosing the overall winning school to receive this significant acknowledgement.


(08) 6551 8051

To apply for PALS funding for 2016 please click here

“Having been involved with PALS for many years, I have found the staff very helpful and informative when contacting them about the Program. It is really worthwhile as the schools I have worked in are very multicultural. Students enjoy our NAIDOC days. They in turn get to know Aboriginal Culture and History of the first Australians.”
“It is an amazing program and has had a series of enthusiastic, proactive coordinators.”
 “PALS funding is a fabulous idea. It is great to be able to put an idea into practice and see all the benefits it brings to all the people involved.”