Advisory Committees

Why is this important?

Councils that have developed strong links with the Aboriginal community often have formal structures, such as through an Aboriginal advisory committee.

Such committees embed meaningful Aboriginal participation in local government planning and decision making. Aboriginal advisory committees provide a useful forum to identify local priorities, provide advice about issues, and develop local plans of action. They often include representatives from a range of Aboriginal organisations as well as local government staff and a representative from council. Aboriginal advisory committees can also ensure that the broader Aboriginal community is consulted about the development of council plans and other initiatives.

On particular matters, however, council should deal directly with the relevant Aboriginal organisation. For example, with Registered Aboriginal Parties on cultural heritage matters, Traditional Owners on developing acknowledgement and welcome to country protocols, or local Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations about health and community service delivery priorities.

Councils should also include Aboriginal representatives on other council committees. This can ensure that the interests of Aboriginal people are well represented across council programs.


What can your council do?

The 2012 Victorian Local Government Aboriginal Engagement and Reconciliation Survey found that 26 councils had established an Aboriginal advisory committee or similar structure.

Councils can also encourage Aboriginal people to participate in other local committees, such as maternal health, land management, youth, sport, recreation, arts and culture.


Last Updated: June 8, 2018 at 9:40 pm

Case Studies

Melbourne City Council has an Indigenous Advisory Panel made up of 12 members, including four Traditional Owners representing Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung. The Advisory Panel provides comment and feedback to council on a range of issues that may affect Aboriginal people (e.g. cultural heritage, social and economic development). The Indigenous Arts Advisory Panel has developed an Indigenous Arts Code of Practice, and advocated successfully for hosting the Indigenous Arts Festival in 2012.

Hume City Council supports the work of the Hume Aboriginal Partnership Group (APG) which is responsible for guiding the development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander events that recognise achievements and celebrate culture, heritage and history. Over several years the Hume APG has hosted a number of events including: Anniversary of the Apology, Sorry Day events, flag raising ceremonies, NAIDOC week art exhibitions and cultural activities.



Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on PinterestGoogle+Email to someoneShare on LinkedIn