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: November 2, 2016 at 11:00 am