Engaging with the Aboriginal community is essential to ensuring local government services are effective and respond to the needs of Aboriginal people.
Victoria’s Aboriginal population is diverse, young and growing. The Aboriginal community has many vibrant leaders and strong Aboriginal organisations and service delivery bodies.
For historical reasons Aboriginal people have not always enjoyed access to government services and had the opportunity to shape and participate in policies, projects or programs. Local government has a particular role in changing this on the services it delivers and through its engagement practices with the Aboriginal community.
All efforts to improve partnerships with Aboriginal people begin with engagement and participation.
The 2012 Victorian Local Government Aboriginal Engagement and Reconciliation Survey identified a number of different ways that Victorian councils currently engage with local Aboriginal communities:
- Developing and operating an Aboriginal Advisory Committee
- Encouraging Aboriginal Representation on existing council advisory committees
- Engaging with Aboriginal Organisations
- Engaging with Traditional Owners
- Engaging with Local Aboriginal Networks
- Providing candidate information to Aboriginal people at election time
- Engaging with a local Reconciliation Group.
Maggolee encourages councils to share engagement practices and through this, demonstrate how successful engagement can lead to positive outcomes for the Aboriginal community and in the way that councils progress their work.