Why is this important?
Councils demonstrate serious intent and respect by ensuring that negotiated positions and agreed projects and activities with the Aboriginal community are reflected in key council plans and policy statements. They can drive such commitments by ensuring Aboriginal participation in council advisory and engagement structures.
Inclusion of Aboriginal people in the development of policy and service frameworks and legislated planning instruments such as Council Plans and Municipal Health and Wellbeing Plans helps promote transparency and accountability, and provides a mechanism for monitoring and evaluating progress towards improved engagement and outcomes with the local Aboriginal community and organisations.
Formal commitments are a powerful statement and send a clear message to the Aboriginal community, the broader community and to council staff.
What can your council do?
The 2012 Victorian Local Government Aboriginal Engagement and Reconciliation Survey found that 42 councils included Aboriginal specific strategies, commitments or initiatives in one or more key documents such as Council Plans and Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plans. Thirty-eight councils said that they had a formal plan such as a Partnership Agreement, reconciliation plan, Inclusion Plan or similar in place, of which three are Reconciliation Action Plans registered with Reconciliation Australia.