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Local Decision Making

Local Decision Making is an initiative of OCHRE, the NSW Government’s community focused plan for Aboriginal affairs, which represents a fundamental change in the relationship between government and Aboriginal communities.

Local Decision Making is underpinned by the principle of self-determination and aims to ensure that Aboriginal communities have a genuine voice in determining what and how services are delivered to their communities.

Local Decision Making places Aboriginal people at the centre of service design, planning and delivery, enabling the staged devolution of decision making and accountability to the local level.

In 2013 Aboriginal Affairs co-ordinated an open Expression of Interest process for Aboriginal communities to apply to be a part of Local Decision Making. As a result of this process, on 4 December 2013, the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs announced that the following Aboriginal regional alliances had been selected for the initial roll out of Local Decision Making:

Given the high level of interest in Local Decision Making and the work that Aboriginal communities were already undertaking in partnership with Government, the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs announced the expansion of Local Decision Making on 8 September 2014 to include the following regional alliances:

A further regional alliance was announced on 5 March 2015:

In September 2016, the Regional Aboriginal Development Alliance split their alliance into two separate alliances due to the extent of their geographical boundary. As a result an additional regional alliance was formed:

For more information on Local Decision Making please go to:

Local Decision Making Fact Sheet

Local Decision Making Infographic

Local Decision Making Policy and Operational Framework

Capacity Strengthening Policy

Accord negotiations

Accords between NSW government agencies and regional alliances participating in Local Decision Making are the mechanism to:

For more information on the Accord Process, please refer to:

Local Decision Making Accord Process

Accord Fact Sheet

Accord Infographic

The first Local Decision Making Accord was signed between the Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly and the NSW Government at Government House on 19 February 2015. The Accord was signed on behalf of the state of NSW by the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and on behalf of the Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly by then Chair, Mr Sam Jeffries. It outlines agreed actions to address the needs and priorities negotiated between the Assembly and the NSW Government.

Murdi Paaki Accord

A process evaluation of the Murdi Paaki Accord negotiation has been completed by the Cultural and Indigenous Research Centre Australia. Engaged by Aboriginal Affairs, the evaluation identified a number of strengths and areas for improvement.

Murdi Paaki Local Decision Making Accord Negotiation Evaluation

In early 2017, the Three Rivers Regional Assembly and the Illawarra Wingecarribee Alliance Aboriginal Corporation both entered into Accord negotiations with the NSW Government.

Good Governance Guidelines

The OCHRE Good Governance Guidelines were developed to assist the NSW Government and Regional Alliances to work together to strengthen governance capacity within both Aboriginal communities and the public sector.

The Guidelines explain the steps that both Regional Alliances and the NSW Government need to take to progress through the different phases of Local Decision Making.

In January 2017 Aboriginal Affairs engaged Cox Inall Ridgeway to undertake an Independent Review of the Guidelines. The Review provided an opportunity to further scope and clarify the good governance principles required to progress through the phases of Local Decision Making, giving consideration to the ever evolving governance environment and capacity development needs of Regional Alliances and the NSW Government.

The Guidelines have now been revised to strengthen explanations of the role and responsibilities of government stakeholders, to provide stronger references to and explanation of the governance environment and capacity development, and to articulate how principles for each phase can be demonstrated, including the expansion of the self-assessment tools to cover all phases of Local Decision Making.

Further consultation is needed to define how regional alliance and government stakeholders might demonstrate the good governance principles for Phase 2 (Planning Delegation) and 3 (Implementation Delegation) of Local Decision Making. The Guidelines are evolving document and will continue to be updated as Local Decision making progress.

The current revised Guidelines can be found here.

For more information on the Good Governance Guidelines please go to:

Cox Inall Good Governance Guidelines Consultation Report

Good Governance Guidelines Fact Sheet

Good Governance Guidelines Review

The NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Regional Alliances (NCARA)

The NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Regional Alliances (NCARA) is comprised of nominated representatives from each of the NSW Aboriginal Regional Alliances established to have an increased say in government service delivery, exchange ideas and consider common issues, as well as providing leadership and advocacy where and when necessary. The primary focus of the NCARA is to:

The NCARA meet on a bi-monthly basis with peak bodies and government stakeholders in an effort to build and strengthen the relationships needed to deliver tangible outcomes for Aboriginal people across NSW.

The NCARA also distribute a bi-monthly regional alliance newsletter which details the outcomes of meetings, recent alliance news and upcoming dates.

NCARA Regional Newsletter September 2017 Edition

Premiers Memorandum

In March 2015, the Hon. Mike Baird, MP, NSW Premier, issues a Premier’s Memorandum which reiterates the intent of Local Decision Making and outlines the roles and responsibilities of NSW Government agencies in supporting Local Decision Making.

It directs NSW Government agencies to work respectfully, constructively and cooperatively with Aboriginal regional alliances, to develop Accords. Agencies are obligated to adhere to the principles of Local Decision Making, to negotiate openly and in good faith, and to share service provision and indicator data with Aboriginal regional alliances.

You can access the Premier’s Memorandum via the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet:

M2015-01-Local Decision Making

Principles for successful cross-cultural partnerships and collaboration

In 2016 Aboriginal Affairs contracted Cox Inall Ridgeway to develop a set of principles and indicators assessing the success of cross-cultural partnerships and collaboration. These principles and indicators were developed to start the conversation with partners seeking a shared outcome through Local Decision Making.

To allow each Local Decision Making partnership to assess its level of success, in accordance with the indicators, Cox Inall Ridgeway has developed a framework for assessment. The Final Report can be found here.


Should you have any questions relating to Local Decision Making please contact Aboriginal Affairs on 1800 019 998.