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Projects Underway


Understanding the practice of co-designing and co-producing recommendations

Over the last two decades, governments have increasingly sought to include the public in the design and development of services to ensure they are meeting the needs of individuals and communities. Concepts such as ‘co-design’ and ‘co-production’ have emerged to describe this style of collaboration.

There is some evidence in recent years of an emerging practice that seeks to bring citizens into co-designing recommendations to government. However, successful recommendation making to government is, in and of itself, a complex enterprise requiring attention to a range of issues including the construction and wording of recommendations, and knowledge of public service structures, budget, and government priorities and predisposition to implement any given recommendation.

This study will examine the process used to arrive at the recommendations arising from the OCHRE evaluation, as a case study to inform future work in this area. It will explore possible conflicts and contradictions in experience and world view in the ways Aboriginal peoples and government understand and enact the recommendation making process. Undertaken in partnership with the Anthropos Consulting Services, the study seeks to improve the quality of recommendations to increase the likelihood of successful outcomes.


Aboriginal Languages and Wellbeing in NSW

Anecdotal evidence suggests that there are many health and wellbeing benefits for Aboriginal people who speak their heritage language. This study will analyse data from the Australian Census of Population and Housing, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey and the National Indigenous Languages Survey collections to identify connections between speaking an Aboriginal language and wellbeing in NSW. The evidence gained through the study will inform work to achieve the commitments in the Aboriginal Languages Act (2017).

The study is being undertaken in partnership with the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research at the Australian National University.


Recognising Aboriginal political communities

Critical to any transformation of the relationships between government and Aboriginal peoples in NSW, is a sound political understanding of who Aboriginal people are in NSW – what does Aboriginal polity look like here?

This desktop review will examine the features of the Aboriginal polity in NSW describing the peak advocacy groups, advisory groups, corporations, committees and joint management groups in four locations in NSW. It will explore the features of each of the groups including its history, the length of time the group has operated, its focus, funding, role, how the group currently relates to others and to various levels of government and its legal framework.

The study is being undertaken in partnership with the University of Technology, Sydney.


Towards fair and positive media representation of Aboriginal peoples in NSW

Media representation of Aboriginal peoples in NSW greatly influences public policy and the capacity to transform the relationships between Aboriginal peoples and government. Through standard forms of story-telling that are legitimised through recurrent use, media is both shaped by and reinforces deeper narratives, values and beliefs about Aboriginal peoples.

Historically, the prevalent media discourse around Aboriginal peoples has been overwhelmingly negative, with even the best-intentioned representations typically devaluing the humanity and agency of Aboriginal peoples.

This study examines key national and NSW media events over the last five decades with high relevance for transforming Aboriginal-government relationships in NSW. In doing so it aims to develop an account of the ways media narratives in NSW capture and communicate the participation of Aboriginal communities with public policy affecting their interests. It tests to what extent stories in the media acknowledge and support the participation by Aboriginal people in the decisions that affect them. Further, it seeks to identify opportunities in media environments that could increase the capacity of both communities and governments to contribute to fair outcomes in agreement making and a new narrative based on mutual respect and accountability.

The study is being undertaken in partnership with the University of Technology, Sydney.


Approaches to developing cultural capability

A longstanding practice barrier to achieving positive change in the relationship between Aboriginal communities and the NSW Government is the cultural capability of NSW public service employees. Several programs are in use in NSW to increase this capability with considerable variation in the approach taken and the material covered. With reference to two approaches to developing cultural capability, this explorative study will examine the similarities and differences in the perspectives of NSW public service employees and Aboriginal people about what constitutes culturally sensitive and appropriate practice. The study will be undertaken in partnership with the National Centre for Cultural Competence at The University of Sydney.


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