Projects Underway


How relationships between First Peoples and government are understood - Key concepts and issues

OCHRE is the NSW Government’s plan for Aboriginal affairs. OCHRE represents an ongoing commitment to fundamentally change the relationship between the NSW Government and Aboriginal communities through agreement making. To achieve a transformation in relationships, a greater understanding is required of what needs changing and how the changes can be achieved including the mechanisms enabling agreed change.

This research, undertaken in collaboration with Black Swan consulting, will examine the purpose served by any changed relationship; what is needed to support positive change; the mechanisms and forms used to achieve the change; how self-government and self-determination under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) are understood and how these concepts support positive change; the various scales at which relationships are negotiated (e.g. National, State, regional, local); the relationship between concepts of nation-building and community-building, and variation in views between the major actors.


The OCHRE evaluation: Stage 2 outcomes

In 2011, the NSW Government and Aboriginal communities started a conversation that resulted in the OCHRE initiatives. The Social Policy Research Centre at the University of NSW have been appointed to continue the conversation so that each Local Decision Making process, Aboriginal Language and Culture Nest and Opportunity Hub develops with local Aboriginal communities’ views in mind.

With the first stage complete, the conversations will move to discuss the outcomes, and focus on what it has achieved for the local Aboriginal communities in the short, medium and longer terms. These conversations will continue until June 2020.

The findings and recommendations from the first stage can be found here.

Further information about the evaluation can be found here.


Understanding Aboriginal Identification in NSW: Evidence from the Australian Census Longitudinal Dataset: 2016 Update

The Aboriginal population in NSW is estimated to be the largest in the country and one of the fastest growing. Part of the growth from 2006-2011 was driven by residents of NSW who were not identified as Indigenous in the 2006 Census, but were identified as such in the 2011 Census. Aboriginal Affairs NSW, in partnership with the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research at the Australian National University, is further investigating Aboriginal identification change including the data from the most recent Census in 2016. This study will examine Aboriginal identification change in the censuses for the decade from 2006 to 2016 and will report on those results.


A Literature review and study of the co-design process within the OCHRE evaluation

This study continues the examination of the OCHRE evaluation process that so far has looked at the challenges, aspirations, and motivations of NSW Aboriginal Affairs staff the evaluation within their dual roles of Aboriginal community member and public servant; and the challenges and tensions in obtaining local Aboriginal community consent for the evaluation including the meaning of consent, and the management of consent processes.

The evaluation of OCHRE takes as its starting point collaboration between those responsible for the conduct of the evaluation and local Aboriginal communities. Commonly referred to as co-design, co-creation or co-production, co-design empowers local communities to tailor the OCHRE initiative in their community to develop so that it suits their own context. The evaluation is carried out with and by local people rather than on them with the evaluation questions, how the initiative’s impact is measured and the methods for achieving this, and the nature and delivery of the initiative co-designed.

The approach requires evaluation processes that are purposefully designed to create an environment where co-design can flourish including developing the evaluation capacity of local communities and building trust. Collaborative partnerships inevitably bring complexities including negotiating logistics, competing priorities, competing values and interest, and challenges to research governance, flexibility and timeframes. This study will examine these with a view to identifying the challenges and tensions in designing the evaluation in each location and possibilities for addressing these.


The independent review of Aboriginal communities water and sewerage program

Currently being undertaken by the consulting engineers Arup, this independent evaluation will assess the efficiency and effectiveness to date of the Aboriginal Communities and Water Sewerage Program (ACWSP). In consultation with the program’s beneficiaries, the review will also develop a Program Logic Model to measure its long-term success.


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