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Three Rivers Local Decision Making Accord – Message from the Head of Aboriginal Affairs
Three Rivers Regional Assembly provides more say for Aboriginal peoples and communities in the Central West
On Monday 10 December 2018, the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, The Hon. Sarah Mitchell MLC, travelled to Dubbo to meet with the Chair of the Three Rivers Regional Assembly, Rod Towney, and sign a landmark agreement between Aboriginal people in the Three Rivers region and the NSW Government. Led by the community, the agreement marks the beginning of a new relationship of trust, cooperation and shared responsibility between Government and Aboriginal people in the region. It will set the framework for Aboriginal peoples and communities to have a real say in how government responds to their needs.
This is the third Agreement to be signed between an Aboriginal governance body and the NSW Government as part of Local Decision Making, an initiative of OCHRE, the NSW Government’s community focused plan for Aboriginal affairs.
Local Decision Making is strengths-based and community led. It is about enabling the voice of Aboriginal people to be heard by Government. It’s about challenging assumptions about how Government works, and putting Aboriginal people in the driver’s seat of decision-making. And it is overturning top down approaches to policy and service provision.
The Agreement is the primary mechanism for directing service delivery redesign and reinvestment in order to meet the needs and priorities of the Assembly. Through the Accord, the Assembly has worked together with senior government negotiators to design a raft of new solutions to meet local communities’ needs in four priority areas, including Education, Housing, Economic Development and Health.
Negotiated commitments include a Health Partnership Agreement between the Three Rivers Regional Assembly and key health providers in the Three Rivers region, an Aboriginal Housing Strategy which will promote home ownership and improve information sharing on tenancy rights and responsibilities, an audit of each school in the Three Rivers region to determine the capacity of the schools to engage meaningfully with Aboriginal families and communities, and a Regional Industry Based Agreement for the Health sector which focuses on culturally appropriate service delivery, including Aboriginal employment and business outcomes.
I would like to acknowledge the hard work, commitment and respect demonstrated by all engaged in this process, including members of the Three Rivers Regional Assembly and representatives from across the NSW Government. I congratulate and thank you all, and I look forward to watching this partnership grow through implementation.