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About Local Decision Making

LDM changes the relationship between Aboriginal communities and government and helps Aboriginal communities to participate fully in decision making about services.

LDM aligns with national and international practice which shows that sovereignty and self-determination generates sustained socio economic development and wellbeing in Aboriginal communities.

LDM recognises that when Aboriginal people and communities are able to make their own decisions, they consistently out-perform external decision-makers such as government agencies.

How does Local Decision Making operate?

Through LDM, the NSW Government and regional Aboriginal governance bodies (Aboriginal regional alliances) enter into agreements (Accords) committing parties to jointly address agreed priorities, including timeframes, responsibilities and measures of success.

Regional alliances are progressively delegated greater powers and budgetary control once capacity is demonstrated. There are three stages of delegation; advisory, planning and implementation, and with each stage comes a greater level of decision-making.

The NSW Government will establish strong cross-government working arrangements so that negotiations can occur between government agencies and regional alliances based on the priorities of regional alliances. Regional alliances will have a direct line of communication to government decision makers, including agency Senior Regional Coordinators and if necessary issues can be escalated directly to Secretaries of NSW Government Departments.

The LDM model was designed knowing that a ‘one size fits all’ approach does not align with success in Aboriginal communities and in recognition that every regional alliance will be different. Each regional alliance will progress through the Local Decision Making pathway at their own pace.

Premier’s Memorandum

In March 2015, the Hon. Mike Baird, MP, then NSW Premier, issued a Premier’s Memorandum which sets out the aim of Local Decision Making and outlines the roles and responsibilities of NSW Government agencies in supporting it.

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

The Premier’s memorandum is available here

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.