The State’s peak body for councils has welcomed the release of a statewide implementation plan to address the disproportionate disadvantage experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Linda Scott said councils were keenly committed to reconciliation and would play a key role in the success of the Closing the Gap plan.
“This is a positive first step and is especially important given past failures to address the disadvantage gap,” Cr Scott said.
“Closing the Gap is a designed to tackle the disproportionate disadvantage experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and the NSW Implementation Plan commits to focus on issues raised in the strategy, including health, housing, early childhood development and prevention of abuse.
“It’s key that this plan has been developed in partnership between government and Aboriginal peak organisations and communities.”
At the centre of the National Agreement are four Priority Reforms that focus on changing the way governments work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The Priority Reforms outlined in the plan will:
- Strengthen and establish formal partnerships and shared decision-making;
- Build the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled sector;
- Transform government organisations so they work better for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;
- Improve and share access to data and information to enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities make informed decisions.
“Councils across NSW are already engaged in so many of these priority reform areas and socio-economic targets in their local communities,” said Cr Scott.
“I look forward to local government being more closely involved in development of implementation plans for future years.”
Cr Scott said councils were an essential partner in ensuring Closing the Gap initiatives were locally tailored and relevant for each community.
“A key action for the next 12 months will be to capture the existing work of local government that supports achieving priority reforms and socio-economic outcomes targeted in the strategy for NSW,” Cr Scott said.
“This partnership agreement is enshrined in the Intergovernmental Agreement signed in 2019 by the Premier of NSW Gladys Berejiklian and me at our 2019 LGNSW Annual Conference.
“This partnership approach is the gold standard for maximising outcomes and should be applied to the Closing the Gap priorities, in partnership with NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Peaks, Aboriginal organisations and communities, to drive better outcomes for Aboriginal communities.”