Posted: September 9th, 2021
The State Government has recently announced the release of both its revised ‘Aboriginal Empowerment Strategy 2021-2029’ and Western Australia’s first ‘Closing the Gap Implementation Plan’.
As part of their release, the State Government has declared these are “two significant documents that, together, represent an important step forward on the journey of resetting the relationships between Aboriginal people and the Government in Western Australia”.
As described in the respective documents:
- The Aboriginal Empowerment Strategy 2021-2029 sets out how the State Government will direct its efforts towards a future in which all Aboriginal people, families and communities are empowered to live good lives and choose their own futures from a secure foundation.
- The Closing the Gap Implementation Plan outlines how the State Government will meet its commitments under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap. It builds on the foundations of the Aboriginal Empowerment Strategy 2021-2029, setting out a long-term whole-of-government approach and how departments will work with Aboriginal Western Australians to ensure Aboriginal people, families and communities are empowered to live good lives and choose their own futures, from a secure foundation.
Having submitted a response to the December 2019 discussion paper, A Path Forward: Developing the Western Australian Government’s Aboriginal Empowerment Strategy, YMAC is pleased to see the State Government has incorporated some of the feedback provided. For example, it is particularly encouraging to see the inclusion of ‘truth-telling’ as a fundamental element of the revised strategy, as well as the retainment of ‘culture’ at the centre of all its objectives.
This level of encouragement appears to be shared by the Aboriginal Advisory Council of Western Australia (the Council), with its two Co-Chairs, Gail Beck and Martin Sibosado, stating: “The Council welcomes the release of the Aboriginal Empowerment Strategy and this first iteration of the Government’s Closing the Gap Implementation Plan; both important steps in building a deeper relationship between Aboriginal citizens of Western Australia and the State Government… It is vital that Government recognises the centrality of culture for Aboriginal people and engages with us in the spirit of genuine partnership to develop solutions that improve our own lives. The Council has been clear in advising the Government that we expect to see our people participating as equals across the State.”
If you would like more information about either of these documents, please email AboriginalEngagement@dpc.wa.gov.au or call 08 6552 5333.