why is this important?

Effective engagement with First Peoples strengthens local government and enhances First Peoples community members’ access to services and participation in municipal affairs. In order for council services and initiatives to be effective and responsive to First Peoples’ needs there must be meaningful engagement, policies and protocols in place to facilitate appropriate connections. While council may have its own protocols for engaging with community, there are also important cultural protocols that must be followed when working with First Peoples, particularly Elders. Their protocols will be different depending on which part of Victoria your municipality is in, which is why it is important that your engagement policies and protocols are created in partnership with local Traditional Owners, First Peoples organisations and community. 

Recommended Strategies

  • Develop engagement plans and strategies that ensure there are formal structures to hold councils’ decision-making accountable to and representative of the local First Peoples communities' views and needs.
  • Establish a formal First Peoples voice to council to embed First Peoples engagement in all council procedures and decision-making.
  • Develop meaningful engagement and partnerships with the local First Peoples individuals and community organisations.
  • Ensure that Council’s employment is culturally inclusive and has established First Peoples-identified roles across all levels of organisation, particularly in positions that will engage heavily with First Peoples in the municipality.

Case Studies

The Western Regional Local Government Reconciliation Network (WRLGRN) consists of six councils across Melbourne’s western metropolitan region (Brimbank, Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Melton, Moonee Valley and Wyndham) as well as First Peoples community representatives. The network aims to strengthen the capacity of local government to partner and carry out reconciliation-focused strategies and plans that include principles of engagement and other relevant protocols for the region. The WRLGRN also undertake shared regional action to achieve community’s reconciliation goals. 

Key Contacts

Registered Aboriginal Parties

First Peoples - State Relations | State Government of Victoria

links & resources

Guidelines for Engagement with Indigenous Peoples | United Nations Workshop

Aboriginal Community Engagement and Partnership Framework | Department of Health

Engagement with Indigenous Communities in Key Sectors | Australian Government

Engagement and Connection | Municipal Association of Victoria

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