why is this important?

The Uluru Statement from the Heart called for Voice, Treaty and Truth. A Voice to Council can embed meaningful First Peoples participation in local government planning and decision making. A Voice can provide a useful forum to identify local priorities, provide advice about issues and develop local plans of action. 

A Voice will often include representatives from a range of First Peoples organisations as well as local government staff and a representative from council. First Peoples advisory committees can also ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members are consulted about the development of council plans and other initiatives.

Recommended Strategies

  • Establish a Voice to Council in the form of a First Peoples Advisory Committee.
  • Ensure a simple and timely payment process so First Peoples are compensated for their time and knowledge. 
  • Create guidelines, in collaboration with your local First Peoples community, about what matters the Voice will deal with. For example, a Voice may deal with council plans for January 26th whereas the local Registered Aboriginal Party should be consulted on Acknowledgement and Welcome to Country protocols. 
  • Ensure First Peoples representation across all council committees, particularly maternal health, land management, youth, sport, arts and culture.
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Case Studies

Hume City Council supports the work of the Hume Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group (RAPWG). The RAPWG has improved council engagement with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and improved relationships with key First Peoples stakeholders. The RAPWG has increased council staff knowledge about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories through the delivery of cultural competency and cultural safety training, championed more events sharing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges, and led the establishment of the Stolen Generations Marker Project.

Key Contacts

The 2012 Victorian Local Government Aboriginal Engagement and Reconciliation Survey found that 26 councils had established an Aboriginal advisory committee or similar structure. Reach out to neighbouring councils to see what has been successful about their structure. 

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