Aboriginal alliances and government meet in Dubbo

Looking forward: Sam Jeffries, Ruth Davys, Steve Gal and Rod Towney at a meeting in Dubbo. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Looking forward: Sam Jeffries, Ruth Davys, Steve Gal and Rod Towney at a meeting in Dubbo. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Three Aboriginal enterprises from greater western NSW took the opportunity to share knowledge and meet with government officials in Dubbo last week.

Representatives from Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly, Three Rivers Regional Assembly and Riverina-Murray Regional Alliance held a one day conference at the Yarradamurra Centre at TAFE Western’s Dubbo Campus.

Around 50 staff from the alliances joined with officials from Aboriginal Affairs, including Director of Regional Co-ordination Steve Gal.

Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly chairman Sam Jeffries said one of the biggest advantages of interacting directly with government was the increased knowledge they could gain.

He said housing, employment and health were some of the biggest issues affecting Aboriginal people and finding out what government funding was available helped them to decide how to try and influence that spending.

While Murdi Paaki and Three Rivers, which is chaired by Dubbo’s Rod Towney, are recognised as decision-making sites by the NSW government, Riverina-Murray is a new organisation that sits outside the existing structure.

Riverina-Murray chairwoman Ruth Davys said there was a lot to be learned from the more established organisations.

“There’s a lot of discussion and it’s about moving forward. It’s interesting to see how Murdi Paaki is doing things because we are only just over 12 months old,” she said.

“The networking opportunity was invaluable too.”

From a government perspective, Mr Gal said he was encouraged by the tone of discussions.

“The strongest message that came out was that while all the alliances were able to identify issues in their communities and issues about government expenditure, there was a positive energy,” he said.

“Sometimes with these issues they aren’t going as well as you want them to but there was a positive energy and a commitment to find a way to work with government.”

All parties agreed there was the potential to make the meeting an annual event but said those plans hadn’t been discussed.

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