In a first for the region, the Three Rivers region and the NSW Government have signed an agreement to improve outcomes for the Aboriginal community.
The main focus of the Three Rivers Local Decision Making accord are outcomes in health, education, housing and economic opportunity for local Aboriginal communities.
It has taken three years of negotiations between the Three Rivers Regional Assembly and the state government to reach the agreement, which was signed on Monday.
Chairperson of the Three Rivers Regional Assembly Rod Towney said this was a major step for Aboriginal peoples in the region.
“It is one of the most exciting things I’ve been involved in throughout my lifetime and I’ve worked with lots of government agencies over the years,” Mr Towney said.
“We hope that the government will now listen to what we would like because throughout the years government has been controlling us, telling us what to do and where to live and so on.
“We need to be able to make those decisions for ourselves and government needs to listen.”
He said when you compare government expenditure in NSW and Australia and Aboriginal communities, there “isn’t much to show for it”.
“We are still being dictated too quite frankly and that rot needs to stop,” he said.
He said the negotiation process leading up to the accord had been “a hard slog” but what they had agreed upon was more than they had hoped for.
“This is the first time we as Aboriginal people have been invited to the table to negotiate with Government on an even footing about how services are delivered.”
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Sarah Mitchell said she was proud of the landmark agreement that reset the relationship between government and Aboriginal communities.
The accord is for a period of three years with opportunities for ongoing reviews.
“Full credit to the Aboriginal community led by the chair Rod Towney,” Ms Mitchell said.
“The signing of this accord marks a key step in the implementation of OCHRE, and affirms the NSW Government’s commitment to working side by side with Aboriginal people to deliver tangible outcomes.”
NSW Government lead negotiator for the Three Rivers Regional Assembly Accord Carmen Dwyer said it was a “huge step” forward for Aboriginal and government relationships.
She said they entered the implementation phase to achieve improved health and an Aboriginal Housing Strategy for better housing.
Full credit to the Aboriginal community led by the chair Rod TowneyMinister for Aboriginal Affairs Sarah Mitchell
The accord plans to improve educational access, participation and achievements, economic opportunity and investment to deliver phase one by 2021.
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