Hon Stephen Dawson MLC

Hon Stephen Dawson MLC

Minister for Mental Health; Aboriginal Affairs; Industrial Relations

    State Government releases Aboriginal Empowerment Strategy and Closing the Gap Implementation Plan

    2/09/2021 4:00 PM
     
    • The McGowan Government has today released its first Implementation Plan for Closing the Gap (CtG)
    • CtG Plan released in conjunction with the transformative Aboriginal Empowerment Strategy
    • Empowerment Strategy is the culmination of extensive engagement with Aboriginal stakeholders and the WA public
    • The Strategy and the Implementation Plan to work hand-in-hand to reset the relationship between the WA Government and Aboriginal people

    The McGowan Government has today released its first Closing the Gap Jurisdictional Implementation Plan together with its Aboriginal Empowerment Strategy - two important and strategic documents that will guide a future whole-of-government approach to Aboriginal affairs in Western Australia.

     

    This is the first Implementation Plan for Western Australia under the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap. It identifies the initial actions the WA Government will undertake to close the gap in outcomes between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Western Australia. The Government will continue to refine the Implementation Plan, with an update to be published in 2022.

     

    WA's Implementation Plan was developed through collaboration across government departments and agencies, with crucial input and endorsement from the Aboriginal Advisory Council of WA, as well as the Aboriginal Health Council of WA, the only WA-based member of the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations (the Coalition of Peaks).

     

    The Implementation Plan is the starting point for achieving the priority reforms and socio-economic targets identified in the National Agreement on Closing the Gap, and includes an extensive stocktake of contributing WA Government initiatives and programs.

     

    The Aboriginal Empowerment Strategy 2021-2029 will work hand-in-hand with the Implementation Plan, outlining the underlying rationale for reform and principles for working differently. The Strategy emphasises the importance of the Government and Aboriginal Western Australians working in partnership to improve outcomes for Aboriginal people.

     

    Developed in partnership with the Aboriginal Advisory Council of WA, the Strategy sets out the ways the WA Government will work in partnership with Aboriginal Western Australians 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 Strategy is the culmination of extensive engagement with Aboriginal stakeholders and the WA public. Feedback received in response to a 2019 discussion paper has been incorporated into the Strategy.

     

    The Strategy covers a range of different areas, from decision-making to services delivery, economic opportunities and truth-telling, that sets the high-level direction for the
    WA Government and supports the ongoing delivery and refinement of the Implementation Plan.

     

    WA's Implementation Plan for Closing the Gap can be downloaded from wa.gov.au/closing-the-gap-implementation-plan.

    The Aboriginal Empowerment Strategy can be downloaded from wa.gov.au/AboriginalEmpowerment.

     

    Comments attributed to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Stephen Dawson:

     

    "WA's CtG Implementation Plan identifies where we are now as a Government in working for - and with - Aboriginal people, and offers us a real opportunity to build on what's working well, and address what could be done better.

     

    "The Aboriginal Empowerment Strategy is about resetting the relationship between the WA Government and Aboriginal Western Australians.

     

    "As we approach the bicentenary of the establishment of the Swan River Colony, there is no doubt that the State of Western Australia is on a journey to acknowledge and reconcile the past, and create the vision for a shared future.

     

    "The ongoing legacy of Western Australia's history demands that the Government works differently to support the empowerment of Aboriginal Western Australians, by partnering with Aboriginal people to create new opportunities and address the impacts of past and ongoing injustices."

     

    Comments attributed to Vicki O'Donnell, member of the Aboriginal Advisory Council of WA and Chairperson of the Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia:

     

    "The National Agreement on Closing the Gap is strongly supported by Aboriginal people in Western Australia as it defines the reforms that are absolutely necessary for improving the life outcomes of our people, and our communities. The four Priority Reforms require governments to change the way they work with us at all levels, and ensure that Aboriginal self-determination, leadership, and culture are the foundations for shared decision-making, partnership and service delivery into the future.

     

    "The expertise, strength and resilience of the Aboriginal Community Controlled sector has been clearly demonstrated in how we have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and the vaccination rollout over the past 15 months. This confirms that when Aboriginal people lead the design and delivery of services that affect them, the outcomes are always better, and reinforces why the National Agreement is so important for our people.

     

    "The Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia will continue to work closely with the Government over the coming year to maximise the potential of the first Implementation Plan for improving health and wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal people across the State."

     

    Comments attributed to Gail Beck and Martin Sibosado, Co-Chairs of the Aboriginal Advisory Council of Western Australia:

     

    "The Aboriginal Advisory Council of WA supports a stronger working relationship between Aboriginal people and the State Government. 

     

    "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.

     

    "As the First Nations of Western Australia, we are culturally diverse peoples united in our experiences of colonisation and marginalisation. We are Aboriginal citizens of Western Australia who seek to self-determine our own futures. The Council encourages the Government to work with us to continuously improve its engagement with Aboriginal people on the Government's implementation of its commitments under National Closing the Gap.

     

    "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."

     

    Minister's office - 6552 5800