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Empowered Communities

Category: Policy/Strategy
Date: 2013
Sub Category:Policy/Strategy

In 2021, the ten Empowered Communities regions include:

  • Cape York, Queensland
  • Central Coast, New South Wales
  • East Kimberley, Western Australia
  • Goulburn-Murray, Victoria
  • Inner Sydney, New South Wales
  • Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Lands, Central Australia
  • North East Arnhem Land (NEAL), Northern Territory
  • West Kimberley, Western Australia
  • Lower River Murray, Lakes and Coorong, SA
  • Far West Coast, SA
Subject Matter: | Economic Development | Land Management | Land Use | Law - Policy and Justice | Leadership | Local Government | Management / Administration | Recognition Agreement / Acknowledgement | Reconciliation | Self Government
Summary Information:

Empowered Communities is a model and plan led by Indigenous Australians to reform how Indigenous policies and programs are designed and delivered. It has two key reform goals:

  • to minimise social and economic disadvantage experienced by Indigenous people
  • to promote and preserve culture and heritage (Empowered Communities, 2015).

It aims to build genuine relationships and trust between Indigenous leaders and government, with a focus on increasing Indigenous autonomy and responsibility for local and regional decision-making (Empowered Communities, 2015). It also requires the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments to share or relinquish their authority (Empowered Communities, 2015).

The Empowered Communities reform is active in ten remote, regional and urban regions across Australia (Empowered Communities 2021). Each region self-selected to join the initiative. Indigenous communities, organisations and governments work together to set priorities, improve services and apply funding effectively (National Indigenous Australians Agency, 2021).

Detailed Information:

Indigenous leaders from eight regions began reform discussions in 2013; these established a 'framework from comprehensive structural reform of Indigenous affairs ... through a new, more balanced partnership with governments' (Empowered Commuities, 2021). Following engagement with communities, corporations and governments, the Empowered Communities design report was released in 2015, detailing the implementation of the Indigenous empowerment agenda. 

The Empowered Communities reforms were allocated $31 million by the Commonwealth government over 2016-19, with the timeframe extended an additional three years in 2019 (Empowered Communities, 2021). The funding supports Indigenous communities and partner organisations to identify and progress local priorities (NIAA, 2021).

Related Entries

  • Commonwealth of Australia

  • References

    General Reference
    Empowered Communities (2021) Empowered Communities
    National Indigenous Australians Agency (2021) Empowered Communities
    Empowered Communities (2015) Empowered Communities: Empowered Peoples Design Report


    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Australia) | Policy/Strategy

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