Shared Responsibility Agreement (SRA) (Australia)


Shared Responsibility Agreements (SRAs) are agreements made between federal and state governments and Indigenous communities to provide discretionary funding in return for community obligations. Such agreements form part of the Council of Australian Governments' (COAG) original commitment to the Framework to Advance Reconciliation and the Commonwealth Government's whole of government initiatives. ‘Shared Responsibility’ is a key concept in these arrangements.

SRAs set out what all partners to the agreement will contribute in order to develop effective and long-term changes for Indigenous communities. SRAs are developed with reference to local community priorities and ideas as to how these might be achieved.

Extended Definition

The initial SRAs signed in COAG trials were set out in two parts. The first establishes the parties to the agreement as well as an overview of the agreement, its objectives, local outcomes and priorities, arrangements for performance measurement and evaluation, for access to data, for dispute settlement, review of progress and duration and variation of the agreement. In order to ensure flexibility, communities and government may agree in writing to change the contents of the agreement.

The second part usually consists of a number of attachments which describe specific arrangements with respect to agreed strategies and projects. These are set out in a table which details the nature of each project, its rationale, the parties to it and the responsibilities of each party with respect to the project. It also sets out the mutually agreed performance information that is to be provided including benchmarks and baseline data.

The SRAs signed after July 2004 have involved only single-issue agreements, designed to be meaningful to individual communities. By May 2005, 52 SRAs had been signed with 43 communities. A further 24 SRAs were signed in June 2005. The SRAs provide both services and facilities to communities. The 2005 SRAs have provided community stores, sports equipment, support for business ventures, education programs and programs to improve school attendance and health. Pursuant to the Australian Government’s ‘development of a comprehensive approach to SRAs’, more recent SRAs have sought to address multiple and related issues within a single SRA. (Secretaries Group on Indigenous Affairs, October 2005)

In late July 2006, the Australian Government released further information and details of SRAs which included a standard Header Agreement outlining the purpose of SRAs to:
  • ‘establish partnerships and share responsibility for achieving measurable and sustainable improvements’ for the community;
  • ‘support and strengthen local governance, decision making and accountability’; and
  • incorporate mechanisms for the evaluation of the ‘shared approach’ and the application of outcomes of the evaluation to future approaches. (Australian Government Indigenous Portal, Shared Responsibility Agreement Header Agreement, 2006)

    The SRA Header Agreement is accompanied by an attached schedule or schedules detailing the specific priorities of the SRA, the rationale supporting the SRA, the specific responsibilities of each party to the agreement and the means of assessment of the SRA through specific performance indicators, identified key milestones and feedback mechanisms.

    As of October 2006, 188 SRAs had been signed with communities.