When did the Empowered Communities idea start and what is next?

When did the Empowered Communities idea start and what is next?




a) Idea stage

The Empowered Communities concept took shape in June 2013, when a group of 25 leaders from 17 Indigenous organisations around Australia (including NPY Women’s Council) came together for a conference on the Central Coast of NSW.

At that conference, the leaders realised that, although we come from very different places, we have some important things in common:

  1. We are connected by our belief in a better future for our people; and
  2. We face similar challenges, barriers and blockages when dealing with government in trying to achieve real, long-term, sustainable change for our people.

Before the 2013 Federal election, both sides of politics committed to supporting the Empowered Communities vision and agreed to move to a “detailed design” (building) stage to develop an effective new model.

b) Building (design) stage

Throughout 2014 and 2015, the 8 Empowered Communities regions have been getting together to develop and design our proposals for reform and discuss how Empowered Communities will work.

Some parts of the new model will look different in each region. We are listening to people who have ideas about how to make this model a good one to be heard – making time to sit down, talk, give feedback and share ideas about what works for our mob and what doesn’t.

Empowered Communities is like a car and we want to build the right car for Central Australia. A big Toyota!

The ideas have come from us – Aboriginal leaders, organisations and communities in the 8 regions. Government (State, Territory and Federal) and business people are supporting us and working with us too – sharing their ideas about this new model

c) Decision stage

In March 2015, the 8 Empowered Communities regions submitted the final design report to the Prime Minister.

Whilst we wait for a formal response, we will continue to share the message of Empowered Communities. Feedback will continue to shape and build the model that is right for Anangu here in the NPY Lands.

You can download a copy of the report by visiting empoweredcommunities.org.au/report.aspx

d) Implementation stage

Once a decision has been made, the process of getting Empowered Communities happening on the ground will start. This implementation phase would probably begin in the second half of 2015.

Although the report is still under consideration, some of the proposed changes include:

1. Reform Policy: Getting the Empowerment, Development and Productivity Reform Policy Right

  • a set of Reform Principles to act as a funnel for policies, programs and funding.
  • a Reform Framework that includes: national policy agreement and legislation; Development agendas prepared by Indigenous people; First Priorities Agreements in the first year of implementation; Development Accords (investment agreements) between Indigenous leaders and governments; and Delivery plans reviewed annually.
  • Indigenous reform leaders and organisations in eight regions in urban, regional and remote locations who have opted-in to the Indigenous Empowerment reforms.

2. Reform Leadership: Getting Indigenous Leadership behind the Indigenous Empowerment and Development Agendas

  • an enduring and effective reform leadership.
  • Indigenous leaders as senior partners.
  • governments as enabler, supporting and building Indigenous leadership.
  • ‘Inside-out’ collaborations rather than ‘top-down’ or ‘bottom-up’ approaches.
  • regionally specific governance arrangements building on existing structures.

3. Incentives supporting reform: Aligning incentives and investing in Regional and Local Development Agendas, not just programs

  • transparency over all regional and local spending.
  • pooling funds on a regional basis.
  • finding better ways to fund Indigenous organisations committed to reform.
  • ensuring all spending is increasingly directed towards delivering on place-based Development Agendas.
  • a demand-driven approach where Indigenous people take on the role of ‘purchaser’.
  • a ‘race to the top’ where funding increasingly flows to those achieving success.
  • an opt-in Opportunity System where individuals are provided with guaranteed opportunities in return for taking up obligations.

 4. Long term alignment and compliance: An Indigenous Policy Productivity Council oversighting Indigenous Empowerment Policy Alignment and Compliance

  • Indigenous Policy Productivity Council (IPPC) established as an independent statutory body to support and hold partners to account.
  • the IPPC will: scrutinise policy and programs; facilitate agreement negotiations; Mediate or provide, where agreed, expert determination; and publicly report on regions on an annual basis.
  • the Productivity Commission may inquire into specific policy questions.

5. Driving Delivery

  • Delivery Units in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and in the Empowered Communities backbone organisations as the engine rooms of delivery.
  • intensive design and innovation labs to be tested.
  • delivery plans will set out agreed actions, targets and trajectories.
  • Empowered Communities reform framework is a vehicle for effective delivery of other related major Indigenous reforms.
  • a specific professional development program for government officers.
  • adaptive practice to used so the Partners can learn as we go.
  • a non-traditional monitoring and evaluation framework.

Click here to learn more

We want to build a structure that lasts beyond changes in governments, so that we can achieve ongoing positive change and so that we don’t need to keep reinventing the wheel after every election. Some of the benefits that we believe will flow from these changes are: yup