New government strategy to support Aboriginal-led solutions

  • Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation (ACCO) Strategy been released to support more opportunities for Aboriginal people and communities
  • Strategy to empower new ways of working with WA Government agencies
  • Provides a framework to deliver the National Agreement on Closing the Gap and the Aboriginal Empowerment Strategy

The Western Australian Government has released a whole-of-Government Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation (ACCO) Strategy to achieve greater involvement of ACCOs in planning, designing and delivering more culturally responsive and secure services to Aboriginal people.

ACCOs play a vital role in delivering community services across a wide range of sectors including health, mental health, housing, family support, disability support, justice, youth engagement, education, and child protection. The ACCO Strategy sets out the approach for how WA Government agencies can work with ACCOs to build on their existing strengths to deliver effective community services in these sectors.

The ACCO Strategy covers all stages of the commissioning cycle, putting service users at the heart of the process and focusing on longer-term outcomes beyond the procurement of services. The Strategy provides guidance on how the WA Government can further progress key commitments of the Aboriginal Empowerment Strategy and the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.

The ACCO Strategy was developed in partnership with the Social Services Committee of the Aboriginal Health Council of WA, incorporating feedback from stakeholders from the ACCO sector, government and the broader community services sector.

The ACCO Strategy builds on the WA Government’s commitment to strengthening the WA ACCO sector which includes a $5.7 million investment in WA’s second recently established peak body, the Council of Aboriginal Services Western Australia (CASWA) and $3.4 million ACCO sector strengthening grants awarded in June 2023 to 16 WA ACCOs.

The WA Government has committed a further $1.795 million in the 2024-25 State Budget to support formal partnerships with Aboriginal organisations, including implementation of community-led initiatives through the East Kimberley Place-Based Partnership.

To see the Strategy, visit https://www.wa.gov.au/government/publications/whole-of-government-acco-strategy

As stated by Aboriginal Affairs Minister Dr. Tony Buti:

“Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations are critical to the delivery of effective and culturally secure community services to Aboriginal people. We saw this during the COVID-19 response and continue to see the evidence across the full range of service sectors.

“The WA Government’s ACCO Strategy is crucial for implementing the Aboriginal Empowerment Strategy and the National Agreement on Closing the Gap. It is a very practical step towards empowering Aboriginal Western Australians through services planned, designed and delivered by strong and sustainable ACCOs.

“The WA Government is looking forward to seeing greater involvement of ACCOs in the delivery of a wide range of place-based and community-led services. Through this Strategy, the WA Government and Aboriginal people will walk together to create long-term positive change.”

As stated by Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia Chair Ms Vicki O’Donnell:

“As a peak body for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) and a longstanding WA member of the Coalition of Peaks, Aboriginal Health Council of WA welcomes recognition on the way ACCOs do business to support communities. WA ACCHS have many years of experience in designing and delivering culturally secure services to bring about desired change.

“We know that the best outcomes are achieved when the strength and skills of ACCOs, and self-determination of communities are realised from commissioning through to service delivery.

“It is crucial to elevate the reach and sustainability of ACCOs through partnerships. Being deeply embedded in communities, they are often best placed to co-design solutions that respond to the evolving and diverse needs of Aboriginal communities.”

As stated by Council of Aboriginal Services Western Australia Chief Executive Officer James Christian:

“We all have a role to play in achieving better outcomes for Aboriginal people and their communities, and we know that when we work together as a collective, we can achieve the best outcomes.

“The ACCO Strategy provides an opportunity to advance genuine partnership with Government, and where community is recognised as an equal partner in the decision-making process.

“Ultimately, CASWA has a vision to deliver: to unite ACCOs in WA with a strong and collective voice, that enables them to deliver place-based, community-led and culturally appropriate services to achieve better outcomes for Aboriginal people and their communities.”

/Public Release. View in full here.