The Aboriginal Empowerment Strategy and WA’s first Implementation Plan for Closing the Gap

The Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA) welcomes the release of the WA Government’s Aboriginal Empowerment Strategy and its first Implementation Plan for the National Agreement on Closing the Gap (the National Agreement).


Released yesterday, the documents detail the government’s commitment to promoting Aboriginal self-determination, strengthening Aboriginal leadership, decision making and service provision, and recognising the importance of culture to the wellbeing and prosperity of Aboriginal people and their communities.


The Aboriginal Empowerment Strategy, which was first raised with the Aboriginal community for consultation in 2019, demonstrates an important shift in the government’s approach to working with Aboriginal people and, for the first time, recognises culture and connections to family and country as the foundation of Aboriginal identity and wellbeing.


Vicki O’Donnell, Chairperson of the Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia, welcomed the release of the Aboriginal Empowerment Strategy saying, the key elements of the Strategy require the Government to take a holistic and culturally informed approach to working with Aboriginal people in the future. Importantly, the Aboriginal Empowerment Strategy is truthful about past government failings, the devastating impacts of intergenerational trauma on Aboriginal people and their communities, and the vital importance of healing for our people.


The WA Government’s first Implementation Plan details the initial actions it is taking to close the gap in life outcomes between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Western Australia, with a focus on the investments it is making in relation to the four priority reforms and 17 socio-economic targets of the National Agreement.


Ms O’Donnell welcomed the release of the WA Government’s Implementation Plan as a first step towards realising the potential of the National Agreement. “Reaching an agreement with governments across Australia was an historic moment, but will only really result in improved outcomes for Aboriginal people and their communities if all parties follow through on the important commitments they have made. This requires the State Government to truly support genuine partnerships and shared-decision making with Aboriginal people, and to be ambitious and innovative, through this Plan, and through Closing the Gap Implementation Plans in the future”.


Ms O’Donnell further stated, “these two documents are interrelated and equally important in that, together, they recognise and promote the strength and resilience of Aboriginal people, and set a common path for Aboriginal-led solutions and actions, and greater government accountability and cultural awareness.”


The Aboriginal Empowerment Strategy and the first Implementation Plan on Closing the Gap require cross-government leadership and action for change. AHCWA supports the vision and foundations of these strategic documents, and looks forward to strong partnerships with government agencies to realise improved outcomes for Aboriginal people and their communities.


For more information and media enquiries - AHCWA Chairperson: Vicki O’Donnell, 0429 110 440

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