Aboriginal voice, knowledge and cultural leadership drive Aboriginal policy, legislation and system reform

Self-determination enables the wellbeing of Aboriginal Victorians. This applies across all aspects of their lives.

We will actively address the systems and structures that inhibit self-determination in partnership with, and through the leadership of, the Victorian Aboriginal community.

We will empower Aboriginal people and communities by supporting self-determination.

That is why we have elevated Aboriginal leadership and practice expertise by establishing a new Aboriginal Self-Determination and Outcomes Division.

This new division will support the Department’s role in the Treaty and Yoorrook Justice Commission processes. It will help embed cultural safety in our workplaces, policy, programs and services, underpinned by self-determination and participatory engagement frameworks.

The new division will support our work with Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations, and our operations and programs teams, to drive better outcomes for Aboriginal children, families and individuals and achieve our Close the Gap targets.

Self-determination is a cornerstone of everything the department does. We are committed to empowering Aboriginal people by elevating the worldview of First Peoples. We will embed culturally safe practices in the way we work together with communities and organisations.

This means providing a stronger focus on improving the lives Aboriginal Victorians, in particular people going through challenges.

We will apply innovative local solutions that address service design challenges, including making services culturally safer.

A major focus will be to deliver the Korin Korin Balit-Djak system transformation. This includes using the three guiding principles of:

  • Aboriginal-led collective action
  • Aboriginal self-determination
  • systemic change.

We will help create leadership arrangements and treaty outcomes that enable a stronger voice for Aboriginal communities. We will support Aboriginal community-controlled organisations to influence funding decisions and requirements for service delivery that maximise self-determination.

We need a bigger and more skilled Aboriginal workforce in service delivery, management and leadership roles across the Victorian service system.

It is important that an Aboriginal-led approach to capturing and sharing knowledge, learning, data and evidence is in place. This will drive service investment, innovation and ongoing improvement.

We will base our program design, implementation and evaluation on the best available Aboriginal evidence approaches and methods. We will partner with communities to get this right.

We are also partnering with the Aboriginal community to deliver Wungurilwil Gapgapduir Aboriginal Children and Families Agreement strategic action plan. This will improve outcomes for Aboriginal children and young people, addressing their over-representation in the child protection and out-of-home care systems.

We are working with Aboriginal community-controlled organisations to transfer statutory care of Aboriginal children to Aboriginal people and families. This will allow Aboriginal community-controlled organisations to carry out child protection investigations.

We acknowledge that Victoria’s treaty process will provide a framework for the transfer of decision-making power and resources and commit to actively supporting this work in line with the aspirations of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria.

We will also support the work of the Yoorrook Justice Commission to investigate historical and ongoing injustices committed against Aboriginal Victorians since colonisation.

We are working with the Commonwealth Government and Aboriginal Victorians to implement the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap. This work aims to overcome the inequality experienced by Aboriginal people and ensure they achieve life outcomes equal to all Australians. 

We will help develop and deliver the Aboriginal research and evaluation framework, with Aboriginal people leading and governing the framework’s research, monitoring and evaluation.

We are also working with Aboriginal communities to prevent family violence, through Dhelk Dja: Safe Our Way – strong culture, strong peoples, strong families 2018–2028. Crucially, Dhelk Dja: Safe Our Way is an Aboriginal-led agreement that commits Aboriginal communities, Aboriginal services and the Victorian Government to work together to ensure Aboriginal people, families and communities are stronger, safe and living free from family violence.

The Aboriginal people in our department are key to this work. We will continue to work with and be guided by them. We will continue our commitment to our cultural safety framework to support Aboriginal staff to be safe within the workplace. This will mean Aboriginal clients and communities can access culturally safe and responsive services.

Explore our website for more information about these initiatives.