NGA backs recognition of Aboriginal controlled councils

By Melissa Coade

Wednesday June 23, 2021

Unanimous support has been garnered to give national recognition to Aboriginal-controlled councils.
Unanimous support has been garnered to give national recognition to Aboriginal-controlled councils. (Adobe/elen31)

Unanimous support has been garnered to give national recognition to Aboriginal controlled councils, at a local government convention in Canberra.

The 27th national general assembly (NGA) of local government, which convened in Canberra this week, has unanimously backed a motion to support nationally consistent recognition of Aboriginal controlled councils.

The Assembly of Local Government (ALGA) board will now consider whether to adopt the successful NGA motion as part of its national advocacy platform. 

ALGA president Linda Scott said Indigenous councils were often constrained by the types of services and infrastructure they could provide, as their resources were limited, including council own-source rate revenue.

“Yesterday’s motion shows the strong commitment of local government to supporting the very real desire of Indigenous Councils to give their communities life outcomes that are equal to those enjoyed by all Australians,” Scott said.

The ALGA group is already a full member of the joint council Closing the Gap and is working to promote better engagement and coordination efforts with local governments. It is also involved in supporting representatives engaged in the co-design of a new way for Indigenous Australians to give advice and have input on local government matters that are important to improve their lives via a program called Indigenous Voice.

Monday’s NGA motion was made by East Arnhem Regional Council deputy president Djuwalpi Marika. He said the local governments’ position further strengthened recognition of the Closing the Gap national partnership agreement.

“Council is the arm of the people of East Arnhem Land,” Marika said. 

“We are working to bring empowerment to our Yolngu and Anindilyakwa Yolngu of East Arnhem Land, and look forward to working more with the two ‘Balanda’ western levels of government.”


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