The establishment of Clarence Valley Council has for the first time united the five Aboriginal communities within the Local Government area. Aboriginal communities now confront issues of unmet need on a united front and share and celebrate their successes. Four separate Aboriginal Consultative committees are now one.
Council’s current Social Plan has a dedicated Indigenous issues chapter, which established the new consultative committee structure. A key aim is to oversee and guide the implementation of Social Plan strategies and establish a communication structure between the Aboriginal communities, Council and local agencies.
Council’s Aboriginal Community Development Officer facilitated the realisation of the committee and established Community Working Parties in the five major Aboriginal communities in Maclean, Yamba, Grafton, Baryulgil and Malabugilmah.
Two representatives from each Working Party are elected annually to serve on the Clarence Valley Aboriginal Consultative Committee (CVACC). Benefits to the five Aboriginal communities as a result of the CVACC include:
- a unified voice
- improved accountability to the Aboriginal community
- strengthened Clarence Valley Council governance regarding Aboriginal issues, planning and policy
- an avenue to remove barriers and lobby agencies/politicians to improve service delivery
- a method for clarifying and documenting agency responsibilities
- a pathway into the Aboriginal community for agencies and a pathway for Aboriginal community to agencies
- a partnership model that strengthens relationships and shares resources.