Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2013-2018 - Building for the future: a plan for 'Closing the Gap' in Victoria by 2031 - HealthWest ...

Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2013-2018 - Building for the future: a plan for 'Closing the Gap' in Victoria by 2031 - HealthWest ...
Victorian Aboriginal
Affairs Framework
Building for the future: a plan for ‘Closing the Gap’ in Victoria by 2031
Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2013-2018 - Building for the future: a plan for 'Closing the Gap' in Victoria by 2031 - HealthWest ...

Many Aboriginal people have contributed to discussions in the development of this Framework
and its directions and priorities. The engagement provided input and an opportunity to discuss
ideas and share information, while building a stronger appreciation of Government’s role and
Aboriginal community aspiration to strengthen outcomes for Aboriginal Victorians.

Artwork by Mick Harding

The artwork in this Framework is part of a larger piece by Mick Harding depicting Aboriginal
participation and development in the Victorian economy.

                                      Dhumba-dji-ngan bada-k munga-na

                                     “We must talk together. 
                                       We should write something. 
                                       And then we should work towards mending and making our presence in
                                       this economy that has cultural integrity. 
                                       We are responsible.”

                                     “We have always lived in this environment that is called Victoria today. 
                                       The greens of our forests, the browns of the dryer areas in the north, 
                                       and the blues to represent all the inland and coastal waterways. 
                                       The stone tools, possum skin, the netting, and the traditional designs 
                                       are evidence of our past economy.”

Throughout this document the term “Aboriginal” is used to refer to both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
people. Use of the terms “Koori”, “Koorie” and “Indigenous” are retained in the names of programs and initiatives,
and, unless noted otherwise, are inclusive of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2013-2018 - Building for the future: a plan for 'Closing the Gap' in Victoria by 2031 - HealthWest ...

Message from the Premier                                                                        2

Message from the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs                                                3

1. A new approach to the Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework                                5

2. Acknowledging the past and the journey ahead                                                7

3. Holistic life course approach for Aboriginal affairs                                       9

4. Stronger outcomes and focussed Strategic Action Areas                                      11

5. Valuing and supporting the cultural strengths of Aboriginal Victorians                     13

6. Priorities for improved effort and reform                                                  15

   Building Prosperity through Economic Participation                                          15

   Protecting and supporting vulnerable children and families                                  16

   Better Services, Better Outcomes                                                            17

   Improved National action                                                                    21

7. Stronger Accountability                                                                     23

   Working with Aboriginal people to build better futures                                      23

   Ministerial oversight and the Secretaries Leadership Group                                  25

   Monitoring, Evaluating and Reporting on our progress                                        26

Appendix: Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework Headline Indicators,
Targets and other measures                                                                     28

                                            Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2013–2018        1
Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2013-2018 - Building for the future: a plan for 'Closing the Gap' in Victoria by 2031 - HealthWest ...
Message from
the Premier

I am very pleased to introduce the Victorian      These four principles – aspirations,
Government’s revised Victorian Aboriginal         accountability, engagement and inclusiveness,
Affairs Framework (VAAF).                         and a whole of community approach – are
                                                  embodied in this revised and strengthened
The VAAF acknowledges the strength and            framework.
resilience of Aboriginal Victorians and
provides the foundation to help realise their     The VAAF provides the basis for our annual
social, cultural and economic aspirations.        report card, the Victorian Government
                                                  Aboriginal Affairs Report, which will be
The VAAF is the result of extensive               tabled in Parliament early each year.
consultation with Aboriginal Victorians and
represents a clear framework for working          Embracing transparency and accountability,
together to close the gap in Aboriginal           this report will demonstrate the Government’s
disadvantage. The Victorian Government            progress towards the published targets in
recognises that closing the gap requires a        the six Strategic Action Areas identified in 
long-term commitment to achieve                   the VAAF.
generational change and that Victoria is 
well placed to significantly improve the living   The VAAF sets out our commitment to
standards and life expectations of Aboriginal     engage with Aboriginal Victorians. It also
Victorians. Building on the strengths of          provides the overarching framework for
Aboriginal Victorians will help develop strong    inclusion plans, which document how we 
social, cultural and economic foundations        will improve access for Aboriginal people
for current and future generations.               across all areas of government.

The Victorian Government is committed to          Government, Aboriginal people and
providing Aboriginal children with a sound        organisations, service providers, and the
basis for achieving economic prosperity,          private, philanthropic and community sectors
including through early childhood services        all have a role to play in closing the gap. 
and education, as well as responsive health       By working together, our resources and
services and support for strengthening            expertise can be harnessed most effectively
Aboriginal culture.                               in the best interests of all Aboriginal
The VAAF builds on the four guiding
principles for Aboriginal Affairs I announced
in March 2011 when signing the bipartisan
recommitment to closing the gap, with the
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, the Hon
Jeanette Powell MP, the Deputy Premier the
Hon Peter Ryan MP, and our Opposition
                                                  Ted Baillieu
                                                  Premier of Victoria

Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2013-2018 - Building for the future: a plan for 'Closing the Gap' in Victoria by 2031 - HealthWest ...
Message from the Minister
for Aboriginal Affairs

I am proud to present the Victorian                  Significantly, this VAAF recognises and
Government’s newly strengthened Victorian            values Aboriginal culture, provides refreshed
Aboriginal Affairs Framework (VAAF).                engagement arrangements and commits to
This framework provides the platform and             stronger governance, performance and
opportunity to bring together the efforts           reporting arrangements. It also identifies
and commitment of all sectors of the                 clear priorities for improved effort and
Victorian community to create a better               reform in economic development, protecting
future for Victoria’s young and growing              and supporting vulnerable children and
Aboriginal population.                               families and ensuring that our service
                                                     systems are accessible and inclusive.
This VAAF has been guided by the strengths
and aspirations of Victoria’s diverse, vibrant,      Aboriginal economic participation and
strong and proud Aboriginal community.              development is central to this new approach
I am grateful to the many people and                 because every Victorian should have the
organisations who have contributed to               opportunity to fulfil their aspirations and
the development of this VAAF.                        reach their full potential. Having a job and 
                                                     a place in the economy builds self esteem,
As a result, it gives clear direction to             economic independence, positive role
delivering Victoria’s bipartisan commitment          models and contributes to Victoria’s overall
to closing the gap between Aboriginal and            competitive advantage.
non-Aboriginal Victorians.
                                                     While closing the gap is a long term
The VAAF has some key differences from              commitment, I am confident that partnerships
the previous framework (formerly known as            and investments in early childhood, education
VIAF). Through consultation and consensus            and training, and jobs and businesses will
– and consistent with the national approach          have long term benefits for all Aboriginal
taken by COAG – we have streamlined the              Victorians.
number of indicators and targets to focus on
the key outcomes required to close the gap.

Commitments to improve education,
economic and health outcomes continue,
while for the first time Victoria will have 
close the gap targets in key justice areas.
New measures include access to housing 
and disability services.                             Jeanette Powell MP
                                                     Minister for Aboriginal Affairs
Our targets in the six Strategic Action Areas
are measurable and achievable. We intend 
to report annually on progress against these
targets by tabling the Victorian Government
Aboriginal Affairs Report in Parliament.

                                                Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2013–2018   3
Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2013-2018 - Building for the future: a plan for 'Closing the Gap' in Victoria by 2031 - HealthWest ...
1. A
    new approach to the Victorian
   Aboriginal Affairs Framework

The Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework        •E
                                                    stablishes clear governance and
(VAAF) 2013–2018 has been developed                accountability for whole of government
following a commitment by the Premier             outcomes, supported by a rigorous
Ted Baillieu, on Close the Gap Day on 24           performance management and reporting
March 2011, to strengthen the former               architecture for Aboriginal affairs.
Victorian Indigenous Affairs Framework 
and give greater focus to those areas where       The Government’s approach to Aboriginal
Government performance can be improved.           affairs will be guided by four principles
                                                  outlined by the Premier in his speech in
An overarching Framework for Aboriginal           Parliament in March 2011 (refer to Box 1).
affairs has been in place in Victoria since
2006, to drive a strategic reform agenda.         As the framework for driving policy, service
The VAAF builds on previous bipartisan            system and programmatic responses across
approaches and reinforces the commitment          government, the VAAF:
to sustained and strategic effort to improve      •e
                                                    nables existing and future government
the quality of life of Aboriginal Victorians.      investment to be directed to those areas
                                                   where there are significant positive benefits
VAAF 2013–2018:                                    to a person, communities and more broadly
  uilds on the strengths of Aboriginal            to the economy
 people and the role of Aboriginal culture       •d
                                                    rives change so that services provided 
 in building resilience and prosperity             or funded by governments meet the needs
  akes a holistic life course approach           of users
 that recognises that positive experiences        •p
                                                    rovides for disadvantage to be addressed,
 early in life lead to more economically           without losing sight of the ultimate goal of
 independent and resilient people in their         realising strong cultural, social and economic
 adult years                                       outcomes for all Aboriginal Victorians

  ommits to stronger outcomes through            •p
                                                    rovides the mechanism for integrated
 focussed and integrated Strategic Action          action across government.
 Areas, with headline indicators, achievable
 targets and measures of progress

  ives focus to reform priorities 
 for improved Government effort,
 particularly to support the strengthening 
 of Aboriginal culture, building economic
 participation and prosperity, and improving
 service systems to deliver, including
 services that support and protect
 vulnerable children and families

  utlines new engagement arrangements
 between Government and Aboriginal
 Victorians through Ministerial roundtables
 and sub-regional forums

                                             Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2013–2018    5
Box 1: The guiding principles for Aboriginal Affairs

    All Victorians should have the opportunity to reach their full potential. The Government is
    committed to closing the gap in health, education and housing outcomes, which underpin 
    the ability and capacity of Aboriginal Victorians to build a better future.

    Both the Government and funded organisations must be accountable for delivering services
    that meet the needs of communities. Good policy and program delivery must be based on
    evidence, and outcomes must be reported.

    Engagement and Inclusiveness
    Closing the gap can only be achieved through a partnership built on genuine engagement with
    Aboriginal people and organisations across Victoria. The Government recognises that it is
    important to listen to both local community voices and the views of Aboriginal organisations 
    and their representative bodies.

    Partnership building and a whole of community approach
    A renewed commitment for all sectors – government, community, business and philanthropic
    – to work together in partnership, so that resources and expertise can be most effectively

2. A
    cknowledging the past
   and the journey ahead

Aboriginal people have a deep and continuous      Further, in his address the then Premier stated:
connection to the place now called Victoria.      “The Victorian Government is committed to
It is estimated that when Europeans first           working with Aboriginal communities to
arrived some 200 years ago, Aboriginal              deliver programs to address their undoubted
nations across Victoria sustained more             disadvantage but, more importantly, this
than 60,000 people. These societies were            government is committed to assisting
characterised by a complex array of laws,           Aboriginal communities to become
languages, traditions, spiritual beliefs and        economically sustainable and reach a point
cultural ties.                                      where they are no longer overwhelmingly
Aboriginal people have remained strong and          dependent on government support. To
resilient despite the impacts of past practices     achieve this Aboriginal people need to feel
and policies, including the removal of              confident that their unique place in this
traditional groups from country, relocation to      society is both understood and appreciated.”
missions, and being prevented from speaking       The Apology in the Victorian Parliament in
their languages and passing on their spiritual    1997 was the beginning of a process that has
and cultural beliefs. A higher proportion of      been built upon by successive governments.
Aboriginal people in Victoria have been
directly affected by the Stolen Generations       This Framework recognises that the key to
than any other state or territory.                improving the lives of Victorian Aboriginal
                                                  people is to build partnerships, trust, mutual
Aboriginal people, communities and                respect and focus on areas that will foster
organisations continue to address the             strong cultural, social and economic outcomes.
intergenerational impacts of this history, and    It builds upon the efforts of Aboriginal
many also play an active role in maintaining      Victorians and of former Governments.
and strengthening their culture and ensuring
their issues are heard and acknowledged.          It looks to achieving tangible results 
                                                  in the key areas of health, justice, education,
On 17 September 1997, the then Premier           employment, business and cultural
of Victoria, the Hon Jeff Kennett, moved         acknowledgement and recognition.
a Parliamentary motion that included:             Importantly, this Framework represents a firm
“That this House apologises to the Aboriginal   commitment that the Victorian Government
 people on behalf of all Victorians for the       will work with Aboriginal communities to
 past policies under which Aboriginal children    improve the quality of life of all Aboriginal
 were removed from their families and             Victorians and bring about a shared and
 expresses deep regret at the hurt and            economically independent future.
 distress this has caused and reaffirms its
 support for reconciliation between all           The journey ahead is a long one. Nationally
 Australians.”                                    all Governments recognise it will take a
                                                  generation to close the gap in outcomes
                                                  between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal
                                                  Australians. The next six years is a crucial 
                                                  leg of that journey in Victoria.

                                             Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2013–2018       7
The outlook for change is positive. Victoria’s            As of 2011 the median ages for Aboriginal
Aboriginal population is young, growing                  and non-Aboriginal Victorians were 22 and
and has many vibrant leaders and strong                   37 respectively. According to the 2011
Aboriginal organisations and service delivery             Census, 55 per cent of Aboriginal Victorians
bodies. The recent Census reported that                  were under the age of 25 years, compared to 
in 2011, there were 47,327 Aboriginal people              32 per cent of the non-Aboriginal population.
living in Victoria (or 0.9 per cent of the total          Just 4.35 per cent of Aboriginal Victorians
population). This is an increase of over                  are 65 years and over compared to 14.2 per
13,800 people from the 2006 Census and                    cent of the non-Aboriginal population.
can be explained by high birth rates,
migration to Victoria and higher rates of                 The difference in age profiles can be seen in
identification. The increase translates to               Figure 1. This highlights the need for policies
an annual growth in population of 5.8 per                 and priorities to include a focus on the
cent. In contrast, annual growth by Victoria’s            significant youth demographic and the
non-Aboriginal population was 1.4 per cent                opportunities and challenges this brings.
over the same period. If these levels of
growth continue, the Aboriginal population
in Victoria is projected to rise to over 80,000
people by 2021.

Figure 1: Proportion of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people by age group, Victoria, 2011

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics Census of Population and Housing 2011

3. H
    olistic life course approach
   for Aboriginal affairs

VAAF 2013–2018 is founded on a holistic life
course approach that:

• r ecognises the important role that
   supporting foundations play in influencing
   a person’s life, including family, community,
   opportunities, place (home and connection
   to country), as well as access to all services

• links government services to points of
   ‘success’ in people’s lives at key stages, so
   investments are properly framed, pressure
   points in the system can be identified and
   specific goals set that, if achieved, can
   positively influence a person’s life outcomes

  cknowledges the empowerment and 
 pride that comes with Aboriginal culture,
 knowledge and respect, and the important
 role these play on a person’s outlook,
 resilience and aspirations.

This holistic life course approach appears 
in Figure 2.

Effective Investments
The life course approach has been developed
drawing on evidence which shows that the
more positive experiences and opportunities
that a young person has in the early years
of their life and through schooling, the more
resilient and successful they will be in the
adult years, and the more they will achieve
their potential and be able to fully participate
in society.

Evidence also shows that effective
investments in the early years and on
preventative actions can be less expensive
and have a lifelong positive impact; whereas
expenditure treating symptoms can cost
much more and have a lower rate of success
in improving a person’s life outcomes.

                                               Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2013–2018   9
Figure 2: The Life Course Approach to the Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework


              Later Years

                              Family                         Elders          Birth

                                       Accumulation of           Community
                      Place          positive and negative
                                     wellbeing and wealth

                            Services                     Opportunity

     Respect                   Training

4. S
    tronger outcomes and focussed
   Strategic Action Areas

VAAF 2013–2018 is focussed on improving the life expectancy, wellbeing, economic prosperity and
quality of life of Aboriginal Victorians. It gives focus to six Strategic Action Areas that:
• are interconnected and directly link to the VAAF’s holistic life course approach
• are fundamental to closing the gap and creating the right environments for Aboriginal people
  to feel valued and safe and to build prosperity for themselves, their families and community
• focus Government effort and guide reform directions and future investment
• set new platforms in Aboriginal affairs and enable joined up responses.
The Strategic Action Areas are shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3: The VAAF – A commitment to integrated action and outcomes

           Culture                            Maternal and
                                             early childhood
                                               health and

           engaged people
            and confident                                                 Education and
            communities        Family                          Elders        training

                                          Strategic Action         Community
                           Place        Areas, reinforced by
                                        headline indicators,
                                            targets and
         Safe families                                                        participation
             and                                                            (employment and
       communities and       Services                      Opportunity         business)
       equitable justice

    Respect                                      Health, housing
                                                  and wellbeing

                                                    Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2013–2018   11
The Government will focus on six Strategic             For each Strategic Action Area the
Action Areas (SAAs) to improve outcomes               Government is committing to headline
for Aboriginal Victorians:                             indicators. Wherever possible, indicators
SAA 1: Maternal and early childhood health             focus on achievable outcomes, as it is
and development                                        important that resources and effort are 
                                                       well directed and accountable.
The health of mothers and babies during
pregnancy and in early childhood can have a            Through VAAF 2013–2018 the Government 
significant and far reaching effect on children’s      is committing to 12 headline indicators. This
survival, development and wellbeing well into          represents a move away from having dozens
adult years.                                           of indicators, which was the approach in
                                                       previous Aboriginal affairs frameworks. This
SAA 2: Education and training
                                                       shift enables more attention to be given to
Successful education and training outcomes             priority outcomes, rather than programmatic
enable more Aboriginal Victorians to have              inputs. It also enables a focus on ensuring
increased choice, economic opportunity and             service systems and investments are working.
healthier and more prosperous lives.
                                                       The VAAF also commits to stronger and
SAA 3: Economic participation                          achievable targets for each headline indicator.
More opportunities for Aboriginal Victorians          While year to year fluctuations may occur,
to secure jobs or operate business enterprises         sustained and targeted effort will focus on
builds self esteem, economic wealth, positive          achieving improvements over a generation
role models and contributes to Victoria’s              (20–25 years). New measures for housing,
economy.                                               disability, employment, health, youth justice
                                                       and cultural strengthening, ensure consistency
SAA 4: Health, housing and wellbeing                   with a holistic life course approach.
A healthy start to life, with access to stable
housing and accessible health services, are            The Appendix to this Framework provides
important for improving a person’s health              details on the headline indicators, targets and
outcomes and overall quality of life in later years.   other measures within each Strategic Action
                                                       Area. Oversight and reporting arrangements
SAA 5: Safe families and communities and               are described in Section 7 on Stronger
equitable justice outcomes                             Accountability.
Reducing Aboriginal over-representation in the
justice system and providing for safer families
and communities are essential platforms for
enabling all Aboriginal Victorians to achieve
their cultural, economic and social aspirations.

SAA 6: Strong culture, engaged people
and confident communities
Stronger appreciation and awareness of
Aboriginal culture can foster confidence 
and resilience, as well as connections and
respect across the Victorian community.

5. V
    aluing and supporting the cultural
   strengths of Aboriginal Victorians

For Aboriginal people, culture is seen as a
                                                     Box 2: Guiding Principles for Government
foundation upon which everything else is
                                                     in Strengthening Aboriginal Culture
built. Culture underpins all aspects of life,
and can be thought of as connections to
                                                     The Victorian Government:
family, extended family and community,
                                                       cknowledges, respects and values
connection to country, expression of values,
                                                      Aboriginal cultures – Aboriginal culture
practices and belief, and the many traditional
                                                      enriches the whole community
and contemporary forms of cultural
                                                       cknowledges the right of Aboriginal
expression including language and
                                                      people to maintain their identity and
storytelling, dance, music and art.
Strong cultural identity and connection is           • r ecognises that strong cultural identity is
increasingly being linked to better outcomes            fundamental to the well being of Aboriginal
in education, justice, health and wellbeing,            people and has lifetime impacts – supporting
                                                        Aboriginal culture is an investment in the
and employment, as well as being a positive
                                                        future of all Victorians
point of difference for economic activity. 
Being strong in culture builds the resilience,       • r ecognises that while imparting culture is
                                                        fundamentally the responsibilities of
skills, participation and wellbeing of Aboriginal
                                                        families and communities, Government
people, and is especially vital to young
                                                        also has a role in enabling and supporting
people, who make up a significant and                   communities in the continuance and
growing part of the Aboriginal community.               strengthening of their cultures.
Elders, Aboriginal families, communities and
organisations play central roles in building
                                                    2. P
                                                        romoting an awareness and
the awareness, understanding and
                                                       understanding of Aboriginal culture
appreciation of Aboriginal culture throughout
                                                       to the broader community
the community and in the protection and
management of Aboriginal cultural material.           A strong and healthy Aboriginal culture 
                                                      is something all Victorians can enjoy 
During consultations on strengthening                and be enriched by. There is beauty and
this Framework, Aboriginal people and                 complexity in the histories, stories,
organisations expressed ways that the                 connection to land and creative forms of
Government could support the efforts                 cultural expression, both traditional and
of Aboriginal communities to strengthen               contemporary.
Aboriginal culture as part of VAAF 2013–
2018. Three main themes were identified,              The Government is committed to strong
which the Government will focus on:                   leadership around a message of valuing
                                                      and respecting Victorian Aboriginal
                                                      culture. It is also committed to working
1. An agenda of respect and recognition              with Aboriginal people to build a better
    of Aboriginal culture                             understanding and appreciation of
  Whole of Government guiding principles              Victoria’s rich Aboriginal heritage.
  have been adopted to inform the
  Government’s approach to supporting
  respect for and recognition of culture 
  (see Box 2).

                                              Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2013–2018         13
A deeper understanding of Aboriginal            3. S
                                                         upporting the community to hold
     culture is also an important way of reducing       cultural gatherings
     and mitigating against the impact of racism       Cultural gatherings offer an opportunity
     that may be experienced by Aboriginal             for people to participate in the continuance
     people. Aboriginal people who are valued         of their cultural practices, the revival of 
     and feel included will be more likely to          old traditions and development of new,
     access opportunities, achieve their potential     vibrant activities. They also provide for
     and be able to fully participate in society.      Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people to
                                                       come together and develop stronger
     The Government is committed to
                                                       connections. When people connect with
     recognising and supporting the
                                                       one another, across the generations, it
     achievements of Aboriginal people and
                                                       enhances wellbeing and social inclusion,
     their ongoing contributions. Approaches
                                                       and transfers cultural knowledge.
     for this include:
     • r ecognition through the Victorian             The Government will continue to support 
       Indigenous Honour Roll, as well                Local Indigenous Networks (LINs), local
       as state-wide and locally based awards          gathering places and local and statewide
       and scholarships, such as the Ricci Marks       cultural events and activities that celebrate
       Award for young Aboriginal achievers            Victoria’s Aboriginal culture. For example,
                                                       NAIDOC week and the Indigenous
     • s upporting the delivery of cultural
                                                       Remembrance Service at the Shrine. 
       strengthening activities as part of the
                                                       Other opportunities will also be explored.
       work of bodies such as Reconciliation
       Victoria, Local Indigenous Networks, 
       the Koorie Heritage Trust and other
       Aboriginal organisations
     • r ecognising Aboriginal connection to
       places, including through naming,
       interpretive material and architectural
       design of buildings and landscapes, with
       the Office of the Victorian Government
       Architect able to play an important
       leadership role in this area
       nhancing economic activities that are
      connected to Aboriginal culture, such as
      Aboriginal tourism, heritage management,
      land management practices and creative
      cultural activities such as music, film,
      theatre and art.

6. P
    riorities for improved
   effort and reform

 Building Prosperity through Economic Participation
Aboriginal economic participation and            Building on existing strengths, a Victorian
development is central to the Victorian          Aboriginal Economic Strategy will be
Government’s approach because every              developed that will focus on:
Victorian should have the opportunity to         •B
                                                   uilding stronger foundations through
fulfil their aspirations and reach their full     education and aspirations for success in
potential. Having a job and a place in the        jobs and business throughout life
economy builds self esteem, economic
independence, positive role models and           •F
                                                   ostering a climate that builds job
contributes to Victoria’s overall competitive     opportunities for Victorian Aboriginal
advantage.                                        people across the economy
                                                   upporting existing employees to move
Central to VAAF 2013–2018 is building             into higher level jobs
aspirations and growing economic
participation.                                   •G
                                                   rowing the number and scale of
                                                  sustainable Aboriginal businesses
Many Aboriginal people and organisations         •P
                                                   artnerships with the business, investment
make a valuable contribution to the economy       and philanthropic sectors, while better
as employees, business owners and                 aligning the efforts of the Commonwealth
managers, and volunteers across a broad           and local governments.
range of industries such as media, sport, 
law and health.                                  The Strategy will build on work to date
                                                 including Moonda Wurrin Gree, the 2010
In 2011, 12,000 Aboriginal people were           report of the Victorian Aboriginal Economic
employed in a range of sectors across the        Development Group and outcomes of the
State. More Aboriginal young people are          Victorian Aboriginal Economic Development
completing Year 12 and participating in          Summit hosted jointly by the Victorian and
vocational education and training, as well as    Commonwealth Governments in July 2012.
higher education. Current data also shows
that the rate of participation in the labour     The Victorian Government will actively seek
force by Aboriginal women is as strong          to partner with the Commonwealth
as for non-Aboriginal women. Likewise the        Government in delivering this priority. 
increasing number of Aboriginal people in        This includes better access to employment
the public service is positive. Further, there   services, financial assistance to purchase
are more than 700 Aboriginal owner-              housing and land, and invest in business
managers of enterprises in Victoria.             opportunities. Our approach will build on
                                                 National Partnership Agreements in this 
Victoria is well placed to boost economic        area and the Commonwealth’s Indigenous
outcomes for Aboriginal people within a          Economic Development Strategy 2011–2018.
generation because we have a strong
economy, an Aboriginal population that is
relatively young and growing, and a strong
commitment and drive by the Aboriginal
community, Government and the private 
and philanthropic sectors.

                                            Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2013–2018   15
Protecting and Supporting Vulnerable Children and Families
The final Report of the Protecting Victoria’s    Important actions in the Directions Paper
Vulnerable Children Inquiry, released in         include:
February 2012, found that “outcomes for          •a
                                                   commitment to develop a five-year plan
vulnerable Aboriginal children and their          for Aboriginal children in out-of-home care
families are generally poor and significant
improvement is required in the performance       • increased use of Aboriginal Family Decision
of systems intended to support vulnerable           Making conferences
Aboriginal children and families”. The Report    • increasing the capacity of the Aboriginal
signalled the important role that the VAAF          permanent care program
could play in responding to the needs of
                                                 • increased funding for Aboriginal-specific
vulnerable Aboriginal children and their
                                                    services to provide support for young
                                                    Aboriginal people transitioning from state
In May 2012 the Victorian Government                care
released Victoria’s Vulnerable Children: Our     •a
                                                   commitment to appoint a Commission 
Shared Responsibility Direction Paper 2012.       for Children and Young People which 
This identified three key policy principles to    will include a Commissioner with special
guide reform:                                     responsibility for vulnerable Aboriginal
• s hared responsibility across government,      children and young people.
  the sector and the community for               VAAF 2013–2018 commits to stronger targets
  protecting vulnerable children and their       so the gap in child protection substantiations
  families                                       will be reduced by 75 per cent by 2023.
  onnected services that cut across silos
                                                 The Victorian Government will also work 
 and better meet the needs of children 
                                                 with the Commonwealth to strengthen the
 and families
                                                 alignment of their efforts in this area.
  orking in local areas to provide better
 services in areas with high concentrations
 of vulnerability.
The Directions Paper also outlined the
Government’s first-year initiatives, longer-
term commitments and areas requiring
further consideration as a result of the
Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children
Inquiry. It recognised the significant over-
representation of Aboriginal children in 
the child protection system and the unique
place that Aboriginal services have in
providing specific service responses.

Better Services, Better Outcomes
Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people have         VAAF 2013–2018 has a strong focus on
the right to access quality services that        making our service systems work.
meet their needs, regardless of whether          Fundamental to this is:
the services are delivered by government or       •d
                                                    esigning and delivering services that 
non-government providers. A key focus for          are accessible by Aboriginal people across
Government will be ensuring that services          the State
are effective in meeting the needs of people
at those stages in their lives that will have    •e
                                                    nsuring ‘whole of system’ service
the greatest impact on their future.               effectiveness and accountability.

Every department is required to have an           Whole of System Approach
Aboriginal Inclusion Action Plan consistent       The Victorian Government’s approach is
with the Victorian Government Aboriginal          founded on the need for ‘whole of system’
Inclusion Framework, released in 2011. These      effectiveness, which acknowledges the
plans demonstrate how each department will        respective roles of governments, ACCOs, 
improve access and inclusion for Aboriginal       the community sector, the private sector,
people across all their service areas. Through    philanthropic organisations, individuals,
deliberate and progressive improvements to        families and communities.
service system design and a more integrated
approach, services are expected to deliver        Given the mix of Commonwealth, State and
better outcomes across Victoria.                  local government funded programs,
                                                  cooperative action is essential to minimise
Aboriginal Community Controlled                   service gaps and improve accessibility and
Organisations (ACCOs) provide a range of          hence outcomes for Aboriginal Victorians.
services for Aboriginal Victorians. The sector
is large, diverse and enduring. A significant     A 10 year evaluation framework to be
number of Aboriginal people rely on ACCO          finalised in 2013–14 will give focus and set
delivered services which form an important        priorities for a future agenda on reviewing
part of service systems in areas such as          service effectiveness, as part of Section 7 
health, child and family services, housing       on Stronger Accountability.
and justice. ACCOs will continue to play 
an important role in meeting the needs of
Aboriginal Victorians.

                                             Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2013–2018     17
Accessible Services                                Accountable Services
To encourage the highest level of service          Ensuring that all organisations are held to
effectiveness, people first need to use the        account when they commit to providing
service. Participation in a service is not an      services to the broader community as well 
automatic decision. People exercise this           as Aboriginal people is essential to any good
choice on a range of factors. The challenge        service system. Strong accountability,
for all service providers, when developing a       especially for Government provided and
program of services designed to achieve an         funded services is essential to preventing
outcome, is to encourage or ensure that            service gaps and ensuring investments are
those targeted by the service actually use it.     well placed.

Seven key access criteria are identified in        The Victorian Government has developed a
Figure 4. These will guide evaluations of          Whole of Victorian Government Common
service effectiveness and future system            Funding Agreement for all not for profit
reforms, so as to provide for more effective       community organisations. This is designed
access by Aboriginal Victorians and improve        for use by all departments that fund such
outcomes consistent with VAAF priorities.          organisations to deliver services and
                                                   projects. It will simplify arrangements and
                                                   ensure consistency. The Agreement will
                                                   replace the myriad of arrangements currently
                                                   in place, including the Victorian Indigenous
                                                   Funding Agreement.

Figure 4: Key access criteria for effective service design

Cultural Safety       The service provider understands clients needs, including cultural needs

Affordability         Clients can afford to use required services

Convenience           Clients can get to the service easily

                      Current and potential clients are informed about the availability of the
                      service and its value

Empowerment           Current and potential clients know which services they are entitled to seek

Availability          Services that a client needs are accessible

Respect               The service provider treats the client with respect

Place Based Approach                             For each priority location, data profiles will
Experience has demonstrated that where           be prepared to share with local communities.
sufficient local level flexibility is provided   The profiles will provide information that
within large systems, greater innovation         supports a community conversation where
results. This can in itself deliver improved     local experience is shared and insights
outcomes and influence broader systemic          provided on what will work best. This
change. Flexibility in program delivery and      approach will assist local communities, local
program design at the local level encourages     service providers, local governments and 
better tailoring of solutions to meet unique     other key stakeholders to support and adopt
local community needs.                           innovative solutions to improve outcomes in
                                                 their local area. Importantly, experiences
Some Victorian localities experience greater     gained at the local level can often inform
disadvantage, and many of these locations        regional and system wide change.
are also where greater numbers of Aboriginal
people live. These areas need priority           Partnerships with Local Government
attention to:
                                                 Local government holds significant levers 
  reate stronger opportunities for              to drive positive outcomes for Aboriginal
 individuals and communities to set the          Victorians. In particular, councils deliver
 agenda for change to define local               critical services across the life course and
 problems, initiate local solutions and          there is potential for stronger partnerships 
 harness government and other investments        to realise stronger local and hence
 to drive real change                            statewide outcomes.
  evelop links between governments, the
                                                 In the early years local services such as
 community and private sectors to join up
                                                 maternal and child health, preschool services
 efforts and enter into partnerships to build
                                                 and child care facilities are critical to early 
 opportunities for Aboriginal people.
                                                 life outcomes. Local governments are also
During the term of VAAF 2013–2018 a              important for providing and facilitating local
priority is to establish or work with            employment and economic opportunities,
communities in locations with large              fostering reconciliation and engagement
Aboriginal populations for which reliable        with Aboriginal communities, building access
data can be collected and reported, where        to land and protecting cultural heritage.
the community has sought joined up action,
or where there is considered to be significant   The VAAF gives greater recognition of the
disadvantage.                                    role of local government as a partner in
                                                 delivering strategic outcomes and priority
Figures 5 and 6 identify the centres and         directions.
towns in regional Victoria and metropolitan
Melbourne with more than 100 Aboriginal

Priority locations identified from the outset
of the VAAF include, in alphabetical order:
Casey-Dandenong, Lakes Entrance, Mildura,
Morwell, Robinvale, Shepparton, Swan Hill
and Warrnambool.

                                           Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2013–2018     19
Figure 5: Aboriginal populations in key towns in regional Victoria, 2011

Figure 6: Aboriginal populations in key centres in Greater Melbourne Metropolitan area, 2011

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics Census of Population and Housing 2011

Improved National Action
Central to the achievement of VAAF                Commonwealth and Victorian Governments
priorities is coordinated and joined up effort    provide for joined up action, particularly 
by all levels of government with the Aboriginal   for Aboriginal health, early childhood
community. Commonwealth Government                development, education, youth transitions,
action is vital – from supporting native title    housing and homelessness and economic
settlements through to partnerships and           development. It also applies to existing
investments in education, employment,             functions and programs in both governments.
business development and health care.             Coordination of Commonwealth and State
                                                  effort is given focus in Victoria through an
VAAF 2013–2018 builds on the Victorian            Overarching Bilateral Indigenous Plan (OBIP).
Government’s partnerships with the                It incorporates Victorian Government policy
Commonwealth Government and                       and actions, including Victoria’s Aboriginal
commitments through the Council of                Affairs Framework.
Australian Governments (COAG).
                                                  With a strengthened Victorian Framework,
In February 2011, COAG agreed that                there is an opportunity to revisit joint
Aboriginal reform and ‘Closing the Gap’          Victorian and Commonwealth effort and
was one of five national priorities for           deliver priority outcomes for Victorian
governments. Through the National                 Aboriginal people.
Indigenous Reform Agreement (NIRA), 
the six key targets (based on 2008)              This includes better effort on investments
are to:                                           that reach urban and regional Aboriginal
  lose the life expectancy gap within           people – which in Victoria means the 46 per
 a generation                                     cent of the Aboriginal population living in
                                                  metropolitan Melbourne and the 54 per cent
  alve the gap in mortality rates for            living in regional locations.
 Indigenous children under five within 
 a decade
  nsure all Indigenous four year olds in
 remote communities have access to early
 childhood education within five years
  alve the gap for Indigenous students 
 in reading, writing and numeracy within 
 a decade
  alve the gap for Indigenous people aged
 20–24 in Year 12 attainment or equivalent
 attainment rates by 2020
  alve the gap in employment outcomes
 between Indigenous and non-Indigenous
 Australians within a decade.
Dedicated funding is not provided via 
the NIRA, instead, various COAG National
Agreements and Partnerships signed by the

                                             Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2013–2018   21
7. Stronger Accountability

 Working with Aboriginal people to build better futures
At the heart of the VAAF is the partnership                The Victorian Government is committed 
between the Government and the Aboriginal                  to ensuring Aboriginal voices are heard. 
community and organisations. There are a                   An important part of this is the relationship
number of important elements that will be                  between Government and Aboriginal
the focus for further strengthening over the               organisations and communities. These
next few years.                                            relationships will be fostered and maintained
                                                           through established engagement arrangements
                                                           that are working, as well as new structures,
                                                           as outlined in Figure 7.

Figure 7: Aboriginal Affairs Engagement Structures

 Established Arrangements                                    New structures

   Statewide and Regional Partnership and                       Ministerial Roundtables
   Engagement Structures                                        At least three Roundtable discussions will be
   A range of engagement structures have been                   hosted each year to bring together Ministers
   established with Aboriginal leaders and                      and Aboriginal leaders. These Roundtables will:
   organisations to address policy and service                  • inform policy, priorities and action, including
   priorities and action. These include:                           on specific issues or proposals
   • Traditional Owners Groups                                  • build mutual understandings
   • Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council                     •p
                                                                  rovide for the sharing of information and
   • Registered Aboriginal Parties                               views.
   • Regional Closing the Gap Health Committees                The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs hosted three
   • Local Aboriginal Education Consultive Groups              roundtables in 2012, including an Aboriginal
                                                                Women’s Roundtable and two Aboriginal
   • Aboriginal Justice Forum                                   Leaders Roundtables. Issues discussed
     egional and Local Aboriginal Justice                      included key priorities for Aboriginal affairs,
    Advisory Committees                                         economic development, youth transitions to
   • DHS Aboriginal Roundtables                                 further education and employment, improved
                                                                service delivery and stronger accountability
   • Indigenous Family Violence Forum and
      Regional Action Groups.

                                                                Sub-Regional Forums
                                                                To enable effective engagement with
   Local Indigenous Networks (LINs)                             government at the regional level, the Victorian
   Since 2008, 39 LINs have been established                    Government will host forums in regional,
   across Victoria, with over 1,600 Aboriginal                  sub-regional and metropolitan locations
   Victorians currently participating in LINs.                  across Victoria. These forums will:
   Functions of LINs include:                                   • build upon and complement existing
   • s etting local priorities and problem solve                 consultative and advisory structures
      to develop local solutions                                •o
                                                                  ffer people the opportunity to explore 
   • developing local community plans                           and share areas of interest
   • improving social cohesion and strengthening               •e
                                                                  nable local voices and experiences 
      relationships                                              to be heard
     mpowering Aboriginal people to                            •p
                                                                  rovide an important source of advice 
    participate in civic and community life.                     to departments and government.

                                                      Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2013–2018               23
Essential to the success of structural arrangements is the way that engagement occurs. Nine
principles of engagement have been identified by Aboriginal Victorians, which the
Government respectfully acknowledges and will use in future engagement arrangements.
These are detailed in Box 3.

 Box 3: Principles of Engagement with Aboriginal People

 Engagement with Aboriginal people will be founded on nine principles:
  trength-based approach
 S                                                  ecognised Aboriginal leaders 
 Engagement to build upon community                Engage in a way that respects recognised
 strengths and self reliance, capability, foster   leaders and Elders as acknowledged by 
 positive change and promote and celebrate         the Aboriginal community.
                                                    ocus on youth
 Partnership between community and                 In recognition that Aboriginal young people
 government                                       represent more than half of the Victorian
 Trusting relationships are central to             Aboriginal population, actively seek to
 successful partnerships between Aboriginal        engage youth in consultation, seeking input
 people and Government and shared                  and developing their leadership and other
 responsibility for identifying solutions         capacities, while appreciating their
 and improve outcomes.                             relationships with the Aboriginal community.
  ecognition of diversity in Aboriginal
 R                                                 Clear and consistent flow of information
 communities                                      Provide information in a range of accessible
 Engagement to include diverse groups             and appropriate communication styles to
 of Aboriginal people and communities             strengthen understanding between Aboriginal
 in Victoria and recognise, embrace and            people and government.
 respect difference.
 R                                                 Value engagement with Aboriginal people 
 Respect the skills and ability of Aboriginal      and communities. Be clear on the intended
 people, communities and organisations to          outcomes of engagement arrangements and
 provide information to enable good decision       ensure feedback is provided on how input
 making. Ensure adequate time for genuine          has been utilised or informed policy in a spirit
 engagement has been provided.                     of mutual respect. All parts of government
                                                   and organisations funded by governments 
 Cultural understanding
                                                   to deliver services for Aboriginal Victorians
 Engage in a way that demonstrates cultural
                                                   need to be accountable to the Aboriginal
 awareness, respect and recognition and
 utilises culturally appropriate methodologies
 and accessible forms of communication.

Ministerial oversight and the Secretaries Leadership Group
VAAF 2013–2018 recognises the key roles            significant forward program for Aboriginal 
that Ministers across Government can have          affairs including:
as part of a whole of government approach          •p
                                                     roviding leadership for the development
to Aboriginal affairs.                              and implementation of a Victorian Aboriginal
Clear governance, better coordination and           Economic Strategy
strong cooperation are critical to delivering      • r einforcing and supporting Government’s
effective and measurable improvements in              partnership and engagement arrangements
outcomes. Key Ministers engaged in the                with Aboriginal communities and
delivery of the VAAF include the Minister            organisations, other governments, private
for Aboriginal Affairs, the Deputy Premier,           sector and philanthropic organisations
Ministers for Health; Mental Health, Women’s       •d
                                                     riving the development and
Affairs and Community Services; Education;          implementation of Departmental Action/
Attorney-General; Employment and                    Inclusion Plans to ensure services are
Industrial Relations; Higher Education and          accessible 
Skills; Housing, Children and Early Childhood       and inclusive for Aboriginal Victorians
Development; Tourism and Small Business;
and Corrections and Community Safety.              • identifying opportunities and approaches
                                                      for location specific joined up responses.
Ministers will provide strategic direction,
leadership and priorities for effort across        Working together
government and in their portfolios. In addition,   There are many ways for the Aboriginal
the Government will ensure that strategies to      community voice to be heard in Government.
improve outcomes reflect a joined up               Figure 8 provides a snapshot for community
government approach and provide clear              links with Government structures.
direction for achieving agreed outcomes.
                                                   Figure 8: Community links
Secretaries Leadership Group on Aboriginal         with Government structures
The Secretaries Leadership Group comprises           Aboriginal                    Victorian
membership from all Secretaries of Victorian         community                     Government
Government Departments. It is charged with
whole of government delivery of government           Ministerial                   Minister for
initiatives in Aboriginal affairs. Bringing this     Roundtables and               Aboriginal
group together acknowledges the role that            Sub-Regional                  Affairs and 
Secretaries have in leadership, resource             Forums                        key Ministers
management and service delivery. The
                                                     Statewide and                 Secretaries
Secretaries Leadership Group will continue
                                                     local engagement              Leadership
to drive the change necessary at the service
                                                     structures                    Group on
and administrative level to deliver improved
outcomes for Aboriginal Victorians.
                                                     Local Indigenous
From the outset of the VAAF, the Secretaries
                                                     Networks (LINs)               Departments
Leadership Group has been charged with a

                                             Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2013–2018      25
Monitoring, Evaluating and Reporting on our progress
The VAAF establishes a more rigorous            The headline national COAG close the gap
performance management and reporting            target is to close the gap in life expectancy
architecture than previous approaches.          within a generation. As at 2012, the gap is
Figure 9 outlines the architecture to improve   calculated for Australia as a whole and is 
and integrate monitoring, evaluation and        12 years for men and 10 years for women. 
reporting linked to outcomes.                   Life expectancy is also calculated for those
                                                states and territories with sufficiently large
Oversight of progress will be led by           Aboriginal populations.
the Secretaries Leadership Group.
                                                As at 2012, the Australian Bureau of Statistics
Reporting at a whole of government level       has no estimate of the gap in life expectancy
will continue through an annual Aboriginal      for Victoria. The Victorian Government will
Affairs Report which will be tabled in          work with the Commonwealth Government
Parliament by the Minister for Aboriginal       and its agencies to develop an estimate for
Affairs. Progress will be shown against         Victoria that is statistically reliable, robust,
targets by trajectories. This reporting will    comparable with other jurisdictions, and 
continue to be supplemented by COAG             which can be measured over time.
generated reports and other national 
reports on service participation, Indigenous
expenditure, and progress towards national

Figure 9: Performance Management and Reporting Framework for Aboriginal Affairs in

   Outcomes:             •C
                           OAG goals and VAAF headline                  Reports:
                          indicators and targeted outcomes
                          are the highest priority area to close        •V  ictorian
   aboriginal             the gap
   peoples lives                                                           Government
   improved                                                                Aboriginal
   How do we know                                                          Affairs Report
   we are making a                                                         (VGAAR)
   difference?                                                          • COAG Reform
                                                                           Council reports

   Outputs:              • Strategic plans relate to all VAAF
                            goals and targets
                         • Strategic plans define priorities,
   services that
                            system responses and outputs and            VGAAR includes:
                            inter Government actions
   How do we know                                                       • Implementation
   services and          • Investment logic maps demonstrate              milestones and
   systems work             links between outcomes and                     outputs
   for Aboriginal           strategic plans
                                                                        • Access to and
   people?               • Reporting frameworks link each                 participation in
                            strategic plan to VAAF outcomes                services
                         • Department action/inclusion plans           • Local reporting:
                            demonstrate how each Department                Community
                            will improve access to services                roundtables and
                         • Local analysis identifies gaps,                local profiles
                            barriers and good practice
                         • Service agreements specify
                            quantity, quality and timeliness

   INputs:               •N  ational and State Indigenous
                            expenditure reporting for all 
                            service areas                               • Indigenous
   effective                                                               expenditure
                         • 10 year Evaluation Framework
   resourcing                                                              report
                         • Departmental risk management
   How do we know                                                       • Summary of
   investments are       • Government evaluates value for                 evaluations in
   working?                 money and resourcing of programs               VGAAR
                            and services

                                        Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2013–2018      27
Appendix: Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework
    Headline Indicators, Targets and other measures

     Strategic Action Area                               Headline              Targets                Other measures
                                                         Indicators                                   to be reported
     Maternal and early childhood health                 H1. Improve           By 2023, close the     • t he rate of
     and development                                     Aboriginal infant     gap in the perinatal      reported smoking
                                                         survival and health   mortality rate            use in pregnancy
                                                                                                         by mothers of
                                                                                y 2023, close the
                                                                                                         Aboriginal babies
                         Prenatal                                              gap between
                                                                               Aboriginal and         • the proportion of
    Later Years                                                                non-Aboriginal          Aboriginal children
                                                                               babies with a birth     attending Maternal
                                                                               weight below 2500       and Child Health
                                                                               grams                   services at key age
                                                         H2. Increase          By 2014, the gap
                                                         Aboriginal            between Aboriginal     • the number of
Employment                                                                                             Aboriginal 3 year
                                                         kindergarten          and non-Aboriginal
                                                         participation         4 year old children     old children
                                                                               having access to a      participating in a
                                                                               high quality            kindergarten
                                                                               kindergarten            program
                                    School                                     program will be

                                                         H3. Reduce the rate    y 2023, the gap in
                                                         of Aboriginal child   the rate of
                                                         protection            Aboriginal and
                                                         substantiations       non-Aboriginal child
                                                                               substantiations will
                                                                               be reduced by 75%

     Key strategies
     • The health of mothers is identified as one of the six priorities under Koolin Balit – Victorian Government
        strategic directions for Health 2012–2018
     • Best Start program
     • Cradle to Kinder program
     • Victoria’s Vulnerable Children – Our Shared Responsibility will guide effort across Government
     • Human Services Aboriginal Strategic Framework

     Key partners include
     • Aboriginal organisations including: Victorian Aboriginal Community Services Association Ltd (VACSAL),
        Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA), locally based Aboriginal Community Controlled
        Organisations (ACCOs), Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc (VAEAI), Victorian Aboriginal
        Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO)
     • Service delivery partners including the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), local councils, the
        Commonwealth Government and community service organisations

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