Empowered communities: creating a structure for Indigenous empowerment

Thursday, 18 June 2015
Fiona Jose

The fundamental challenge we face in closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage is our extreme minority status as Indigenous peoples within the Australian nation. Being only three% of the population, we hardly get a say in the democratic processes of Parliament. We cannot effectively influence the
government decisions which affect our lives. We are the three% ‘mouse’ struggling to be heard by the 97% ‘elephant’. Others continue to devise and implement ‘solutions’ to our problems
largely without our input and absent any accountability to Indigenous people. We live the Indigenous predicament.
No one is better placed to solve the challenges that confront our people. We have the knowledge, but not the power. Government have all the power, but little of the knowledge. This paper will discuss the Empowered Communities initiative: collaboration between Indigenous leaders nation-wide to develop recommendations for national structural and institutional reforms aimed at enabling Indigenous empowerment, responsibility and self-determination. Our aim is to create a structure and system which allows Indigenous people to take responsibility for our economic, social and cultural determination.