PAMA FUTURES Indigenous designed and led

Empowered communities

Indigenous communities nation-wide have been connected by an overwhelming sense of powerlessness over our own lives. And so, we came together to produce a framework for change called Empowered Communities. Australian Governments on both ends of the political spectrum have supported the empowered communities’ framework which insists that change must happen at the local and regional level, and structural change must occur where local people are driving decisions.

It steps out ‘how’ starting with governance, and how decisions are made.

It talks about productivity – ensuring services and programs are actually working and that the funding delivers real outcomes for our people.

It recognises that service delivery will not fix all of our problems and that we need development – social and cultural development, and economic development.

Cape York Peninsula is one of the Empowered Communities regions supported by the Commonwealth.


What this is all about

Indigenous leaders from ten regions across Australia are working together with government and corporate Australia to reform how Indigenous policies and programs are designed and delivered.

Empowered Communities is all about: Empowering individuals, families, and communities to create better lives for themselves.

At the heart of Empowered Communities lies a set of transformational national reforms for an Indigenous empowerment agenda.

There needs to be a fundamental shift away from the traditional social policy framework in which Indigenous affairs has been conducted, to a comprehensive Indigenous partnership of Indigenous leaders, governments, and corporate leaders in order to succeed, with all partners prepared to play their roles in a different way. We seek formal agreement to a 10-year Indigenous empowerment policy framework.

Empowerment means Indigenous people empowering ourselves by taking all appropriate and necessary powers and responsibilities for our own lives and futures. The commonwealth, state and territory governments must share, and in some cases relinquish, certain powers and responsibilities, and support Indigenous people with resources and capability building.

The principle of subsidiarity – that authority to decide and act should rest at the closest level possible to the people or organisations the decision or action is designed to serve – is an important element in our concept of Indigenous empowerment. Together with Indigenous self-determination and the mutual rights and responsibilities shared between Indigenous people and governments, it is at the heart of our Indigenous empowerment reforms.

Our Indigenous empowerment framework is based on the premise that Indigenous Australians have a right to development, which includes our economic, social and cultural development as families, individuals and communities and as First Nations people. It recognises the primacy of the local nature of people and places and is aimed at the empowerment of the families and individuals connected to those peoples and places.

The first development goal is to close the gap on the social and economic disadvantage of the Indigenous Australians of the Empowered Communities Regions. The second is to enable the cultural recognition and determination of Indigenous Australians of the Empowered Communities regions so that we can preserve, maintain, renew and adapt our cultural and linguistic heritage and transmit our heritage to future generations.



Power in our voice


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visitors are advised that this website may contain images and voices of people who have passed away.

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