Realising the potential: a review of the Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Programme (AACAP)

A collaborative report researched and prepared by the Australian Government Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Australian Army
Aboriginal Australians Defence Australian Defence Force Community development Cultural awareness Australia
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This report was commissioned by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) and the Australian Army. The findings and recommendations do not constitute agreement or endorsement from the Australian Government.

The Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Programme (AACAP) is a joint initiative between the Australian Army and PM&C. The Programme began in 1996 and is an ongoing commitment that reinforces the strong association between Army, PM&C and Australia’s First Peoples.

Key Findings:

  • Under current arrangements, as provided in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which sets the strategic direction, working arrangements and funding processes for the AACAP, one AACAP project is undertaken in a remote community (or communities where location permits) each calendar year. Each project is tailored to meet the specific needs ofthe recipient community andconsists of a construction, health and training component.
  • The review team also worked with, and took advice from, a reference panel of senior Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community leaders established to provide expert advice on opportunities to leverage AACAP to achieve better outcomes.
  • Overall, the review team found the Programme has been a good example of Commonwealth Government agencies working collaboratively to improve primary and environmental health and living conditions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, while providing valuable training outcomes for Army. In doing so, the Programme reinforces the strong association between Army and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
  • Community members appreciated the inclusion of International defence force personnel (e.g. Tonga, Papua New Guinea, East Timor) on projects and welcomed the opportunity to engage and share their culture with people from other cultures.
  • The provision of specialist facilities or infrastructure such as health clinics, multipurpose facilities, airfields or waste water treatment systems was observed to have had significant, far-reaching positive impacts in communities, particularly where the assets were delivered with the support of other agencies, either for delivery or ongoing operation.
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