Conference paper

Transition to governance: building capacity in an Indigenous community

18 Jul 2007

This paper from the 2007 Australian Social Policy Conference outlines the issues and challenges faced by the Transition to Governance project, its partners and the Indigenous community members who are committed to establishing a new Aboriginal community controlled health organisation.

Historically the Indigenous community in outer eastern Melbourne was serviced by an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHO). However, in 1998 following a review by the Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (OATSIH) the health service was de-funded and OATSIH approached Yarra Valley Community Health Service (YVCHS) to accept the auspice for the delivery of Indigenous heath services in the Shire of Yarra Ranges. The Indigenous community’s response to the transmission of services to YVCHS was varied as the Indigenous community is in principle committed to aboriginal control of health services. The transmission of service delivery to an Indigenous specific team within a mainstream health organisation was a bold move and a new model of management for OATSIH. The auspice arrangement is an interim arrangement, subject to the development of an accountable aboriginal community controlled organisation.

In 2004 a report was commissioned to investigate and propose models for the governance of the Indigenous health service. The preferred proposal was the transfer of Indigenous health services back to community control and subsequently the transition to governance project was established.

This paper provides a case study of the journey by partners and Indigenous community members as they undertake the ‘transmission of business’ from Yarra Valley Community Health Service to a newly constituted Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation.

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