The National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA), in partnership with the Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly (MPRA), engaged Burns Aldis to give a brief outline of the background to the Murdi Paaki model for community-led governance. The resource presents a summary of the lessons learned in the course of the history of the model, based on the voice and opinions of the MPRA.
The Assembly aspires to have its achievements and capacity recognised such that it is acknowledged and treated as an equal when engaging with all tiers of government, industry and civic society; generalised assumptions about the capacity of Aboriginal community-led governance underlying universally applied top down policy and strategy obscure the Region’s strengths and opportunities. Most will be gained from a strengths-based approach that recognises and responds to community capacity.

Key Findings:

  • Good governance in the Murdi Paaki context is governance that is culturally fit for purpose and meets the needs of community, and the model is founded in core cultural values and principles, given effect in written policies and practices.
  • The Assembly is concerned by continuing attempts by government partners to co-opt the Murdi Paaki model to a government agenda. Typically, this takes the form of imposition of external, non-negotiated protocols for governance without any regard for the value of the work the Assembly has committed to developing a successful regional model over nearly three decades.
  • One measurement for success is ensuring Community Working Parties (CWP)s have strong leaders who are willing to participate with energy and work actively in promoting the interests of their communities.
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