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Our commitment to building the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled sector

DCJ is committed to building and strengthening services to Aboriginal peoples and communities, and to having those services delivered by Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisations (ACCOs).

The NSW Government is a signatory to the National Agreement for Closing the Gap (the National Agreement), which was released in July 2020. The National Agreement represents a commitment to shared decision-making as a fundamentally new way of working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

At the centre of the National Agreement are priority reforms that focus on changing the way governments work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. One key priority is building the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled sector.

As an agency involved in commissioning, procuring and contracting Aboriginal services, and to support our commitment to grow investment in ACCOs, we recognised the importance of having a clear definition of what constitutes an ACCO.

How we define an Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisation

To be an ACCO, an Aboriginal organisation is required to meet the following criteria. It must be:

  1. an independent, not-for-profit organisation, that’s incorporated as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander organisation and/or is a registered community service
  2. initiated, based, governed and operated by the local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander community
  3. accountable to its local community, and facilitate local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples to have input into service design, delivery and performance
  4. endorsed by the local community leadership to deliver holistic and culturally appropriate services or activities that benefit Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities and people, including empowerment and building strength.

These criteria are based on Clause 44 of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap. The National Agreement was endorsed by state and territory jurisdictions and the National Voice for our Children (SNIACC).

How we determine if an Aboriginal organisation is an ACCO

DCJ uses an assessment and evidence guide to ensure we have a consistent approach to determine if an Aboriginal organisation meets the DCJ criteria for an ACCO.

If an organisation doesn’t meet all the criteria, we’ll recognise them as an ‘Aboriginal provider’.

So there’s a tiered structure whereby we recognise Aboriginal organisations as either:

  • an Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisation
  • an Aboriginal provider
  • a mainstream provider delivering services to Aboriginal people and communities.

Reporting on ACCOs and related funding

DCJ is required to report ACCO funding and service delivery for the purposes of tracking against measures for Closing the Gap and Aboriginal Outcomes.

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Last updated: 24 Feb 2022