Wingecarribee Shire Council has this week become the first Local Government Council to sign the Illawarra Aboriginal Partnership Agreement (RPA).
The partnership will ensure that Council, in conjunction with the Shire’s Local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, advocate for State and Federal governments and non-government organisations to provide a more collaborative delivery of services to local Aboriginal communities.
Signing on behalf of Council was Wingecarribee Shire Mayor, Councillor Juliet Arkwright.
“For many years the Shire’s Indigenous people have expressed a desire for self-determination in an inclusive and culturally appropriate environment,” Councillor Arkwright said.
“This partnership through the Illawarra RPA provides an opportunity for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to fulfill this ambition.”
Five of the Shire’s Aboriginal Associations, including Gibbergunyah Aboriginal Association, Kula N’ gadu, Moyengully and Yamanda Association are already signatories to the RPA. A number of State and Federal Government Agencies and Not-for-Profit organisations convened at Council’s Civic Centre in Moss Vale to witness this historic signing.
Council’s Group Manager Strategic and Assets, Mark Pepping explained further advantages of the partnership.
“Council’s involvement with the partnership will help open lines of communication between all levels of government and the Shire’s Aboriginal residents,” he said. “It will also provide these residents with a network of established support groups based in close proximity to our region and will help them to work collaboratively with all sectors of our community.”