The Commonwealth Government’s Empowered Communities initiative aims to shift the power balance between government and Indigenous Australians, and give First Nations people proper agency over the decisions which impact their lives.

It is made up of community leaders representing ten regions across the nation, one of which is the Miwatj region in northeast Arnhem Land.

The vision for Empowered Communities is expressed in the following statement:

“We want for our children the same opportunities and choices other Australians expect for their children. We want them to succeed in mainstream Australia, achieving educational success, prospering in the economy and living long, safe and healthy lives. We want them to retain their distinct cultures, languages and identities as peoples and to be recognised as Indigenous Australians.”

The initiative was born out of a meeting of Indigenous leaders in June 2013, which developed a proposal to government setting out a framework for comprehensive structural reform of First Nations policy – a transformational reform to the decision-making process.

After further discussion and deliberation at the 2013 Garma Festival, a set of design principles was agreed, and Empowered Communities was launched on 28 August, 2013.

Each of the regions works in partnership and with the support of the Commonwealth Government to implement reforms in their communities.

Discussions continue to be held with the government about proposals to embed institutional reform at the national level in alignment with regional priorities.

You can read more about it here.