Empowered Communities

The Empowered Communities initiative is a new way for Indigenous communities and governments to work together to set priorities and deliver services at a regional level.

It aims to increase Indigenous ownership and give Indigenous people a greater say in decisions that affect them.

The initiative was designed by Indigenous leaders from eight regions across Australia. At its core, Empowered Communities is about governments backing Indigenous leaders who want to introduce positive changes in their communities and regions. It’s an initiative that puts Indigenous culture and participation front and centre of government decision-making.

The Empowered Communities design report is a public document .

The regional implementation of Empowered Communities is underway with support from Jawun Indigenous Corporate Partnerships and a number of state governments. The Australian Government is committed to the co-design of solutions to community-identified priorities.

Government Response

The Australian Government responded to the Empowered Communities design report in December 2015, strongly supporting the place-based, whole-of-government approach outlined in the report.

We are progressing with the regional response for Empowered Communities before considering the institutional governance or legislative reforms also recommended in the report.


The regional implementation of Empowered Communities reinforces the Government’s commitment to a new partnership with Indigenous Australians and a move away from policy that does things to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, to policy that does things with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

We are providing $14.4 million over three years to support backbone organisations to implement Empowered Communities in seven regions. In the eighth region, North East Arnhem Land, Indigenous leaders are yet to determine what approach they wish to take.

As part of the Government’s commitment to greater transparency we have compiled and provided to Empowered Communities regions comprehensive data packages. These packages provide a platform for joint planning and identifying community priorities.


We are supporting Empowered Communities leaders to embed a ‘learn and adjust as you go’ (adaptive learning) approach and developmental evaluation from the start of implementation. This is in line with what has been put forward in the report.

In July 2016 we engaged Collaboration for Impact to help Indigenous and Government partners use the ‘learn as you go’ approach as work progresses on priorities and development agendas.

Ongoing analysis of Empowered Communities progress will inform annual reviews and an evaluation after three years.

Other approaches

We are committed to working effectively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In addition to Empowered Communities regions, we are working with a number of other communities and regions, such as Ceduna, and supporting them to identify and address priorities and aspirations.

Key Dates & Progress

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Contact Us

Have feedback on Empowered Communities?  Send it to empowered.communities@pmc.gov.au

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