The National Agreement on Closing the Gap defines an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Community-Controlled Organisation (ACCO) as an organisation that “delivers services, including land and resource management, that builds the strength and empowerment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and people and is:
- incorporated under relevant legislation and not-for-profit;
- controlled and operated by Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people;
- connected to the community, or communities, in which they deliver the services, and;
- governed by a majority Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander governing body.”
Peak bodies are representative, non-government organisations whose membership predominantly consists of other organisations of allied interests and which are recognised by other peaks and their sectors generally as a representative of the whole of their sector.
The WA ACCO Peak Body aims at representing the various ACCOs across Western Australia.
The aim of CASWA is to strengthen and increase the capacity of WA ACCOs involved in service delivery to Aboriginal people in WA across priority sectors identified under the National Agreement.
The aim of the CASWA is to provide a strong and collective voice to ACCOs across WA in conversations with the WA State and Commonwealth Government, by contributing to strategies, plans and programmes, and advocating of the needs of WA ACCOs, as well as of Aboriginal communities that those WA ACCOs provide services to.
Some of the key roles of the CASWA will include:
- Research, policy development, advice to government and the ACCO sector;
- Advocacy and representation to government and other decision makers;
- Information dissemination within the ACCO sector and to the broader community;
- Sector consultation and coordination, and;
- Sector capacity building to enable better service delivery.
The work is being led by the AHCWA Social Services Committee (the Committee), a subcommittee of the AHCWA Board. The Committee consists of the AHCWA Chairperson, AHCWA Board Directors and Aboriginal independent representatives. The Committee is supported in its activities by the AHCWA Closing the Gap, Social Services Project Team.
The purpose of the AHCWA Social Services Committee is to assist the AHCWA Board of Directors to establish an independent, incorporated Western Australian Aboriginal community-controlled peak body, which will:
- act as a peak body to represent the interests of WA ACCOs across a range of sectors in alignment with the National Agreement;
- facilitate Aboriginal community-controlled sector participation in partnerships with the WA Government which is integral to the implementation of all Priority Reforms under the National Agreement;
- strengthen and increase the capacity of WA ACCOs involved in service delivery to Aboriginal people in WA, and;
- advocate on behalf of Aboriginal people in WA.
The AHCWA Social Services Committee invited WA ACCOs to state-wide online consultation sessions to get input and feedback on CASWA’s objectives, governance and draft constitution.
This website will also be regularly updated to provide updates on the progress relating to CASWA’s establishment, and to enable ACCOs to engage with the Committee and Project Team.
AHCWA recognises the extensive expertise, experience, cultural knowledge and connections to community that ACCOs across Western Australia have.
As the only community-controlled peak body in WA, AHCWA can offer procedural insights and administrative and governance support to ensure CASWA’s smooth establishment. AHCWA is excited about this opportunity to build a stronger, more resilient and more innovative ACCO sector that will better serve Aboriginal people and their communities in WA.