Local community members were asked for their input on the making of an organisation to keep the New South Wales Government accountable for actions in better supporting First Nations people.
NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Peak Organsisations (CAPO) held a community workshop on Thursday, Thursday 8, in Kempsey.
This second round of workshops saw CAPO present prepared options of Accountability Organisations for community feedback.
The purpose - to gain insight into the priorities of the area to best design options for an Aboriginal-led accountability organisation to monitor the alignment of government policies and programs on Closing the Gap.
15 members of the public attended with representatives from Learning the Macleay, Kinchela Boys Home, Dunghutti Elders Council, Durri Aboriginal Corporation Medical Service, Bowraville Aboriginal Land Council, and Aboriginal Legal Service, among others.
Facilitator Iona Roy from NSW CAPO says the local community has made it clear that power in the right hands is needed in order to make change.
"What was really clear is that it needs to have teeth and needs to have the right powers," she said.
"The people are really worried that we're going to set up another organisation that won't be about to make change, and that's a waste of resources and time.
"It's really now up to the government to understand that if they want to set this up, it needs to do what it promised; it needs to have powers to make change and actually hold them accountable rather than just put another pretty report out into the world."
Facilitator Maggie Williams says hearing from those with lived experiences about the issues in the area shows a state-wide pattern.
"Talking about the stuff that's happening here in Kempsey and the stuff that's not happening here in Kempsey... when you go to community you get to hear about what issues they're facing there from people that live it," she said.
"Being a country girl myself, we can see the similarities."
The 2020 National Agreement on Closing the Gap, is a commitment to a new way of working, where governments work in partnership with Aboriginal community controlled organisations to achieve meaningful change.
For more information and to register for a workshop near you, visit https://alc.org.au/nsw-capo/